Taking Taxis in Cusco
Taxi safety is a concern for many tourists traveling in Cusco, and luckily it is a very safe city. With that being said, we still have some tips to ensure that we get you around Cusco safely.
Taxis need to have a sticker in the front window that indicate a license, along with a registration number on the inside door. There are many unlicensed taxis roaming around, and you are probably better off avoiding these, especially later at night.
As far as cost goes, the price is usually S/.4 or S/. 5 to travel anywhere around the city center. Your best bet is to decide on a price before you enter the taxi to avoid being overcharged. Also, if you do not agree with the price, then do not hesitate to opt for a different taxi; there are plenty of options to choose from. Taxi drivers often try to take advantage of tourists when naming a price, so make sure to ask people around you are unsure of what a fair fare is.
While most taxis are safe, there are rare cases where passengers have been robbed. To avoid this happening, it is best to stay alert throughout your taxi ride. Do not fall asleep, and make sure to pay attention throughout the entire ride. When you exit the taxi, make sure to have gathered all of your belongings. If you happen to leave something behind, the chances of seeing it again are extremely slim.
If you do not feel comfortable flagging a taxi down off the street, then there are a number of safe, reputable taxi companies to choose from. You can arrange pickup through your hotel. While these will come at a slightly higher cost, you will never have to worry about an unsafe arrival. If this is something that interests you, try using one of these companies: Llama taxis, Taxi Turismo, Taxidatum, Easy Taxi, or Cusco Taxi.
Keep in mind that if you are traveling somewhere further than Cusco, such as the Sacred Valley, then there are much more affordable ways to travel than using a taxi. Try heading to Puputi Street or Pavitos Street and hopping into a collectivo. This is a car or van that will transport a group of passengers to the same location at a reduced cost. For example, a collectivo from Cusco to Pisac will cost S/.4 while a taxi will cost anywhere from S/.50 – S/.60.
Real Alpaca or Synthetic Wool?
While you are shopping in Peru, you are sure to come in contact with baby alpaca sweaters, scarves, and blankets listed at unbeatable prices. However, most times these are not genuine wool and the vendors try to fool you with brushed acrylic. However, we have gathered a few tips to help you distinguish what is real and what is fake! But first, we should define what baby alpaca actually is.
Some people have the misconception that baby alpaca has to do with the age of the alpaca, but this is not entirely true. In reality, baby alpaca refers to the first shearing of the chest of the alpaca, where the fleece is the softest. Usually, this happens within the first year or two of its life.
- Natural colors: Most of the time, baby alpaca products are produced in natural looking colors such as browns, whites, grays, and reds. So, if you see a product that is brightly colored, it is most likely not genuine!
- The Weight: Baby alpaca is a lot heavier than synthetic wool
- The Touch: Brushed acryclic is a lot warmer to the touch than alpaca wool
- The Inside: Brushed acrylic will be soft on the outside, like authentic wool, but the inside will be rougher. There will also be no inside seams!
- The Price: Baby Alpaca is not cheap! If you are offered a sweater for 30 soles, it is not authentic.
GUIDE TO SAN PEDRO MARKET
During your stay in Cusco, visiting the surrounding markets is a must. Luckily, Cusco B&B is located right across from San Pedro Market, Cusco’s largest and most popular market. Here, you can find nearly anything you need, from fruits and vegetables to bags and clothing.
If you have yet to try fresh juice in Cusco, then San Pedro is the perfect place to do it! You will be flagged down by multiple stall vendors wanting you to try their juice as you walk through the market; there are approximately 30 fruit stalls. Generally, every stall will be selling the same juices for the same prices. Once you choose your stall, all you have to do is choose your juice, and it will be pressed right in front of you. Just make sure your juice is made with bottled water to avoid an upset stomach!
There are also many food vendors scattered throughout the market where you can eat an entire meal for about 5 sol ($1.50); you just have to be careful. Cleanliness is a big factor here, so aim for stands that have a high turnover rate and look the cleanest. This way, you can avoid food that has been sitting out for too long and won’t upset your stomach.
When shopping around, don’t hesitate to bargain! Vendors expect it and try to target foreigners with higher prices. Also, don’t be afraid to walk around a bit to find a better price; chances are you will see the exact same product elsewhere. If not, then you can always return to the first stand. Overall, visiting San Pedro Market is an important part of the traditional Cusco experience, and something you should definitely do during your stay here!
MUST TRY CUSCO RESTAURANTS
Just steps away from the Plaza de Armas, Cicciolina is ideally located. Their menu is an extensive combination of both traditional Peruvian and international dishes. The interior is charming and features a vaulted ceiling, arched doorways, and an open kitchen. Whether you’re in the mood for lunch, dinner, or drinks, you can’t beat the food or the atmosphere. If you’re flying solo, the Tapas Bar is a great option!
Pro Tip: make a reservation to get the most out of this dining experience.
If you’re looking for a great breakfast place, Jack’s is the spot. The owner is Australian, but the food served is American style. The menu varies from breakfast to lunch to dinner, but you can get breakfast all day long. If you’re looking for a warm comfortable atmosphere with big portions at a reasonable price, Jack’s is your spot!
Pro Tip: Try the french toast or pancakes, they’re rich and delicious!
Need a spot for a special occasion? Pachapapa is it. Located in the Boho San Blas area, the restaurant is known for it’s cozy, homey, Peruvian feel. The atmosphere provides dining in both a central courtyard (great for large groups) as well as warm side rooms. There’s even large heaters and a clay oven for the chilly days. The menu ranges from traditional Peruvian dishes to oven baked pizzas. Either way, you can’t go wrong at Pachapapa.
Pro Tip: Looking to try cuy? Then this is the place to do it!
Whether you’re vegan or not, Green Point will not disappoint you in any aspect. Also located in San Blas, the atmosphere is unbeatable with a cozy, warm environment and a wide variety of seating options. The menu provides endless options of fresh, flavorful, and beautifully presented dishes. This is by far the best vegan restaurant in Cusco and definitely worth visiting!
Pro Tip: Try out their lunch special for a ton of food (drink, soup, salad, entree, dessert) at a low price of 18 sol ($5.50)
If you’re looking for traditional Peruvian food at a more reasonable price, Chicha won’t disappoint. Their twist on Peruvian classics with an open kitchen and relaxed atmosphere provide a quality, unique dining experience. Located very close to the Plaza de Armas, the restaurant is located on the second floor of an old home with great views of the Plaza de Regocijos.
Pro Tip: Try their chicha morada; it’s always fresh and delicious!