As the gateway to Machu Picchu & the Sacred Valley most must pass through the city of Cusco – I only stayed two nights but with tons to see you could spend more time in the place that was once capital of the Inca Empire. *the city is 11 thousand feet above sea level so take it slow- altitude sickness hits everyone differently.
STAY: Belmond Hotel Monasterio– so much history and charm when you stay in an ancient monastery. Enjoy breakfast or cocktail in the courtyard where the oldest cedar tree in Cusco lives. Visit their very own chapel or experience opera night in the main restaurant, Illariy. Next door is the Belmond Palacio Nazarenas with a totally different vibe but still Belmonds luxury service.
TO DO: Plaza de Armas– the epicenter of the city, great people watching with plenty of dining and shopping. San Blas– charming neighborhood known for their blue doors & cute coffee shops. San Pedro Market- fresh produce, textiles…pretty much anything you need. Sacsayhuaman– pronounced sexy woman…seriously– is a citadel located atop the city with great views. Sundowner at San Cristobal- end your city tour with sunset views & glass of champagne.
EAT: MAP Cafe- had the best lunch located in the courtyard of the Museum of Pre-Colombian Art. Amazonian tiradito, Pachamanca fish & the Quinoa cannelloni with truffle…YUM! Hot spot Ciccolina is a must & make a reservation. Enjoy tons of tapas options and splurge on the squid ink pasta with prawns. Also any local bakery will have some savory empanadas that make a great snack while exploring.