Cusco: 24 hours in South America’s oldest city


Time for a coffee and David recommends Café Ayllu in Marquez Street – a Cusco institution. In the plaza, head for the eclectic Cappuccino Café directly opposite the Cathedral. The entrance is hard to find amongst the tour touts working this side of the square, but persevere. Go through the small door on the square and up the stairs to the left. Snaffle one of the balcony tables for great views.

There’s no shortage of museums in Cusco. The Mueso Machu Picchu Casa Concha is a relatively new option, housing a collection of relics from Machu Picchu that were taken back to the USA by Hiram Bingham following his discovery of the overgrown citadel in 1911. They’ve recently been returned to Peru.

Time for a late lunch and David suggests any of the small traditional restaurants along Pampa del Castillo, for the chance to try chi charon – pieces of deep fried pork, or cuy – better known as roast guinea pig, which is served whole on a platter. The meat is delicious – delicately flavoured with rosemary and basil.

Time for another museum visit, with a difference. The newly opened Museo del Pisco is dedicated to Peru’s national drink (bordering on national obsession), which generally comes in the form of the ubiquitous – and very delicious – Pisco Sour cocktail.

At night Cusco’s wonderful plazas and squares come alive. Take a stroll down the narrow cobbled streets between San Blas and the main square, or for stunning views of the city lights head for the hills at the foot of the Cristo Bianco statue.

There are hundreds of restaurants to choose from in Cusco. We try Casa Qrikancha, just off Plazoleta Santo Domingo. Peruvian cuisine is among the world’s best – an exciting fusion of influences. And while the bistro’s interior is a little bland the food is excellent. Try the Carpaccio de alpaca – thinly sliced alpaca served in Goldenberry and Dijon vinaigrette, and the sautéed beef tenderloin. The Trufas de Chocolate is incredible.

Choose any of the small bars along Cuesta de San Blas for a nightcap. Salut!

About the author

An anchor with CNBC TV18 for almost 4 years. Also co-anchors prime-time market shows like Power Breakfast, Traders only, Markets Mid-day and NSE Closing Bell.