Flavor and tradition: 10 Peruvian desserts

Description

Peruvian cuisine is known worldwide for its variety and flavor. Signature dishes like Ceviche, Lomo Saltado, and Causa Rellena shine on their own, but no lunch or dinner is complete without the sweet touch of a dessert. These desserts carry a rich history dating back to pre-Hispanic and colonial times.

Join us on this flavorful journey through the gastronomic tradition offered by Peruvian cuisine. We will immerse ourselves in the cultural and regional diversity that has given rise to the 10 most popular classic desserts in Peru.

History

Nougat sellers from the colonial era.

The history of Peruvian desserts dates back to the conquest era following the arrival of the Spanish in Peru. The Spanish culinary influence blended with the indigenous, leading to the evolution of various desserts. The Spanish introduced products such as sugar, wheat, and cattle, while the ancient Peruvians contributed native products like lúcuma, chirimoya, maracuyá, aguaymanto, chocolate, etc. The fusion of these ingredients gave rise to Peruvian pastry.

Convents played a crucial role in creating desserts such as Suspiro a la Limeña, Alfajores, and Mazamorra. The combination of European customs with Peruvian ingredients has resulted in the rich tradition of desserts in Peru.

Below, we mention the 10 most popular desserts in Peru.

1. Suspiro a la Limeña

“Suspiro a la Limeña” is a captivating delight with its layers of sweetness and smooth texture, making it a Peruvian dessert that has become one of the country’s most representative. The original recipe for Suspiro Limeño was created by the Peruvian writer José Gálvez Barrenechea in the 1920s.

According to legend, the Peruvian writer created Suspiro Limeño in honor of his wife, Amparo Ayarez, who was an experienced pastry chef. The name “Suspiro” refers to the expression of love and desire that the writer conveyed upon tasting his wife’s creation, although its name and some ingredients have varied over time.

Ingredients:

  • Evaporated milk
  • Condensed milk
  • Eggs
  • Port wine
  • Cinnamon powder
  • Vanilla

Preparation: Mix the ingredients in a container and cook over low heat until cooked, then serve in glasses, placing the cream first, then the meringue and sprinkling at the end with a little cinnamon powder.

2. Peruvian Alfajores

The Peruvian Alfajor is a traditional dessert that has become a symbol of Peruvian gastronomy. The recipe for Peruvian Alfajores includes two cornstarch cookies, a filling of manjar blanco (a type of caramel-like milk spread), and a layer of sweet caramelized milk.

The history of Peruvian Alfajores dates back to the colonization era when the Spanish introduced ingredients like sugarcane and wheat to Peru. These Alfajores originated in Muslim Spain and have adapted to Peruvian customs and ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • cornstarch flour
  • Sugar
  • Butter
  • Blancmange
  • Sweet milk candy
  • Egg
  • Milk
  • Sugar
  • Blancmange
  • Sweet milk candy

3. Purple Mazamorra with Rice Pudding

Discover the magical combination of “mazamorra morada” and “arroz con leche.” The origin of “mazamorra morada” dates back to the pre-Columbian era when it was known as “moro sara” or “kulli sara” in the Quechua language. On the other hand, “arroz con leche” is a dessert that originated in Asia and was brought to Spain during the Muslim occupation. With the arrival of the Spanish, “arroz con leche” spread to Peru.

Ingredients of the purple mazamorra:

  • Purple corn
  • Fruit
  • A touch of cinnamon

Rice pudding ingredients:

  • Rice
  • Milk
  • Sugar
  • Orange peel

It is a classic Peruvian dessert that combines two traditional delights in one dish. This combination creates a synergy between the sweet flavor of “mazamorra morada” and the creaminess of “arroz con leche,” making it a very popular dessert in Peru.

4. Turrón de Doña Pepa

It is a traditional Peruvian dessert associated with the celebration of the Lord of Miracles. Its origin dates back to the 18th century and is linked to the black slave Josefa Marmanillo, who was recognized by oral tradition as the creator of this delicacy. It is a very popular dessert in Peru and is consumed especially during the celebration of the Lord of Miracles in the month of October.

Ingredients:

  • Flour
  • Vegetable shortening
  • Sugar
  • Anise
  • Chancaca (panela)
  • Fruits such as quince, pineapple, banana, lemon, orange, apple
  • Spices such as cinnamon, cloves
  • Other ingredients such as chuño, sesame seeds, vanilla essence, water, among others.

5. Picarones

Picarones are a tempting, fried, and fluffy treat that captivates everyone who tries them. Picarones have their origins in the pre-Hispanic era when the Incas prepared a similar recipe using sweet potatoes and squash. During the colonial period, the Spaniards introduced the recipe for “Buñuelos” (sweet bread), which later merged with the Inca preparation, resulting in the Picarones as they are known today.

Ingredients:

  • Pumpkin or squash
  • Sweet potato or sweet potato
  • Flour
  • Yeast
  • Sugar
  • Anise
  • Clove
  • Cinnamon
  • Salt
  • Oil for frying

These ingredients are used to prepare the dough for picarones, which is then fried and served with a flavored syrup. The syrup typically includes ingredients such as “chancaca” or “panela” (unrefined whole cane sugar), sugar, orange, lemon, and spices like cloves and cinnamon.

6. Rice Zambito

It is a culinary gem and a typical Peruvian dessert that originated during the colonial period when the Spaniards introduced Rice Pudding to Peru. The original Rice Pudding recipe was adapted by the Peruvians who incorporated “Chancaca” a natural brown sweetener, and added nuts like pecans and raisins. This modification gave the dessert its characteristic color and flavor, leading to the name “Zambito” due to its dark hue.

Ingredients:

  • long grain rice
  • Water
  • Milk
  • Cinnamon
  • Condensed milk
  • Chancaca

7. Crema Volteada

It’s a classic that has won hearts all over Peru. The history of “crema volteada” dates back to the Roman era when Greeks and Romans made egg-based desserts. This recipe made its way to Peru during the colonial period and was quickly adapted by the locals. However, they added local ingredients like vanilla to it.

Ingredients of the Crema Volteada:

  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Sugar
  • Vanilla
  • Candy
  • Evaporated milk
  • Condensed milk
  • Eggs
  • Sugar
  • Vanilla
  • Candy

8. King Kong of Piura

The King Kong is an icon of the gastronomy of northern Peru, specifically the Lambayeque region, and its name refers to the large size, alluding to the gorilla from the movie King Kong.

It is a very representative and cherished sweet in Peruvian culture, with its history dating back to the 1920s. The original recipe was created by Victoria Mejía de García. Since then, this dessert has become very popular and appreciated in Peru, and its preparation is an important part of culinary tradition.

Ingredients:

  • Pastry flour
  • Evaporated milk
  • Butter
  • Eggs
  • Blancmange
  • Pineapple candy
  • Peanut candy

9. Frozen cheese

It is a traditional dessert from Arequipa that resembles ice cream but does not contain any cheese in its ingredients. Its origin dates back to the colonial era, and it is believed to have been first made within the Convent of Santa Catalina in the city of Arequipa. Although its name may cause confusion, its taste is sweet and refreshing.

Ingredients:

  • Evaporated milk
  • fresh milk
  • Toasted grated coconut
  • Cloves
  • yolks
  • Milk cream
  • Condensed milk
  • Vanilla
  • Fishtail (optional)
  • Ground cinnamon to sprinkle

10. Lucuma Ice Cream

The lucuma ice cream is a popular dessert in Peruvian gastronomy, especially in the Arequipa region. Lucuma is native to the Peruvian Andes and has a taste very similar to sweet potato or peanut butter.

Ingredients:

  • Condensed milk
  • Milk cream
  • Fresh or frozen lucuma pulp
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Top things to do in requipa

Arequipa is known as “The White City” and is the second-largest city in Peru, located in the southern region of the country. Founded in 1540, the city has played a crucial role in Peruvian history and culture.

Arequipa has a rich history dating back to the pre-Inca era. During the Spanish colonization, the city was a significant administrative and commercial center. Its architecture reflects the colonial era, characterized by churches and mansions.

Below, we mention the most important activities you can participate in.

1.Free tour of Arequipa – Free!

The free tour in Arequipa, like in many other cities, is a popular option for you to explore the city with the assistance of a local guide without having to pay a fixed fee for the tour.

  • Guided by Locals: The tours are typically led by local guides who are well-acquainted with the city and can provide you with interesting information about the history, culture, and historical landmarks.
  • Price: At the end of the tour, it is recommended to leave a donation according to the quality of the tour, ranging from 25 to 35 Peruvian soles per person.
  • Reservations: Sign up for the free tour of Arequipa.

2. Monastery of Saint Catherine

The Monastery of Santa Catalina is located at 401 Santa Catalina Angosta Street in the historic center of Arequipa. This place offers you a unique experience. Below, we detail some attractions within the monastery:

  • Calle de las Monjas: This is one of the most famous streets in the monastery, walking along it allows you to explore nuns’ cells, courtyards, and buildings with vibrant colors.
  • Santa Catalina Museum: Inside the monastery, you will find a museum that houses a collection of religious art and historical objects dating back to the colonial period.
  • Santa Catalina Church: The monastery includes a church with impressive architecture that houses various works of religious art.
  • Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday from 9:00 to 16:00.
  • Price: S/40.00 for adults and S/12.00 for students.

3. Main Square

The Plaza de Armas of Arequipa is the historical and cultural heart of the city, also known as the Main Square, and is an iconic place that attracts tourists and locals alike. In the surroundings, you will see:

  • The cathedral of Arequipa: The Plaza de Armas is dominated by the majestic Cathedral Basilica of Arequipa. This cathedral was built with sillar (white volcanic stone) and is an impressive example of colonial religious architecture.
  • The municipal palace of Arequipa: On one side of the square, you will find the Municipal Palace, which houses the local government headquarters. It is a historical building with interesting Spanish colonial architecture.

4. Yanahuara city sigth

The Yanahuara Viewpoint is located 20 minutes from the Plaza de Armas of Arequipa on La Recoleta Street, s/n, Yanahuara. It is a panoramic point situated in the district of Yanahuara, in the city of Arequipa. This viewpoint offers a spectacular view of the city and its iconic Misti volcano.

  • Panoramic View: From the viewpoint, you can enjoy a panoramic view of Arequipa and its surroundings. The city is surrounded by imposing mountains and volcanoes.
  • Yanahuara Arches: These arches are made of sillar and provide a unique frame for photographs of the city and the Misti volcano.
  • San Juan Bautista Church: In this viewpoint, you will also find the San Juan Bautista Church, which is part of the architectural ensemble of Yanahuara. The church dates back to the 19th century and adds a historical touch to the place.
  • Crafts and Souvenirs: It is possible to find craft and souvenir stalls around the viewpoint where you can purchase mementos.

5. Church of San Francisco

The San Francisco Church is located at 103 Zela Street – Cercado, a 7-minute walk from the Plaza de Armas at a moderate pace. The construction of the church dates back to the 16th century and has undergone various modifications over the years.

  • Architecture: The church features architectural characteristics typical of the Spanish colonial period in Peru; it is constructed with Sillar stone (white volcanic stone).
  • Cloister and Convent: Next to the church, you will find the San Francisco convent, which includes a colonial-era cloister.
  • Religious Art Museum: This museum is located within the San Francisco Church and exhibits a collection of religious art, including paintings, sculptures, and liturgical objects from the colonial period.
  • Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday from 9:00 to 17:00.
  • Price: S/ 20.00 per person.

6. Canoeing on the Chili River

Boating in Arequipa is an exciting and popular activity, especially on the Chili River that flows through the city.

  • Difficulty Levels: The Chili River has sections with varying difficulty levels, making it suitable for both beginners and more experienced individuals. During the rainy season (December to March), the rapids are more intense (Class III and IV), while the rest of the year, they range from Class II to III.
  • Rafting Season: The rafting season on the Chili River is usually better during the dry season, especially between the months of May to October. During this period, the river flow is more conducive to rafting.
  • Local Operators: We offer rafting excursions on the Chili River, providing you with the necessary equipment, including inflatable rafts, paddles, life jackets, and expert guides.

7. Andean Sanctuaries Museum

This attraction is located at 110 La Merced Street and is known for hosting a collection of artifacts and archaeological findings related to the sacrificial rituals performed by the Inca culture.

  • Juanita – The Lady of Ampato: The main attraction of the museum is “La momia Juanita” discovered in 1995 on the Ampato volcano. Juanita was a young girl ceremonially sacrificed during the Inca period and has been exceptionally well-preserved due to the climatic conditions of the discovery site.
  • Religious and Ceremonial Objects: The museum displays a variety of objects related to the religious and ceremonial practices of the Inca culture. These include offerings, textiles, ceramics, and other artifacts used in rituals.
  • Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday from 9:00 to 18:00.
  • Price: S/ 20.00 for adults and S/ 10.00 for students.

8. Local gastronomy

Arequipa’s gastronomy is known for its diversity and the incorporation of local ingredients.

  • Stuffed Rocoto: Rocoto is a type of Peruvian chili; however, Stuffed Rocoto is a typical dish from Arequipa that consists of rocotos filled with meat, potatoes, and other ingredients, baked, and topped with cheese.
  • Shrimp Chowder: It is a stew made with shrimp, potatoes, eggs, and cheese. It is a thick and flavorful soup that is part of the rich culinary tradition of Arequipa.
  • Arequipean Ocopa: This dish consists of boiled potatoes covered with a sauce made of chili, cheese, peanuts, biscuits, and herbs. It is often served as an appetizer.
  • Flattened Guinea Pig (Cuy Chactado): Guinea pig is a meat consumed in various regions of Peru. In Arequipa, the Cuy Chactado is a typical fried dish served with potatoes and salad.
  • More typical dishes from Arequipa

9. House of Moral

This attraction is a colonial mansion located at 318 Moral Street Cercado, in the historic center of the city of Arequipa. It is a historic and cultural site that attracts tourists for its Spanish colonial-era architecture.

  • Arquitectura: It is a representative example of Arequipa’s colonial architecture, built in the 18th century with the city’s most characteristic stone — Sillar stone.
  • Spanish Colonial Furniture and Decor: Inside the house, you will find furniture and decorations that reflect the life of Arequipa’s high society during the 18th and 19th centuries. This includes antique objects, paintings, and architectural details.
  • Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday from 9:00 to 17:00.
  • Price: S/ 5.00 per person.

10. Bolognesi Bridge

The Bolognesi Bridge is a historic site located 3 blocks from the main square, approximately a 7-minute walk at a moderate pace. This bridge crosses the Chili River and is known for its architectural significance.

  • Architecture: The bridge is of arch style, constructed with Sillar stone. Its design and construction are representative of the colonial era.
  • Panoramic views: From the Bolognesi Bridge, you can enjoy beautiful panoramic views of the city and some of the volcanoes surrounding Arequipa, such as Misti and Chachani.

11. Recoleta Museum

The Monastery and Museum of La Recoleta are located at 117 La Recoleta Street. You can reach it on foot in 15 minutes from the Plaza de Armas in Arequipa. This place will offer you the opportunity to explore a variety of attractions, and we recommend this visit if you wish to explore collections with historical significance.

  • Library: The monastery houses a large library with over 20,000 books and ancient maps dating back to the year 1494.
  • Museum of Amazonian Artifacts: The museum displays an extensive collection of artifacts from the Amazon, as well as a vast collection of religious art and pre-Columbian artifacts from the Cuzco School.
  • Architecture: In addition to the internal attractions, the monastery offers visual beauty with its bell tower made of red and white brick.
  • Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday from 9:00 to 17:00.
  • Price: S/ 20.00 per person.

12. San Lázaro neighborhood

The San Lázaro neighborhood is known for being a historic and picturesque sector of the city. It is located about 15 minutes from the Plaza de Armas of Arequipa.

  • San Lázaro Church: The neighborhood takes its name from the San Lázaro Church, one of the oldest temples in this city. The church dates back to the 16th century and features colonial architecture.
  • San Lázaro Festival: During the San Lázaro festivities celebrated on June 29th, the neighborhood comes to life with processions, religious activities, and cultural events. Residents and visitors alike participate in this celebration honoring the saint.
  • Panoramic Views: Due to the elevated location of the neighborhood, you can enjoy panoramic views of Arequipa and its surroundings.

13. Excursion to the Colca Canyon

The Colca Canyon is one of the most impressive tourist destinations in Peru. It is located in the province of Caylloma in the northeastern part of the Arequipa region and is known for being one of the deepest canyons in the world. Below, we provide you with more information about the tour to the Colca Canyon.

  • Cruz del Condor: This is one of the most famous spots in the canyon, offering the opportunity to observe Andean condors in flight.
  • Viewpoints: There are several viewpoints along the canyon, such as Mirador de la Patapampa and Antahuilque, both providing spectacular panoramic views.
  • Hot Springs: Some tours include a visit to the relaxing La Calera hot springs, where you can immerse yourself and enjoy natural thermal waters.
  • Trekking: If you love trekking, there are routes that allow you to explore the canyon on foot and experience its natural beauty up close.
  • Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday.
  • Price: S/ 70.00 for foreigners, S/ 40.00 for South Americans, and S/ 20.00 for Peruvians.

14. Yura Thermal Baths

The Yura thermal baths are known to be a popular choice for those seeking relaxation in natural hot springs in Arequipa. They are located in the district of Yura, Pozo Zamacola, and the travel duration is approximately 1 hour by car.

  • Medicinal Properties: These thermal baths are known for their relaxing effects on muscles and are also beneficial for the skin.
  • Natural Setting: The thermal baths are surrounded by mountains, valleys, and rivers of the Andes.
  • Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday from 7:00 to 15:00.
  • Price: S/ 5.00 per person.

15. Sachaca Viewpoint

The Sachaca Viewpoint is located 15 minutes away from the main square of Arequipa. It is situated in the district of the same name and is a place that offers stunning panoramic views of the city of Arequipa and its surroundings.

  • Panoramic Views: From the Sachaca Viewpoint, you can enjoy views of the cathedral, as well as the Misti and Chachani volcanoes.
  • Accessibility: You can reach this location by private vehicle, taxi, or through local tourist tours. It is also possible to go on walks if you are in the area.
  • Opening Hours: Monday to Friday from 10:00 to 17:00.
  • Price: S/ 2.00 per person.

16. Church of the Company of Jesus

The Church of the Society of Jesus is a prominent example of colonial architecture and is located in the historic center of Arequipa, near the Plaza de Armas. Its exact address is 110 La Merced Street, Arequipa. The construction of this church began in the early 17th century and was completed in 1698.

  • Architecture: The facade of the church is impressive and features intricately carved details in Sillar stone.
  • Cloister: Adjacent to the church, there is usually a cloister that belonged to the Jesuit order. These cloisters typically had inner courtyards and resting areas.
  • Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday from 9:00 to 11:00 and from 15:00 to 18:00.
  • Price: S/ 20.00 per person.

17. Frozen cheese

This delicious dessert does not contain actual cheese, but is named so because of its appearance and texture, which resemble that of cheese.

  • Ingredients: The recipe for “queso helado” (cheese ice cream) varies, but it generally includes milk, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and sometimes grated coconut. Despite its name, it doesn’t actually contain cheese; however, the combination of ingredients gives it a creamy texture and a unique flavor.
  • Street Vendor Sales: It’s common to come across street vendors offering “Queso Helado” from a barrel-shaped cart.

18. San Camilo Market

It is located in the historic center of Arequipa at 407 Piérola Street and is known for being one of the oldest and most representative markets in the city. It is an 8-minute walk from Plaza de Armas.

  • Food Section: In these sections, you can find traditional dishes at affordable prices.
  • Crafts: In addition to fresh food, the market also hosts stalls selling handmade products, textiles, and souvenirs.
  • Architecture: The market’s structure features neorenaissance architecture designed by Alexander Gustave Eiffel in the early 20th century.
  • Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday from 6:00 to 17:00.
  • Price: Free.

19. Misti Volcano Excursion

Misti is an iconic volcano located 17 km from the historic center of Arequipa. Embarking on an excursion to the volcano offers a challenging and exciting adventure for those seeking a mountaineering experience. If you travel by car, you can reach Misti in approximately 2 hours.

  • Characteristics:
    • Altitude: 5,825 m.a.s.l.
    • Difficulty: Moderate to high.
  • Acclimatization: Before attempting to ascend Misti, it is advisable to spend time at lower altitudes to acclimate gradually. Arequipa, situated at an altitude of 2,335 meters above sea level, is a suitable location for acclimatization.
  • Tips for the excursion:
    • Experienced Guide: It is highly recommended to undertake the excursion with an experienced guide who has good knowledge of the area.
    • Equipment: Make sure to bring the appropriate gear, including warm clothing, mountain boots, a helmet, and other essential mountaineering items.
    • Weather Conditions: Mountain weather can change rapidly. Check the weather forecast and follow the guide’s recommendations.
    • Litter: Practice sustainable tourism and respect the natural environment by not leaving any litter behind.

20. The Sillar Route

The Silllar route is a tourist experience that will take you through the Sillar quarries, it is located in the Cerro Colorado district 16 km from the main square of Arequipa.

  • Quarry Tour: During the tour, you will visit the Sillar quarries to learn about the extraction process of this volcanic stone. You will also gain insights into the significance of sillar in Arequipa’s architecture.
  • Sillar Art: Some tours may include visits to workshops or spaces where local artists create sculptures and other works of art using sillar.
  • Practical tips:
  • Price:
    • Añashuayco quarry: S/5.00 per person.
    • Culebrillas Quarry: S/5.00 per person.


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Gastronomy of Arequipa: ¿What to eat?

Arequipa, one of the most successful and thriving regions in southern Peru, is situated between the coasts and the Andes. It is a magical place with valleys, mountains, and a rich history of ancient civilizations, as well as a strong Hispanic heritage. It is likely home to the best cuisine in southern Peru.

Some research indicates that Arequipa boasts around 194 varieties of typical dishes and 11 beverages, primarily using locally sourced products. Its culinary tradition has influences from indigenous, Spanish, and Asian origins.

1. Gastronomic Customs

One of the culinary customs in Arequipa is related to the days of the week. The majority of restaurants and “picanterías” (traditional Spanish-influenced restaurants) typically prepare a specific dish for each day of the week.

  • Monday: Chaqué
  • Tuesday: Chairo
  • Wednesday: Chochoca
  • Thursday: Chupe colorado or chuño
  • Friday: Chupe de viernes
  • Saturday: Puchero or Timbusca
  • Sunday: White broth and/or Adobo arequipeño

2. The most famous dishes:

Arequipa boasts excellent cuisine, with common dishes including soups, “chupes” (a traditional seafood soup), and various dishes based on meat, fish, chicken, alpaca, and the famous guinea pig (Andean rodent).

It is a region with incomparable and unique cuisine, distinguished by its high quality, a variety of flavors, incredible preparation including spices, spicy sauces, a range of Andean products, and, of course, its exquisite spiciness in dressings.

You will discover why Arequipa has an outstanding culinary specialty. Below, we mention the most popular dishes of Arequipa:

2.1 Ocopa

La Ocopa arequipeña is the most recognized dish in Peru and abroad. It is prepared with a sprig of Huacatay (aromatizing plant), mirasol chili, yellow chili, peanuts, vanilla cookies or bread, evaporated milk, fresh cheese, garlic, and seasonings. It is served with boiled potatoes, a hard-boiled egg, and an olive.

2.3 Rocoto Relleno (stuffed hot pepper)

El rocoto relleno is a dish originating from Arequipa and is one of the most popular dishes in Peru. It involves stuffing the rocoto with the following ingredients: ground beef and pork peanuts, egg, garlic, tomato, raisins, olives, sugar, parsley, Andean cheese, oil, salt, pepper, and others.

2.4 Cauchi

Cauchi is native to the gastronomy of Arequipa; it is almost always accompanied by boiled and peeled sliced potatoes.

2.5 Solterito Arequipeño

It is a colorful and delicious dish, prepared with fava beans (a legume), corn, chopped onion, chopped rocoto, fresh cheese, chopped olives, diced tomatoes, and other ingredients. Mix all the ingredients with vinegar, a spoonful of chopped parsley, salt, and pepper to taste. If you like, you can accompany it with lettuce.

2.6 Chupe de Camarones (Shrimp soup)

It is a Creole soup originating from Arequipa, a very nutritious, powerful, hearty, and delicious dish. It is prepared with river shrimp from the southern coast of Peru and is served with a rocoto sauce or pieces of fried bread.

2.7 Cuy Chaqtado

It is a traditional dish from the southern regions of Peru, prepared in the regions of Arequipa, Ayacucho, Huancavelica, Cusco, and Puno.

2.8 Chairo

It is a soup prepared in Arequipa, Puno, and Cusco; each region has its own culinary characteristics, and some ingredients may vary depending on the location.

2.9 Adobo Arequipeño

It is usually prepared in a clay pot to enhance its robust flavor and is served accompanied by sweet potato or regular potato.

3. Interesting facts about Arequipa’s gastronomy

  • Many Arequipeño dishes were created to satisfy the tastes of Spaniards, traders, military personnel, and priests in past times.
  • The Peruvian and Arequipeña gastronomic diversity has been a driving force to promote traditions, customs, and ancestral culture to the farthest corners of the world.
  • Arequipeña cuisine boasts an excellent culinary specialty, known for its spiciness and abundant seasoning.
  • In Arequipa’s villages, ingredients are ground using a ‘batán’ (a flat stone), where the ingredients are placed to be crushed by another rounded stone.

4.The best tourist restaurants in Arequipa

In Arequipa, there are several restaurants that offer a delightful gastronomic experience, combining rich local culinary traditions with local ingredients and innovative techniques. Below, we will show you some of the most prominent tourist restaurants in “The White City of Arequipa”:

  • La Trattoría del Monasterio: It’s located in the Monasterio de Arequipa Hotel, it offers an elegant gastronomic experience with Arequipeño, Peruvian, and international dishes.
  • Zig Zag Restaurante: It offers a fusion of traditional flavors, with its daily menu featuring local ingredients and presenting creative dishes in a cozy atmosphere.
  • Chicha por Gastón Acurio: It’s part of the restaurant chain by renowned Peruvian chef Gastón Acurio, Chicha offers a modern reinterpretation of classic Peruvian dishes.
  • La Nueva Palomino: It’s famous for its grill and meat specialties, also widely known for offering authentic Arequipeña cuisine in a cozy and traditional atmosphere.
  • Sol de Mayo: It’s located in the Plaza de Armas, it is known for its typical Arequipeño dishes, such as El Rocoto Relleno and El Adobo. You will enjoy Arequipeña cuisine with a beautiful panoramic view.
  • El Tío Dario: A restaurant that combines the culinary tradition of Arequipa with a friendly atmosphere. It offers a wide variety of Arequipeño dishes.
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8 Touristic Neighborhoods and Districts of Lima

Lima is one of the cities with the greatest variety of tourist attractions. Here you will find a simple guide that will help you discover the most representative attractions of each district:

1. Miraflores District

Miraflores is considered one of the most tourist-friendly and modern districts in Lima. Here, we’ll highlight the main attractions for you.

  • Malecón de Miraflores (Miraflores Boardwalk): Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the cliffs, where you’ll have a beautiful panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean.
  • Larcomar: Visit this shopping center built at the foot of the cliffs, where you’ll find clothing stores, dining options, and entertainment, all with a view of the sea.
  • Kennedy Park: This is the main park in the heart of Miraflores. You’ll find numerous events and cultural activities in the amphitheater located right in the center of the park. Additionally, you may encounter some stray cats.
  • Huaca Pucllana: It is a pre-Inca archaeological site located in Miraflores. We recommend hiring a guide for Huaca Pucllana to fully enjoy the experience.
  • Additional activities you can enjoy: Cycling, skating, paragliding (on the boardwalk), gastronomy, and nightlife events.

2. Barranco District

Barranco is one of the main districts of Lima, known for its bohemian charm and popular art found in its streets. Its main tourist attractions are:

  • Puente de los Suspiros (Bridge of Sighs): This bridge is associated with legends and exudes a romantic atmosphere. We recommend enjoying sunsets from here.
  • La Bajada de los Baños (The Descent of the Baths): This street leads you towards the sea and is filled with bars, restaurants, and craft shops.
  • The Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC): This mansion housing the museum dates back to the republican era, giving it a distinctive atmosphere upon entering. The MAC features exhibitions of Peruvian and international contemporary art.
  • El Mirador de Barranco (Barranco Viewpoint): This viewpoint offers panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and is the ideal spot to observe the sunset.
  • Chabuca Granda Square: This square was created to honor the famous singer Chabuca Granda. It is surrounded by bars and restaurants where you can enjoy Peruvian cuisine.
  • Additional activities: Here you can enjoy Peruvian cuisine, art, culture, music, graffiti, festivals, and nightlife activities.

3. Cercado de Lima

This district has many tourist attractions, of which we will mention only the most popular ones:

  • Plaza Mayor de Lima (Main Square of Lima): Located in the historic center, this square is home to the Cathedral of Lima, the Government Palace, the Archbishop’s Palace, and the Municipality of Lima. Official ceremonies and cultural activities take place in this area.
  • Lima Cathedral: Located in the Plaza Mayor, it is considered one of the most iconic attractions in Latin America. Its construction dates back to the 16th century.
  • Government Palace: This is the residence of the President of the Republic of Peru. Besides its architecture, the changing of the guard ceremony held in its courtyard is one of its main attractions.
  • The Archbishop’s Palace of Lima: Located in front of Lima Cathedral, its construction is in the Baroque style and houses the Museum of Religious Art.
  • The Convent of San Francisco: This convent is known for its architecture and underground catacombs.
  • The Church of Santo Domingo: Built in the 16th century, it features Gothic-style architecture.

4. San Isidro District

This district is known for being one of the most exclusive and residential areas from a financial standpoint. Below, we highlight the most outstanding tourist attractions:

  • El Olivar Park: This beautiful park is famous for its centuries-old olive trees imported from Spain. It provides a tranquil green space and is ideal for strolling, sports, or simply relaxing.
  • Golf Club: San Isidro is known for being home to exclusive golf and tennis clubs, such as the Lima Golf Club and the Country Club de Lima. These clubs also offer gastronomic and social options.
  • Roosevelt Park: An urban park that provides green spaces, playgrounds, and trails for walking and exercising.
  • Toy Museum: The museum showcases the history of toys and often hosts activities related to childhood games.
  • Restaurants and Gastronomy: San Isidro boasts a wide variety of high-quality restaurants, offering everything from Peruvian cuisine to international options.

5. Callao

Callao is known for its important maritime port and is famous for the murals on its streets. It also has tourist spots that will dazzle you. Here are some of them:

  • La fortaleza Real Felipe (Real Felipe Fortress): This impressive fortress was built during the colonial era to protect the port of Callao from pirate and corsair attacks. Today, it is a museum showcasing the military history of Peru.
  • San Lorenzo Island: Located off the coast of Callao, it is an interesting place to visit, especially for those interested in pre-Incan history as it houses some archaeological remains.
  • Grau Square: It is the main square of Callao, surrounded by beautiful historical buildings. Here, you can find the Matriz Church of Callao, contributing to the architectural heritage of the area.
  • La Punta: Known for its seafood restaurants, waterfront promenade, and maritime atmosphere. It’s a pleasant place for a stroll and to enjoy the seaside view.

6. Santiago de Surco

Considered one of the largest and most residential districts in Lima, it has various theme parks where you can entertain yourself:

  • El parque de la Amistad (Friendship Park): This extensive park offers green areas, playgrounds, and spaces for recreational and sports activities.
  • Commercial Zone: Santiago de Surco has a variety of shopping centers and commercial districts, such as Jockey Plaza, the largest shopping mall in Lima.
  • Parks and Green Areas: In addition to Friendship Park, this district is known for its variety of parks and green spaces throughout the area, providing you with outdoor spaces for activities.

7. Chorillos District

  • The Beaches of Chorrillos: Although not all beaches in Chorrillos are recommended for swimming, there are some very popular for enjoying the sea breeze and the views. Playa Agua Dulce is one of the main ones.
  • Club Regatas de Lima: This private club features sports facilities and recreational areas. While access is restricted, sometimes events and competitions open to the public are held.
  • Main Square of Chorrillos: In the historic center of Chorrillos, you can find the main church and some old buildings.
  • Pantanos de Villa (Villa Swamps): This natural reserve features a wetland where you can enjoy the landscape, flora, and fauna that the place offers.

8. San Miguel District

  • Parque de las Leyendas (Park of Legends): This zoo and archaeological park combines the exhibition of animals with the preservation of pre-Incan archaeological remains.
  • Shopping Centers: San Miguel has shopping centers like Plaza San Miguel, where you can find stores, restaurants, and cinemas.
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Free Short Walks in Cusco

1. Walking Tour of Cusco’s Historic Center 

Cusco was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 due to its Inca and Iberian heritage. For this reason, walking through its streets and squares is a great option. You can visit the following places for free:

  • The Plaza de Armas: Here you will find the most important churches in Cusco, such as the Church of the Society of Jesus and the imposing Cathedral of Cusco. In the central part of this square, there is also a beautiful green fountain brought from New York City in the early 20th century.
  • The Plaza Regocijo: Here you will find the Municipality of Cusco and a water fountain.
  • The Plaza San Francisco: Here you can visit the Temple of San Francisco along with its cloister, catacombs, and finally, its famous bell tower
  • The San Pedro Market: If you wish to shop for handicrafts and compare prices, here you will find the best deals.
  • Hatunrumiyoc Street: Visit the 12-angle stone and discover the architectural skill mastered by the Incas.
  • The San Blas Neighborhood: Also known as the ‘bohemian or artisan neighborhood.’ Here, you can visit the Church of San Blas and its famous baroque-style pulpit. Additionally, you can walk to the upper part of the neighborhood via Atoksaykuchi Street and reach the San Blas Viewpoint, the ideal spot for a beautiful panoramic view of this district.
  • ¿How to visit the historic center? Join the best free tours in Cusco. Free tours are only for incoming tourism; if you are Peruvian, sign up for the Cusco city tour.

2. Hike to Sacsayhuamán

This hike will offer you a wonderful experience to the most famous archaeological site around Cusco. The walk is uphill and starts at the Plaza de Armas in Cusco. Head towards Suecia Street, then Resbalosa Street, and you can make a stop at the San Cristóbal viewpoint. Continue to the Inca trail, right at the entrance gate, where you make the payment and continue walking uphill until you reach Sacsayhuamán.

The entire hike to Sacsayhuamán takes 45 minutes to 1 hour. To enter, you’ll need to purchase the famous tourist ticket (bring local currency in cash).

3. Hike to Inkilltambo 

This archaeological site is ideal for a simple hike, recommended to escape the noise of urban areas. It’s a place where you can disconnect from the city and reach a marvelous destination. Inkilltambo belongs to the Sacsayhuamán archaeological park, so there are two ways to get here:

To reach this place, take the green urban bus called “Inka Express” on Cruz Verde Street in front of the “El Paraíso” shopping center. The fare is 1 sol, and you should get off at the “tienda” stop. In front of this stop, you will find the entrance gate. Then, walk for approximately 45 minutes. Along the route, you’ll encounter two paths; choose the one ascending to the top and continue walking until you reach the Inca site.

The hike is along a narrow, flat, and safe trail. Entrance to this place is generally free, but sometimes they charge 3 soles.

4. Hike along the Hydroelectric – Machu Picchu Pueblo Route 

If you wish to reach Machu Picchu by bus, you’ll have to walk from the hydroelectric plant to the town of Aguas Calientes for about 3 hours along the railway tracks. We recommend not carrying a lot of luggage, just the essentials. The walk is entirely safe.

If you are in Cusco, consider hiring a travel agency to arrange transportation on buses that will take you to the hydroelectric plant. The bus journey is a bit challenging as Peruvian drivers tend to drive fast, and the road is a bit rough (unpaved); the entire bus journey takes approximately 7 hours

5. Hike to the famous Poc Poc Waterfall

This is a new tourist attraction that you can easily reach. Head to Grau Avenue (across from Pavitos Street) and take the local buses heading to the town of Chinchero. This journey takes approximately 1 hour, and the fare is 7 soles per person. Once you arrive in Chinchero, visit the Chinchero archaeological site or join the Classic Sacred Valley tour. Then, take the ancient Inca trail to reach the Poc Poc Waterfalls.

7. Recommendations

  • Make sure to bring enough water.
  • Sunscreen.
  • Wear comfortable walking shoes.
  • Consider the weather, bring a rain poncho.
  • Local currency in soles.
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Cielo Punku Viewpoint: A door to the Cusco sky

1. Description

“Cielo Punku (Heaven’s Gate in Quechua) is a viewpoint where you’ll find a large sculpture shaped like a hand, offering a beautiful view of the Huaro valley surrounded by magical mountains.”

2. Location

It is located 45 minutes from the city of Cusco in the district of Huaro, province of Quispicanchi.

3. Lookout point of “La puerta del cielo”

This tourist attraction was an initiative of Mr. Bernandino Cutiré Mamani, who was the mayor of the Huaro district municipality. The main objective of this project is to encourage tourism in this district through a contemporary sculpture that perfectly blends with the scenic beauty of the area.

4. ¿How to reach there?

You can get to the viewpoint on your own or by hiring a tour departing from the city of Cusco.

  • If you’re traveling on your own, the starting point is the Urcos bus stop, and the fare costs 4 soles. Once you arrive in Urcos, the bus will drop you off at the ‘Templo de Canincunca’ bus stop, from where you’ll need to walk for approximately 20 minutes.
  • If you have your own car, park it at Huaro’s main square and head towards Jr. Bolívar street, then walk for about 30 minutes.
  • Alternatively, you can hire a local tour operator in Cusco.

5. Additional attractions that you can see in Huaro:

5.1 Canincunca church

The Church was constructed in the 17th century on the high part of Urcos Lagoon. It’s known for the beauty of its frescoes and its altar covered in gold leaf.

5.2 Juan Bautista church

It was built in the 16th century and is part of the ‘Route of the Andean Baroque’ tour. The church is recognized for its frescoes, paintings from the Cusco School of Art, and an altar covered in gold leaf and embossed silver.

5.3 Try the Huaro bread

Huaro is also known as the ‘District of Bread’ due to the presence of several bakeries in the city. Here, you can relish the famous ‘Pan Huaro,’ which is primarily distinguished by its absence of sugar.

6. ¿What should I bring?

  • Local currency (soles)
  • rain poncho
  • Sunscreen
  • Sun glasses
  • A bottle of water
  • Comfortable hiking shoes

7. Price

  • Adults: 2 soles
  • Kids: 1 sol
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Free Walking Tour Cartagena

Free Walking Tour Cartagena – Guided Tours in English

Discover the most famous port of the Atlantic of Colombia with a free tour of Cartagena in Spanish with the best guides who are experts in Colombian history, culture and tradition. Your guide will tell you in detail about the origin of this port city, pre-Hispanic populations that existed before the arrival of the Spanish, during the free tour you will also learn about the history of the colonial era and the emancipation processes. Visit the following places:

  • Plaza de San Pedro Clave
  • Torre del Reloj
  • Teatro Heredia
  • Palacio de la Inquisición
  • Catedral de Alejandría
  • Parque Simón Bolívar
  • Plaza de los Coches y Aduana

ner of the Nobel Prize in 1982 for his monumental work “100 years of solitude” Learn more about the history of this park and Gabriel Garcia.

Details of this Free Tour in Cartagena, Colombia

Find all the details of this free tour via the best companies like Beyond Colombia or Gran Colombia Tours where you will find everything you need to know before joining this free tour such as meet up times, operation days, available languages, meeting points, reservations and more, do not forget to leave your donation at the end of the tour.

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Historic Center of Cusco: What to see in centro histórico?

1. What is the Historic Center of Cusco?

The Historic Center Cusco | According to collective memory, the city of Cusco was re-founded by the first Sapa Inca known as Manco Capac and his wife Mama Ocllo at the beginning of the 11th century.

According to 20th century researches, Manco Capac was probably an astronomer who arrived in the 12th at a very advanced Wari city known as Aja Mama in Cusco valley, then he determined that the ancient Wari settlement was the center of a constellation; that is why he renamed it as Qosqo, which means The Center of the Universe.

Starting 1430 AD onward, under the government of the 9th Emperor Pachaqutec, the city of Qosqo entered a phase of remodelling its streets, squares, palaces, temples, aqueducts, etc. in order to give to the city the shape of a Puma, however this figure could only be seen from elevated areas.

The figure of the Puma was outlined by two rivers: Tullumayu (for the Puma spine) and the Saphy (for the front side of the Puma), when these rivers join together they make the Puma’s tail (the joint occurs 1km south from the Plaza de Armas), the current Plaza de Armas was the belly of the Puma and the head was Saqsayhuman archaeological complex.

There were 4 main roads known as the Qhapaq Ñan, starting in the Plaza de Armas of Cusco (known as Auqaypata in the Inca period), these road systems use to connect Qosqo city with the 4 provinces of the Inca Empire: the Chinchaysuyo (north), the Antisuyo (the entire eastern area or the Amazonia), the Kuntisuyo (the south-west) and the Qollasuyo (the South).

In 1534, Francisco Pizarro arrived at Cusco and a new remodelling began under Greco-Roman, Christian and Arab parameters, and the Andean name of this city was changed from Qosqo by Cusco.

The arrival of the Spaniard meant also the genesis of a syncretism between the Andean and European cultures in many fields such as architecture, cuisine, language, clothing, economy, religion, etc.

The Historic Center of Cusco is the product of that fusion of about 500 years, there is no street, house or corner that has no history to tell, it is a living museum, that enchants millions of visitors, that is why in 1983, it was proclaimed as a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO.

What are you waiting for to visit Cusco, below we show you all the highlights of the historic center for you to explore on your own or on a free walking tour.


2. What to do in a day-time in the historic center?

2.1 Explore the Cathedral

Visit the Cathedral of Our Lady of Asunción of Cusco, built starting 1560 and finished in 1664, the main architect was Juan Miguel de Veramendi, it is the second largest and oldest Cathedral in the American continent after Mexico city’s cathedral.

The most famous painting in Cusco “The Last Supper of Jesus” by Marco Zapata Sinchi-Roca is located inside the Cathedral; this painting calls the curiosity of many visitors, because of the presence of a guinea pig in the center of the table, where Jesus meets his disciples for the last time; you can also see Judas Iscariot who has a darker skin, thus resembling the natives or indigenous people.

There are also 16 Saints from the colonial period in the cathedral, one of them is the patron saint of Cusco city, he’s called El Cristo Negro or Taytacha—he is black Jesus Christ who has a strong indigenous phenotype.

The price of the cathedral is 25 soles per person, it is open Monday to Sunday starting 9am until 6pm, find the Cathedral in the main square of Cusco.


2.2 Visit the Plaza de Armas of Cusco – Main Square

Explore the famous Plaza de Armas of Cusco or Auqaypata in the Quechua language—Auqaypata means “the most important place“; the existence of this square dates back to pre-hispanic times, during the Inca period the most important festivities would take place here, for example the Inti Raimy—or the Sun festival (June 21, winter solstice); this festival use to start in the Coricancha temple and the main ritual would take place at the Plaza de Armas.

Centro Histórico de Cusco

The Auqaypata—or Plaza de Armas was surrounded by palaces, temples, sanctuaries, etc. Upon the arrival of the Spaniards, most of the buildings were destroyed to be replaced by current colonial buildings such as the Cathedral, the Church of the Society of Jesus, the Convent of Santa Catalina, etc.

There is also a beautiful water fountain in the central part of the Plaza de Armas, donated to Cusco by New York City, at the beginning of the 20th century.


2.3 Visit the Coricancha temple

The most famous temple for pre-Inca cultures was Pachacamac, located on the southern coast of the ancient Peru; however for the Inca people, the most sacred place was the Coricancha, located in the city of Cusco; it was a ceremonial center and congregation of deities on its physical forms forged in precious metals such as gold and silver, decorated with precious stones.

Centro Histórico de Cusco

The Coricancha temple was destroyed during the colonial period to build the current colonial convent of Santo Domingo.

In 1950, an earthquake happened in Cusco city and destroyed large part of the Santo Domingo church, revealing many Inca walls that had been covered with plaster, so that the walls cannot be seen by indigenous parishioners and thus erase this religious precinct from the indigenous people mind.

This temple is located in front of the Palacio del Inka hotel, it is open from Monday to Saturday starting 9am until 5pm and on Sundays from 2pm to 5pm; the price is 15 soles per person.


2.4 Don’t miss the 12 angled stone

In the western part of Cusco city there is a palace dating back to the pre-Inca period, it belonged to the Wari kingdom, this pre-inca palace survived the arrival of the Inca people at the beginning of the 12th century, in 1250 AD, this building became the palace of an Inca emperor known as Inca Roca.

Centro Histórico de Cusco

In this pre-Inca construction, there is a lithic piece that has 12 angles or sides, and calls the curiosity of many visitors because of the angles and the interlocking system.

On the other hand, there are no writings or chronicles from the colonial period, that mentions this stone under any mystical or political connotation; the popularity of the stone is due to events that occurred in the 20th century and other factors, for example, the number 12 is cabalistic, Che Guevara took a photo with this stone in the last century, the Cusqueña beer brewery company used this stone as part of their logo on millions of bottles.

It is not necessarily famous because of the amount of angles since there are other stones with even more angles, for example the 13-angled stone located right on the opposite side of the same Inca palace.

However overall, the stone is beautiful and the pre-hispanic architecture is stunning, what is more, it is not just this stone attracting many visitors, but also the whole palace and Hatun Rumiyoq street.

The 12 angled stone is located on Hatun Rumiyoc street, it is free, taking a photo with it, is a bit difficult because there are many visitors trying to do the same, we advise you to go there, from 8pm onward.


2.5 Visit the San Pedro market

The most famous market in the historic center of Cusco is San Pedro, because it is a typical market and traditional place, there are many things you can inside the market, for example, buy fresh fruits, dried fruits, get some breakfast or lunch, you can also buy gifts for your family (there is a especial section of handicrafts and souvenirs for tourists), the prices are cheap although haggling is always recommended, haggling prices for local people is fine, it is not rude.

Centro Histórico de Cusco

The San Pedro market is clean, the women who sell fruit juices or those who offer you cheap lunch wear aprons and cover their heads with a special sanitary material; they also have the permission from the Ministry of Health, so get in there with all confidence.

It is located in Plaza San Pedro, the entrance is free, the opening hours are from 6am to 5pm—every day (it is not open for dinner).


2.6 Explore the Bohemian neighborhood of San Blas

In the Inca period there was a neighbourhood called Toq´o Cachi (today it is called the San Blas neighbourhood), in the main square of this neighbourhood, there was a Huaca— Inca temple, and unfortunately the ancient temple was replaced by the current Church of San Blas

Centro Histórico de Cusco

During the Inca period the Toq´o Cachi neighbourhood was for the nobility, the Inca neighbourhood’s s connotation didn’t change much in the colonial times, because the whole area were meant to be, only for the aristocracy.

Today, it is a neighbourhood that keeps almost 70% of the houses and streets dating back to the colonial period, the neighbourhood is super bohemian, the food is the best.

It is located three blocks away from the Plaza de Armas of Cusco, the entrance is free.


3. What to do at night in the historic center?

  1. You can attend the Centro Qosqo de Arte Nativo, the folkloric dancers start the show at 6:30pm— you will need to buy the Cusco Tourist Ticket or pay an individual price, only for this attraction.
  2. Take a short walk up to the San Cristóbal lookout point, you will have a beautiful panoramic view with a good angle to all Cusco city, the place is safe, the walk starting from the Plaza de Armas is 20 minutes (walking slowly).
  3. Visit a Pisquero in the Pisco museum, you can take Pisco lessons for affordable prices, keep in mind that Pisco is the national alcoholic drink of Peru. In addition to this, they also prepare different type of Pisco Sours and other local cocktails.
  4. Take Free Salsa and Bachata lessons in any of the following clubs: Inca Team, Mythology and Mama Africa, the admission is free, classes start at 9:30pm, last 1 hour; you can stay up to dance and meet people the rest of the night. All the clubs mentioned above are in the Plaza de Armas, next to KFC.
  5. If you just want some drinks, not necessarily dancing; then go to Paddys Irish pub or Cross Keys, in both bars you can find a wide variety of local drinks such as craft beers, wines and cocktails. Both bars are located on Calle Triunfo, close to the Plaza de Armas..  

4 How to visit the historic center?

4.1 Book the Classic Cusco city tour

You can visit part of the historic center by booking a classic city tour of Cusco, on this tour you will visit Coricancha and the Cathedral and the 4 ruins located on the outskirts of Cusco.

4.2 Book the FREE walking tour of Cusco

Book the most popular walking tour of Cusco organized by the first free tour company in Cusco, we have groups in Spanish and English—separate groups, join today our 100% authorized tour Guides, book our Free tour here, check out thousands of reviews here; don´t forget to leave your tip to your Guide at the end of the walk; still doubting about the free tours? then take a glance at thousands of photos and followers on our Instagram and Facebook fun pages.

Centro Histórico de Cusco

Important: The reservation for the free tour is 100% free, and confirmation is instant; at the end of the tour, you can leave some tip.

Nota para peruanos: Los free tours por el momento son solamente para el turismo receptivo; sin embargo puedes realizar el city tour clásico del Cusco.

5. Where to eat in the historic center?

If you want to treat yourself and money is not a problem for you, we recommend you visiting the following A-1 restaurants:

If you want cheap restaurants for tourists, read below please:

  • Go to Plateros or Saphy street, you will find dozens of restaurants, it is a matter of finding out the prices and inclusions by taking a look at the English or Spanish menus, placed right at the front door.
  • Our recommendation: There is a very popular restaurant for local people, it is called La Chomba, located on Garcilaso street; it is not a tourist restaurant, but the food is super good, tasty, clean and cheap, for example, for a “set of menu” you pay 12 Soles—4 USD, “a set of menu” includes starter, main course and dessert.
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10 Free things to do in Cusco | What to visit for Free!

10 Cosas Gratis en Cusco ¿Qué hacer Gratis?
What can you do for free in Cusco?

Free things to do in Cusco | Not everything is money while travelling, there are many attractions Cusco that are for free, many of them located in the city center some of them nearby Cusco, learn with us what can you visit in Cusco for free?

Below we mention the places or free activities that you must visit or take part in!

a. Free attractions in the city center:

1. Book the best FREE Tour of Cusco

Book the most popular walking tour of Cusco organized by the first free tour company in Cusco, join today our 100% authorized tour Guides, book our Free tour here, check out thousands of reviews here; don’t forget to leave your tip to your Guide at the end of the walk; still doubting about the free tours? then take a glance at thousands of photos and followers on our Instagram and Facebook fun pages.

Note for Peruvians: At the moment the free tours are only for non-Peruvian tourists; However, you can take the classic city tour of Cusco.

2. Visit the Old Colonial Town and the Plaza de Armas of Cusco

what can you visit in cusco for free? moon temple, main square of cusco
Visit the Old Colonial Town and the Plaza de Armas of Cusco

The entire historical center of Cusco includes buildings that date back to 3 historical periods: the pre-Hispanic, colonial and republican, as you walk you will see pre-Hispanic walls from the Inca period (1100 to 1534), for example, Calle del Sol, a street that still keeps on both sides Inca walls, you can also visit the Inca Roca Palace and explore the Kusicancha Palace.

You can also combine this experience by visiting places from the colonial era (1534 to 1821), for instance, the Plaza de Armas and the San Blas neighbourhood unforgettable!

3. Visit the famous 12 Angled Stone

what can you visit in cusco for free? 12 sided stone
Visit the famous 12 Angle Stone

This famous stone is located on Hatun Rumiyoc Street (very close to the San Blas neighbourhood) where you can see the best Inca Stone Fitting, this pre-Hispanic residence belonged to Inca Roca (1200 AD) who is one of the 14 Inca Rulers. The 12-sided stone is very famous because of the hard work that required to fit or place perfectly 12 stones around on stone only, apart from that the number 12th is a cabalistic number.

If you wish to take a great photo together with the stone, it is hard since there are many tourists trying to take one; therefore, we strongly recommend you visit this stone in the morning from 6 am to 9 am and in the evening from 9pm until 12 noon.

4. Visit the San Pedro market

what can you visit in cusco for free? san pedro market
Visit the San Pedro Market

We know that you have been recommended a thousand times to visit this Market and we still do the same because we have visited many markets in cities such as Lima or Arequipa and our conclusion is simple: The Mercado San Pedro of Cusco is the best because it is a traditional market and the content in the market!

Why visit the San Pedro Market?

It is Free, it is opened almost all day long from 7 am to 5 pm, it is beautiful and cheap, moreover, you can always haggle the prices of almost all products, except for food.

5. Visit the Mural Painting on Avenida el Sol

what can you visit in cusco for free? mural painting
Visit the Mural Painting

This beautiful Mural Painting was designed and painted by Juan Bravo Vizcarra in 1992, to represent around 3 thousand years of pre-Inca, Inca, Colonial and Republican history of Cusco. The wall painting has a perimeter of ​​50 meters by 6 meters. Bring a good camera with you!

6. Visit the Colonial Aqueduct of Sapantiana

If you are good at walking and don’t have any problem with altitude, don’t miss out on this work of architecture from the Spanish occupation period—17th century. This colonial wall has several Roman arches, it has a total of four levels; most of the stones used for this a aqueduct belonged to the Inca temple known as Sanpantiyana. This aqueduct was still in use until the middle of the 20th century.

It is located on the Tullumayo river between the neighborhoods of San Blas and San Cristóbal, it will take you about 30 minutes on foot to get there from the Plaza de Armas of Cusco.

b. On the outskirts of Cusco city:

7. Visit Tupac Amaru Square

what can you visit in cusco for free? visit the tupac amaru square
Visit Tupac Amaru Square

No all-awesome attractions of Cusco are located in the historical center, therefore we recommend you to visit The Plaza Tupac Amaru located at Wanchaq district, this plaza is fully decorated with flora from the Andes and right at the center you will see an awesome horse statue and a man riding it! Who is the man? His name is Tupac Amaru a very famous indigenous revolutionary in Peru and South America – Colonial history of Peru.

Tupac Amaru Square is at about 30 minutes walk from the Plaza de Armas of Cusco city, don’t miss it.

8. Visit the Mirador de San Cristóbal

what can you visit in cusco for free? san cristobal viewpoint, watch point, panoramic view point
Visit the Mirador de San Cristóbal

Located at about 20 minutes steep walk from the main square of Cusco city, once you reach into this place you will have a beautiful panoramic viewpoint to the whole city of Cusco, we recommend you bring a good camera and nice walking shoes, you can visit this palace during daytime and night-time hours—up to 8 pm the latest.

9. Discover the White Christ

what can you visit in cusco for free? white jesus chist
Enjoy the White Christ

This statue is located in the north-eastern part of the city of Cusco, above the Barrio de San Blas, it represents the protection for the inhabitants of the city of Cusco, note that almost 80% of the people of Cusco are Catholic.

How to get to the White Christ on foot?

There are many ways to get to the white Christ on foot, but we recommend you take Atojsayquchi Street, and continue straight ahead (do not turn left or right), once you reach the main road you can turn left and walks for around 70 meters and finally you will clearly see this attraction.

10. Visit the Temple of the Moon

what can you visit in cusco for free? moon temple, exterior
Visit the Temple of the Moon – Exterior

If you are in Cusco, visit one of the most significant places from the mystical viewpoint for the Andean men, visit the Temple of the Moon, starting from the main square of Cusco, it will take approximately 1 hour by foot.

what can you visit in cusco for free? moon temple, interior
Visit the Temple of the Moon – Interior

You have to use the same route that you used to reach the White Christ, from this statue you must walk towards the Inca Qenqo temple (for this temple you pay, so you can ignore it, consider that you can still take photos  of Qenqo from the upper part), from the temple of Qenqo keep walking in the same direction northeast, walk for about 15 minutes more and you will reach the temple of the Moon, do not worry if you get disoriented, you can always ask Locals, as you walk you will see many locals!

c. Extra information:

Can I to the White Christ or the Temple of the Moon by public transport?

Of course, you can!

  • By Public Transportation System, pay 1 Sol – one way

To go to Cristo Blanco Statue by public transportation make your way to the Bus stop located at Puente Rosario Street, which is very close to the Qoricancha Temple Garden.

Once you are at the Bus stop in Puente Rosario, ask or look for Los Buses named “Cristo Blanco”, pay 1 sol per person and after approximately 30min you can get off at the stop known as “Cristo Blanco” and if you want to go to the Temple of the Moon you must get off at the next Bus stop known as “Qenqo” from there walk for about 10min to the temple of the moon!

On the way back, please come on foot through the San Blas neighbourhood!

what can you visit in cusco for free? public transportation
Via Public Transportation System
  • By Taxi, pay 12 Soles – one way

If you wish to take a Taxi to the White Christ, take it from the Plaza de Armas of Cusco or nearby places, you will be charged an average of 12 soles (one way), if you want to go to the Temple of La Luna from the historic centre via Taxi, you will be charged an average of 20 soles (one way).

Important: Take a taxi, only one way, come back on foot or if you want, take a taxi, but another taxi, not the same taxi that took you there!. If you insist on taking a round trip taxi to either the White Christ or The Temple of the Moon, it will charge you an average of 100 soles.

what can you visit in cusco for free? taxi to white  jesus and moon temple
Taxi to White Jesus and Moon Temple
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