CUZCO


With its many beautiful examples of pre-Colombian and colonial architecture, along with its proximity to Machu Picchu, Cusco is considered to be one of South America!s major highlights. The name Cusco, in Peru native Quechua, translates as The Navel of the World. With its central and elevated position (around 3300m above sea level) the ancient Inca capital straddles the Andes offering magnificent views over the surrounding countryside.

During the time of the Incas Cusco served as a hub for a vast network of roads that interconnected virtually the whole of South America. Traditional Inca society had complex social and political organizations, as well as advanced architectural, engineering and agricultural knowledge – many examples of which can be seen during a tour of the city. In 1534 Francisco Pizarro arrived with the Spanish conquistadores and, after conquering the mighty Inca Empire, began to plunder and then rebuild the ancient city in accordance with their vision. Today Cusco has firmly established itself as a tourist centre, and travelers from all over the world make their way to the ancient Inca capital to take in the city!s awesome sights.

CUSCO HIGHLIGHTS
Archeological Treasures - Cusco is a city built around its historical ancestry. The former Inca capital has a wealth of monuments and buildings and is home to several pre-Colombian complexes such as the Koricancha (the Temple of the Sun), Sacsayhuaman and other gems of that ancient era.

Shopping - Cusco is the place to shop, with all sorts of locally made curios on offer in the city!s many lively markets. Be sure to leave some space in your suitcase for that alpaca sweater, carved wooden mask or whatever other local handicraft takes your fancy.

The Sacred Valley – The Urubamba River valley is located about 6km north of Cusco and extends to the northwest through Pisac and Ollantaytambo. This region was the heart of Inca civilization during the 14th and 15th centuries, and today it is home to many of its ruins, as well as fertile farmland and many traditional communities.

Machu Picchu –Built around 1450 and abandoned some 100 years later, the architectural wonder of the "Lost City of the Incas! sits nearly 2400m above sea level. Perched as it is amongst the peaks of the high Andes, it seems the site remained undiscovered by the conquistadores and many of its incredible buildings are still intact. Over the centuries the surrounding jungle engulfed until the site was brought back to the world!s attention in the early 20th century by an American explorer.

RECOMMENDED RESTAURANTS

Cicciolina!s is one of Cusco!s best known and most highly rated restaurants. Both the food and service are excellent. With great views over the crisscrossing streets of Cusco, the restaurant has some fantastic interior decoration and a warm and welcoming ambiance. The menu is made up of mainly Mediterranean dishes, many made using traditional Peruvian ingredients giving them an interesting twist.
The salads are delicious and the homemade pastas are superb. Price range - meal for two without drinks approx US $10-$20 Address: Calle Triunfo 393, Cusco (2nd floor). Tel: (084) 239-510

Bar Los Perros
Bar Los Perros is a laidback lounge bar with board games and arty decor. The menu offers great lunchtime meals and snacks including a special platter with a variety of dips, chicken wings and avocado slices. The smoothies are particularly recommended. With its relaxed atmosphere and interesting design, Los Perros is a good place to unwind with a book or catch up on some journal entries. Price range - meal for two without drinks approx US $5-$15
Address: Tecsecocha 436. Tel: (084) 241-447

Granja Heidi
The owner of Granja Heidi is originally from Germany and has started his own dairy farm where he produces and sells milk, yogurt, and cheese. Granja is a great place to have lunch and there are a wide variety of dishes made with traditional Peruvian ingredients (such as quinoa), as well as a selection of European dishes. Be sure to try the delectable desserts made with milk, cream and cheese fresh from the owner!s dairy. Price range - meal for two without drinks approx US $15-$20
Address: Cuesta San Blas 525. Tel: (084)238-383

Baco
Baco is the god of wine and fittingly this restaurant has one of the best wine lists in town. With a warm and relaxed atmosphere you can enjoy a wide ranging menu, including finger foods such as a grilled seafood platter, gourmet pizzas (there is an excellent Magret de Canard pizza), or the finest Argentinean beef in red wine and mushroom sauce - all cooked with the restaurant!s own distinctive fusion style. Also available is a delicious grilled veggie platter. Open Monday to Saturday from 6pm to 11pm. Price range - meal for two without drinks approx US $15-$20
Address: Ruinas 465. Tel: (084) 242-808

Jack!s Café
Jack!s Café is a great place for vegetarians, serving up huge salads and a wide variety of vegetarian hot dishes. The menu is extensive with a range of sandwiches, salads, soups, and main dishes. The restaurant uses some especially delicious homemade bread to make their sandwiches. You can also pop in for a warming cup of ginger tea or a mug of their very special hot chocolate. Price range - meal for two without drinks approx US $10-$15
Address: Choquechaca 509 (Corner of Cuesta San Blas). Tel: (084) 806-960

Incanto
Incanto is built within an old Inca palace magnificently located only a few meters away from Cusco!s main square. It is contemporary and minimalist in design and offers a wide range of Italian influenced dishes creatively combined with typical Peruvian ingredients. Their aji de gallina ravioli and smoked trout fetuccini are great examples of their accomplishments in fusion cuisine. Also try their entrees and grilled dishes like the Alpaca loin. The glass-encased kitchen and live harp music give Incanto a unique, classic touch and it is among Cusco!s finest restaurants. Open daily from 10.30am to 11pm. Price range - meal for two without drinks approx US $20-$30
Address: Santa Catalina Angosta 135, Plazuela Nazarenas. Tel: (084) 254-753

Tika
A small bistro nestled in a corner of San Blas, Tika is located directly next door to the Boutique Hotel Casa San Blas, and has a warm homely atmosphere. The cuisine you!ll find at Tika will quite likely be unlike anything you have ever tasted, combining Thai and Vietnamese flavors and cooking techniques with traditional Peruvian ingredients. Prepare to be pleasantly surprised with new flavors and combinations. Their chill out music is a nice rest from the ever present panpipes heard all over the city. Price range - meal for two without drinks approx US $15-$25
Address: Tocuyeros 566, San Blas. Tel: (084) 254-852