Why is Cusco so special? – part 1 of the Cusco series

Having travelled from Lima to Arequipa via Nazca was already amazing. Is there a location which can top that? Oh yes, there are a few more to mention: Cusco, Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca will impress you even more.

For now let’s concentrate on beautiful Cusco. I cannot explain what it is but Cusco felt very special to me. There is so much to say about this city that I have decided to write a few posts.

So why is Cusco so special and what should you visit?

1. Now let’s start with the Plaza de Armas, the main square in Cusco at sunset which makes this city shine in its glory.

Plaza de Armas, Cusco, is showing its beauty in the sunset
Plaza de Armas, Cusco, is showing its beauty in the sunset

2. Cusco was  the historic capital of the Inca Empire, the navel of the Incan world, from the 13th century to 1532 until the Spanish conquest. You still can see some of the Incan architecture in Cusco, however, most of the walls of Inca masonry have been incorporated into spanish colonial buildings.

Two ladies and their llama on their way home
Two ladies and their llama on their way home

beautiful lane in Cusco

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Why should you visit Arequipa, the white city, in Peru?

Arequipa arches

Have you been to Arequipa or are you planning your next holiday to Peru and are still debating if going to Arequipa or just directly to Cusco? Well you really should consider a visit to the white city and here I tell you why:

  • It helps your body to adjust to the altitude slowly

Arequipa is sitting at 2,325m (7,26ft) above sea level and is surrounded by the Andes mountains. The sea level is not as high as Cuzco but already high enough than your body is used to. You will adjust slowly to the altitude and help you coping with potential altitude sickness problems.

From my own experience when I got off the bus, I felt nothing at all. So, I thought that’s cool. However, we headed to the city and had some dinner. At night it was a bit chilly, so we were walking back to the hotel a bit faster. Believe me, I am used to do exercising and had personal training before, so it was definitely not my fitness level but I could feel that my breathing was a bit strange. My chest was telling me I need to slow down and unfortunately your brain is going crazy and you think you can’t breath anymore. I had to stop and concentrate on breathing. Back in the hotel, all I wanted was to sleep. Strange feeling but you know it is just the altitude and you will be fine.

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