Cusco Before and After Machu Picchu
I stayed in Cusco for about three days before going to Machu Picchu, and again for about three days after. In February of 2016, which is the rainy season, it was coat weather at night, morning and evening, however, in the mid day often it would be in the high 70s and T-shirt weather. The tourist old city part of Cusco is very beautiful with a big cathedral, interesting rock walls with incredible masonry, and many, many tourist shops (gifts, trekking supplies, travel agencies, etc.)
Amazing Spanish Villa Hostel
I stayed at a beautiful Spanish villa hostel called EcoPackers (about three blocks from the central plaza). This place was really beautiful and only cost me $11/night including breakfast.
Cheap $9 Massage
It is hard to argue with not getting a nice one hour, full-body massage for $9. I doubt many of the ladies have professional training beyond what is provided by their employer, however some of the older ladies seem quite talented. I had two nice massages while there (which are super nice on the legs after hiking Macchu Picchu).
Nearby Sights: Moray & Moras
There are several interesting sites around Cusco, some of which are half day or day tours. For $12, I took a half day trip out to see two of these sites: Moray and Maras. Moray was a big sink hole looking thing with concentric terraces used by locals to generate seed variations of crops based on different temperatures of the descending terraces. Moras was a collection of about 100 small pools of salt water. As the pools dry out in the sun, a salt crust is left (which is then packaged and sold). One of the amusing things that happened during the trip was our bus got stuck between Moray and Maras in the muddy field and the rear wheels slid sideways so the bus began to tip over (another foot or so and it would have flipped over).
Costs in Cusco
Cusco was a bit more than less popular cities in Peru, but still an amazing travel deal. Below is a break down:
- Hostel: $11/night (includes breakfast)
- Food: $3 meal for lunch or dinner
- Massage: $9/hour (full body)