"How Tourism Works in Cusco" Cusco by AlbuqRay
Cusco Travel Guide: 1,086 reviews and 2,366 photos
Little did I know as I flew from La Paz to Cusco on 11 Oct 2003 how different my four day tour of the Cusco area would be. In Bolivia there are few tourists and, since I was on a custom tour, the biggest group I had been in was four people.
As one of the world's top tourist destinations, Cusco is busy! It is difficult to go anywhere without lines of tourists being there. Also, there is always someone trying to sell you something or asking for a handout. It is also expensive relative to Bolivia. However, there are fascinating things to see that everyone should visit at least once in their lives.
Fremen Tours had subbed me out to Raices Turismo in Cusco. The organized tours there use small buses which they fill with 20-25 people. Like other tour agencies, Raices only had 4-5 people per day, so we spent each morning picking up small groups of people from various hotels (and agencies) until the bus was full. This takes a while since everyone is not always ready. Only then would you depart for your destination. The guide on the bus was different each day.
My four day tour of the Cusco area was pretty standard. It included a half day city tour (Convento de Santa Domingo, La Cathedral, Sacsayhuaman, Tambomachay, Pukapukara, Q'enqo and a weaving shop), a full day in the Sacred Valley of the Incas (Pisac Sunday market, Ollantaytambo, and Chinchero) and a half-day tour of Machu Picchu after a four hour train ride plus a 25 minute bus ride to get there ($58 roundtrip for the train). This is not even close to the amount of time you need to really see these sights. You could easily spend 2-3 days in and around Cusco, and the same for the Sacred Valley. Overnight at Machu Picchu would be nice.
You can get an excellent tourist ticket called the Boleto Turistico for $10 that allows admission into many of the Cusco sights over ten days. You sign it and they punch it when you visit a particular sight. It makes a good souvenir too, since it has a picture of each location. Strangely, it is not good for one of the main attractions, Covento de Santa Domingo (6 Soles).
There is also an excellent travelogue by VT member, Hopkid, about his Inca Trail and Machu Picchu trip that should not be missed, especially if you are going to hike the Inca Trail. It is well written and loaded with information. Not many people are finding it though, so I am referencing it here.
- Pros:Fascinating sights and history
- Cons:Too many tourists and vendors
- In a nutshell:A wonderful place that is overwhelmed by too many people
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AlbuqRay's Related Pages
Cusco Travel Guide
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- Things to Do in Cusco
- Hotels in Cusco
- Transportation in Cusco
- Nightlife in Cusco
- Restaurants in Cusco
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- Warnings and Dangers in Cusco
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