Cusco, Peru: The Heart of the Inca Empire


JoAnna is a globe-trotting, idea-inventing, culture-collecting creativity connoisseur with a global family of foreign exchange students and rescue pets. You can also find JoAnna at

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7 Responses

  1. Nancy says:

    Love the Cusco article. I’m so happy to hear that it’s an authentic, artistic city. (I’ve always wanted to go there on route to Macchu Piccu!) I’ll try and stay in the San Blas district…

  2. Audrey says:

    Great timing for me to read this – we are in Cusco right now 🙂 When we first arrived, I have to admit I was a bit shocked by the influence of tourism and all the people hawking massages and discos on the main square and everyone speaking English.This reaction was also related to the fact that we’ve spent the last month in Peru in relatively non-touristy places.

    However, after three days of exploring the city I’ve come to a similar conclusion the as you – Cusco as a real, cultural city is stronger than the tourism influences. Yesterday, we arrived early to the Plaza de Armas and discovered an artisans market (1st Sunday of each month) and vendors dressed in traditional outfits. When I started asking the vendors about their work and where they were from, I found they were more than happy to share their trade, talk about their families and wanted to learn about me beyond trying to sell me something. Later in the day, we (and other tourists) sat side by side with local families on the main square watching a parade of school children, military, teachers and hospital personnel.

    As you wrote, that the high altitude makes you slow down helps visitors take in the city beyond the tourist industry.

  3. Gray says:

    Your Cusco article is wonderful, JoAnna. You have a real gift for painting pictures with words. I had never heard of Cusco, and now I feel it’s a place I would want to visit someday. I can see why it won.

  4. nomadic matt says:

    looks like you had a wonderful!

  5. Akila says:

    Congratulations! That’s so well deserved. I love that last paragraph where you write that physical factors force people to slow down in a good way. I love places like that too. I can’t wait to go there.

  6. I’m really interested in all Perú has to offer. Thanks for your insights on Peruvian culture, I’ll be reading your referenced article. My wife and I are journeying to S. America next year and we can’t wait!

    Keep it real.

    Blakesjourney / TBD

  7. Nico says:

    Love to see different takes on Cusco. I loved to, and it’s hard not to. I think any town that has a draw for visitors will have your standard tourist-hawkers. Fortunately, and you’re right, Cusco has so much more to offer.

    I was fortunate to be there for their Incan Sun Festival (June 16th) which definitely brought out the local color. With dancing and great traditional Incan costumes.

    There’s also a big backpacking community there (hello Inca Trail) so there’s lots of travelers to talk to, not to mention party with at night.

    I wrote a blog post about Cusco myself. I hope it’s not to forward of me to share it:

    Thanks for the article, Joanna!

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