Photo of the week 2014 – Week 18

When travelling, every now and then you will fall head over heels in love with a city. For me, that happened in the city of Cusco, Peru.

It was the first city I flew into in South America. I remember flying over the mountains, looking out the plane window and seeing Cusco for the first time. The city lies in a valley with mountains surrounding it, and you can’t help but be taken aback by the beauty of it all.

And if you think it is beautiful from up high, it gets even better from ground level.

At 3,400 metres, Cusco is one of the highest cities in the world, and it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983.

Cusco is a beautiful and fascinating city with traditional colonial architecture from when the Spanish ruled and it has the history to back it up too. Merely walking the streets exudes story after story from times gone by, and getting lost isn’t a worry, it’s a necessity.

Each year Cusco draws hundreds of thousands of tourists to its cobbled streets, and many people use the city as the gateway to Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley of the Incas. However, it is easy to get lost in the city for a few days before you go trekking or exploring the rest of the country.

Even though there are a number of things to see and do in Cusco, such as visiting Cristo Blanco, the smaller version of Christ the Redeemer overlooking the city or discovering the unknown local delicacies of San Pedro Market, it is just as enjoyable walking around passing the time.

And as soon as the sun goes down, Cusco transforms into a backpacking Mecca, a place where endless fun can be had.

Around Plaza de Armas, the central square, there are a number of bars, pubs and clubs you can meet other tourists, and at least one all-nighter with a random group of strangers is a must in this city.

In terms of set-up for backpackers – places to eat and drink, sights and activities, and of course hostels – I have never been to a better city than Cusco. I guess that’s why I love it so much…