Soon we were back to the Central Cusco, the historical capital of the Inca Empire and the major heartland of tourism in Peru. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage since 1983, both the splendid remnants of the Incas and the dazzling architecture of Colonial Spain captured our imagination ever since we entered the city. Five centuries ago in 1533, Francisco Pizarro arrived in Cusco and sacked the city, converting the marvelous Inca capital into a colonial city with Roman Catholic churches and convents, many of which still remain standing today. With the Sacred Valley and the lost world of Machu Picchu within close proximity to the city, at about 3,400m above sea level Cusco serves as a crucial base for all tourists to acclimatize before trekking the Inca Trail.
Back in Cusco, we decided to try out a glass of fresh juice at Mercado San Pedro. Cusco’s central market was just a short walk from Plaza de Armas. The covered market was quite large, with all kinds of produces, food products, dry goods, cafeteria, and juice stalls. From a juice vendor, we ordered a lucuma drink with milk. Lucuma is a subtropical fruit native to Peru with high level of nutrients. We made one order but the woman ended up giving us three glasses because at San Pedro juice is ordered by jar, not glass. On our way out of the market we also bought a few tangerines.
After San Pedro, we returned to Ninos Hotel for a short break, then we headed over to the Australian owned Los Perros restaurant for lunch. The restaurant was only a stone throw away from the city’s main square, Plaza de Armas. We walked around the square, stopping at some of the most iconic colonial architecture in Cusco, including Iglesia de la Compania de Jesus and Cusco Cathedral and admired the historical fountain at centre and stone arcades around the plaza perimeter.
In mid afternoon, we hopped on a taxi for the hilltop Inca citadel of Saksaywaman.
On our way to Mercado San Pedro on Calle Santa Clara.
Iglesia de San Pedro just outside of Mercado San Pedro.
Fruit vendors at Mercado San Pedro selling all kinds of local fruits.
The vendor preparing our lucuma milkshake.
Tranquil back streets near Hotel Ninos.
Wooden balconies were common sights in Cusco and other Peruvian cities.
Cobble stone street in Cusco.
The Cathedral of Cusco.
Sagrada Familia Church beside the cathedral.
Fountain at the centre of Plaza de Armas.
Fountain at the centre of Plaza de Armas with mountains in the backdrop.
Plaza de Armas of Cusco.
Arcades were common around Plaza de Armas.
Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús by Plaza de Armas.
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Read other posts on Peru Trip 2010
1. Peru Trip 2010
2. Bumpy Arrival, Lima & Arequipa, Peru
AREQUIPA & COLCA CANYON
3. Monasterio de Santa Catalina, Arequipa, Peru
4. Plaza de Armas, Arequipa, Peru
5. Volcanoes and Vicuna, Pampa Canahuas Natural Reserve, Patahuasi, and Patapampa, Peru
6. Yanque, Colca Canyon, Peru
7. Cruz del Condor, Colca Canyon, Peru
8. Farming Terraces, Colca Canyon, Peru
PUNO & TITICACA
9. Road to Titicaca, Colca Canyon to Puno, Peru
10. Afternoon on Taquile Island, Titicaca, Peru
11. Morning on Taquile, Titicaca, Peru
12. Inka Express, Puno to Cusco, Peru
CUSCO & SACRED VALLEY
13. Pisac & Ollantaytambo, Sacred Valley, Peru
14. Salinas de Maras, & Moray, Sacred Valley, Peru
15. Lucuma Milkshake & Plaza de Armas, Cusco, Peru
16. Saksaywaman, Cusco, Peru
17. KM 82 to Wayllabamba, Inca Trail, Peru
18. Wayllabamba to Pacamayo, Inca Trail, Peru
19. Pacasmayo to Winay Wayna, Inca Trail, Peru
20. Winay Wayna to Machu Picchu, Inca Trail, Peru
21. Machu Piccu, Inca Trail, Peru
22. Machu Picchu in Black and White, Inca Trail, Peru
23. Afterthought, Inca Trail, Peru
LAST DAY IN CUSCO & LIMA
24. Farewell to the Incas, Cusco, Peru
25. Last Day in Peru, Lima, Peru