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Cuzco - FAQ

How do I get from the airport to my hotel?

Cuzco is served by Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport (IATA code CUZ) which is located approximately 3.4 miles west of the city center. If you have not booked a private transfer with us then you have a few options. We do recommend a private transfer service; they offer clean and well-maintained vehicles. You are met by the driver carrying your name on a sign, the drivers speak English and are dependable and reliable. For visitors who arrive at Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport, it is about a 20-minute ride to the city center.

The airport shuttle services provide a safe and secure ride to your destination. Another option is to schedule a taxi through one of the following taxi Services: Official Cusco Taxi (tel. +51 958 705-156), or Cusco Transfers (tel.+51 958 705 156). Prices are inexpensive, expect to pay approximately S/30 (about $9.25 USD) to reach the city center.

How do I get around the city using public transportation?

In our opinion, Cuzco is best explored by taxi, but be careful, a large portion of taxis in Cuzco are unregistered (unofficial and unregulated by the government). It is always safer to use registered taxis, which can be called by hotels and restaurants or are found at official taxi stands. Registered taxis must display the vehicle registration number on the rear doors of the taxi (both outside and inside). Also, Taxibeat and Easytaxi have proven to be a reliable way of securing a safe and affordable ride with the use of a traveler`s cell phone application. Just download the app and hail a taxi.

Tranvia de Cuzco (about S/25) is a free-rolling tourist trolley that conducts a 1½ hour Hop-on, Hop-off city tour. It leaves at 8:30am, 10am, 11:30am, 2pm, 3:30pm, 5pm and 6:30pm from the Plaza de Armas.

Combis (small transportation vans) are not recommended for getting around Cusco. Combis are often crowded and there is an increased chance of being a victim of theft. Taxis are inexpensive and the best option for navigating Cuzco.

How do I call/hail a taxi?

It is very easy to hail a taxi in Cuzco. All you need to do is wave your hand in the air at the taxi about to pass by, and if the taxi is vacant, the driver will stop and pick you up. Cuzco Taxis are not too expensive, be sure you can share the negotiate a price before getting in. Keep in mind that a large portion of taxis in Cuzco are unregistered (unofficial); during the day, it's usually not a problem to use either. At night it is important to use registered taxis for your safety, which are traceable by the license number painted on the rear door.

Below are phone numbers for dependable taxi services in Cuzco and Sacred Valley:
Cusco Transport and Tours +51 974 214 123
Official Cusco Taxi +51 958 705-156
Cusco Transfers +51 958 705 156

Also, the Taxibeat and Easytaxi apps have proven to be a reliable way of securing a safe and affordable ride with the use of a traveler`s cell phone application. Just download the app and hail a taxi.

When is the Inty Raymi festival?

Inti Raymi (the Inca religious festival of the sun) is officially June 24, but celebrations go on for days before and afterward, with Inca folk dancing, gigantic parades, and vibrant costumes.

Is Cuzco a walking city?

Yes, parts of Cuzco can be explored by walking. To walk the historical center of Cuzco, is walking by the city that was traced and designed by the Incas, it is like going for a walk by colonial buildings built on the base of the old palaces of the Incas. The coalition of two architectural styles that make it unique in the world, it is the opportunity to appreciate architectural and art jewels that contain their centennial or millennial walls. There are a few alternative circuits that can be made by walking with adequate signage to help you find your way. One thing to keep in mind is that the elevation of Cuzco is 11,152 ft above sea level and will take a time to get used to walking at that altitude.

Is Cuzco a dangerous city? Are there certain areas I should avoid?

No, Cuzco is not a dangerous city. Although violent crimes are not common; theft, pick pocketing, smash-and-grab robberies and purse snatching are common crimes. Electronics (especially cell phones, laptops, cameras, GPSs and tablet computers) are the most common targets for theft. Be aware of your surroundings in areas where crowds gather such as soccer matches, concerts and Mercado Centro for example. Where crowds are, there is likely to be pickpockets too.

Can I pay/tip in US dollars?

The currency of Peru is the Nuevo Sol. US dollars are not accepted. Please be sure to have the correct currency on hand or be prepared to exchange your dollars for soles upon arrival. Currency exchange desks can be found at the airport and many locations throughout the city.

I don't speak Spanish. Will many people speak English?

No, about 90 percent of Peruvians speak Spanish as their first language. English may be spoken at your hotel and in the tourist areas, but not everywhere. We suggest you get a good English-Spanish dictionary and familiarize yourself with common phrases such as hello, goodbye, excuse me and numbers 1-10.

Should I rent a car in Cuzco Peru?

No. It's not a good idea to drive in Cuzco. Getting around in Cuzco by rental car is not the easiest or the best option for travelers and it is not cheap. Traffic is congested and drivers are more aggressive than in the U.S. If you insist on renting a car, you can rent a car with or without a driver. If you like the freedom that renting a car brings you, renting a car along with a driver might be an option for you.

Do I need a visa to visit Cuzco Peru?

No, entry into Peru for U.S. Citizens does not require a tourist visa. The maximum period of stay granted by the authorities is 183 days.

Is the water safe to drink in Cuzco?

No, the water is not drinkable. We suggest that you carry bottled water with you wherever you travel. Most tourist areas will have bottled water available for purchase. To avoid illness, make sure you don´t eat any raw vegetables or salads that are washed in water.

What type of food is available?

Peruvian food is among the most varied and best in the world. The national dish of Peru is Ceviche which is fish marinated and cooked in freshly squeezed lime juice. Other dishes you may want to try are causa, lomo saltado, anticuchos, and cuy. Popular dessert items to try are a picarones, and suspiro de limena. The national drink of Peru is the Pisco sour which is a sweet and sour cocktail made with Peruvian pisco (grape brandy) with key lime and simple syrup. If you want a soft drink, try out a Chicha Morada or an Inca Cola.

Are vaccinations required to visit Cuzco?

There are no mandatory vaccines for entry into Peru. Should you wish to visit the Amazonian region of the country, the Ministry of Health recommends vaccinations against yellow fever.

When is the best time to visit Cuzco?

The most popular time to visit Cuzco, and nearby Machu Picchu, are between April and October with the highest volume of tourists between June and August, but there is no bad time to experience this magical destination.

Cuzco`s weather falls into two distinct periods, the dry season from May-September, with little or no rain, and the balance of the year, or 'wet season' with the most average rainfall between December and February. Despite the seasonal differences, Cuzco enjoys plenty of fine weather throughout the year, with short bursts of heavy rain followed by bright sunshine even during the wettest months.