Cusco City

3rd city of my Brazilian and Peru tour.

Type : Historical City
Best Date : May – Sep
Expense : Fair
Things to do : Dine, Shop, Hike, Adrenaline Sports, Museums, ect
Points of Interest: LA cathedral, Sacsayhuaman, Plaza de Armas, San Pedro Market, Moray, Salt Mines, Hamantay lake and more
The Goods: Excellent architecture and culture
The Bads: High Altitude causes sickness try acclimatizing in lower neighbouring cities before Cusco, many uphill walking

Brief

3rd leg of my Brazillian and Peru tour.
Cusco city is the capital of the Cusco region and province. With an average elevation of about 3,400m Cusco is the 8th highest city in the world. The city which is a UNESCO world heritage site used to be the historic capital of the Incan empire from the 13th to the 16th century when the Spanish conquest began. Today Cusco is one of the most popular tourist destination in Peru being the starting point of Machu Picchu and the Inca trail.

20180320_191001

The Place

Cusco or Cuzco as its sometimes spelt has its goods and its bads, for me it was a good place to unwind but only for a maximum of 2 days. Firstly the city is very high at about 3,339m higher than all the surrounding villages, towns and points of interest including the famous Machu Pichu. Meaning air is much thinner and to acclimatize is much more difficult than if you were at Ollantaytambo, Aguas Calientes and others a like.

Cusco has many attractions for tourists, there are plenty of churches, museums, markets, cultural places and a handful of ancient historic ruins, most are within the city but some are just outside and needs transport arrangements. Firstly within the city there is ‘Sacsayhuaman’ which is a UNESCO world heritage site since 1983. These ruins is known to be the historic capital of the Incan empire and visiting this you will see the formation of rocks and walls from the ancient citadel. A good place to start off your Incan adventure in the city, be wary that this is one of the highest point in the already high city so it’ll be sensible to acclimatise first.

IMG-20180320-WA0057

‘Plaza de Armas’ is the main square of the city and around it are various restaurants, shops and 2 churches ‘Iglesia Compania de Jesus’ and ‘LA cathedral’. The plaza has a beautiful fountain in the middle with a statue of an Incan Ruler ‘Pachacuti’ above it and surrounding it a well groomed garden. Within the city there is plenty of churches some of which are open to visitors but many are strictly for worship. In general the city centre is fairly small but the altitude definitely affects your ability to walk the distances, you also have to consider the fact that much of the streets are uphill slopes.

20180318_083257

A short walk away from Plaza de Armas is ‘San Pedro Market’ which for me was one of the cleaner markets I’ve ever been to. The market was complete with fresh fruit and vegetables, bread, cheese, products and quiet strangely a line of fruit juice stalls. Although very clean I didn’t see anything different from other markets I have been to in other countries.

20180318_102140

A bit of an excursion outside the city you will find attractions such as ‘Moray’, ‘Salt Mines’, ‘Humantay lake’ and many more. We visited these as a part of an ATV tour, which was a pleasure to do passing the beautiful sceneries and friendly local farmers waving at us as we pass. The ‘salt mines’ was unbelievable and the story behind it was interesting, it was 10 soles to enter the attraction and there you can taste the salt water and see the enchanting panoramic views. Moray is another Inca ruin which still has its mysteries because of its circular structure. Lastly the Humantay lake which was a good spot to just chill unwind and again enjoy the scenery. The ATV tour was a good side to see the farmlands and their people there were many animals and friendly locals around to great us as we passed.

20180320_101612

Other than these attractions the city itself is a pleasure to be in, the restaurants and cafes vary from traditional Peruvian and even western food. Food in the city though has its ups and downs, fast food such as McDonald’s was the worst I have ever tasted around the world, in most other restaurants we went to the service was also very slow. The buildings itself are of Spanish colonial style and there are no high rise buildings which is good so that you can see the surrounding mountains. However a lot of streets are uphill so for those who don’t walk well it would be sensible to stay nearer the square. The people of Cusco are also very friendly to tourists however you can find many persistent people offering tours. Overall Cusco is a great place to visit but the majority who stay here would excurse to Machu Picchu as the main part of their itinerary.

Reference:

Highest cities (https://web.archive.org/web/20130714072634/http://www.environmentalgraffiti.com/featured/highest-cities-in-the-world/4660?image=1)
Advertisements

Sao Paulo

“The First stop in my 10 day South American Trip”

Type : City
Best Date : May – Sep
Expense : Fair
Things to do : Shopping, Dining, Visit Museums/ Galleries/ Park
Points of Interest: Sao Paulo Cathedral, Sao Paulo Arts Museum, Ibirapuera Park, Estadio do Paceambu, Municipal Market, ect
The Good: Much safer than other places in brazil, plenty of culture and arts
The Bad: There is not too much to see and do, 1-3 days is enough

Brief

Sao Paulo is a city in the south east region of Brazil about 500 km from Rio De Janeiro. The city is the most wealthiest and populous in the country. Furthermore it is largely influenced by many different nations (largely by Arabic, Italian and Japanese immigrants) and it is seen by the city’s communities, food and even architecture.

20180316_120325

The Place

Brazil is a beautiful tropical nation which boasts one of the largest and most diverse rainforests in the world. However Sao Paulo is anything but a place to see the natural world and you would be disappointed if you went to the city to see wildlife. Nonetheless Sao Paulo is a very important city as it is deemed to be the financial centre for Brazil.

20180316_150733

In a tourism aspect Sao Paulo offers fewer than its neighbouring municipality ‘Rio De Janeiro. It is centered on its culture, museums, monuments and arts although the city does have its green space for tourists to unwind.

Firstly one of the main places to visit in Sao Paulo is ‘Paulista Avenue’ this is Brazil’s version of time’s square (how it was described to me). It is their business district which stretches more than a mile and hosts many financial institutes, museums, churches, shops and restaurants. Sao Paulo’s ‘Museum of Arts’ resides here and in my opinion the museum doesn’t really have a brilliant exterior but inside which has some of the most notable artwork in brazil is where the brilliance is, so for those art fanatics this could be the place to visit. Apart from that the strip itself is a pleasure to roam for shopping and dinning and should be a place to go while staying in Sao Paulo.

20180316_093101

Another place to visit in the city is ‘Centro’ location of the ‘Sao Paulo Cathedral’ which is considered as one of the city’s main attraction. Anoth

20180316_124732

er point of interest around Centro is the popular ‘Municipality Market’ which was built on 1933 and till now the building itself trades fresh fruits, vegetable and other Brazilian products. This area is a bit more dangerous than Paulista Avenue as there are plenty of dodgy homeless people, but a little vigilance and everything should be fine as there are plenty of security and police around. It is advised not to visit this area at night as it could be very dangerous

Another area of interest is Vila Madalena which is popular for its street arts, music and nightlife. This is the area where the majority of backpackers stay because there are many hostels and cheaper restaurants here.

Football is huge in Brazil and Sao Paulo has one of the countries most important stadiums in the ‘Estadio Municipal Paulo Machado de Caravalho’ or ‘Estadio do Pacaembu’ which is more popularly known as, is the city’s resident stadium. The big four resident football clubs that use this stadium are Sao Paulo, Corinthians, Palmeiras and Santos who share the ground for their respective games. Away from matches the stadium still has one of the most sought out football museums in Brazil, a definite place to visit for football fans.

Sao Paulo has a very high influx of Japanese immigrants and this has resulted in a popular area within ‘Liberdade’ known as the little Tokyo. Here there are plenty of Japanese shops, restaurants, cafes and even Japanese gardens. A very popular place for tourists to visit, buy souvenirs and even have a snack.

20180316_120506

Last but not the least away from the city rush, there is an excellent place to unwind in ‘Ibirapuera Park’. A peaceful location away from the hustle and bustle of the city, this is a green space where many unwind, run, cycle, picnic, skateboard and do other leisure activities in their free time. Furthermore the park is also home to a few museums and important monuments such as the ‘Monument of Bandeiras’ a famous sculpture at the entrance of the park to commemorate the settling expeditions of inner Brazil.

20180316_155248

In Conclusion, Sao Paulo is a beautiful city that distances itself away from the bad reputation of Brazils crime rate. Although tourists still need to be vigilant, I felt safe enough to bring out my camera and phone (except for Centro). I was also fine with using the ‘metro’, it was easy, cheap and safe to use just like any metro system in Europe. Food in the City is also very easy to find and you will be spoilt for choices with either local, fast food or international cuisine. Overall do make sure you visit this lovely Brazilian metropolis but staying here longer than 2 or 3 days could result in boredom, out of town excursions would be a good idea.