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.

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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.

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‘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.

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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.

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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.

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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)
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Top 10 things to do in Boracay

 

10 of the best things I have personally done within in my last 4 visits to Boracay.

 

10th) 15 Shot Challenge (Coco Mangas)

For all the party people and drinkers out there, coco mangas has what they call the 15 shot challenge. Should you be able to complete this a free shirt is given. This drinking activity is a good way to start your vacation. Too bad I’ve never completed this.

9th) Walk or Run at Stations 1-362638_10151573862965818_1054097044_n

If you are in Boracay to just relax and take it easy, then a walk from stations 1-3 or vice versa is a nice thing to do. It will take about 30-45 minutes to get from one end to the other depending on how fast you walk. Some people also jog or run this route.  The scenic views of the sea is worthwhile. Remember to stop by D’mall though.

 

 

8t140h) ATV and Buggy Ride

ATV and Buggies are always a good thing to do, especially on a hot day, however with the route being very short and the rides being closely supervised like little kids, I only put this activity at 8th. To improve this they should really allow people to roam at their own leisure.

 

 

 

7th) Water Sports and Activities

Boracay is a paradise island, so why not get in the water? Any water sports whether Jet skiing, banana boat, flying fish, wind surfing or parasailing, the thrill of getting in the middle of the sea is just priceless.

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6th) Helmet Diving

Helmet diving is an a way of going underwater, if you are not very confident of scuba diving. There is no need to be trained and you can decide to do it on the day.  Underwater you will see all the colourful wildlife Boracay has to offer.

5th) Visit Puka Beach

Puka beach is a much quieter area for those who want to get away from all the crowds. It is again a beautiful area with a much more coarser sand than that of stations 1-3.

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4th) Nightlife

Boracay is known as the party island of the Philippines. So what’s the point of going Boracay without experiencing the Nightlife. Boracay has plenty of clubs and pubs to choose from all with different statures. The best time for a Boracay nightlife would definitely be the Laboracay festival  at Philippines Labour day, haven’t been but its definitely on the list.

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3rd) Boracay Pub Crawl

4th choice was any old nightlife, but for my 3rd is the ‘Boracay Pub Crawl’, for an entrance fee you will get a free shirt, a shot glass and free shots along the way. Here you stay as a group, the best way to meet people. Along with games and a few different activities the night will be enjoyable to anyone.

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Boracay Pub Crawl
2nd) Ariel’s Point

More for the adrenaline seekers, this little secluded island, around 30 minutes away from Boracay includes a cliff dive of different heights, canoes, kayaking, snorkelling, snacks, barbeque lunch, beverages and more.  This is a whole daytrip package  from around 10am to 5pm, a private boat takes all visitors across to this island.

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1st) Paraw

My number one thing to do in Boracay. Paraw is a small boat, that uses the wind to move the boat. Passengers ride on the either side on nets, it is possible to lie down or sit and enjoy the view. The paraw is usually a 30 to 45 minute ride, and sometimes the boat people will stop in the middle of the sea, so you can jump in and swim. There are bigger boats and yachts for rent, but where’s the thrill in that.3

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Boracay

Type : Beach Holiday
Best Date : March-May
Expense :  All Budgets
Things to do : Scuba Diving, Pub Crawl, Water Sports, Zip Lining, 4×4, ATV, Island Hopping, Snorkelling, Golf, Parasailing ect
Points of Interest: Station 1-3, Puka Beach, Bulabog Beach, Ariel’s Point, Marian Pilgrimage, Mount Luho ect

Brief

Boracay is one of Philippines most well known tourist destination. Awards received were:

Best Island in the world (2012) : Travel + Leisure Magazine  
Best island in the world (2014) : Condé Nast Traveller
Best island in the world (2016) : Condé Nast Traveller

Boracay is known for its white powder sand and its thriving night scene, off course its clear water and the activities within are also a big hit for tourism. Whether its relaxation, an activity or a party on the beach, Boracay fully Image result for boracay google mapdelivers. The island is a boomerang shaped island next to Caticlan a Aklan province. In Boracay there are various beaches, with the main one being at the front of the island where the sun sets, this beach strip is divided into 3 stations, station 1,2 and 3, this is the more populated beach where mass activities, restaurants and hotels are located. The more quieter beaches can be found north of the island or behind where the sun rises. Puka beach is popular but the majority is owned and privatised by resorts for their customers. Other beaches are like Diniwid, Punta, Illig iligan and Bulabog beach all has its own characteristics.

The Place

Every Country has its must go to place, whether the Eiffel tower in Paris, the Colosseum in Rome, Wall of China, London’s Parliament square or Africa’s safaris in my opinion Boracay island makes it as Philippines must go to place, whether others may agree or disagree travelling to Philippines and missing out Boracay is a big mistake. Boracay is for everybody, whether a backpacker with a tight budget or a holiday maker with more funds, whether a party goer, adventurer, activist, foodie or a person who just wants to relax, Boracay will cater to any.

First of all lets start with the hotels/ resorts, here you will be spoilt for choices. There are various cDSC_2372ategories depending on what type of holiday you are having, price range and classification you are looking for. Most popular of the hotels/ resorts are those that are beach front. They are easier to manoeuvre around restaurant, shops, clubs and they are just right infront of the panoramic views, however these hotels/ resorts can be very crowded and noisy. Other than the beach front that of the beachfront are those behind, around the Yapak area, these hotels are the quieter more relaxing resorts, they have nice scenic views and are much more private than the beachfront resorts (relatively cheaper as well). Click for in depth Boracay Hotel reviews

Another main aspect of Boracay is the activities, there is loads to do and you will have plenty of choices. Whether you are a thrill seeker, want to do water sports, in a big group, want to tour, cook, party or chill, Boracay is likely to have it. Thrill seekers have loads to do and you wont need to look far to do it, the more typical be10013524_10152371136660818_5117361433154385059_nach activities such as Jet skiing, Banana boating, Parasailing, ATVs, 4×4 driving, orbs and various zip linings are ever present and there are various stalls and attendants at beach front to enquire about it. Sporting activities such as surfing, paragliding, wakeboarding, biking and fishing are also advertised highly in Boracay through the beach front stalls and hotels. If relaxation is what you are looking for then SPAs are usually situated at your own hotel if it has that facility, if not then there are massage areas in the beach strip. Party people will also be spoilt in Boracay as there is uncountable amount of bars and clubs to choose from, most popular being ‘Epic’ which is situated beach front at the centre of the strip. Finally for the tourists who love to walk and explore there are also great places to visit such as the Marian Pilgrimage, Mount Luho  and more alike.

Exploring99 other islands is also valued, places such as the Ariel’s Point, Crystal Cove island, Crocodile island many more. Advertised in many stalls and even in resorts are arrangements to go to these other islands.  However as ive stated before, if  you would just want to walk around and stay in Boracay island then there is a number of places you can go to. Firstly Station 1 to 3 beach strip is around a 30-45 minute walk from one side to the other side depending on how fast you walk. Walking this strip will allow you to pass other attractions such as the Marian Pilgrimage, D’mall and the various bars, restaurants and shops.  The Puka beach is another beach in Boracay, here it is more quieter and less busy perfect to relax. Mount Luho on the other hand has the highest view in Boracay more for the trekkers. There is just so many places to explore in Boracay so if a walkathon is what you want, you wont be disappointed.

Finally another reason why people visit the island is its many events, most famously the Laboracay festival, which is more for the party people, but can be en62638_10151573862965818_1054097044_njoyed by many, celebrities and people from all over the world join this festival usually on labour day weekend . More cultural festivals include the Yapak festival, Sand Lantern Festival and most famously Ati-atihan, all celebrating regional causes.  Sporting events also happen here with the Nestea International Beach Volleyball Tournament and the International Dragon Boat Festival also take place here with masses joining. Most importantly my favourite the Boracay Skyathon which is a 5k or 10k fun run which celebrities usually join as well. This was the most difficult 5k ive run as it was on sand, however I came a acknowledgeable 34th with a time also being 34 minutes just behind Filipino celebrity couple Troy Montero and Aubrey Miles. My results are on the Boracay Gallery 2013, click here.

Overall Boracay is a beautiful island, where all is possible. However one negative is with Boracay’s popularity increasing, it is getting more and more crowded, for a small island it may have already reached its capacity.

 

Boracay (Transport) continues in another page (Click here)

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