I was recently in Cusco for a friend’s bachelor party. It was a trip that could have been an extended club-hopping, raving bender. It also could have been a softer, more traditionally minded two days packed with Incan discovery and education. I am happy to report it was neither. Instead, the city offered lots for us to do in what felt like a short weekend. Here then are my 48 hours in Cusco.

The First 24 Hours

DO: On the morning of the first day we went whitewater rafting, which was of course awesome! Throw in a high altitude and not much sleep the night before and you end up getting a really good workout as well. There were some sweet cliff-jumping spots and raft flips, and lots of good laughs. It was the perfect way to begin our 48 hours exploring Cusco.

Rafting the Urubamba river outside of Cusco

VISIT: Cusco central square Raft trips take half to a full day so with added travel to and from the river we didn’t get back into town until around 2pm. We then spent the afternoon walking the streets around the main cathedral and taking photos in between stopping into the odd pub a quick beer. The central square of Cusco has an incredible history and was once the main seat of the entire South American Incan Empire. It is fully worth it to do a half-day guided city tour, and that afternoon was perfect for it.

Placed right in the middle of Cusco, the Plaza de Armas is a great place to explore.

EAT: Fresh seafood That evening we got cleaned up to head out for dinner. Now Peru is famous for good food, with ceviche being the staple dish, so we were excited to find somewhere great. Because there is such a steady stream of tourists as well as a healthy local population, the city has quite a number of eateries to choose from ranging in all different budgets, big or small. We chose the restaurant Agua y Manto because a few of us had eaten there before and been amazed by the quality and variety of food. Plus, the location was amazing and it had a quaint homestyle feel. It was perfect for us.

PARTY: Cusco nightlife After dinner we headed out on the town, visiting a few bars around the main plaza. You could party the night away in Cusco if you really wished. There are a few bars that cater to tourists specifically and are always pumping. That night, we all probably lasted until sometime between midnight and 2am. We had a big day ahead of us and there was no space for wasting it on a killer high-altitude hangover.

At night the streets of Cusco light up with locals and travellers alike.

The Next 24 Hours

VISIT: The hills around Cusco We all awoke early to an amazing buffet breakfast at our hotel. After a few hours of coffee and cakes it was time to hit the hills. There is so much walking and trekking to be done around Cusco. It was once the Incan capital and has hundreds of old Incan Trails crisscrossing its high hills, many of which are still used to this day by locals.

Cusco hundreds of old Incan Trails crisscrossing its high hills.

We picked one that wasn’t too strenuous but would still get us up to a lookout point to get great views of the valley and city below. We hiked well into the early afternoon and after reaching the top on a perfect sunny day, came to a temple with an older man out front, playing an Andean flute. It was a surreally beautiful scene and made all the sweat of the hike totally worth it. To sit and listen to this man’s timeless music while looking over this vast and secretive land made me feel both insignificant and privileged to be there.

I felt both insignificant and privileged to be there.

VISIT: More Cusco nightlife From the pub it was off to another nightclub, but once again not for long, as we were all flying out the next day, going our separate ways. We’d all be back together a month later in Lima for the wedding, but it was those 48 hours in Cusco that I will always remember. Good times!

Congrats to Matty and Tefi on your beautiful wedding.

Getting There

All aboard to Peru! Let G Adventures take you there. G Adventures runs a number of departures encompassing a wide range of departure dates and activities to cater for different tastes. We’re thrilled at the prospect of showing you this big blue planet of ours— check out our small group trips here.