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Cuzco

Ancient Capital of the Incas

Cuzco & the Sacred Valley map
Cuzco Basics
Puno & Lake Titicaca
Andes Experiences
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ALTITUDE:
Cuzco is at 11,600 feet altitude. You can minimize the effects of the altitude by having a positive altitude, walking slowly, eating and drinking lightly. A few hours of rest are recommended upon arrival in Cuzco to allow time to adjust to the altitude but many create a headache by laying down - try relaxing or dozing sitting up. Over the counter remedies are available to assist with the effects of the altitude and you will be given coca tea upon check-in at your hotel. Although bitter, it does greatly help your body adjust to the rarefied air.

CLIMATE:
Because of the altitude, always plan to layer clothing. Days can start cool and warm up quickly, especially if you are trapsing around in the sun. But alternately, if the wind begins to blow and the sun retreats, it can become chilly quickly. Here is a quick chart (in Farenheit) of what you can expect. Always plan your day gear to allow flexibility.

Cuzco
Av Max
Av Min
Av Wet Days
JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
66 66 66 67 67 67 67 68 68 70 69 69
44 44 43 41 37 33 32 35 39 42 43 44
18 18 13 8 3 1 1 2 6 9 11 15

VISITING CUZCO:
The absolute minimum is two nights: the first day is dedicated to acclimatizing and visiting the main points of interest in Cuzco and the nearby ruins of Kenkko, Tambo Machay, Puka Pukara and Sacsayhuaman; day two is spent visiting Machu Picchu and day three is departure day with most flights departing in the morning.

If at all possible, add more time - you can easily spend up to a week in and around Cuzco, including the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu.

SHOPPING:
Shopping in Cuzco is for ceramics, textiles, silver working, and the well known llama rugs of all sizes, shapes and designs which can be miraculously packed down to a very mangeable and carryable size. Shops abound around the Plaza de Armas and the San Blas quarter is home to many of the city's artisans and jammed with shops specializing in finer artisan pieces.