Not many can say they’ve slept in a real palace before. I felt like a prince spending a few nights at Libertador Palacio del Inka, a Marriott Luxury Collection Hotel in Cuzco, Peru. Located directly next to the Inca’s largest historic temple, Temple of the Sun, Palacio del Inka holds much of its original character in its ornate guest suites. Many of which surround the Casona de los Cuatro Bustos’ stone courtyard.
Cuzco is one of my favorite cities for a variety of reasons, one of the top being the sheer amount of culture present through its many Incan and Spanish streets. Immediately after checkin, I walked out the front doors of the Hotel Libertador and energetically rushed towards the Plaza De Armas. Ignoring my shortness of breath from the high altitude, I was overcome with excitement at the smoky smells of nearby cooking, the kind strangers serving warm emoliente, and the sound of a half-dozen different languages from the tourists around me. All in a moment I could hear myself proclaiming, “Ah, we’ve made it!”
Returning back to the hotel. We quickly freshened up before heading out for a night of Cusqueña and experiencing a bit of the nightlife in the city center. A favorite place to start - Paddy’s Irish Pub. Here many expats, backpackers, those coming from and heading to The Amazon, and the like all meet over cheap french fries and fantastic stories. Surrounding the area, many more pubs and clubs project their music tempting us all to stay out a bit longer and dance.
For those looking for incredible Peruvian flavors with just as surprising atmosphere, try Fallen Angel Restaurant. After a small tour of the beautiful artwork and gorgeous rooms throughout the building, I tried Quechua and Peruvian specialties such as cuy, alpaca and quinotto de quinoa. Complete with some of the best cocktails I’ve had abroad, this place is a must for foodies visiting Cuzco for the first time.
Perhaps my favorite thing to do while in Cuzco is simply wandering the streets. You’ll get lost in the maze of cobblestone corridors lined with ancient Incan walls. It’s a photographer’s dream. Our second morning began with stocking up on coca tea, fresh squeezed juice, and plenty of food while soaking in the sun within the Libertador’s courtyard. We then met our Lima Tours guide outside to start our walking tour and a fantastic lesson in history.
We participated in so many excursions and activities in this great city, it warrants an additional blog post! It’s easy to get overwhelmed in Cuzco. The first couple of times I visited, I spent the majority of my time walking around, taking photos, and shopping at the various souvenir and artesian shops. For little more about our adventures here, make sure to watch my travel video blog!