In recent years, lodgings of all shapes and sizes have really mushroomed in Cusco, now numbering in the hundreds. Most of the city´s most desirable accomodations are very central-within walking distance of the Plaza de Armas. The San Blas neighborhood is also within walking distance, though many hotels and hostales in that district involve very steep climbs uo the hillside. Some visitors will wish to avoid a hotels and inns too close to the Plaza de Armas; that zone´s crowded bars and discos, many open until sunrise, tend to produce throngs of rambunctious and usually inebriated young people who stumble downstairs and howl at the moon or below at the people who just reject them inside.
Advance reservations in high season in Cusco are essential, especially around the Inti Raymi and Fiestas Patrias festivals at the end of June and July, respectively. Outside high season, look for bargains, as hotel rates come down considerably. Hot water is an issue at many hotels, even those that swear they offer 24-hour hot showers. Many hotels in Cusco Peru and inns will arrange free airport transfers if you communicate your arrival information to them in advance.
Prices listed below are back rates for travel in high season; unless otherwise noted, rates do not include taxes. During the low season (Nov-April), prices often drop previously, even at midrange inns and backpacker hostels-sometimes as much as 50%-as the glut of hotels fights for a much-reduced number of visitors.
Near the Plaza de Armas
- Hotel Libertador. One of best Cusco hotels, the Libertador could just as easily be called the Conquistador. Directly across from the Inca Temple of the Sun and built on the foundations of the "Aclla Huyasi", where the Inca chieftain kept maidens, this elegant traditional hotel occupies a historic house once inhabited by none other than Francisco Pizarro. The handsome art - and antiques - filled hotel, just 4 blocks from the Plaza de Armas, is built around a dramatic colonial courtyard marked by perfect arches, terra-cotta tiles, and a Spanish-style fountain. The swank lobby has a massive pyramidal skylight and exposed Inca walls. Guests moms are spacious and refined, furnishings have rustic colonial touches, and the marble bathrooms are large and well equipped. San Agustin 400 (Plazoleta Santo Domingo 259), Cusco. 084/231-961.
- Hotel Monasterio. Perhaps Peru´s most extraordinary place to stay, this beautiful hotel occupies the San Antoniop Abad monastery, constructed in 1592 on the foundations of an Inca palace. An Orient-Express and Leading Small Hotels of the World property, the Hotel Monasterio-converted into a hotel only in 1995- exudes grace and luxury. While checking in, you relax in a lovely hall while sipping coca-leaf tea. As much a museum as a hotel, it has its own opulent gilded chapel and 18th-century Escuela Cusqueña art collection. Located on the Las Nazarenas square between the bohemian San Blas district and the main square, the hotel makes fine use of two courtyards with stone arches; one if set up for lunch, about as beautiful a setting as there is to be found in Cusco. Calle Palacios 136 (Plazoleta Nazarenas), Cusco. 084/241-777.
- Hotel Ruinas. It doesn´t have a very auspicious name for a hotel, perhaps, but Ruinas is a centrally located, clean, and modern hotel. However, it is over-priced given the somewhat plain, older-style rooms. Ask for a room with a view; not many have one. What used to be a nice terrace with panoramic views is being turnes into a luxury suite. Ruinas 472, Cusco. 084/260-644.
- Novotel Cusco. This is one of the newest hotels in Cusco Peru, a member of the French Novotel chain, is built around the guts of a 16th-century colonial buildings, but the majority of rooms are in new sections. opened in early 2001, the hotel is modern and dependable, with good services and amenities, though in most regards, it´s a notch below the city´s two top-flight luxury hotels. Rooms are well equipped and brightly colored, but are otherwise standard accomodations. The hotel, a short distance from the Plaza de Armas, features a nice gardenside restaurant serving French fare, and a warm bar with a direplace. Palacio San Agustín 239 (corner of Pasaje Santa Mónica), Cusco. 084/228-282.
- Picoaga Hotel. A very nice, more reasonably priced alternative of luxury hotels in Cusco Peru, Picoaga also occupies a historic building, in the case a 17th-century mansion that once belonged to a Spanish nobleman, the marquis of Picoaga. Just minutes from the Plaza de Armas, the hotel is set around a lovely arcaded courtyard-or at least one portion of it is. A newer wing is in a dated and much less appealing modern section at the rear of the hotel. Ask for a room in the front section overlooking the patio. Rooms there, about a third of the total, are larger, have high ceilings, and are decorated with colonial-style furniture and floralprints. Rooms are nice but certainly not over-the-top elegant. Santa Teresa 344, Cusco. 084/221-269.
- Royal Inka I & II. These are sister hotels run by a very small chain of hotels in Peru. Royal Inka I occupies a historic 19th-century house, built upon the foundations of the Inca Pachacutec´s palace, on a lively square just a block from the Plaza de Armas. It´s the smaller of the two hotels, but it has traditional styling, a restaurant and popular bar, friendly service, and nice rooms. Some accomodations have peacked and wood-beam ceilings that are a nice change from the standard hotel room. The nearby Royal Inka II is also in a 19th-century building, but it is the more upscale and larger of the pair, with modern roomds around a nicely decorated, plant-filled atrium with a huge mural.It also has a Jacuzzi and sauna. A restaurant and bar are in the atrium- so if you´re looking for peace and quiet, this may not be it. Of the two, I´d opt for the cheaper Inka I; it´s a better value. Both places are popular with package tours. Royal Inka I: Plaza regocijo 299. 084/263-276. Royal Inka II: Santa Teresa 335. 084/231-067.
Emperador Plaza Hotel. A small, well-located, and impeccably clean and understated hotel, the Emperador Plaza has excelent service and is a reliable, quiet choice just a block from the main square.The good-size rooms have wall-to-wall carpeting and fluffy., flowered bedspreads. The rooms with balconies are best. The green-and-white tile bathrooms are surprisingly large. A rooftop terrace, which could be fixed up better, has nice views. Santa Catalina Ancha 377, Cusco. 084/261-733.
Hostal Cusco Plaza. Sharing the same great square with the top hotel in Cusco, the Monasterio, this small, simple affair features a great central courtyard and simple decor, including nice parquet floors. A few of the rooms have spectacular views; no.304 is by far the best, with huge windows and a arched ceiling. Plaza Nazarenas 181, Cusco. 084/246-161. Hotel Garcilaso Just a block from the Plaza de Armas, this simple but attractive hotel, occupying a terrific colonial house, is a decent midrange alternative. Rooms aren´t fancy, and the furnishings are a little outmooded, but they´re nice enough. The pretty courtyard with bright blue balconies is a great place to have a drink and hang out away from busy Cusco. There are actually two Garcilaso hotels side-by-side; the accommodations in no. 2 are slightly larger. Garcilaso 233-285, Cusco. 084/233-031.
- Los Portales Hotel. A simple, airy hotel with wall murals of Andean scenes and a colonial-style staircase. Los ´Portales is comfortable and accesible. Rooms are nice enough, standard in both, size and plain decoration for a midrange hotel; hot water is available 24 hours a day. Its major detraction is its location-it´s on a very busy block a few streets removed from the more enjoyable action around the Plaza de Armas. Matará 322, Cusco. 084/222-391.
- Plaza D´Armas Cusco Hostal. This small, four-story hostal is very popular for one reason:location, location, and location. It hugs a corner overlooking the Plaza de Armas, the lively hub of Cusco. If you want to be right in the thick of things, this reasonable priced place is a decent option, though the rooms are small and none hhave a view of the plaza. Still the rooms are clean and pleasantly decorated, and the hostal is worth a look if you´re more concerned about convenince than space. Portal Monasterio y Mantas 114, Cusco. 084/222-351
- Sonesta Posada del Inca Cusco. Like the rest of the hotels belonging to this small and very well-run Peruvian group, the Posada del Inca is extremely cozy, cheery, and a very good value. Best of all, it´s sandwiched between the Plaza de Armas and Plaza Regocijo-about as centrally located as one can be in Cusco, without the additional all-night noise of being right on the plaza. Rooms are good-size and comfortable, with the chain´s familiar yellow-and-dark-green color scheme and plaid bedspreads, and the homey lounge has a fireplace. Several rooms have excellent views of the city. Deals are often available, including one with the possibility of staying 1 night at this hotel in Cusco and another at the chain´s lovely place in the Urubamba Valley for a slightly discounted rate. Portal Espinar 142, Cusco. 084/227-061
- Albergue Municipal. On the way to Sacsayhuamán ruins, with enviable views over the top of Cusco, this youth hostel has anice location away from the fray and none of the nasty institutional feel you find at most hostels. It has extremely clean dorm rooms with bunk beds, great sitting areas, and a nice cafeteria. Kiskapata 240, San Cristobal, Cusco. 084/252-506.
- Hostal Los Marqueses. This 2-star hostal, housed in a mansion built in 1590, is loaded with colonial character. It´s perfect for people who want a step up from a budget inn but not manufactured flavor. Rooms are huge and simply furnished; some beds and other furnishings are in definite need of updating, while others are cool colonial pieces. Yet one look at the magnificent arcaded courtyard, the breakfast room that looks like a 17th-century parlor, or the grand suite (no. 7) with a sitting room, canopy bed, carved wooden doors, and a huge dose of yesteryear, and this hostal is sure to appeal to travelers in search of the romantic side of Cusco. Discounts are available for 3- or 4- night stays. Hostal Resbalosa A longtime favorite of backpackers, this inn is named for the street rather than any innate quality. The good-size rooms have hardwood floors, large windows, and immaculate bathrooms with pretty dependable hot water showers. There´s a large rooftop terrace, perfect for sunning and just hanging out, enjoying the 180° views. The steep, pedestrian-only cobblestone street means you´ll have to haul your pack up, but it´s good training for the Inca Trail. Resbalosa 394, Cusco. 084/240-461
- Hostal Rumi Punku. A glance at the name or address of this idiosyncratic family-owned hostal will give you can indication of its strong connection to Cusco´s Inca roots. The massive portal you an indication of its strong connection to Cusco´s Inca roots. The massive portal to the street is a fascinating, original Inca construction of perfectly cut stones, once part of a sacred Inca temple. Inside is a charming, flower-filled colonial courtyard with a cute little chapel and gardens along a large Inca wall. The clean bedrooms are ample, have hardwood floors, ans are equipped with Norwegian thermal blankets. Hot water is available 24 hours a day. Breakfast is presently served in a cozy arched room, but the pleasant owner has big expansion plans, and she hopes to move the dinning room to a top floor; if the city allows her to do it, it should have excellent views of the rooftops.Choquechaca 339, Cusco. 084/221-102
Machu Picchu Hotels
Gringo Bill´s Hostal. Bill has hosted Machu Picchu travelers for almost a quarter century, and his was one of the first Machu Picchu hotels. This rambling house has stone walls chock full of plants just off the Plaza de Armas. The corner rooms with balconies and windows get the best ventilation and have the greatest views. Colla Raymi 104, Aguas Calientes. 084/211-046.
Hatuchay Tower. One of the "high rise" Machu Picchu hotels, a whole four floors above the river at the edge of town on the road heading to the ruins. Carpeted rooms are comfortable with modern furnishings and amenities, but the interior design is nothing out of the ordinary. Carretera a Machu Picchu. 084/211-201
Inkaterra Machu Picchu. A five-minute walk from the center of town takes you to this stunning ecolodge in tis own minitropical cloud forest. The stone bungalows, none with the same design, have a rustic elegance, with exposed beams and cathedral ceilings. Activities include a one-day Inca Trail trek, bird-watching excursions, and orchid tours, as well as a twilight nature walk. Imperio de los Incas s/n, Aguas Calientes. 084/211-032
Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge. Best location of all Machu Picchu hotels. This hotel at the entrance to Machu Picchu citadel puts you closest to the ruins, a position for which you pay dearly. But not only will you have the thrill of watching the sun rise over the crumbling stone walls, you´ll be the first ones through the rus´gate in the morning, and have the place to yourself after most of the tourists depart each afternoon. Machu Picchu. 084/211-094