Polaroid of the week: Cuzco’s gorgeous San Blas neighborhood


Last Updated on February 21, 2021 by Dani

polaroid of the week peru cuzco san blasIt didn’t take long for us to fall in love with Peru! We crossed the border from Bolivia to Peru at Lake Titicaca. The first stop, Puno, was as gritty as we had been told, but the historic center was charming enough to spend a couple of days.

We then rushed to Cuzco in order to make sure we’d be able to trek to Machu Picchu before the trails close for their annual maintenance work at the end of this month.

In Cuzco it was love at first sight! The Capital of the Inca Empire, the city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 to preserve the unique mix of Inca culture, Spanish-colonial influences and remnants of the Killke, who populated the area prior to the Incas.

The city is a wonderland for history buffs, the incredible Andean mountains surrounding the city are a paradise for trekkers and the infrastructure here makes it comfortable for tourist from all walks of life.

Cuzco itself is one of the prettiest cities we’ve seen in South America so far: the magnificent Plaza De Armas, impressive churches and beautiful little plazas all over town. Every time we walk a new street, we are amazed by the architecture, the ornate wooden balconies or the massive rocks used by the Inca to construct their palaces and houses.

Our favorite neighborhood is San Blas, which sits in a picturesque setting perched on a hillside in the northeastern part of town. The neighborhood is stacked up on narrow, steep streets with centuries’ old cobblestone streets. No two streets are alike. The colorful doors and ornate wooden balconies make each house unique, too. Climbing seemingly never ending series of steps can make you short of breath, especially at this altitude, but the higher you climb, the more you are rewarded with beautiful views of Cuzco below.

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  1. I agree, Cuzco is a very interesting place. Also, try to do a day trip to Pisac on their market day (once a week, Sunday, I think). It will be the highlight of the Cuzco area! Drink some coca tea and chew some leaves for a real Inca experience. It’s all legal, as it’s above 10,000 foot elevation. You can buy some leaves at the market from the growers. Also, be sure to get the lime rock, to make the powder used to chew with the leaves. The ladies who sell the leaves will be glad to show you how it’s done. You won’t go cocaine crazy, but your mouth will get a little numb, just like going to the dentist. 🙂 You’ll run faster and jump higher!

    1. Thanks so much for the tip re. Pisac, Steve! We’ll head there on Sunday before we leave for Arequipa 🙂 We chewed coca leaves while we hiked to Machu Picchu – I think we wouldn’t have made it through the second day of our Salkantay trek without them 😉 We didn’t have lime rock (although I’ll look out for it in the market today!) but sodium bicarbonate which has the same effect. Definitely helped with the altitude (over 15,000ft on the trek) and the fatigue!!

  2. Oh wow! Really looking forward to this now as our hostel is in that neighbourhood. We arrive on the 12th mas o menos if you ladies are still around….

    Hope you both enjoy your trek!

    1. I hope you guys are enjoying San Blas as much as we do 🙂 We’d love to meet you while you’re in Cuzco – we’ll be here until Sunday for sure. Let’s make plans for dinner /drinks via email?

  3. We want to go here!! Thanks for the great post ladies.
    BTW, we are already hooked on Victoria beers! 😉

    1. You’ll have to visit Peru!! We’re in love with the country, and especially Cuzco. I am not sure how we’ll be able to leave this city to see more of Peru 😉

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