Navigating around Cusco
Cusco is a busy town where many things happen at once. The roads and street corners are flooded with pedestrians and cars, acting as one sector. For tourists coming in, it may seem like a burden trying to navigate around town, but having reliable information can help you plan and prepare for your trip.
When it comes to money, it is important to note some things, such as using the local currency which is Peruvian soles. To ensure that the money is real, shine it to the light and make sure a matching face appears next to the person resting on the sole. Note, that it is important to be very careful with the money, making sure there are no rips, as stores and companies will often not accept any ripped money. The soles can have little crinkles and creases, but obvious long rips are not accepted. Exchanging foreign currency is even stricter, especially US dollars, so make sure your bills are in perfect condition otherwise they will not be accepted.
Taxis are always available in Cusco and will often see you standing on a corner and offer to give you ride. Although there are many different types of taxi vehicles available, we recommend only taking official taxis. Once you find an available taxi, be sure to flag it down with a simple wave. Official taxis will have a red and white sticker on the car as well as sign above the car stating their taxi company and phone number. The taxis here do not have meters, so we recommend negotiating the price before getting in. A taxi from the airport to the center of Cusco costs about 20 soles, and a taxi within the center shouldn’t cost more than 5 soles. The front desks at hotels can often arrange taxi pickups for their guests, so you may want to have your hotel arrange a taxi for you.
For those who are looking to save money and take advantage of the public transportation system, local buses are an affordable way to get around town. Although the hustle and bustle around them can be overwhelming, they are nonetheless an efficient and inexpensive means of travel. A bus only costs 0.70 cents and does not have a specific schedule, and you need to simply wait at the bus stop and one will come shortly. Each bus has destinations listed on the side of the vehicle that describes the destinations it stops at, so people can familiarize themselves with the route. You can also ask the attendant on the bus if they stop at the specific destination you are headed to. To get off the bus, simply say “bajo” as it can be crowded and sometimes the bus attendant cannot see who is trying to get off.
It is important to be prepared for your visit to Cusco, and being informed about transportation and money is essential to having an enjoyable and unforgettable vacation here!
By Celestina Hendrickson