Cuzco has hundreds of lodgings of all types and prices, with some of Peru's highest room rates. Book ahead in peak season (between June and August) especially the 10 days before Inti Raymi on June 24 and Fiestas Patrias (Independence Days) on July 28 and 29.

Prices vary dramatically according to the season and demand. Lonely Planet lists high-season rates.

With advance notice, most hotels offer free airport pickups.

Neighborhoods for Sleeping

Many of the side streets that climb northwest away from the Plaza de Armas towards Sacsaywamán (especially Tigre, Tecsecocha, Suecia, Kiskapata, Resbalosa and 7 Culebras) are bursting with cheap crash pads. High-end hotels on the plaza offer premium rates for location.

Though the Plaza de Armas is the most central area, there are few bargains there. Accommodations along Av El Sol tend to be bland, expensive and set up for tour groups. Hilly San Blas has the best views and is deservedly popular. There are also many options west of the Plaza de Armas around Plaza Regocijo, in the commercial area towards the Mercado Central, and downhill from the center in the streets northeast of Av El Sol.

Lodging Amenities

Hotels claim to offer 24-hour hot-water showers, and midrange and above places generally include satellite TV. Heating is becoming standard, usually that means a portable electric radiator at midrange places. The top hotels all feature rooms with heating and telephone. All top-end and some midrange hotels have oxygen tanks available, at a price, for altitude sufferers.

In cheaper lodgings hot water for showers may be sporadic. It helps to avoid showering at peak times, and it’s always worth telling reception if you’re having trouble – they may simply need to flick a switch or hook up a new gas canister.

Many of Cuzco’s guesthouses and hotels are located in colonial buildings with interior courtyards, which can echo resoundingly with noise from other guests or the street outside. Old stone buildings are notorious for having poor wi-fi connections – often it can only be accessed in a lobby. Many places that offer breakfast start serving as early as 5am to accommodate those heading out on tour. For this reason, early check-ins and check-outs are the rule.