Dangers & Annoyances
- Bags may be stolen from the backs of chairs in public places or from overhead shelves in overnight buses.
- Walk around with a minimum of cash and belongings. If you keep your bag in your lap and watch out for pickpockets in crowded streets, transport terminals and markets, you are highly unlikely to be a victim of crime in Cuzco.
- Avoid walking by yourself late at night or very early in the morning. Revelers returning late from bars or setting off for the Inca Trail before sunrise are particularly vulnerable to ‘choke and grab’ attacks.
Robberies and even attacks in cabs have been reported. Use only official taxis, especially at night. (Look for the company’s lit telephone number on top of the car.) Lock your doors from the inside and never allow the driver to admit a second passenger. Readers have reported overcharging with ticos (taxi rickshaws).
Drugs & Spiked Drinks
Don’t buy drugs. Dealers and police often work together and Procuradores is one of several areas in which you can make a drug deal and get busted all within a couple of minutes.
Drink spiking has been reported. Both women and men should keep an eye on their glass and not accept drinks from strangers.
Take care not to overexert yourself during your first few days if you’ve flown in from lower elevations. You may find yourself quickly becoming winded while traipsing up and down Cuzco’s narrow streets.
Embassies & Consulates
Most foreign embassies and consulates are located in Lima, though Cuzco does have several honorary consul representatives. If you need a Tarjeta Andina (tourist card), print one from the website of Oficina de Migraciones.
Many hotels and cafes offer free wi-fi. Ask when booking if there's wi-fi in the room, as the stone construction of many hotels makes it only available in the lobby.
- Diario del Cusco (www.diariodelcusco.com) Online edition of the local newspaper (Spanish-language).
ATMs are found around the Plaza de Armas, at the airport, Huanchaq train station and the bus terminal. All accept Visa, most accept MasterCard.
There are several big bank branches on Av El Sol; go inside for cash advances above daily ATM limits. Casas de cambio (foreign-exchange bureaus) give better exchange rates than banks and are scattered around the main plazas and especially along Av El Sol. Money changers can be found outside banks, but rip-offs are common.
Credit cards are accepted at more and more hotels, restaurants and tour operators, though it's always smart to ask in advance.
Opening hours are erratic and can change for any reason – from Catholic feast days to the caretaker slipping off for a pint. A good time to visit Cuzco’s well-preserved colonial churches is in the early morning (from 6am to 8am) when they are open for Mass. Officially, they are closed to tourists at these times, but if you enter quietly and respectfully as a member of the congregation, you can see the church as it should be seen. Flash photography is not allowed inside churches or museums.
DIRCETUR (outlet) A central outlet of Dircetur located inside the Museo Historico Regional. Sells Machu Picchu entry tickets and the different versions of the boleto turístico. Closed on holidays.
Dirección Regional de Cultura Cusco The organizing body for tourism in Cuzco. Sells Machu Picchu entry tickets and the different versions of the boleto turístico. Closed on holidays. The website has a useful calendar of regional events and festivals.
Municipalidad del Cusco (www.cusco.gob.pe) The city’s official website.
Fertur Peru Travel Local office of long-established, very reliable agency for flights and all conventional tours.