As the top tourist destination in Peru, where virtually every visitor seems to pass and stay at least a night or two, Cusco has developed a remarkable cornucopia of lodgings, with hundreds of hotels, inns, and hostales of all stripes and prices. More continue to sprout, and few seem to close. Although the sheer number of offerings, at every budget level, means that you can pretty confidently land in Cusco without a reservation (outside of popular festivals like Inti Raymi and Fiestas Patrias at the end of June and July) and find a decent place to stay, many of the better and more popular hotels at all levels fill up throughout high season and even in shoulder months. It’s best to firm up a reservation as soon as you know your dates of stay in Cusco unless you’re willing to wing it and aren’t that picky.
Most of the city’s most desirable accommodations are very central, in the Centro Histórico and within walking distance of the Plaza de Armas. The artsy San Blas neighborhood is also within walking distance, although many hotels and hostales in that district involve steep climbs up the hillside. (The upside is that guests are rewarded with some of the finest views in the city.) Some visitors may want to avoid hotels and inns too close to the Plaza de Armas; that zone’s crowded bars and nightclubs, many of which are open until sunrise, tend to produce throngs of rambunctious and usually inebriated young people who stumble downstairs and howl at the moon or bellow at the people who just rejected them inside.
Hotels have really mushroomed in the last few years in Cusco, but the high-end boutique category in particular has exploded. There used to be just the Monasterio and the Libertador on the higher end; now there are a dozen upscale properties with full-service spas, oxygen-enriched air, and gourmet restaurants. Though the style quotient has risen—and along with it, prices—Cusco remains a backpackers’ delight, with a glut of inns of all stripes at the moderate and budget levels. Many hostales have more atmosphere and are likely to provide a better overall experience than more expensive—and more institutional—hotels. Prices listed below are rack rates for travel in high season and include taxes. During the low season (Nov–Apr), prices often drop precipitously, even at mid-range inns and backpacker hostels—sometimes as much as 50%—as hotels fight for a much-reduced number of visitors.
At the lower end, hot water can be an issue at many hotels—even those that swear they offer 24-hour hot showers.
Many hotels and inns will arrange free airport transfers if you communicate your arrival information to them in advance.
No Sleeping In
Most Cusco hotels have annoyingly early checkout times—often 9 or 9:30am—due to the deluge of early-morning flight arrivals to the city. At least in high season, hotels are very serious about your need to rise and shine (and many travelers are up and out very early anyway, on their way to Machu Picchu or trekking excursions), but you can always store your bags until later.
Hotel Rumi Punku -- This family-owned hostal has a pretty, flower-filled colonial courtyard, gardens, and a historic Inca wall. There's plenty of room for the kids to run about behind the massive Inca portal.
Niños Hotel -- The very definition of a family-friendly hotel, this one was built to allow Cusco street kids to become part of a family. Profits go to care for another 500 needy children. The restored colonial house is one of the most charming and best-maintained small inns around. Reserve well in advance. Families should inquire about a second location and the excellent-value apartments for longer stays.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.