Ticket Tricks: Sometimes it is less expensive to buy one-way tickets rather than a round-trip ticket. Another trick is to buy a ticket first to Lima and buy separately a ticket from Lima to Cusco rather than a ticket from your home straight to Cusco. StarPeru and Peruvian Airlines are some of the cheaper airlines that run flights between Lima and Cusco but many online ticketing agencies use Lan for Lima to Cusco which can be $50 – $100 more expensive than StarPeru or Peruvian Airlines.
If you are looking to meet and mingle with local Peruvians, a home-stay is a great option. Please indicate in the volunteer form if you would like for the CTTC to arrange a homestay option for you with one of the weavers from Chinchero, a community located 45 minutes from the city of Cusco where the CTTC offices are located. Transportation between Chinchero and Cusco is not an issue. Buses and vans frequently depart from a garage a short walk from our offices and there are CTTC employees who live in Chinchero and make the commute each day who can help you.
There are also many small apartments available for rent in the historic district. The options vary widely, from a private bedroom and shared kitchen and bath, to fully furnished bachelor flats. Rent typically ranges from S/.300 ($100) to S/.1,500 ($500) a month. If you plan on taking an apartment, you can try to look ahead of time online, but most apartments are made public through word of mouth, flyers, or in local newspapers. Plan on taking a room at a hostel or hotel for about a week and wandering around the San Blas district looking for postings and check the local newspapers. Personnel from the CTTC will also be more than willing to help by asking around amongst their friends and family.
If you have special dietary needs or are vegetarian, there are a few restaurants in the historic district that include vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options including Green Point and el Encuentro. Supermarkets generally offer soy products, including soy milk, soy yogurt and soy meat. Almond milk is not available in Cusco. Peanut butter is available, although comparatively expensive.
When using combis be very careful of petty theft. Always keep valuables in an inside pocket of your coat or in a bag you can secure under your clothes and next to your body.
Besides city buses, there are also inter-town buses for travel outside of Cusco. Inter-town buses cost around S/2.50 ($0.85)- S/.10 ($3.30) depending on the destination and run from around 5 am to around 9 pm.
If you’re not a history buff, Cusco is brimming with living culture as well. Many Incan ceremonies are still performed, albeit with a modern twist, and almost every other week presents a saint’s day, heralded in with fire crackers that ring off the mountains and loud parades that take the streets by storm. For the past three years Peru won the World’s Leading Culinary Destination award and there are numerous opportunities for trekking, rafting, horseback riding, rock climbing and camping for the adventuresome.
Cusco is also home to a number of art and archeology museums and a vast array of non-profits. For those looking to travel before or after their time as a volunteer, overnight buses easily take you to other archeological and natural wonders at Lake Titicaca, Arequipa, and the Nazca Lines. Of course, Machu Picchu is always just a bus ride or train ride away and is a must for any visitor.