Where to Stay in Cusco, Peru: Best Hotels and Hostels

Where to Stay in Cusco, Peru: Best Hotels and Hostels

Cusco (Cuzco), a colonial city that used to be the capital of the Inca empire, is filled with beautiful cobble-stoned streets, cute alpaca on the streets, and amazing Peruvian gastronomy. Not only is the city one of the places you must visit in Peru, but Cusco itself is a good place to visit all the attractions nearby. Rainbow Mountain, Macchu Picchu, Sacred Valley, these are just some of the places you can visit from Cusco.

Due to its popularity with tourists, there are so many different accommodations in Cusco. Selecting the best place to stay in Cusco from the hundreds of choices is quite a challenging task. Luxury hotel, hostels, bed and breakfast, boutique hotels, what do you pick?

Don’t worry! In this guide, we will help you decide where to stay in Cusco to make sure you have the perfect visit to this UNESCO Heritage Site

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Our favorite neighborhood in Cusco is San Blas!

San Blas is a neighborhood immediately north of the Plaza de Armas, or the Main Square of Cusco. Though still considered as part of the historic center, San Blas is concentrated with some of the best things to do in Cusco.

A beautiful and colonial area filled with artisan crafts and traditional Peruvian restaurants, San Blas is undoubtedly one of the best places to stay in Cusco. The whole neighborhood is filled with Inca architecture and artifacts such as the twelve-angled stone.

This is one of the most tourist-friendly neighborhoods in Cusco. As a result, there are some of the best hostels and hotels in Cusco in this neighborhood.

Best Place to Stay in Cusco, Peru

Cusco is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Peru. Consequently, many travelers believe that there are many different neighborhoods to stay in Cusco.

That is not true.

Most hotels and hostels are near Plaza de Armas, or the Main Square of Cusco. This entire area is called the historic center, or Centro Historico in Spanish, and it is the best place to stay in Cusco. Restaurants, the Cusco Cathedral, souvenir stores, and tour agencies (for Machu Picchu, Rainbow Mountain, Sacred Valley, etc) are all located in the historic center. 

Any accommodation in the historic center is a good place to stay in Cusco. The entire neighborhood is very walkable and you can go from one end to the other end in 20 minutes.

There is a sub-neighborhood in the north and northwest parts of the historic center called San Blas. San Blas is a historical area filled with handicrafts, Peruvian souvenirs such as alpaca clothing, and restaurants with amazing Peruvian cuisine. 

Known for its hippie culture and artistic vibes, travelers interested can stay in San Blas. It is not particularly important to stay in the San Blas area because you can simply walk to it in less than 15 minutes.  

Best Hotels in Cusco, Peru

Selecting the right hotel for your Cusco trip might be daunting because of the countless number of hotels in Cusco. Not only that, the language barrier and the high altitude (3399m) are obstacles that you will inevitably encounter on your visit to Cusco.

The typical hotels that are amazing for your normal trips are no longer suitable. You need an accommodation in Cusco that is accustomed to the problems tourists face in this new foreign land.

You might suffer altitude sickness in Cusco due to its high altitude (most do), so your Cusco hotel needs to be able to provide oxygen support. The staff in the hotel should be able to tell you the best things to do in Cusco and the most economical way to go about those activities. It should recommend local Peruvian dishes to try, but also not try to scam you because you are a tourist.

Just having big spacious rooms with comfortable beds, luxurious decorations, and free high-speed wifi is no longer sufficient. Below we have listed our favorite hotels in Cusco that will make your visit perfect! 

Best 5-Star Hotels in Cusco, Peru

JW Marriott El Convento is one of the best 5-star hotels in Cusco. Come and enjoy the beautiful and ancient courtyard and play with the baby alpaca Panchita. Stay in one of the oxygen-enriched rooms with real historic Inca walls. The hotel itself feels like its own lost city inside Cusco, a relic of the past. The staff is happy to assist you with anything including planning your trip to Machu Picchu.

If you don’t feel so well after hiking in the Andes, visiting Machu Picchu, or for any altitude-related sickness, the hotel offers free oxygen treatment that will make you feel better. After the oxygen treatment, relax in their indoor relaxation pool or their spa. Their breakfast buffet is filled with international and Peruvian delicacies and is the perfect way to start your sightseeing in Cusco.

The personalized attention you get from this hotel makes it feel like a 5-star home, not a hotel.

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One of the best 5-star Cusco hotels with oxygen, Palacio del Inka is located in a historic Inca site. The hotel is named Palacio del Inka because it used to be a palace for the Inca.

Daily tours of the hotel are offered to explain the significance and the history of the Inca. Lessons for Pisco sour, the national drink of Peru, are also offered daily. 

The hotel is one of the few hotels with a gym, perfect for travelers who need a little bit of training before doing the Inca Trail, Salkantay Trek, or any other hikes to Machu Picchu.

Travelers that have not adapted to the altitude of Cusco can visit the adjacent Qorikancha, the most important temple in the Inca Empire.

The staff is attentive and will personally go above and beyond to make sure you have a good time in the hotel and outside the hotel in Cusco.

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Was it ever your dream to stay in a monastery? Well here is your chance. Belmond Hotel Monasterio is a beautifully restored 15th-century monastery. Most of the design of the monastery has been kept the way it was, as visible by the beautiful courtyard and architecture. It is an attraction in Cusco on its own

The experience of staying in this hotel is a bucket list item in Peru. If you are not sure where to stay in Cusco and want a unique accommodation, consider staying at Belmond Hotel Monasterio.

This 5-star hotel also has one of the best breakfast buffets in Cusco. Their oxygen-enriched rooms can help anyone suffering from altitude sickness. This 5-star hotel is a great base for all the activities you will be doing in Cusco.

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Best Cheap Hotels in Cusco, Peru

If you want to stay in a monastery but don’t want to spend big money on the hotel? Consider Hotel Monasterio San Pedro. Located across the local market San Pedro, you can eat local Peruvian food, shop for alpaca souvenirs, and observe Peruvian culture just right across the street.

As a restored monastery, the hotel has one of the most beautiful courtyards in Cusco. It is the perfect place to relax after a day of exploring the Cusco or visiting Machu Picchu.

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Hosteria de Anita is a small cheap hotel located in the San Blas neighborhood of Cusco. Many of the famous attractions such as the twelve-angled rock, Plaza de Armas, and Cusco Cathedral are just within a 10-minute walk. With affordable and spacious rooms, an amazing breakfast buffet, and a cute courtyard to relax, guests will surely fall in love with this economical hotel. 

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Not only is Los Aticos B&B a cheap accommodation, but it is also one of Cusco’s best bed and breakfast establishments. Located close to the main square Plaza de Armas, guests can enjoy the convenience of visiting Cusco’s best attractions. This bed and breakfast is situated in a small alley with just foot traffic, so guests can rest in peace and quiet, something that is rare so close to the historic center.

The buffet breakfast, big spacious rooms, and the friendly staff working at the 24-hour reception make this cheap bed and breakfast one of my favorite places to stay in Cusco!

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Best Hostels in Cusco, Peru

Cusco is one of the top destinations for travelers backpacking Peru. As a result, there are over hundreds of hostels in just the historic center of Cusco. 

With so many hostels to pick from, it might be difficult to which one is the best hostel in Cusco for you. 

Are you looking for a party hostel? A capsule-style bed hostel? Or are you looking for a quiet hostel? 

For me, I prefer a hostel that is social. A little bit of partying is fine but it should by no means disturb anyone that wants to sleep. The beds must be comfortable and the rooms cannot be too crowded. Hot water is a plus (Many cheap accommodations don’t have that in Cusco). And most importantly, it should be an affordable hostel.

Based on those criteria, I have selected what I believe are some of the best hostels in Cusco. 

Best Party Hostels in Cusco, Peru

Wild Rover is one of the most famous party hostels in Cusco. With many other locations in Peru such as Mancora, Huacachina Oasis, and more, Wild Rover hostel knows how to throw a party. Every local knows that if you want to have a wild night, you go to Wild Rover. The only downside of Wild Rover is that it is a little far from the main square and you won’t be getting a lot of sleep with the noise!

Click here for more details! 

Cusco has two famous party hostels, the first one is Wild Rover as we mentioned above, and the second one is Loki. Both are them are battling each other for the title of the best party hostel in Cusco. Luckily for travelers having a difficult time deciding which one of the two to stay in, the two hostels are right next to each other.

Loki, similar to Wild Rover, has locations throughout Peru as well. And similar to Wild Rover, don’t expect lots of sleep but do expect an amazing social hostel full of partying.

Click here for more details! 

Best Cheap Hostels in Cusco, Peru

Blacky Hostel is one of my favorite hostels in Cusco, Peru. Not only is it one of the cheapest hostels in Cusco, but it is also comfortable and social. The staff is friendly and offers tours to many of the best attractions in Cusco such as Machu Pichu and Rainbow Mountain at a cheaper price than more tour agencies. The common areas have a very homey atmosphere and it is very easy to make friends there!

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The Point Hostels is a high-quality cheap hostel in Cusco, Peru. A social hostel with amazing activities to help you meet fellow travelers, you will never spend a day alone in The Point Hostel. They do have a bar and a common area that tend to get a little rowdy at night, but you will never hear the noise from the rooms. It is a perfect combination of good rest and social atmosphere.

Click here for more details!

Best Overall Hostels in Cusco, Peru

Closely located to the best sights, Nao Victoria is one of the best places to stay in Cusco. The main square Plaza de Armas is located a few minutes away. Though its location is amazing, it isn’t even close to Nao Victoria’s best features.

The hostel’s stylish and modern decoration along with its cleanliness makes it feel like a hotel more than a hostel. Each dormitory bed is equipped with individual lights, a curtain, and an electric socket. The staff becomes your best friend on your arrival day and helps you with your visit to Cusco, including information about Machu Picchu. This is one of the best hostels in Cusco. 

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Pariwana Hostel is a jack-of-all-trade hostel. A social hostel with some partying but yet clean and comfortable for travelers looking to rest, it is a hostel that will satisfy most traveler’s needs. The reception also has a tour agency that will provide information about the various things to do in Cusco.

My favorite part is definitely the rare spacious rooms in a hostel. Most hostels tend to jam as many beds in a room as possible, but not at Pariwana Hostel. If you are looking for a hostel and are not sure where to stay in Cusco, Pariwana Hostel is a top choice. 

Click here for more details!

Best Boutique Hotels in Cusco, Peru

Staying in a boutique hotel is becoming more and more popular with travelers. The small-sized hotels often time give more personalized services than other large hotels. The atmosphere is more intimate and more often than not the boutique hotel feels like a second home. Boutique hotels are usually more economical than regular hotels.

Here are some of the best boutique hotels in Cusco, Peru. 

Tariq Hotel Boutique is a cute little hotel located in the bohemian neighborhood of San Blas. The rooms are some of the best-decorated rooms I have seen in all of my travels in South America. Each room has a big beautiful window overlooking the entire city of Cusco. No need to hike to the top of Saqsaywaman to get a panoramic view of Cusco, you have it in your room at all times. 

Everything about this boutique hotel in Cusco is just gorgeous. If you are all about the aesthetics of a hotel, Tariq Hotel Boutique is the hotel for you.

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Located in a refurbished Inca building, many of the rooms in the Loreto Boutique Hotel have historic Inca walls. The rooms are very spacious and you will have plenty of room to put your luggage. The staff is extra friendly and will assist in with anything you need inside and outside the hotel. My friend was looking for a camera bag and a member of the staff escorted us to the shops! 

Situated adjacent to Plaza de Armas and walking distance to San Blas neighborhood and the San Pedro local market, this hotel is the perfect base for exploring Cusco.

Click here for more details!

Casa Montesinos Boutique is a hotel that feels like a mansion. Beautiful decor in an old historic building, vintage vibes with every little detail, and a balcony that looks into the antique cobble-stoned streets of Cusco, staying here is a luxurious experience.

The staff is very friendly and gives you personalized tips to plan your activities in Cusco. They will help you rent a car if you need it to visit the Sacred Valley, Inca ruins, or the Andes.

Click here for more details!

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Deciding on where to stay in Cusco can difficult with the number of accommodations there are. Hopefully, this guide helped you decide on the best places to stay in Cusco!

Any questions? Leave a comment below!

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Where to Stay in Bogota, Colombia: Best Areas and Hotels

Where to Stay in Bogota, Colombia: Best Areas and Hotels

Bogota, the capital of Colombia, is a giant sprawling city with many different neighborhoods. Each neighborhood has its own flair and choosing the right neighborhood is imperative for having a good trip to Bogota.

For first time visitors, it might be difficult choosing the best place to stay in Bogota. This guide will provide you the information you need to decide on where to stay in Bogota, as well as giving you the pros and cons of staying in those neighborhoods. We will also talk about safety in Bogota and how choosing the right area to stay in will keep you safe. 

Whether you are a traveler that wants to learn about the history of Colombia, party till the sunrise, or enjoy some top-tier Colombian cuisine, there is a neighborhood in Bogota that is right for you.

Best Places To Stay In Bogota, Colombia

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Our favorite neighborhood in Bogota is Chapinero!

A centrally located neighborhood known for its cool and relaxed hippie vibes, unique cafes and bars, best fine-dining establishments (Zona G), and its authentic Colombia culture, staying in Chapinero is guaranteed to enhance your experience in Bogota. It is easily accessible, not too far from the airport and not too far from the historical center, perfect for travelers on a short trip to Bogota. The area is not dangerous but increased precautions should be exercised, especially at night.

If this is your first time in Bogota, you cannot go wrong with the Chapinero neighborhood. 

Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Bogota

As you can see from the map above, Bogota is a huge city. Traveling inside the city can sometimes take up to an hour and using the TransMilenio (Bogota’s public transportation system) is confusing. That is why it is so important to select the right area to stay in Bogota.

If you want to see the historical parts of Bogota, you wouldn’t want to stay in Usaquen, the farthest neighborhood from the historical center. Likewise, if you want to have great nightlife in Bogota, you wouldn’t stay in Teusaquillo, a high-class residential neighborhood with no nightlife.

Teusaquillo (Safe, Easily Accessible, Recommended for Families)

As one of the biggest residential areas for the middle and upper class, Teusaquillo is one of the safest neighborhoods in Bogota. And like many wealthy neighborhoods, Teusaquillo is filled with amazing green spaces such as the Simon Boliver Park, the biggest park in Bogota. It also home to the campus of the National University of Colombia, the convention center Corferias, and the Botanical Garden of Bogota. 

Teusaquillo is also considered a great place to stay in Bogota due to its location. Centrally located in Bogota, it is easy to visit the historical district of La Candelaria or go to the airport. The Transmilenio, the most convenient public transportation system in Bogota, is within walking distance. 

Cons of Staying in Teusaquillo:

-It is not the most exciting area to stay in Bogota. With mostly residential buildings, there is barely any nightlife in the area. 

-If you are traveling solo and want to meet other travelers, Teusaquillo is not the best neighborhood in Bogota to stay in. There are few hostels in that area and the people that stay there aren’t too social. 

Best Hostel in Teusaquillo: Maite Hostel

Maite Hostel is one of the few good hostels in Teusaquillo. The rooms are spacious, which is rare for a hostel. Beds are comfy and warm which are important for the cold Bogota nights. The interior decor is cozy and the staff is very friendly, making the hostel feel like a second home. The free wifi is one of the best for a hostel!

Click here for more details!

Best Budget Hotel in Teusaquillo: BOG Urban

A spotlessly clean hotel in Teusaquillo, BOG Urban is all about meeting the customer’s needs. This boutique hotel is small enough that every customer gets the attention and help he or she needs. Whether they are questions about where to eat in the neighborhood, the best things to do in Bogota, the staff will help you. One of the best value-for-money hotels in Bogota. 

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Best Luxury Hotel in Teusaquillo: Grand Hyatt Bogota

Grand Hyatt Bogota is not just a luxury hotel, it is probably one of the best 5-star hotels in Bogota. This hotel features a 28-meters swimming pool, a well-equipped fitness center, and a spa for those who want to stay in shape, de-stress, or relax. The amenities of this hotel is luxurious and is an amazing place to stay in Bogota if you can afford it!

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La Candelaria (Cultural, Lively, Street Arts, Historical Center)

La Candelaria, the historic center of Bogota, is undoubtedly one of the most popular neighborhoods to stay in Bogota. As the oldest neighborhood in Bogota, La Candelaria is filled with museums, historic architecture, and street art. Consequently, this area attracts many travelers from around the world who want to learn about Colombia’s culture and history.

Walk along the cobble-stoned streets and you will find yourself surrounded by old Spanish architecture. Check out Bogota’s main square, the Plaza de Bolivar. Located in the center of La Candelaria, Plaza de Bolivar houses many important buildings, including the Palace of Justice, National Capitol, Primary Cathedral of Bogota, and more. 

Staying in La Candelaria is guaranteed to give you easy access to the best attractions of Bogota. Bogota’s most famous museums such as the Gold Museum and Botero Museum are all within walking distance. In the area, you will also find some traditional Colombia cuisine, but usually at a higher price. Check out La Puerta Falsa when you are in La Candelaria for some good authentic Colombian food! 

La Candelaria is also a good place to stay in Bogota for travelers wanting to hike up to Monserrate, the best viewpoint of Bogota.

Cons of Staying in La Candelaria:

-Safety! It is surprising how unsafe La Candelaria can be at night, especially for such a touristy neighborhood. Don’t walk alone at night on empty streets and beware of pickpockets! Take an Uber if you can, do not take a taxi! Taxis are nicknamed Millionaire’s Ride because you can get robbed on them! I recommend having travel insurance when visiting Bogota!

(Update: Uber is now banned in Colombia starting January 2020. You can still use Uber-like apps such as Beat, Cabify, or Didi for your travel needs!)

-Noise! La Candelaria is a small area. As a result, the party that is happening all night can happen just around the corner from you. Better bring some earplugs! 

Best Hostel in La Candelaria: Masaya Hostel Bogota

One of the top backpacker hostels in Bogota, Masaya hostel offers hotel-level amenities at the price of a hostel. The hostel is social but also provides plenty of areas to chill out and relax. The interior decor of this hostel is very beautiful and they also offer daily activities where you can meet friends and learn more about Colombia culture! 

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Best Budget Hotel in La Candelaria: Casa Candilejas

Centrally located in the historic district of La Candelaria, Casa Candilejas is one of the best cheap hotels in Bogota. A huge communal area with Netflix and a pool table offer the perfect place to relax after a long day. The rooftop terrace offers amazing views of Bogota and is also the place where their included breakfast is served. 

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Best Luxury Hotel in La Candelaria: The Orchids

If you want to splurge on a luxury boutique hotel in Candelaria, this is the one. The Orchids is situated inside a well-preserved old colonial house and the decoration is nothing but perfect. It is as if you traveled back in time. Guests can enjoy the timeless decor as well as the great breakfast offered by the hotel!

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Chapinero (Best Food, Hippie Vibes, Affordable Accommodations)

If you are not sure where to stay in Bogota, my personal recommendation would be Chapinero. An area with unique cafes, hippie bars, bohemian vibes, and the biggest LGBT community, Chapinero is the “cool” neighborhood in Bogota.

Matter of fact, the LGBT community is so big that there are over 100 gay bars and clubs combined. One of them is Theatron, one of the biggest gay clubs in the world!

Home of the famous Zona G (G for Gourmet), Chapinero has some of the best food in Colombia. Whether it is fine-dining establishments or some cheap local street food, Zona G will be a heaven for you. If you are a foodie, Chapinero is the best place to stay in Bogota for you. 

There are many shopping malls in the area such as the Andino mall, Unilago mall, and Avenida Chile mall, great for travelers that want to do a little bit of shopping! The financial district is also within the Chapinero neighborhood, perfect for any travelers on a business trip in Bogota.

Cons of Staying in Chapinero:

-Though most of the areas in Chapinero is safe, some of the places can be unsafe at night. Generally speaking, the more south in Chapinero you go, the more dangerous it becomes. Chapinero is still much safer than La Candelaria.

Best Hostel in Chapinero: Republica Hostel Chapinero

The capsule-style beds at Republica Hostel are some of the most comfortable and privacy-giving beds ever. You will feel like you are in your own little space once you pull that curtain over at the end of the bed. The ambiance is relaxed and friendly, making it a very easy place to meet new friends. This is one of the best hostels in Bogota for anyone backpacking Colombia!

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Best Budget Hotel in Chapinero: Hotel Vilar America

With an amazing location in Chapinero, your visit to Bogota will be much simpler by staying at Hotel Vilar America. Their spacious and clean rooms combined with their sleek design will make any guest fall in love. Did I mention this is a cheap hotel? Luxury and affordable are two words that don’t go together but this hotel makes it possible!

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Best Luxury Hotel in Chapinero: bs Rosales Hotel

Centrally located in Chapinero, staying at bs Rosales Hotel guarantees you an easy commute to the historic center. After a day of exploring Bogota’s best attractions, you can come back to the hotel and enjoy a sauna, a nice drink at the bar, or an invigorating workout at their gym. The hotel also offers guided tours of the attractions in Bogota, such as the Zipaquira Salt Cathedral

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Zona Rosa/Zona T (Best Nightlife in Bogota!)

Zona Rosa, also called Zona T because of the T-shaped pedestrian streets, is the best neighborhood in Bogota for nightlife. This is the place to stay if you want to have a crazy night. Filled with some of the best bars, restaurants, and nightclubs, Zona Rosa attracts foreigners and local Colombians that want to have a good time.

When it comes to exploring the famous nightlife of Bogota, Zona Rosa is the best place to stay in Bogota! Weekdays are a little more tamed than usual but when it comes to the weekend, it is like everyone is on steroids.

Meet local Colombians, dance till your feet hurt, and drink a little more than you should. Don’t worry and go wild, Zona Rosa is also one of the safest neighborhoods in Bogota!

Cons of Staying in Zona Rosa:

-Noise! As one of the biggest areas to party in Bogota, it is inevitable that it will be noisy! On the weekends, you will hear reggaeton until 5 AM in the morning!

-Distance from the historical center! Zona Rosa is far from the best attractions in Bogota. Most of them located in La Candelaria, it could take 25 minutes by car or an hour by public transportation to get there.

-Price! This area is more expensive than most areas in Bogota due to the restaurants, bars, and night clubs nearby! 

Best Hostel in Zona Rosa: Mad Nomad Hostel

Mad Nomad Hostel is one of the few hostels located in the pricey Zona Rosa. Equipped with a bar and nice communal areas to socialize, it is an amazing place if you are backpacking Bogota and want to meet other travelers. And after you make some friends, you can all go out to the nearby Zona Rosa and have some fun! 

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Best Budget Hotel in Zona Rosa: GHL Hotel Hamilton

GHL Hotel Hamilton is an affordable hotel in Zona Rosa with luxurious amenities and design. The decoration in the rooms and the hallways speak 5-star hotel but you are paying the price of an average 3-star hotel. Surrounded by some of the best bars, clubs, and restaurants, GHL Hotel Hamilton is an excellent choice for travelers wanting to experience Zona Rosa. 

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Best Luxury Hotel in Zona Rosa: Cite Hotel

Cite Hotel is one of the most luxurious hotels in Zona Rosa of Bogota. The rooms are some of the most spacious I have ever had in a hotel and their designs are sleek and modern. My favorite part is the huge heated swimming pool on their terrace. A beautiful place to relax, watch the sunset, and suntan with an iced cold drink in your hand. If you are looking for the best hotels in Zona Rosa Bogota, consider Cite Hotel.

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Parque 93 / Chico (Relaxing, Safe, But Far From Historic Center)

Chico and Parque 93, or Park 93 in English, are the areas immediately above Zona Rosa. If you thought the accommodations in Bogota cannot get pricier than the ones in Zona Rosa, I introduce you to Parque 93 and Chico area. 

A wealthy neighborhood filled amazing restaurants, coffee shops, shopping malls, and night clubs, it is not surprising that Parque 93 is one of the best places to stay in Bogota. 

Visitors can enjoy a nice stroll in the beautiful green spaces such as Parque 93 and Parque del Chico. In the afternoon, enjoy a delicious Colombian meal at one of the fine-dining establishments in the area. Then at night, visitors can visit the nearby Zona Rosa to enjoy a Colombian nightlife.

Parque 93/Chico neighborhood is one of the safest neighborhoods in Bogota, day or night.

Parque de la 93 en Bogotá

Cons of Staying in Parque 93/Chico:

-Price! This is considered one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Bogota. As a result, the prices for accommodations will be higher than usual.

-Inconvenience! Even though Parque 93/Chico is close to Zona Rosa, it is very far from the historical center of Bogota. Expect a commute time of an hour via public transportation or 30 minutes by car.

Best Hostel in Parque 93/Chico: Selina Parque 93 Bogota

Selina Parque 93 is one of the best hostels in Bogota. The design, facilities, and the friendly staff will make your visit to Bogota memorable. This hostel offers luxurious private rooms so the communal areas are very well-decorated. There are daily activities for solo travelers to meet other travelers as well as a bar and restaurant to relax!

Click here for more details!

Best Budget Hotel in Parque 93/Chico: Soy Local Parque 93

Cheap and Parque 93 are two words (or 4) that usually don’t go together but somehow Soy Local Parque 93 pulls it off! Its location in Parque 93 is one of the best and you will no doubt find yourself at ease in this hotel. The rooms are spacious with big windows that get a lot of sunlight in! Some rooms even have an outdoor terrace to relax on! 

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Best Luxury Hotel in Parque 93/Chico: Casa Dann Carlton Hotel & Spa

Casa Dann Carlton is one of Bogota’s best 5-star hotels. Featuring a spa that includes a sauna, a hot tub, and a massage room, you can properly relax after visiting the best attractions in Bogota. The buffet breakfast includes international dishes that will prepare your stomach for a day of sightseeing. Travelers who want to stay in shape can also use the swimming pool and the well-equipped fitness center!

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Honorable Mention Luxury Hotel in Parque 93/Chico – Click Clack Hotel

The Latin American regional winner of Luxury Modern Hotel, Luxury Design Hotel, and Luxury Boutique Hotel at the 2017 World Luxury Hotel Awards, Click Clack Hotel is more than just a hotel to sleep in, it is a hotel that will inspire. The quirky design of this boutique hotel in Bogota will intrigue you creatively, making you fall in love with it from the beginning to the end of your stay. 

Click here for more details!

Usaquen (Safe, Expensive, Unique Colombia Culture)

Usaquen is quite a different neighborhood than the ones we have talked about. That is because Usaquen used to be its own small town until it was incorporated in the 1950s to become part of Bogota. Signs of its uniqueness can be seen in the cobble-stoned streets, antique shops, and family-owned restaurants.

The dining establishments have some of the best international cuisines in Bogota as well as authentic Colombian dishes. When you are in Usaquen, make sure you try out Ajiaco, the most famous food in Bogota. If you are there on a Sunday, visit the Mercado de Las Pulgas, or Flea Market in English. Located near the Usaquen Plaza, the Usaquen flea market offers anything from street food to artisan crafts. 

Cons of Staying in Usaquen:

-Poor Accessibility. As one of the neighborhoods farthest from the Bogota Airport and historic center, it will be difficult traveling outside of the area. It will take 45 minutes to get to Usaquen by car from the Bogota Airport or historic center (La Candelaria). 

-Price. Usaquen is one of the poshest neighborhoods in Bogota. Everything from food to accommodation will be a tad pricier.

Best Hostel in Usaquen: Rua Hostels Usaquen

Hostels are not easy to find in Usaquen due to how expensive the area is. Rua Hostel is one of the cheapest hostels in Usaquen that is fairly decent. The beds are comfortable and the rooms are spacious enough, perfect for relaxing after a long day. The best thing about this hostel is the social atmosphere. Travelers from all around the world gather around and share their cultures!

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Best Budget Hotel in Usaquen: Hotel City Bog 106

Clean, spacious, standard no-frills hotel in Usaquen. The modern and simplistic design is refreshing after a long day of visiting the best attractions in Bogota. This hotel is your comfortable yet affordable home to be your base in Bogota. If you are looking for extra features like a swimming pool, jacuzzis, and other similar amenities, this hotel is not for you. 

Click here for more details!

Best Luxury Hotel in Usaquen: Biohotel Organic Suites

Biohotel Organic Suites is one of the best boutique hotels in Bogota. Not only does this hotel have the best amenities such as a jacuzzi, pool, buffet breakfast, and a state of the art fitness center, the hotel is incredibly eco-friendly. The organic mission of the hotel along with its sustainability efforts makes it one of the best hotels in Bogota for sustainable travelers. 

Click here for more details!

Near El Dorado Airport (Bogota Airport)

On a short layover and not sure where to stay in Bogota? I recommend staying near the El Dorado Airport, or Bogota’s international airport. Staying in that area will guarantee that you have the easiest time on the day of your flight. No more worrying about catching a taxi or Uber and getting stuck in traffic.

The areas surrounding El Dorado Airport are designed for visitors on a short stopover. Though there are not many tourist attractions in those areas, they are safe and equipped with restaurants and stores. 

Most of the accommodations near El Dorado Airport are well-equipped for people on a business trip. They also tend to be cheaper than the accommodations near the historic center of Bogota.

Cons of Staying Near El Dorado Airport (Bogota’s Airport):

-You will be far from the best things to do in Bogota. All the main attractions are near the historic district, which will be 30 minutes away by car or more than an hour by public transportation. 

-Most travelers staying in El Dorado Airport area are here for a short time. It will be difficult to meet other people and socialize. 

Best Hostel Near El Dorado Airport (Bogota’s Airport): Bababuy Hostel

Bababuy Hostel is a well-decorated hostel with a surprisingly amount of social atmosphere. The staff is extremely friendly and the reception is opened 24 hours, just in case something happens with your flight. The hostel is so close you can walk to the airport in 35 minutes! A great cheap hostel if you are in between flights. 

Click here for more details!

Best Budget Hotel Near El Dorado Airport (Bogota’s Airport): Hilton Garden Inn Bogota Airport

Thought the 4-star Hilton Garden Inn Hotel might be a little pricier than your average budget hotel, let me tell you why it is worth it. The hotel provides a buffet breakfast as well as free shuttle service to the airport, both of which are costly at other hotels. Additionally, the hotel has a spa, hot tub, sauna, and a fitness center. There is no better place to stay for a stopover than here. 

Click here for more details!

Best Luxury Hotel Near El Dorado Airport (Bogota’s Airport): Hotel Habitel Prime

The Hotel Habitel Prime is one of the best hotels in Bogota, too bad it is close to the airport and far away from Bogota’s attractions. Guests can enjoy their international breakfast buffet as well as the spa and wellness center. There are free shuttles that run daily to transport guests to El Dorado Airport!

Click here for more details!

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As you can see, there is no best place to stay in Bogota. If you have to decide on where to stay in Bogota, make sure you consider what type of traveler you are and what you want to get out of your visit to Bogota.

Any questions? Leave a comment below!

Disclaimer: Some of the links above are affiliate links. That means if you book through the links, we will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you! The money will help run this site! Thank you 🙂

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The Ultimate Peru Bucket List: 31 BEST Attractions in Peru

The Ultimate Peru Bucket List: 31 BEST Attractions in Peru

Peru is arguably one of the best travel destinations in the world. 

Many people know Peru just for its Seven Wonder of the World, Machu Picchu. A relic of the Incas, Machu Picchu is one of the places you must visit in Peru. But did you know that there are many more attractions in Peru than just Machu Picchu? 

Rich culture, diverse landscapes, and amazing gastronomy, Peru is a country that has it all. In the northern part of Peru along the coast, you have some of the most pristine beaches to relax on. If beaches are not your thing, the hikes in Peru in Andes mountains Peru will prove challenging to the most experienced hikers.

Don’t like either? Head into the Peruvian Amazon rainforest for a few days and experience a lifestyle you have never had. There are so many amazing things to do in Peru. 

As the 20th largest country in the world, it is impossible to list all the places to visit in Peru.

For that reason, we have compiled this ultimate Peru bucket list! We even included some of the best cities to visit in Peru!

Hopefully, this will help you plan your itinerary for your next Peru trip!

What To Do In Peru: Peru’s Best Attractions

Best Cities To Visit In Peru

1. Cusco, the Capital of the Incas

Cusco, the former capital of the Inca empire, is a place you must visit when traveling to Peru. From the Incan ruins such as Sacsayhuaman to the indigenous people walking down the street, Cusco is bustling with traditional Peruvian culture. The timeless cobble-stoned streets with gorgeous historical buildings are sprawling throughout the city, making it a photographer’s dream.

As the former capital of the Inca empire, Cusco is also a great base to explore the nearby Incan artifacts. Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Rainbow Mountain, those are some of the best places to visit in Peru. And guess what? Cusco is the perfect place to stay for all those attractions.

As the top travel destination in Peru, it shouldn’t surprise you that Cusco has some of the best traditional foods in Peru. Try out cuy (guinea pig) and alpaca meat when you are in Cusco!

2. Huacachina, The Dreamy Desert Oasis

By: The Wanderlust Within

Huacachina is a desert oasis in the Ica desert in southwestern Peru. In the center is a green lagoon surrounded by palm trees and a small village. 

Huacachina is a great place to relax for two or three nights and is around 5 hours south of Lima. You can spend your days relaxing by the sand dunes (which looks like something out of Aladdin) or head out into the desert on a dune buggy to try your hand at sandboarding.

Sandboarding tours run 3 times a day but the later times are advisable as the weather is much cooler. However, if wine is more your thing, then join one of the local winery and Pisco tours. The last activity that is a must is hiking to the top of one of the dunes in time for sunset, but make sure you give yourself plenty of time as hiking uphill in the sand is tougher than you think!

3. Iquitos, Gateway to the Amazon Forest

By: Brainy Backpackers

Iquitos is the small city in the middle of the Peruvian Amazon rainforest where you cannot get to by road. Yes, you heard me right! The only way you can get there is by flying or by boat through the Amazon rainforest.

This makes it pretty unique, and while the city in itself isn’t the most pretty in Peru, it is the gateway to a unique jungle experience. You can book multi-day tours in Iquitos that take you through the Amazon river to stay in lodges in the rainforest. I recommend paying a little extra to get a little farther away from the city for a better experience.

In Iquitos, you should visit the street market in Belén and walk past the stilt houses raising over the Itaya River. This is the poor area of the city, so respect the people and think about how you photograph so the locals don’t have to feel uncomfortable and get the impression that their poverty is a tourist attraction.

In the heart of the historic center, the main square, Plaza de Armas is surrounded by 20th Century European influenced buildings. Down towards the waterfront, there are numerous bars and restaurants to connect with other travelers and locals.

4. Lima, Peru’s Capital

By: Backpackers.wro

Lima is the capital of Peru and one of the most diverse cities we’ve seen in South America. Lima is a large and dynamically developing city and one of the most popular tourist destinations. Currently, every third inhabitant of Peru lives in the capital. The oldest university on the continent (founded in 1551) is also located in Lima.

It is worth visiting the colonial heart of Lima, and one of its biggest attractions. Take a walk between the two largest squares of the old town – Plaza San Martin and Plaza de Armas. Both can delight with their enormity and monumental buildings. At Plaza San Martin, it’s worth taking a look (entrance is free) to the lobby of the Grand Hotel.

If you like sacred art, don’t miss the monastery of St. Francis. The area of the old town was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1988.

The gastronomy of Lima is one of the top reasons why travelers visit from all over the world. With 2 restaurants on the top 50 restaurants in the world, make sure you try Peruvian cuisine when you visit Lima. Also, don’t forget to try ceviche, the national dish of Peru when you are there!

If you are looking for a good place to stay in Lima, we recommend Miraflores. It is one of the safest districts in Lima and the heart of the tourism industry. This is where you will find the largest and widest range of hostels, cinemas, restaurants, bars, and music clubs.

By: Backpackers.wro

Lima is the capital of Peru and one of the most diverse cities we’ve seen in South America. Lima is a large and dynamically developing city and one of the most popular tourist destinations. Currently, every third inhabitant of Peru lives in the capital. The oldest university on the continent (founded in 1551) is also located in Lima.

It is worth visiting the colonial heart of Lima, and one of its biggest attractions. Take a walk between the two largest squares of the old town – Plaza San Martin and Plaza de Armas. Both can delight with their enormity and monumental buildings. At Plaza San Martin, it’s worth taking a look (entrance is free) to the lobby of the Grand Hotel.

If you like sacred art, don’t miss the monastery of St. Francis. The area of the old town was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1988.

The gastronomy of Lima is one of the top reasons why travelers visit from all over the world. With 2 restaurants on the top 50 restaurants in the world, make sure you try Peruvian cuisine when you visit Lima. Also, don’t forget to try ceviche, the national dish of Peru when you are there!

If you are looking for a good place to stay in Lima, we recommend Miraflores. It is one of the safest districts in Lima and the heart of the tourism industry. This is where you will find the largest and widest range of hostels, cinemas, restaurants, bars, and music clubs.

5. Arequipa, One Of The Coolest Cities In Peru

By: TimeTravelTurtle

Peru’s second-largest city Arequipa doesn’t get as much attention from tourists as you might expect. Known as the “white city” due to the colors of buildings, Arequipa is a fascinating city full of colonial heritage. At the center is the main square, Plaza de Armas, with the cathedral, porticoes, and important neoclassical buildings.

From here, a grid-like structure of streets takes you through the historic city center. There are 49 blocks of the original Spanish layout, and you’ll find churches, mansions, offices, plazas built in the years after Arequipa was founded in 1540.

If you’re looking for things to do in Arequipa, it’s easy just to wander and explore. There are lots of great places to eat and drink, the quaint Callejon del Solar neighborhood is worth visiting, and the main landmarks are all around the central square.

One of the most interesting activity is visiting the Santa Catalina Monastery, where you’ll learn how the girls were anything but humble!

A bus from Lima to Arequipa takes about 15 hours but it’s very safe and comfortable and reasonably priced. Otherwise, you can take a two-hour flight. A bus from Cusco is about ten hours.

6. Huaraz, The Hiking Capital of Peru

By: TravelOutlandish

Huaraz is the oft skipped over the high-altitude city on the edge of the Cordillera Blanca. The city itself is exciting with a packed Mercado Central, a really lovely Plaza de Armas, and a trout hatchery (if you’re into that kind of thing), but the real charm of the city lies in what surrounds it.

Because just beyond the chaos is Huascaran National Park. The UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site park spans 340,000 and contains one of the most stunning section of the Andes – the Cordillera Blanca.

Just a few hours from the city, you can find 400 lakes and jagged peaks climbing as high as 6768m. Diverse wildlife and plant species like the Queen of the Andes.

There are famously challenging day hikes from Huaraz like the one to Laguna 69 which will have you at a glacial lake by mid-day and back to the city by evening. And if you’re open to more ambitious undertakings, Huaraz is the ideal adventure base.

You can find an inexpensive tour or rent everything you need to undertake 4-day Santa Cruz Trek or 10-day Huayhuash Circuit; both have you hiking past brilliant lagoons and high passes, and are some of the most underrated treks in Peru.

7. Mancora, Peru’s Best Beach Town

By: TalesFromTheLens

Located in the far north of Peru, Mancora is a small resort town feet in the Pacific Ocean, that yet attracts a lot less international tourists than the rest of the country.

For those busing around South America, Mancora and Huanchaco are probably the two greatest spots to stop over in order to split the journey on the way to or from Ecuador or even take time away from the high altitude of the Andes.

For travelers coming from Ecuador, they can choose to take the night bus from Cuenca to Mancora.

Although, Mancora has a reputation for being a place aimed at party animals that also lacks security at night… Nevertheless, the town has managed in the past few years, to attract a crowd of hippy-ish travelers and backpackers who enjoy a few days of rest by the beach or on the look for some cheap off-the-beaten-path experiences.

Mancora has, in fact, countless activities to offer. Here, you will find a relax place, where to chill, surf all-year long, learn how to kitesurf or even go whale watching and swim with green turtles!!

The ceviche – a Peruvian dish made of raw fish – will for sure be one of the freshest you will get to taste and the barbecued lobsters, one of the cheapest dinners you will find!

In terms of accommodationthere are plenty – from the wooden hut hosting bunk beds to the party hostels or the luxury hotels and apartments with swimming pool and direct access to the beach.

Mancora truly is a beautiful place that deserves more than its reputation. Check out this article to learn more about all the awesome things to do in Mancora.

Best Hikes in Peru

1. Catarata de Gocta, 3rd Highest Waterfall in the World

There are many places to visit besides Machu Picchu, such as Catarata de Gocta, one of the tallest waterfalls in the world. Depends on the way you measure it, Catarata de Gcota can either by the 3rd tallest waterfall to the 5th tallest.

Either way, the power of the Catarata is immense. Measuring at 771 meters tall, you will truly understand the definition of nature’s wrath. 

To get to Catarata de Gocta, you should base yourself in the Amazonas city of Chachapoyas. From there, it becomes an easy day trip that you can do by yourself or with a guide. 

The hike to Catarata de Gocta is a beautiful one, traversing through lush environments. However, the 1.5-hour path can get muddy and slippery so prepare accordingly.

2. Laguna 69, The Best Day Hike in Huaraz

Laguna 69 is one of the toughest day hikes from Huaraz, the Peruvian capital of hiking. Though it is the most challenging hike, it is also the most rewarding day hike. Photoshopped-blue water, snow-capped mountains, gushing waterfalls, wildlife on the path, the whole trek is a scene from a fantasy movie.

However, all good things take a little bit of sacrifice. In this case, it will be a lot of sweat, water, and coca leaves. Though a single-day trek, Laguna 69 is known to be difficult for even experienced hikers.

At an altitude of 4600m, altitude sickness can become a real problem. In addition to that, the total trek time is 6 hours. Though only 6km one way, you will be gaining lots of altitude quickly. 

3. Inca Trail, a Must-Do in Peru

The Inca Trail is the most popular hiking trail in Peru because it leads to Machu Picchu, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. This 4-day hike is a must-do in Peru.

Allowing only 500 people (only 200 are tourists) a day on the trail, the opportunity to hike the Inca trail is rare. Visitors wanting to take the Inca trail will often have to visit months in advance, or maybe up to a year if it is high season.

The 4 days of hiking will definitely be some of the toughest hiking you will ever do in your life. However, the experience will be unlike any other. Hike through the Sacred Valley of Peru using the same paths that the historical Incans built to connect their settlements. You will explore Inca ruins after ruins and learn about the history of these ruins.

Finally, after 4 days of going back in time and immersing yourself in the history of the Incans, you will arrive at Machu Picchu. But you won’t arrive at the entrance of Machu Picchu, you will go through the Sun Gate at Macchu Picchu, a historical place that the Incans used to go through.

4. Hike Rainbow Mountain and See the Beautiful Colors

By: Trimm Travels

If you are heading to Perú, a top favorite country of mine, you must not miss out on Rainbow Mountain. Originally named Vinicunca, in Spanish, it’s called La Montaña de Siete Colores (Mountain of Seven Colors).

Located roughly 4 hours outside of Cusco, the beautiful mineral sediments of red, purple, gold, and turquoise literally stopped me in my tracks. In the quiet of nature and altitude, there is just nothing more stunning.

A day trip to Rainbow Mountain can be accessed via an organized tour or on your own. I recommend going on your own especially if you or anyone in your group speaks Spanish. You can negotiate a taxi from Cusco the night before and get a set rate on the day.

This gives you control over what day you go for the weather, the time you go to avoid crowds and the ability to stay as long as you wish.

I highly recommend 2-3 days to acclimate to Cusco before you even attempt Rainbow Mountain as you will be finishing the hike (or horse ride) at 16,000 feet. Take it slow and bring plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Weather varies with the season but it is known to become pretty cool to cold at the top. Next to Machu Picchu, this is an attraction you don’t want to miss in Perú. Don’t forget to bring your passport to get the souvenir stamp!

5. Salkantay Trek, The Best Alternative to the Inca Trail

By: Winging The World

Trekking to Machu Picchu is a backpacker rite of passage. However, now that there is so much advance planning needed in order to do the Inca Trail, many travelers have sought out alternatives. The Salkantay Trek is the second most popular way to reach Machu Picchu on foot and it showcases some of the best scenery that Peru has to offer.

This hike traverses through many high altitude landscapes which culminates in you crossing the Salkantay pass, a whopping 4,600 meters above sea level. In my opinion, the trek is worth it for this one point alone as it is possibly the most beautiful place in Peru.

As most South America visitors already know, hiking at altitude can be tough, especially when you are as high as the Salkantay Pass. I was never prescribed Diamox prior to my visit so instead opted to prevent altitude sickness naturally.

I would definitely recommend allowing yourself some time in Cusco to acclimatize before tackling this trek!

6. Laguna Paron, Biggest Glacial Lake in The Cordillera Blanca

Laguna Paron is one of the most rewarding day hikes in Huaraz, Peru. It is the biggest lake in the Cordillera Blanca. However, Laguna Paron is not just any typical lake. Located 4,200m in altitude, the minerals from the nearby mountains have settled into Lake Paron, turning the color to a pastel blue. Some might look at the photos and think that the color has been post-processed.

Not only do you get to see the beautiful water of the lake, but also the summit of mountain Artesonraju. What is the significance of this mountain? Good question. Artesonraju mountain is the same mountain that the famous film company Paramount Studio uses as its logo!

With only a short hike of an hour, you can see both natural beauties with your own eyes. Even though the trek is short, be aware that Laguna Paron is at an altitude of 4,200m, an altitude that could easily cause altitude sickness. Take your utmost precaution against altitude sickness.

7. Visit Palccoyo, the Quiet Alternative to Rainbow Mountain

By: ASocialNomad

A visit to Peru’s rainbow mountains must be on everyone’s bucket list. The Rainbow Mountains are stunning. The variety of colors that you see here are from the natural minerals present, iron and copper primarily.

Most visitors looking for Peru’s rainbow mountains head to Vinicunca. It’s famous for the tough hike, the gorgeous scenery and the thousands of other travelers.  That’s why you should head to the lesser-known rainbow mountain of Palccoyo instead.

It’s a little further to drive – 3.5 hours rather than 3.   It’s about 300 meters lower in altitude than Vinicunca and the walk takes around 30 minutes rather than 3 hours.

But the absolute best reason to visit Palccoyo rather than Vinicunca is that there are significantly fewer people there. 

The day we visited Palccoyo we 5 were the only people on the mountain. The rainbow mountain of Palccoyo is peaceful, tranquil and – I hope as empty for you as it was for us.

8. Colca Canyon, One of the Best Hikes In Peru

By: Backpack Adventures

With twice the height of the Grand Canyon, the Colca Canyon is one of the most impressive hikes in Peru. Most people come to see the Andean condor that flies through the canyon. Representing the heavenly world in Peruvian culture, the condors are the most sacred bird in Peru. In addition to these spiritual animals, the landscapes and the traditional villages are equally spectacular.

The best way to explore this region is by doing the challenging Colca Canyon trek in and out of the canyon. Although possible in 2 days it is much better to take at least 3 days. This allows you much more time in the villages that you come across once you are down in the canyon.

It’s a steep climb out again, but the views are definitely worth all your effort. From Arequipa, it is possible to arrange tours into the Colca Canyon. Some do even offer day trips by bus, but this is really only for those short on time because you will only get to see the tip of the iceberg.

9. Humantay Laguna, A Beautiful Lake in the Andes Mountain

Humantay Lake, or Laguna Humantay in Spanish, is located 4,200m in the Andes mountain of Peru. The best way to visit the Humantay Lake is through a tour from Cusco, or on the way of the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu.

Archaeologists believe that the Humantay Lake was sacred to the Incas, as still visible by the offerings (stacks of rocks) you will see on the perimeter of the lake.

Besides being a sacred place, the view there is simply incredible. Crystal blue water surrounded by snow-capped mountains, crisp air and breezy gusts of wind, it feels like you are on a proper adventure.

The hike to Humantay Lake is only about 1.5 hours one way from Soraypampa, the start of your ascent. It is a fairly easy hike compared to the other hikes you can do in the Andes region of Peru.

Though fairly short, proper precautions should be taken to prevent altitude sickness. 4,200m is an altitude that is no joke. No one should attempt hiking Laguna Humantay without proper acclimatization. 

10. Glacier Pastoruri, A Disappearing Glacier

Glacier Pastoruri, located 5,000m above sea level in the Cordillera Blanca, is by definition not a glacier anymore. That is because in the winter month, Glacier Pastoruri is no longer building ice. Spaning 8 square kilometers, Glacier Pastoruri is simply a big piece of ice that will eventually melt away and disappear.

However, Glacier Pastoruri might disappear but it will never be forgotten. As one of the tourist destinations affected by climate change, it sends a message to everyone in the world.

While it is still there, Glacier Pastoruri is a popular day hike from Huaraz, the Peruvian capital of hiking. The best way to visit Pastoruri is with one of the affordable tours everywhere in Huaraz.

On the tour, you will be transported to the beginning of the hike. Luckily, the hike is only 30 minutes one way, making the trek much more manageable considering the high altitude. Make sure you have enough coca leaves (Peruvian coffee) when you visit Glacier Pasoruri.

11. Choquequirao, An Off-The-Beaten-Path Inca Ruins

By: AWorldOfTravelWithKids

Choquequirao is definitely amongst the best and most unique places to visit in Peru! But let me tell you why it should be on your bucket list right now!

Choquequirao is the “other” lost city of the Incas, but a lot less well known than Machu Picchu.  Unlike Machu Picchu, excavation continues today at Choquequirao and archaeologists think that the ruins of this Inca city are much more extensive than its more famous counterpart.

For example, the incredible llama terraces were only discovered in 2002 – and new additions are found every year.

Folks ‘in the know’ opt to visit Choquequirao vs Machu Picchu because they can sometimes be alone in the ruins – that is right, just themselves – or perhaps a handful of other people.   This is because

At the moment the only way to access Choquequirao is via a difficult 4-day trek – 2 days in and 2 days out.  There is a new route “The Choquequirao Huanipaca route “which means you don’t backtrack over the same ground but you still need to allow 4 days.  Make sure you are well acclimatized to altitude before trekking. 

Best Things To Do in Peru / Best Places to Visit in Peru

1. Machu Picchu, One of the Seven Wonders of the World

Did you think a Peru bucket list would be complete without the famous Machu Picchu? As one of the Seven Wonders of the World, Machu Picchu is the one place you must visit in Peru.

Beautiful, historical, and breath-taking, it is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the world. The most popular way to visit Machu Picchu is through the traditional Inca trail, a 4-day trek that passes through ancient Inca ruins and finally arriving in Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate on the last day.

Machu Picchu is so important because it was never discovered by the Spaniards when they arrived. Everything that was left is in its original form, providing scientists and archaeologists crucial information about the Inca culture and architecture.

However, if you are not hiking the Inca trail, it is advised to stay in Machu Picchu town (called Aguas Calientes) the night before. Then the next day you can visit Machu Picchu for the best views and a minimum amount of tourists.

As the most popular destination in Peru, Machu Picchu is becoming a victim of over-tourism. As a result, the Peruvian government has implemented many rules and regulations to reduce the effects of human erosion and restore the pristine Machu Picchu it once had. Now there are so many things you need to know before visiting Machu Picchu.

2. Uros Floating Islands at Lake Titicaca

By: VoyageWriters

On the world’s highest navigable water of Lake Titicaca, Peru, you’ll find the floating islands of the Uros people. These islands number more than 100 and are entirely made by hand using totora reeds. 

The Uros are welcoming and sustain themselves by fishing, small scale farming, and selling handicrafts to tourists. From the port of Puno, you can take a guided tour of the islands. Having a guide who can speak the language as well as explain the fascinating 1000-year-old plus history and traditions of the island’s inhabitants, is recommended. 

As an increasing number of young people leave the island to seek higher education, they are often reluctant to return to such a simple way of life. It’s sad to think that in our lifetime, this culture may only exist as a tourist attraction. Like Machu Picchu, now is the time to visit.

3. Kuelap, Machu Picchu of Northern Peru

Kuelap, also known as “Machu Picchu of Northern Peru”, is a destination that most visitors miss. This off-the-path attraction is a true hidden gem in Peru. Many travelers believe that Kuelap is a relic of the past left by the Incans, but the truth is, Kuelap was not built by the Incas.

Kuelap was built by the Chachapoyas, or Warriors of the Clouds, a group of indigenous people that existed before the Incas.

Eventually, the Chachapoyas were conquered by the Incas. However, situated more than 3,000m above sea level in the midst of cloud forest and mountains, Kuelap was never discovered by the Spaniards when they arrived.

The high walls of Kuelap were thought to be a fortress protecting against foreign invaders but in fact it wasn’t. Kuelap was a citadel and no battle had ever taken place there. Kuelap was eventually abandoned because the Incans had to support the battles that were occurring in the battlefronts.

Make sure you visit Kuelap when you are traveling in Peru. It is an easy day trip and one of the top things to do in the Amazonas city of Chachapoyas!

4. Moray, Inca’s Agriculture Lab

By: Nomad By Trade

Moray is one of the most mysterious Inca sites in the Sacred Valley. Full of strange-looking tiered circles in the ground, they definitely have a bit of an alien feel.

The prevailing archaeological theory is that the Incas used the area for experimentation with crops as the different altitudes and amounts of sun each section receives would have different effects on the plants.

Entrance to Moray is included in the Sacred Valley tourist ticket along with many of the other important Inca sites in the area. Once you’re there, there is a trail with a good amount of stairs that takes you down along the largest, most central one, and others can be seen if you continue down the path.

A visit can be easily paired with nearby Salineras de Maras, which we did on our super affordable taxitour from Cusco.

5. Explore Paracas National Reserve, Where Desert Meets the Ocean

The Paracas National Reserve is one of the top things to do in Paracas. A protected area consisting of desert, ocean, and islands, the Paracas National Reserve is diverse in every way. The 3350 km² park is filled with beautiful beaches and marine wildlife such as sea lions and seals.

Paracas National Reserve is also home to the Candelabra geoglyph, a symbol carved into the same similar to the ones found in Nazca. No one knows the true origin of the meaning of the symbol.

For those adventurous travelers, Paracas National Reserve is the perfect place to bike through. Rent a bike and bike through the vast desert, eventually leading you to the turquoise water of the Pacific Ocean.

Make sure you visit the Playa Roja, or Red Beach, when you are in Paracas National Reserve. the stark contrast between the red sand and the blue ocean water will be one of the best things you see in Peru.

6. Visit Chan Chan, World’s Largest Adobe City

By: Travels In Peru

Chan Chan is located in northern Peru and is a UNESCO world heritage site.  It is near the city of Trujillo and outside the small surf town of Huanchaco.  It was the largest city built by the Chimu culture who resided here from around 900-1470AD.  

Open to the public is one of the citadels that was built for the king as his final resting place.  Here you can visit the main plaza where the Chimu king would be brought from his burial chamber each year and offerings would be left for him to take back to the afterlife.

You can also see storage rooms, smaller plazas, the ceremonial reservoir, and the kings’ burial chamber.

It is a great place to visit to learn about the people who ruled Peru before the Incas and to find out about how these people lived and died.  

I would recommend that you get a guide as there is very little information inside Chan Chan, so that you can really learn about the culture and exactly what you are seeing.

7. See the Mysterious Nazca Lines

By: Laure Wanders

The Nazca lines are an impressive collection of over 300 geoglyphs that are carved into the sand and rocks of the Nazca Desert. These etchings of people, animals, and objects were discovered during the 1930s when planes started flying over the desert.

What’s so fascinating about these figures is that no one really knows what purpose they serve but it’s estimated that they were made 500 to 2000 years ago. Although it’s possible to see 3 of the geoglyphs from a viewing platform on the ground, the best way to see the Nazca lines is by flying over them in a small airplane.

The flight, that can be booked in the town of Nazca, takes about half an hour and you’ll be able to see 13 figures. It’s an unforgettable and quite fascinating experience that shouldn’t be missed on your trip to Peru.

8. Visit Ballestas Island to See Some Native Marine Life

Interested in seeing some of the native wildlife in Peru? Look no further. Ballestas island, nicknamed the “poor mans Galapago”s, is a group of rocky islands located 24 km (15 mi) off the coast of Paracas.

Known as the home of many different native species such as the Humboldt penguins, seals, sea lions, and much more.

Visitors are welcome to take a 2-hour boat ride starting from the coastal city of Paracas. The boat takes the passengers adjacent to these precious wildlife animals. However, no personnel is allowed to physically set foot onto the islands, as doing so could damage their habitat.

One of the best ways to visit the Ballestas Islands is to do it as a day trip from the city of Ica. Combine your visit to the Ballestas Island with a bike ride through the nearby Paracas National Reserve and you will have yourself an unforgettable Peru vacation.

9. Salineras de Maras, One of the Four Places to Make Pink Salt

By: RovingJo

Visiting the Maras salt mines, or the Salineras de Maras, is an essential part of exploring the Sacred Valley.  If it is not on your Peru bucket list then it should be.

The Salineras de Maras are an ancient architectural wonder with thousands of small salt wells carved onto a hillside. Incredibly, they operate today exactly as they did in the time of the Incas.

Naturally, salty water runs down canals and is diverted into small ponds alongside the mountain. As the water evaporates it leaves behind the salt which is then harvested by hand by local families. 

The Maras salt mines are best seen as part of a full-day Sacred Valley tour. Many other amazing sites are in the nearby area and hiring a private guide or going with an established tour company will help you see them all in the most efficient way possible. 

Keep in mind that Peru has recently restricted access into the salt pans due to health concerns. Therefore, a guide will be helpful not just so you get valuable information, but so you can access the best viewpoints. 

10. Ollantaytambo, An Important Village in the Sacred Valley

By: Dame Cacao

More often referred to as “Ollanta” by locals, Ollantaytambo is one of the most beautiful stops you can make on the way to Machu Picchu. The town is located two hours and a few thousand feet lower than Cuzco, making it the perfect first stop for those worried about altitude sickness.

Ollantaytambo is also fully walkable, with a variety of local Peruvian restaurants and western-style eateries, as well as plenty of free sites to fill a day or two.

The main archaeological park in town attracts hundreds of tourists each day, but just a few meters from the main square is another one, completely free for the public to respectfully explore.

Hotels in Ollantaytambo are all quite affordable, with the few upscale options located closer to the train station. Less than 20 minutes ride from town is bustling Urubamba, the famous salt mines of Maras, and the walking market in Pisac.

If you’re there from October to December, you can’t miss the fresh local strawberries from the farm just outside the main square!

11. Sacrofagos de Karajia, A Relic of the Chachapoyas People

By: The Nomadic Vegan

When it comes to historical and archaeological sites in Peru, most people know only about Machu Picchu and the other Inca sites near Cusco. But there are other civilizations even older than the Incas who have left behind fascinating glimpses into the ancient past.

One of the most mysterious of these is the painted sarcophagi discovered at Karajía in northern Peru.

The sarcophagi were created by the Chachapoya people, who, until they were conquered by the Inca, ruled their own small kingdom in the Amazonian cloud forest. For this reason, they are sometimes called the Warriors of the Clouds.

When a Chachapoya warrior died in battle, his body was placed in a larger-than-life-sized sarcophagus that was placed high up in a seemingly inaccessible cliff face.

Amazingly, the painted decorations on these sarcophagi are still visible 600 years later. The best way to see them is on a guided day trip from the city of Chachapoyas, about 60 kilometers away.

Tours include transportation, but you will still need to walk the last 40 minutes or so to reach the sarcophagi.

12. Visit Monasterio Santa Catalina, A Convent Filled with Secrets

Monasterio Santa Catalina, or otherwise called the Convent of Santa Catalina, is one of the best things to do in Arequipa. Spanning over 20000 square meters, The Convent of Santa Catalina occupies an entire block in the center of Arequipa. 

Monasterio Santa Catalina can sometimes feel like a city within a city, especially with the vivid and bright colors in contrast to the “white city” of Arequipa. In fact, much of Monasterio Santa Catalina was uncovered recently, when it opened to the public in 1972. Built in the 16th century, for more than 400 years it was invisible to the public. The high walls around the perimeter are the best keepers of the secrets. 

Surprisingly, the conditions of the nuns were contrary to what they swore by. All nuns took vows of poverty but some of them can be seen living a frivolous lifestyle, with servants and such. 

There is so much mystery to the Monasterio Santa Catalina. Make sure you check it out when you visit Peru!

13. Visit Palomino Islands and Swim With Sea Lions

By: Glitter Rebel

Has it always been your dream to swim between the seals and sea-lions? Then you NEED to head to the Palomino Islands You can easily book a day trip to this group of islands from Lima.

A little boat will bring you to a large rock in the sea that is literally covered with seals and sea lions. This colony, in particular, counts no less than 8000 animals. Although the stench of (rotten) fish is incredible, this is a once in a lifetime experience!

The guides will hand you snorkeling goggles, a wetsuit, and flippers. Do keep in mind that summer is winter in Peru and winter is summer. When arranging a trip in July or August, the water can be very cold.

The sea lions and seals on the rock are very curious animals and love to come close or even “boop” you with their little snout when you are in the water. Although you can’t always stay very long due to the cold, the smell and the animals themselves (not all of them are friendly), an excursion to the Palomino Islands is a dream come true for many!

The Palomino Islands lie just off the coast of Lima and are a great day trip when visiting the Peruvian capital!

Packing List For Peru

Peru is really diverse country. Ranging from the Amazon rainforest in Iquitos to the high Andes in Cusco, you must properly pack for Peru. Here is our packing list for Peru:

1.  Sunscreen – Sun at high altitude is very destructive, pack some.

2. Insect Repellent – If you plan on visiting the beaches or rainforest, you should consider packing some insect repellent. This one has Picaridin, which is more effective than DEET!

3. Filtration Water Bottle – The perfect companion for long hikes and treks. This item will save you so much money and make your hikes much easier.

4. Warm clothing, gloves, and hat –Peru, though located close to the Equator, can be very cold due to the altitude. Places like Cusco are cold all year round! Pack some warm clothes with you.

5. Rain poncho – A hiking essential, especially if you are visiting the Amazon region of Peru. Though rain could happen unpredictably due to the high altitude.

6. Travel Medicine Pack – An essential for any travelers. This medicine pack will have all the medicine you need just in case anyone gets ill.

7. Reliable Daypack (Him/Her) – A good daypack is essential for the day hikes you will be doing. This Osprey daypack is my personal favorite.

8. Travel Insurance – Hiking in high altitude can be dangerous, as well as a visit to the Amazon rainforest. Check out our recommendation!

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This concludes out Peru bucket list! Some of these attractions will definitely sweep you off your feet! What do you think about this list? Let us know in the comments!

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Guide to Hiking Cajas National Park in Ecuador

Guide to Hiking Cajas National Park in Ecuador

Cajas National Park is a national park located in the Andes of Ecuador. Located only 30 km west of the famous UNESCO city of Cuenca, hiking Cajas National is one of the many popular day trips from Cuenca.

The Cajas National Park offers a tundra vegetation 3900m above sea level, something that is unique from other national parks in South America. 

Travelers looking to do some hiking around Cuenca should not miss Cajas National Park! 

Without further ado, here is the guide to hiking Cajas National Park in Ecuador.

How to get to Cajas National Park from Cuenca and Back

The easiest way to get to Cajas National Park is with a tour agency. However, I highly advise against doing so because getting to Cajas National Park is extremely easy on your own and it is extremely safe. To get Cajas National Park, you will want to base yourself in Cuenca.

Cuenca is only a short 45-minute ride to Cajas National Park and there are buses that run regularly from Terminal Terrestre. Terminal Terrestre is a quick 20-minute walk from the historic center or a 5-minute taxi ride.

Once you arrive at the Terminal Terrestre, there are 2 booths that sell tickets to Cajas National Park, booth number 39 and 40. When we arrived, booth 39 wasn’t open so we bought our ticket to Cajas National park at booth 40 for $2. They have departure times as early as 7 AM but the park doesn’t open until 8 AM. The buses are also quite frequent so if you miss one you can just take the next one.

Buy your ticket and you are on your way to hiking Cajas National Park.

To get back to Cuenca, you can take any bus on the road that is going towards Cuenca. You don’t need to be at a bus station or anything. Just be on the same side of the road as the bus and wave it down when you see it coming. Technically, there are buses that run in that direction all-day but I would recommend being back before night time. 

Things to Know Before Hiking Cajas National Park

1. Bring your passport or ID – At the visitor center, you will need to register yourself with the ranger. You will have to advise him which route you plan on taking and how long you are to stay in the park. However, you do not need to sign out. 

2. Cajas National Park is located 3900m above sea level. Many people experience symptoms of altitude sickness at around 3000m. That means chances are you will also experience symptoms of altitude sickness if you are hiking Cajas National Park. Here’s a guide on how to prevent altitude sickness.

3. Download maps.me and Parque Nacional Cajas App on your phone. Maps.me is a map app similar to Google maps but much better. Their offline maps are one of the best out there. Paruqe Nacional Cajas App is the official app for Cajas National Park. On there you will have all the information you need including trails, opening hours, camping information, and much more. 

4. Start hiking early in the day to avoid clouds and rain coming in. Check the weather too before you go!

What to Bring With You When Hiking Cajas National Park

Hiking Cajas National Park can be a little bit tricky due to the biosphere and altitude. Below are things you should bring on your hike.

1. Sunscreen is a necessity. The sun at high altitudes is much stronger than the sun at sea level. In addition, you are on the equator, and the sun is even stronger there.

2. Rain poncho or raincoat. Weather can change so quickly at such high altitudes. Pack one for safety.

3. Filtration Water Bottle. It will help you in dire circumstances. Plus there are many water sources in Cajas National Park.

4. Gloves and hat. For the cold that you will encounter at such high altitudes.

5. Mud shoes. Or shoes that you are willing to sacrifice to the mud and water.

6. Food/Snack/Water. Pack accordingly to how long you plan on staying at Cajas National Park. There is a restaurant on-site next to the visitor center but they only have something simple.

Hiking Cajas National Park

The bus dropped us off at the visitor center. Immediately, we started to notice that the weather was not quite the same as it was in Cuenca. We walked towards the visitor center and encountered a sign that said altitude 3,850m.

That is the highest altitude I have ever hiked in at that point in my life. At the visitor center, we signed in our names and the ranger explained to us the trails that were available. Some trails were unavailable due to the rain from yesterday.

He said if this is your first time here, you will want to do the pink trail, or Ruta 1 on your Parque Nacional Cajas App. Ruta 1 ends on the road where you can conveniently get the bus back to Cuenca!

The other popular option is the green trail (Ruta 2 in the App), which has you summiting one of the mountains in the park for a panoramic view of the park. Feeling already short-breathed from the altitude, we picked the pink trail, or ruta 1.

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In this altitude and biosphere, it tends to rain quite often. Even though we were prepared for the cold weather, rain, and the sudden change of weather, we were not prepared for the mud that resulted from yesterday’s rain.

Yesterday’s rain had caused a major part of the trail to be flooded, muddy, and extremely slippery. We continued for about 2 hours on the pink trail (Ruta 1) and then the rain started to come in. We looked at our maps and realized that we were at least 3 hours away from the end of the trail. The heavy rain from the day before had also caused the trail to be very undetectable, and we were losing confidence as to if we were actually on the right path. So we decided to head back the same way we started.

On the path, you will see landscapes you have never seen before. The tundra vegetation created some of the most exotic plants I have never seen. All the colors, the scenery, and the climate, Cajas National Park is truly a wonder on its own.

Where to Stay in Cuenca

Best Hostel in Cuenca – Pepes House Bed and Breakfast

Pepes House Bed and Breakfast is one of the best hostels in Cuenca. The property itself is gorgeous. Once you enter, you feel like you just escaped from the bustling center of Cuenca to your own relaxing paradise. All their dormitory beds are single beds (no bunk beds). I highly recommend this hostel.

Click here for more details!

Best Hotel in Cuenca – Hotel Casa San Rafael

Hotel Casa San Rafael is a beautiful hotel located inside a colonial-style house. Their breakfast is amazing and their rooms are spacious! One of the best luxury hotels in Cuenca. 

Click here for more details!

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That’s the end to the guide for hiking Cajas National Park. Have you hiked Cajas National Park? Let us what you think in the comments!

Disclaimer: Some of the links above are affiliate links. That means if you book or make a purchase through the links, we will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you! The money will help run this site! Thank you 🙂

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3 Days in Bogota: Itinerary to Colombia’s Capital

3 Days in Bogota: Itinerary to Colombia’s Capital

Bogota, the capital of Colombia, is a place filled with culture and some of the best Colombian cuisine. With so many top attractions to do in Bogota, it might be difficult to cover all the amazing activities. 

In our itinerary for 3 days in Bogota, you will visit the best places in Bogota, learn about the complicated history of Colombia, immerse yourself in the culture, and of course try the local Colombian food

Not only will this guide give you every step to plan your 3 days in Bogota, but it will give you information on the best places to stay in Bogota and what to pack for your trip.

Without further ado, let’s get down to the details!

3-Day Bogota Itinerary

Where To Stay in Bogota

We are going to start our 3 day Bogota itinerary by deciding where to stay because not every area in Bogota is safe. Most accommodations are located in 2 areas in Bogota: La Candelaria or Chapinero.

La Candelaria is the old Bogota, full of historical buildings, culture, and museums. If you backpacking Colombia on a budget, La Candelaria is full of affordable backpacker hostels. However, the area can be unsafe at night.

Chapinero is the modern Bogota, full of hippie cafes, the best bars and clubs, and good food. The area is much safer than La Candelaria and I highly recommend you to stay in Chapinero.

Make sure you have travel insurance when you visit Bogota!

Low-Budget Recommendation

Aurora Hostel– Cozy hotel with a beautiful interior. Comfortable beds and a great common area to meet other travelers. Bar on-site that provides affordable drinks. Good value for money.

Selina Chapinero – Beautiful hostel with amazing amenities including co-working spaces, a restaurant, and a kitchen. The communal areas are well-decorated and the place feels like home.

High-Budget Recommendation

bs Rosales Hotel– Beautiful big rooms away from the craziness and noise of Bogota. Comfortable beds, amazing breakfast, sleek interior, I highly recommend this place. 

Hotel Lugano Suites – 5-star hotel for an affordable price. The decor is modern. Gym, spa, and sauna are included. One of the best hotels in Bogota.

Day 1 (Paloquemao, Museo del Oro, Tejo)

Morning

Welcome to Bogota! Your 1st day in Bogota is going to be a lot of exploration. If you are staying in the Chapinero neighborhood as I recommended, go outside and look for some breakfast. That area is filled with amazing cafes and restaurants. There are some foods you must try in Colombia for breakfast: Pan de bono (soft cheesy bread), tinto (like an espresso shot), and arepas

Once you are done enjoying your Colombian breakfast, head over to Plaza de Mercado de Paloquemao. Paloquemao is the biggest local farmer’s market in Bogota. Come and try the exotic fruits and vegetables of the region, like guanabanas and lulos. 

Afternoon

Spend the afternoon wandering around La Candelaria, the historical parts of Bogota. Walk through the little alleys, check out some of the cool souvenir shops, and don’t hesitate to try something new. Colombians are some of the friendliest people I have ever met. For lunch, you must try Ajiaco, the most famous Colombian dish in Bogota. Popular in the mountainous Andes region of Colombia, Ajiaco is the perfect warm meal for a cold day. 

The best restaurant in Bogota to try Ajiaco is La Puerta Falsa. A cheap and traditional Colombian restaurant that Anthony Bourdain has visited himself, you will not be disappointed by the food. You must try the Ajiaco and Tamales at La Puerta Falsa.

After having lunch, you will visit the Gold Museum, or Museo del Oro in Spanish. As Bogota’s most famous and prestigious museum, you can easily spend 2-3 hours here. Explore the 55,000 pieces of gold and learn about their historical significance, it is quite fascinating. On Sundays, admission to the Gold Museum is free. 

You might see people selling “Big Ass Ants”, or hormigas culonas outside of Museo del Oro. Make sure you give it a try because they are a special Colombian snack! 

Night

Night-time is a little tricky in Bogota, as some areas such as La Candelaria become quite dangerous. It is still one of the best places to visit in Bogota, but I would recommend you to walk in groups or take an Uber. (Update: Uber is now banned in Colombia starting January 2020. You can still use Uber-like apps such as Beat, Cabify, or Didi for your travel needs!)

Tonight you will be playing Tejo, the national sport of Colombia. Tejo is a game filled with alcohol and explosives usually played at a bar. Recipe for disaster? Maybe. Recipe for fun? Definitely.

Head over to Club De Tejo La 76, an amazing local bar with cheap drinks and good food. The staff will explain the rules of Tejo and make sure everyone is having fun!

Day 2 (Walking Tour, Botero Musem, Monserrate)

Hope you are not too tired from your crazy Tejo night yesterday because you will be seeing some of Bogota’s best attractions today. 

Morning

Today you will go on a FREE walking tour and learn about the history and the best places in Bogota. The tour starts at 10 AM at the Museo del Oro, a place you should be familiar with already. The tour is based on tips so if you didn’t enjoy the tour, you don’t have to pay a dime. The tour will also take you to see some of the best street art and graffiti of Bogota. However, if you would like a more in-depth graffiti tour, check out this free graffiti tour.

Afternoon

You must be hungry after all that walking. For lunch, stay near the La Candelaria area. Look for a restaurant that serves chicharron, papas criollas (traditional Colombia potatoes), empanadas, and more.

Chicharron is delicious deep-fried pork but it is the most unhealthy food on this planet. You are not on vacation to be healthy though, are you? 

After lunch, head over to the Botero Museum, or Museo Botero del Banco de la Republica. Fernando Botero is one of the most famous painters and sculptors of Colombia. His work is unique because of his depiction of fat things.

Women, Animals, the Mona Lisa, anything and everything. Spend a few hours here admiring at the quirkiness and audacity of his work. However, keep the clock in mind, because you are going to go watch the sunset at best viewpoint in Bogota, Monserrate

To arrive at the viewpoint of Monserrate, you must take a cable car from the cable car station. You could also hike up from the station BUT only in the day time. In the evening, the path is known to be dangerous. Also, you MUST take an Uber (Update: Uber is now banned. Use Beat, Cabify, or Didi) from wherever you are to the cable car station. Don’t take a taxi and don’t walk. Taxis could be dangerous and the area surrounding Monserrate is dangerous as well. 

Night

After the sun sets at Monserrate, stay behind to watch the city of Bogota glorified by its light. Bogota is a beautiful place with all its bright lights. 

When you get back down to the cable car station, take an Uber (Update: Uber is now banned. Use Beat, Cabify, or Didi) to Andres Carne de Res, the most famous restaurant in Colombia. Andres Carne de Res is not just a restaurant, it is also an entertainment joint, a nightclub, an art gallery, and a hell of a good time in one. It is a place where you cannot summarize with just words and must experience it for yourself. 

The original Andres Carne de Res is located in Chia, about 30 minutes away from Bogota. I highly recommend going to that one if you can afford the trek. If not there is one in Andino Shopping Mall.

Day 3 (Zipaquira Salt Cathedral)

On day 3 of the Bogota itinerary, you will take a day trip to Zipaquira to visit the underground salt cathedral. As the First Wonder of Colombia, the visiting Zipaquira Salt Cathedral is the top thing to do in Bogota and be on any Colombia itinerary.

So get yourself a nice breakfast and a lot of tintos and head towards Portal Norte or Terminal del Norte and catch a bus to Zipaquira. The buses depart frequently and the journey lasts an hour.

Once the bus drops you off in Zipaquira, walk to the entrance of the Zipaquira Salt Cathedral and buy your ticket. A tour guide is included with the purchase of the ticket. Then spend the next few hours learning about the magnificence of the construction of the salt mine and cathedral. The salt cathedral is located 200m underground and it is a functioning church with many visitors on Sundays. 

 Grab a local meal in the town of Zipaquira and watch how the locals live outside of the big cities. It is an eye-widening experience.

When you are done, head back to Bogota. You should arrive just in time for dinner. Feel free to walk around to search for your final meal in Bogota, Chapinero has a lot of great options. I personally recommend you check out Dona Elvira, a restaurant with 80 years of history. The food there is as authentic as it can get.

Packing List for Your 3 Days in Bogota

Bogota, located at 2640m, is surprisingly cold for Colombia. Not only is the weather cold, but it also rains daily at the most random times. 

1.  Sunscreen. The sun at such a high altitude is very strong. Pack sunscreen.

2. Warm clothing. Bogota is cold due to its altitude. Pack warm clothes, especially gloves and a hat.

3. Reliable daypack. This Osprey daypack is extremely comfortable. Osprey also offers a lifetime warranty on all its products.

4. Rain poncho or rain jacket. Always have one in your backpack. You will never know when you will need it.  

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This concludes the 3 day Bogota itinerary. I hope this helped you to find some of the best things to do and places to see in Bogota! Don’t worry too much about following it to the T, enjoy Colombia. It is full of surprises and greatness!

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9 BEST Things to Do in Salento Colombia TODAY!

9 BEST Things to Do in Salento Colombia TODAY!

Salento, the land of some of the best Colombian coffee and giant wax palm trees, is one of the top tourist destinations in Colombia. In fact, no Colombia itinerary would be complete without a visit to this famous coffee town.

But what to do in Salento Colombia besides sampling the coffee and visiting the Cocora Valley? Worry not, the Quindio region where Salento is located is full of marvelous wonders. In this guide, you will find a variety of activities in Salento, from food to try, places to visit, and even traditional games to play!

Without further ado, here are the 9 best things to do in Salento, Colombia.

What To Do In Salento: 9 Top Things To Do In Salento, Colombia

1. Hike Cocora Valley And See The World’s Tallest Wax Palm Trees

Hiking Cocora Valley, or Valle de Cocora in Spanish, is the No.1 thing to do in Salento. Travelers come from all over the world to Salento just to see Cocora Valley with their own eyes. Why? Because Cocora Valley is the home of the tallest wax palm trees in the entire world! They can grow up to 60m (200 feet), the height of a 14-story building!

When you arrive in Cocora Valley, you have two options to see the wax palms trees. Most people you meet will refer to them as the long and short loop. The short loop means you go straight to the viewpoint of the wax palm trees, and return the same way. The long loop means you do an entire 5-6 hour hiking trail in the Cocora Valley. Counterclockwise on this trail means you will see the wax palm trees last, and clockwise means you will see them first thing on your trail.

I did the long loop counterclockwise and I am glad I did. It was totally a breathtaking moment seeing the beautiful giants after hours of hiking.

If you are short on time or money (since you have to pay a few times on the long loop), then consider doing the short loop and going straight to the palm trees.

How to Get to Cocora Valley From Salento?

To get to Cocora Valley from Salento, you can either walk or take one of the Jeeps that leave frequently at Plaza de Bolivar. The Jeeps leave once they fill up so there is no schedule to it. Just show up, buy a ticket, and wait till it is your turn!

2. Stroll Along the Beautiful Calle Real, One Of The Most Popular Things To Do in Salento

Calle Real is the “main” street that every town has. It is the street where you will find cute cafes, local Colombian food, and souvenirs, along with some of the most colorful buildings in town.

The handicrafts you will encounter in Calle Real are some of the best you will find in the region.

Calle Real is something you must see in Salento. But luckily for you, it is located conveniently in town. Combine a visit to Calle Real with a stroll at the nearby Plaza de Bolivar, the hotspot for locals to hang out!

3. Go On a Coffee Tour in Salento and Try Some Local Coffee

If you are visiting Colombia, you cannot leave without tasting a cup of coffee from the local region. Colombia’s coffee is considered one of the best in the world due to ideal growing conditions and the minerals in the soil.

Luckily for you, Salento is located in the Quindio region, arguably the best coffee region in Colombia.

Therefore, it should go without saying that you have to visit one of the coffee farms while you are in Salento.

Every coffee farm in Colombia exports its coffee overseas because of how much more money they can earn. By visiting the coffee farms themselves, you get to try and buy high-quality coffee directly. That way, you are guaranteed to have the best quality Colombian coffee! 

How/Where to Get the Coffee Tours in Salento?

Coffee tours can be found easily throughout the tour agencies in the town.

However, some of these coffee farms are not located too far from town and they offer pop-in coffee tours.

My personal recommendation is to go to Las Acacias Coffee Farm and Finca El Ocaso Salento on your own. They are both short hikes from the town Salento itself.

4. Go Up to Mirador De Salento

Interested in seeing the beautiful town of Salento from above? Then you have to check out the Mirador De Salento or the Viewpoint of Salento! Though not very creative or impressive with the name, I can guarantee you the view will leave you breathless. However, the way to the top of this viewpoint will also leave you breathless, literally.

The Mirador De Salento is located conveniently in town. Head down towards the end of Calle Real and you will find yourself at the bottom of a 238-step climb to the Mirador De Salento. 238 steps later, you will not only see the entirety of Salento and the little traditional “paisa” houses but the lush nature that the Quindio coffee region is known for.

5. Visit Filandia, A Beautiful Colonial Town Nearby

Filandia is a hidden gem that many travelers have not even heard of. Located only an hour away from Salento, you can visit Filandia as a day trip or for a few days.

Filandia is probably my second favorite town in all of Colombia, just behind the color colonial town Jardin. Part of the reason is that they are very similar. Filandia has some of the most amazing nature, grass fields stretching beyond horizons that your eyes can reach, double waterfalls, and some of the best sunsets in Colombia.

If you stop by Filandia, make sure you try the famous restaurant, Helena Adentro, their eggplant appetizer is one of the best food I have tasted in Colombia. For the best coffee and sunset spot, check out Cultivar Cafe Restaurante, the view from that is incredible.  

How to Get to Filandia from Salento?

To get to Filandia from Salento, head over to the main park of Salento, Plaza De Bolivar, the same place where you got your transportation to Cocora Valley. Tell the person at the booth that you want to go to Filandia and he or she will be able to assist you further. 

6. Take a Short Hike to Waterfall Santa Rita

Salento is located in the rich coffee region surrounded by some of the lushest nature in the world. It shouldn’t surprise you that it also has an amazing waterfall nearby, Santa Rita waterfall.

If the Colombia heat is proving to be a little too much to handle, why not take a short hike and bath in the freshwater of Santa Rita? Surrounded by nature on all sides, Santa Rita waterfall feels like a paradise in the jungle. Come with your friends, splash some water around, and have a good time.

How to Get to Santa Rita Waterfall from Salento?

The way to Santa Rita is about 1.5 hours from Salento. If you look on Google Maps, or maps.me, you will see two routes with roughly the same amount of time to get there. DO NOT take the route behind the Mirador De Salento! If you do, you have to pay in order to pass certain parts of the path and you have to cross a river, with no bridge. Take the path that’s going out of Salento toward the main highway.

7. Visit the Acaime Hummingbird Sanctuary

The Acaime Hummingbird Sanctuary is located in the Cocora Valley (Valle de Cocora) and can be reached on a 45-minute detour from the Valle de Cocora hiking loop. 

If you are into hummingbirds, this is a place you cannot miss. Admire the hummingbirds as they fly freely over your head. Sip on some of the best local coffee and sample some of the cheese from the region. The Acaime Hummingbird Sanctuary is a place worth checking out in when you are in Salento. 

How to Get to Acaime Hummingbird Sanctuary from Salento?

As I said, The Acaime Hummingbird Sanctuary is located in Cocora Valley. The only way to reach it is through hiking the Cocora Valley long loop. Start the loop counterclockwise and about 2 hours in you will arrive at a fork.

Take the path to the right and you will arrive at Acaime Hummingbird Sanctuary in about 45 minutes or so. Do note that by adding this detour, you will add an additional 1.5 hour to 2 hours to the already demanding 5-6 hour loop at Cocora Valley itself.

8. Eat Trout (Trucha), the Famous Local Fish

Trout, or trucha in Spanish, might seem like a common plain dish. However, trout is a delicacy and one of the many traditional Colombian dishes, especially in the Quindio region where Salento is located.

That is because of the many trout farms that are located in the region. Using the pure water from the fresh streams in the mountains, the result is some of the most delicious trout you will ever taste.  

Where Can You Find Trucha in Salento?

You can find trucha at almost every restaurant in Salento. Calle Real has plenty of restaurants that serve some of the best truchas in the area. Plaza de Bolivar will sometimes have food trucks that sell trucha cooked in many different ways. My favorite is definitely fried or with garlic!

9. Play Tejo, Colombia’s National Sport

Tejo is a traditional Colombian game played using gunpowder and explosives. Yes, I said it right. EXPLOSIVES!! The game is usually played in a bar while chugging tons of beer and alcohol. At this point, you might think Tejo is a recipe for disaster, and you are probably right. However, the game is full of fun and is totally safe.

Tejo is the national Colombia sport and dates back to the pre-Colombian era. It is the one thing you must do in Salento, or in Colombia in general. 

Where Can You Play Tejo in Salento?

Cancha de Tejos Los Amigos is the #1 spot in Salento to play Tejo. It is a bar where you will meet local Colombians as well as travelers from around the world. The beers are affordable here and the staff will teach you how to play Tejo!

Where to Stay in Salento Colombia

Best Hostel in Salento – Coffee Tree Boutique Hostel

Coffee Tree Boutique Hostel is arguably the best hostel in Salento. Don’t let the price fool you. Coffee Tree Boutique hostel is an amazing hostel with some of the best views of Salento on the balcony. Did I mention the fabulous breakfast that is included? It also has family-styled private rooms. 

Click here for more details!

Best Hotel in Salento – Casa De Las Dos Palmas

Casa De Las Dos Palmas is a small and lovely boutique hotel with some of the cutest decors in Salento. Everything is perfect from the free breakfast to the staff. Did I mention the jacuzzi that will rejuvenate your body after the long hikes?

Click here for more details!

How Long Should You Stay in Salento Colombia?

I recommend staying in Salento for at 1-2. One day is technically enough to see the best attractions in Salento but you will be rushed. It would involve a very early start to hike Cocora Valley and then come back in the afternoon and go on a coffee tour. 

As a result, you should spend 2 days in Salento. One day for Cocora Valley and the other day for a coffee farm tour and exploring the town itself. 

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There you have it, the 9 TOP things to do in Salento Colombia today.

If you have any questions or concerns about Salento, Colombia, don’t be afraid to reach out or leave a comment! 

Enjoy Colombia and safe travels!

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