Planning your trip to Cusco + Machu Picchu: The Dos and Donts

cusco planning tips
    1. DO take altitude sickness precautions.  I cannot stress this enough: Altitude Sickness Is Real.  So real, that I fainted from it twice, and puked once.  So real, that I was winded, shaky and tingly most of my trip, even after I was (supposedly) ‘acclimated’. I don’t care how far away your trip is, start taking these now:

  1. DON’T bother checking the weather, just dress for any occasion.  The weather was so consistently wrong on our trip, it was almost laughable. DO bring rain gear no matter what time of year you visit.  *Click  hurr  for  my  packing  guide  to Peruwhat to pack peru

  2. DO book rainbow mountain alternative route. It’s still breathtaking, but less of a trek, more remote, and less touristy.alternative rainbow mountain

  3. DO book a tour guide for Machu Picchu, you really need a guide to learn about the history, navigate the site and get your best photos. We used Jonathan, and he was exceptional.  His whatsapp is +51 997 282 617. He came as a recommendation and I’m happy to pass his info along!do you need to book a guide machu picchu

  4. DO ride Inca rail over Peru rail. It’s a more elevated experience, with nicer train cars and better service.  The Belmond also has its own luxury rail system that’s worth mentioning. 

  5. DO try a pisco sour, corn beer and local wines (Might I suggest spending ample time at my favorite watering hole, the Pisco Museum)

  6. DON’T eat the guinea pigs, that’s just straight up disgusting. DO eat vegan at Qura and Vegan Temple.  Plant based is part of the culture, and there is no where I’ve been that has more complex and nutrient dense vegetables, grains and fruit than Peru.  DON’T think that means I’m not suggesting you also indulge regularly in pisco sours and ceviche.vegan food in cusco

  7. DO carry loose change to have your photos taken with baby llamas and goats. Also nice to have some for kiddos.

  8. DO let a crystal speak to you. I found my favorite crystal stands in the Chinchero flea market.chinchero market peru

  9. DO take a cooking class to learn how to make traditional Peruvian cuisine.Best cooking class in peru

  10. DO take a yoga class, soundbath or sign up for private reiki at the Healing House in Cusco. where to take yoga cusco

  11. DO hike up to Sacusayaman in Cusco to see the ruins and the best view of the city.  (But dont feel like you have to take a guided tour)DON’T feel ridiculous referring to the previous as ‘sexy woman’ when asking  directions – everyone will understand. best view in cusco

  12. DO visit Cusco Market for a fresh squeezed juice, or to buy a branch of ayahuasca, whichever. breakfast as cusco market

  13. DO bring a pack lunch for Machu Picchu, there’s no food for purchase inside the gates.best trip to machu picchu

  14. DON’T bring heels, you’ll roll an ankle on the cobblestone streets and hilly terrain. Sneakers and sandals will fair you fine.peru fashion

  15. DO practice your Spanish before you go – I was shocked by how much I relied on mine!most important phrase to learn traveling in peru spanish

  16. DO book the afternoon opening for visiting Machu Picchu if you’re not planning on doing an in-park hike.  Then you can walk the last part of the Inca Trail for four hours (very strenuous) to reach the base of Machu Picchu.  It’s very rewarding without being too time consuming.

  17. DO book your Machu Picchu tickets far in advance.  I suggest adding on a hike if you’ve got the time and agility.  The mountain hike affords better views.  But DO know you’ll get the most iconic views from simply inside the main entrance of Machu Picchu, no hiking required.machu picchu hike

  18. DO visit the Maras to see the salt pools and Morays to learn about alien invasions in Peru (or about innovative farming techniques, whatever)tour of the salt pools peru

  19. DO book a ziplining tour in the Sacred Valley.zip line sacred valley

  20. DO let yourself immerse into this incredible culture.  Put your phone and camera down, get lost in the winding streets of Cusco, chat with locals in the Sacred Valley, and connect with Peru on a spiritual level. This can be one of the most healing and humbling trips of your life, if you let it be.  kids of peru

Click here to read my Peru Travel Itinerary Guide

SHOP MY LOOK:

Boho dress with button front: Free People via RenttheRunway, use code CHELSEA50 for half off your first month // Shoes: Amazon // Sunnies: Quay

Pink & White Sweater: Madewell // Hat: Amazon

Pink Rain Jacket: Amazon // Jeans: Amazon // Boots: Kodiak // Hat: Amazon

White Sweater: H&M // Head Scarf: Vintage Store // Tan Leggings: Outdoor Voices // Backpack: Amazon

Oversized Perfect for Peru faux fur jacket: The Kooples via RenttheRunway // Tan bodysuit: Forever21 // Pink maxi skirt: Forever21

Bedazzled Jean Jacket: Boom Boom Jeans

Black Maxi with floral Print: Flynn Skye via RenttheRunway // Black Sweater with Open Shoulders: Karen Miller // Crossbody Fringe Bag: Elliot Luca

Green Button Front Shirt: Target // Black Jeans: Frame

For my packing guide to Peru, click here

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Comments

  1. This place looks stunning. Noted down for future reference

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