Cusco, Peru is a bucket list destination for many travelers. While it’s considered to be the gateway to Machu Picchu, there is so much to do and see in Cusco itself. Choosing a Cusco hotel in the best areas to stay in Cusco will help you make the most of your time here.
Whether you’re planning on just staying in Cusco for a night before traveling on to Machu Picchu, or enjoying all this city has to offer, finding the best place to stay in Cusco Peru for you can be challenging. There truly seem to be countless hotels in Cusco at every price point.
This ultimate guide to where to stay in Cusco will help you find the best place to stay in Cusco for your perfect trip.
Plus, make sure to check out our recommendations for Cusco hotels near Plaza de Armas (one of the most popular places to stay in Cusco) – and why some of the best places to stay in Cusco might be a little farther from the historic center than you might think.
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Where to Stay in Cusco
Cusco is divided into many neighborhoods that sprawl out within the valley and up the mountainsides, creating an incredibly picturesque city with incredible views around every corner.
When visiting Cusco, you’ll most likely spend all of your time in the historic center of Cusco – here you’ll find a vast array of restaurants, cafes, hotels, and everything you could ever want as a traveler. You’ll also find the city’s best attractions.
The historic center has the best places to stay in Cusco at every price point – safe places to stay in Cusco and an array of great hotels to choose from spread around the Cusco neighborhoods that make up the historic center.
Cusco Historic Center
As a traveler, the Cusco historic center will be where you’ll find yourself, likely throughout your entire stay in Cusco. Almost all of the sites you’ll want to visit and things you’ll want to do within the city are located in the historic center.
The historic center is truly the only place you’ll really want to stay in Cusco – when choosing where to stay in Cusco, you’ll likely just be choosing between the neighborhood within the historic center (Plaza de Armas, San Blas, or San Cristobal) that seems like the best fit for you.
Cusco’s historic center is broken down into several distinct neighborhoods (Plaza de Armas, San Blas, and San Cristobal) – which we’ll cover in greater detail throughout the rest of the article.
We’ve chosen from the best Cusco hotels in all these neighborhoods to give you our top recommendations for Cusco hotels in the entire historic center.
In Cusco’s historic center, you’ll find many hotels of all shapes, sizes, and price points to choose from. There are everything from dirt-cheap backpacker hostels to restored, historic mansions that are now some of Latin America’s most incredible five-star hotels.
There is truly something for every traveler when it comes to Cusco hotels, and in the historic center, you’ll be within walking distance from everything you’d want to do here, no matter where you choose.
Prices in Cusco hotels are generally relatively inexpensive, though during the summer high season you’ll see prices rise somewhat.
However, you’ll likely find prices somewhat higher in Cusco than in other cities in Peru, mostly due to the city’s privileged proximity to Machu Picchu.
There aren’t as many apartments for rent on Airbnb and other, similar platforms as your might find in other cities. Generally in Cusco, you won’t see much of a price saving by booking an apartment rental, and you won’t get all the amenities you’d find in a hotel.
Given the incredible selection of fantastic hotels to choose from here at all price points, I’d recommend most Cusco travelers stick with a hotel.
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As a traveler visiting Cusco, you’ll certainly want to stay in Cusco’s historic center. With the range of budget hostels to luxury hotels and everything in between, this is the only real choice in Cusco.
However, you’ll need to decide which neighborhood within the historic center you’d like to call home while you visit Cusco. Though the historic center isn’t large, it has many distinct neighborhoods.
The following are some of the most popular areas to stay in Cusco, and the ones we recommend considering as you decide where to stay in Cusco.
Plaza de Armas – Cathedral
At the very center of the city’s historic district is the Plaza de Armas and Cusco’s main cathedral – this is the heart of activity in the city, with everything radiating outwards from here.
The area just around the Plaza de Armas tends to be the busiest and most bustling area of the historic center – staying here means been just a few steps from the best the city has to offer, but also right in the middle of it all (which I loved as a visitor to Cusco, but isn’t for everyone).
Located within the plaza or just a few blocks away you’ll find a great of the city’s most well-loved restaurants, artisan markets, tour providers… as well as some of the best accommodations options in the city. These are the best places to stay in Cusco within just a block or two of the Plaza de Armas.
This vibrant and social hostel just a block away from the Plaza de Armas is a perfect choice for the backpacker looking to be at the center of the city’s action.
Rooms are spotless and recently renovated, and there is a lovely courtyard perfect for meeting other travelers.
Casa Andina – Cusco Plaza ($ – $$)
Casa Andina – Cusco Plaza is a fantastic option for budget travelers in Cusco, and offers a great value to travelers. Staff are excellent and help you get to know the city well – though with such a great location near the Plaza de Armas, its easy to explore on your own.
Rooms are quite modern, and there is an excellent breakfast spread from the hotel’s cafe, with a great view of the Plaza de Armas.
Cooper Hotel Boutique is one of the best choices in the city if you’re looking for where to stay in Cusco as a budget traveler. Around the corner from the Plaza de Armas, you’ll enjoy a bit more privacy despite being able to take advantage of everything this enviable location near the Plaza has to offer.
Rooms are modern and comfortable, breakfast is delicious and service is excellent.
Set in a colonial monastery dating from 1592, Monasterio is more than just the best luxury hotel in Cusco – it is a destination and historical landmark of Cusco, itself.
Rooms face the monastery’s historic courtyard, and staff can show you are the grounds, including a historic chapel and with original, colonial artwork hanging in the lounges.
Monasterio is the pinnacle of luxury and will make your stay in Peru an unforgettable one.
Even if you don’t stay here, Monasterio is home to some of the best and most authentic Peruvian restaurants in the entire city, with live music and some of the best food you’ll enjoy on your trip. It’s well worth a visit!
Cusco Tourist Pass
You’ll need to purchase the Cusco Tourist Pass to visit almost any of these destinations – especially the sites with ruins! The Cusco Tourist Pass is an excellent deal, and includes admissions to a variety of sites in and around Cusco, over a number of days. Book your Cusco Tourist Pass in advance and start planning your trip!
The Cusco neighborhood of San Blas is a charming part of the city’s historic center and one of the best areas to stay in Cusco. With winding cobblestone streets, countless artisan shops, and great cafes and restaurants, you’ll want to explore this neighborhood even if you don’t choose to stay here.
Here you’ll find the lovely Iglesia de San Blas and its adjoining plaza, built upon the ruins of an Incan temple, and with some of the oldest buildings in the city of Cusco.
Also worth exploring in the neighborhood are the nearby Mercado de San Blas for cheap, local food and juices, as well as the Mirador de San Blas (San Blas View Point) with an enviable view over the entire city.
Choosing to stay in this charming neighborhood is a great choice if you’re looking to be in the center of one of the most picturesque of Cusco’s neighborhoods! Here are our top recommendations of the best places to stay in Cusco in this charming area.
Hostal El Grial ($)
Located in the best part of San Blas in Cusco’s historic center, Hostal El Grial is regularly named one of the best hostels in the city – and you’re certain to see why.
You won’t find traditional bunk beds here, and with the largest room being a triple you’ll have more privacy than you might at other hostels. Breakfast is great, rooms are cozy, and the staff is friendly.
Casona Les Pleiades ($-$$)
This bed and breakfast is the perfect place to stay in Cusco on a budget. Just around the corner from the Iglesia de San Blas and a few blocks from the Plaza de Armas, at Casona Les Pleiades you’ll be close to everything you’d want to do in the city, and in the best part of the San Blas neighborhood.
Rooms are plain but cozy and comfortable, and with the views from the rooms and the terrace, you’ll have more than enough to fixate on!
Hotel Rumi Punku ($$)
Built around portions of Incan city walls, you’ll feel the many layers of history in Cusco the second you step inside the courtyard of this gorgeous and historic hotel. Staff truly go out of their way to help travelers have the best experience.
Rumi Punku is truly a hidden gem in Cusco.
Tocuyeros Boutique Hotel ($$ – $$$)
Choose the inviting Tocuyeros Boutique Hotel in San Blas for the perfect mix of luxurious feel with great amenities and service, but at a fantastic price. Tocuyeros is located in a beautiful section of San Blas – high enough on the hill to enjoy incredible views, but not too high up that it’s unwalkable.
Rooms are spacious and each individually designed to give a personalized touch to this charming location.
Machu Picchu Packing List
Don’t prepare for your trip without reading out our ultimate Machu Picchu Packing List. We’ve listed everything you’ll need for the day of, and the rest of your Peru trip.
The San Cristobal neighborhood within Cusco’s historic center is a beautiful and charming one. Centered around the Iglesia de San Cristobal and its adjoining plaza – which was constructed on the ruins of an Incan palace – this neighborhood boasts incredible views of the rest of the city.
If you’re looking for a more relaxed and quiet area to stay in Cusco Peru, this is a fantastic option.
Uphill from the rest of the historic center, but with wider streets that make it easier to access via taxi than San Blas, San Cristobal is a great option for a getaway within Cusco.
You’ll just be a few minutes away from the Plaza de Armas and the rest of the attractions of the historic center, and an easy downhill walk (though you may want to take a taxi back up the hill afterward).
Saqray Hostel ($)
This hostel is one of the best places to stay in Cusco Peru on a budget. Saqray Hostel is just a quick walk from the Plaza de Armas and the center of the historic center, so you’ll be close to everything, while removed enough to enjoy some peace and quiet.
Dorms are clean and comfortable, and private rooms are affordable.
Rumi Wasi ($$)
Rumi Wasi is a lovely historic hotel where you’ll feel both the Incan and colonial history of Cusco. This charming building is nestled on the hillside near the Plaza de Armas, close to everything.
The rooms are beautiful, the staff is attentive, and the roof deck has a stunning view of Cusco you’ll never forget.
Palacio Manco Capac ($$$)
Set within a 17th-century mansion, Palacio Manco Capac is one of those truly special hotels that you will never forget. Overlooking the city, in this historic boutique hotel you’ll find spectacular gardens, plush rooms, and exquisite service.
With only five unique rooms, you know you’ll get personalized service and a totally unique experience. Palacio Manco Capac was rated one of the 25 best boutique hotels in the world, and it’s easy to see why.
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Cusco Airport Hotels
The Cusco airport (Alejandro Velasco Astete Cusco International Airport ) is only a 15-minute taxi ride from the Cusco Historic Center, meaning that the best hotels in the liveliest part city are not far from the airport at all!
Because of the proximity of the airport to the heart of the city, there aren’t really any dedicated “airport hotels” in Cusco.
However, if you’re looking to stay closer to the airport, I recommend sticking to the eastern side of the historic center. On this side of the Plaza de Armas, you’ll be closer to the main thoroughfares to get to the airport – meaning you won’t be cutting through the busiest part of the city.
Consider these hotels on the side of the historic center nearest to the airport:
Each of these hotels is a fantastic, highly-recommended place to stay in its own right, regardless of being a bit closer to the airport. You’ll have a great stay in any of them regardless of how long you’re planning to stay in Cusco.
Choosing one of these fantastic hotels east of the Plaza de Armas will cut down on travel time to the airport even further. You shouldn’t be further than 10 minutes to the airport from any of these beautiful hotels!
This will help you avoid any traffic when heading to the airport in order to catch an early flight.