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Cusco Nightlife

Cusco's nightlife scene has developed a lot in recent years, especially its musical offering, with numerous bars, clubs and venues covering almost all genres. The city also has a number of theatres and traditional dance venues for an alternative evening out. If you're stuck for ideas there are touts abound in Plaza de Armas, San Blas or Plaza Regocijo, inundating passersby with flyers.

Bars in Cusco

Museo del Pisco

Museo del Pisco isn't exactly a museum - not unless you count the large, painted diagrams on the walls explaining the different grapes used for Pisco (Peru's signature drink), the regions it originates from and the brewing process. With a dozen or so Pisco-based cocktails on the menu, including the classic Pisco Sour, there's also an eclectic range of mixers lining the bar from mango and passion fruit to Wasabi and coffee. It's a tiny place, made smaller still by the fantastic jazz band they squeeze in every night. The bar tends to be lively and packed, so arrive early to get a seat. There is also a tasting course available that provides a thorough introduction to Pisco.

Address: , Santa Catalina Ancha 398, Cusco,
Telephone: (84) 262 709.
Website: http://www.museodelpisco.org

Norton Rats

This spacious bar plays rock and blues music and has a balcony with great views over the Plaza de Armas. Named after the old British motorcycle used by Che Guevara in the 1950s to traverse the continent, the tavern is suitably sprinkled with motorbike paraphernalia and is a big hit with bikers. Sadly, the bar's biking enthusiast owner, Jeff Powers, passed away following an accident but his popular spot lives on.

Address: , Santa Catalina Angosta 116, Cusco,
Telephone:

Clubs in Cusco

Mama Africa

Set in an old house in Plaza de Armas, this is an energetic party spot that's popular with young locals and tourists. The walls are adorned with African art and the cocktails are as colourful as they come. Playing a mixture of hip hop, dance and reggae, plus plenty from the charts, there's always an eclectic mix on the sound system.

Address: , Portal de Panes, 109, Cusco,
Telephone:

Live music in Cusco

Aldea Yanapay

This restaurant-cum-music venue is a unique, lively spot that serves up great food and some decent bottles of Peruvian wine. It is also a social project, so its dining area is full of items made by children and villagers attending one of the two alternative schools that are funded by the eatery. It often stages live live music and interactive events too.

Address: , Calle Ruinas 415, Cusco,
Telephone: (84) 255 134.
Website: http://www.aldeayanapay.org

Ukukus Bar

More of a cultural centre than a bar, this colourful venue on Plaza de Armas is full of breathtaking art from Cusco and wider Peru, some of it by top national artists. But it's the nightly live music that draws the crowds, showcasing everything from rock and Andean folkloric to reggae.

Address: , Calle Plateros 316, Cusco,
Telephone: (84) 254 911.
Website: http://www.ukukusbar.com

Classical music in Cusco

Dance in Cusco

La Cusqueñita

Describing itself as a traditional pikanteria, which is a type of Peruvian estate native to the mountains, this large restaurant serves an incredible buffet featuring all the classic Cusqueñian dishes and many national favourites. But the highlight of La Cusqueñita is undoubtedly the nightly performances. Traditional dancers file onto the stage with live musicians and the party begins. Towards the end of the evening, the dancers encourage guests to join them on the dancefloor to become part of the action.

Address: , Avenida Tullumayo 227, Cusco,
Telephone: (84) 227 314.
Website: http://www.lacusquenita.pe

Theatres in Cusco

Music and Dance in Cusco

Teatro Municipal Daniel Estrada Perez

Renamed, renovated and reopened, the Teatro Municipal Daniel Estrada Perez is once again hosting dance shows, music concerts and plays after a fire destroyed part of this old cultural dame. Formally the Teatro Municipal del Cusco, the venue now takes its name from the three-time mayor of the city, Daniel Estrada Perez. The theatre now hosts both national and international performances.

Address: , Mesón de la Estrella 149, Cusco,
Telephone: (84) 221 847.

Culture in Cusco

Centro Qosqo de Arte Nativo

This authentic folkloric performance is bright, colourful and full of energy. The idea is to showcase the traditional music and dance from Cusco and the surrounding areas in order to preserve them. With over 50 dances, conventional clothes and musical accompaniment, shows are a sight to behold. There are explanations of each dance in English, too.

Address: , , Cusco,
Telephone: (84) 227 901.

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Featured Hotels

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Hotel Monasterio

Located two blocks from the Plaza de Armas, this is the best hotel in Cusco. A sensitive conversion of the 16th-century Seminary of San Antonio Abad, this former monastery has retained its original infrastructure and colonial décor but is now a 5-star international hotel boasting a gilded chapel, superb fine dining and oxygen-enriched air in every room. The therapy suite is also ideal for those returning from a long Machu Picchu trek.

Inkaterra La Casona

Cusco's first luxury boutique hotel is located in what is probably Cusco's first Spanish construction. The colonial courtyard is surrounded by 11 sumptuous suites furnished with antiques and all mod cons imaginable. Brilliantly located for the arty San Blas district and Plaza de Armas, Inkaterra La Casona is a quiet oasis of serenity with an eco conscience.

Palacio del Inka

Just moments from the Plaza de Armas, the Palacio del Inka combines utmost luxury with an Incan and Spanish twist. Expect framed dark ochre (a nod to Andean spirits), gold and burgundy furnishings that reflect the conquistador influence and original artworks. There are 203 wonderfully fitted rooms to choose from and all boast handcrafted furniture, huge beds and historical décor, along with fast internet, LED TVs and big bathtubs. The Inti Raymi Restaurant downstairs plates up remarkable Peruvian fine dining and there is a tranquil spa onsite as well.

Hotel Costa del Sol Picoaga

Formerly the colonial home of the17th-century Spanish noble, the Marqués de Picoaga, this top-end hotel in Cusco close to the heart of the city makes the most of its handsome colonnaded courtyard, beautiful stone columns and elegant archways. Service is excellent and the hotel has its own bar and high-quality restaurant.

Mama Simona

Quite frankly the coolest hostel in town, Mama Simona (named after one of the mountains in the Scared Valley range) is a clean, kitschy hostel that offers private rooms and dormitories. With varnished wooden floors, comfy beds and artworks adorning the cream walls, those that stay here could quite as easily be bedding down in a New York apartment. Free Wi-Fi and a decent breakfast buffet come as standard with the odd live music night providing the ideal opportunity to make friends too.

Hostal Suecia II

This friendly, budget Cusco hotel option is set in a colonial-style building located two blocks from the Plaza de Armas. Its 16 rooms are set around an attractive interior courtyard and are basic but spacious, clean and comfortable. A safe, sociable, economical option, this hostel has a family atmosphere and is particularly popular with backpackers, especially as Wi-Fi is now available. Ask for a room away from the street. No breakfast.