The magical city of Cusco, Peru is one of the country’s most beautiful places to explore (and certainly its most popular). What was once the former capital of the Inca Empire is now a wonderful mix of Inca ruins, colonial architecture, and modern amenities. There are so many interesting things to do in Cusco, Peru that you’ll probably need a week or more to really enjoy this city. One of the things that can make or break any trip is lodging (not counting the Cusco altitude sickness), which is why we put together this guide about where to stay in Cusco along with the definitive list of the best hostels in Cusco.
About Cusco, Peru
Cusco was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983 which is a testament to the breadth of culture and heritage that was preserved in this amazing place. It has retained much of the stone architecture as it is one of the oldest inhabited cities in the Western Hemisphere.
It is also a place where you can readily see both Inca and Spanish influences within its architecture and culture, in this high altitude mountain town that sits at an elevation of 11,200 feet (3,400 meters). Although this altitude also can cause problems for a number of visitors, especially those arriving from sea level, when it comes to Cusco altitude sickness.
The local population numbers around 500,000, but the city brings in more than three million tourists every year, most of whom arrive directly from Lima on their way to Machu Picchu. The Peruvian winter is from April to September with July as the coolest and driest month. And summer is between October to March, which typically means more tropical rain and cloud cover so you have to check out the time of year you would like to be here.
Before we jump to the list of the best hostels in Cusco ranked from #1 to #9, we’ve also got a guide to some of the most interesting places to visit in Cusco, which may help inform your decision about where to stay in the city, beyond just saying in the Historic Center of Cusco.
Then at the end of the article, we will get into the best hostels for every kind of traveler, whether you are looking to party, are a solo traveler, looking for peace and quiet, an artsy place, or pretty much anything else, so don’t miss out! Let’s get on with it…
Most Interesting Places to Visit in Cusco, Peru
We should all trust the Incas about why they decided to make Cusco the capital of their empire hundreds of years ago — it’s a special place. The beautiful landscape climbing up to the clouds offers not only breathtaking panoramic views but also the stunning traces left by both the Incas and the Spanish conquistadores after them. Here are just a few of the gems of the city of Cusco.
Ruins of Sacsayhuaman
The Ruins of Sacsayhuaman (pronounced kinda like Sexy Woman) is a massive fortified complex that sits on a hill overlooking the city and is also one of the most important ruins in the region. The stonework here is amazing, especially when you consider how precisely these humongous boulders fit together — so tight that you can’t even slide a piece of paper between them. Amazing work by the Incas and it would be a shame if you miss this spectacular place.
Barrio de San Blas
Barrio de San Blas or just San Blas is a popular neighborhood for foreigners to both live or visit in Cusco. Interestingly, San Blas is also known as “The Balcony” since it sits in an elevated position above the historic center. It has a nice little plaza with a very big fountain in the center, and narrow streets radiating out which seals San Blas as the artsy and bohemian side of Cusco. Every Saturday, there is a big outdoor market where artists and artisans sell their wares.
There are restaurants that plenty a healthy array of dishes from Peru and from different parts of the world (there is a great French food buffet here). And don’t worry vegans and vegetarians you have your share here too (Green Point it is!). There is also a vibrant nightlife in this area complete with live music, dancing, and a lot of bars.
Enjoy walking the cobblestone streets beside the whitewashed buildings and colonial homes that have stood time. Don’t forget to visit the Temple of San Blas, the Coca Museum, Casa Merida, and the numerous art galleries around this area.
Street of Hatun Rumiyuq
This street is a must-visit when you are near Cusco’s Plaza de Armas and is particularly famous for visiting crowds. Here you can find the palace of Inca Roca which was later on converted to the Archbishop’s residence.
Convents and Churches in Cusco
There are so many churches and convents that you’ll want to see for yourself here in Cusco.
Designed in different styles from Baroque Renaissance to late-Gothic and beyond, these churches were built starting in the early 1500s when the Spaniards came, often right on top of the religious sites of the Incas.
Some of the churches and convents you need to check out include the Convento e Iglesia de la Merced, Cathedral of Santo Domingo, Iglesia de la Compania de Jesus, and Convent of Santo Domingo. Don’t forget to visit the temples of the Incas too.
Among the spectacular convents and churches of Cusco, these ruins in the heart of Cusco deserve a special mention. Here you’ll find the grounds of a 15th-century Incan temple which at one point was literally covered in sheets of gold (which the Spaniards robbed, of course).
This temple was then destroyed in order to construct the aforementioned Cathedral of Santo Domingo, right on the foundation of the original Qorikancha. Here you can see the incredible stonework of the Incas below the Catholic church. The coopting and replacement of one culture with the next.
Today it serves as a museum that will help elucidate the complex history of the Incas and the Conquistadors.
Plaza de Armas de Cusco
The Plaza de Armas is nothing less than the heart of the city of Cusco. Historically and culturally, this plaza is where the people (locals and tourists alike) converge. The Spanish-styled plaza is laid out with a garden in the center and other important buildings like churches and hotels surrounding it. There are also plenty of choices from restaurants, ceviche bars, nightclubs, and other establishments surrounding the plaza.
All-in-all, it’s a great place to just hang out and people watch, even though this is also where those hawking massages and tours and everything else converges.
Mercado San Pedro
The local market of a place is like a mirror of the history, culture, produce, landscape, and the people of that area. Same with Mercado San Pedro where you can find everything from artisan goods to fruits and vegetables.
Lots of delicious cheap eats to taste here in this market. And how about buying your souvenirs to bring back home? They have colorful textiles from local artisans available as well.
The 9 Best Hostels in Cusco Peru
Alright, now that you have a better idea of some of the most important places to visit in Cusco, you should have a better idea of the lay of the land within the historic center. Now, we can get to the real meat of this article which is all about where to stay in Cusco and the best hostels in Cusco for budget travelers. Drum roll, please, here’s our #1 pick for the best hostel in Cusco.
Pariwana Hostel Cusco
Pariwana Hostel Cusco is right in the heart of Cusco and surrounded by some of the most popular landmarks in the city like the Cusco Main Square, Mercado San Pedro, and San Francisco Monastery. But even better than that its proximity to these attractions is the fact that this is Cusco’s most well-reviewed hostel with the highest ratings among thousands of guests that have stayed here.
Pariwana Hostel Cusco room rates start at just $14 USD/night with continental or buffet breakfast included as well as coffee and tea available all day.
They offer bunk beds in 6-, 8-, and 10-bed mixed dorm rooms, single beds in 4-bed mixed dorm rooms, bunk beds in female-only dorm rooms, and a large double bed in Deluxe double room. Interestingly, their lockers have sockets inside for you to leave and charge your gadgets securely. Don’t forget to bring a padlock with you.
This adults-only hostel boasts a terrace, shared kitchen, and an ATM machine for your convenience (Wow!). Try the different Peruvian specialties and the famous ceviche. Enjoy a happy hour (or hours for that matter) and toast to the epic trek to Machu Picchu at the bar.
They have evening entertainment, themed parties, and activities available for all guests. You can also play table tennis with other guests or relax and chill at the shared lounge.
Of course, Cusco is your launchpad to Machu Picchu and Pariwana Hostel Cusco will help you organize a tour with the on-site travel agency. The hostel can arrange for your airport shuttle to or from the Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport (the Cusco Airport). There are also free Cusco City maps and a Peru backpacker’s travel map to help you in your travels through Peru.
This hostel wants to help you make the most of your free time while you are in Cusco so they have free walking tours and salsa nights. They also have common rooms and game rooms to enjoy a game of ping-pong, foosball, or free arcade games.
Or you can just lie back and relax while you watch TV or select something from their film collection. Party all night but don’t worry, because they’ve isolated the bar so everybody else can sleep soundly if they want to.
Pariwana Hostel Cusco is a place with a lively social vibe and helpful staff in a city you wouldn’t want to miss to explore. Truly a great find in this beautiful city.
Kokopelli Hostel Cusco
The unique 200-year old colonial-style house of Kokopelli Hostel Cusco is also one of the best hostels in Cusco with the highest ratings. Located near the Plaza Armas, this charming hostel is also quite close to the city’s important places and attractions. Around the area, you can find plenty of cafes and restaurants for people watching and seeing the daily lives of the people of Cusco unfolding.
Kokopelli Hostel Cusco room rates start at $11 USD/night with breakfast. They offer single beds in 4-, 6-, 8-, 10-, or 12-bed mixed dorm rooms, single beds in 8-, or 10-bed mixed dorm rooms with bathroom, single beds in 8-bed female-only dorm rooms with bathroom, a large double bed in a 4-bed shared dorm room, and 2 single beds in twin rooms.
This hostel has an a la carte restaurant, a computer station, a garden, a tour desk, a shared lounge, a game room, and a bar. If you are going on a tour or bike ride, you can get a boxed lunch prepared for you. Grab the chance to enjoy BBQ on the terrace or try out some of the Peruvian cooking classes so you can bring home some of the culinary secrets from Cusco (Peruvian food is the best on the continent).
There are a lot of things that you can do in Kokopelli Hostel Cusco, like join the free walking tours which they arranged for the guests three times a week (just ask the front desk for the schedule), or indulge in a game of pool or foosball in the game room.
Whether you choose to relax in a hammock or jump at the chance to play some beer pong, Kokopelli Hostel Cusco will surely be a place full of energy and fun in Cusco. Free hot cocoa on them too!
Hospedaje Turistico Recoleta
The small, colorful Hospedaje Turistico Recoleta is designed in regional themes with colorful splashes. The 36-bed property is about 500 meters away from Recoleta street where you can find plenty of restaurants to choose from.
Hospedaje Turistico Recoleta room rates start at $13 USD/night with continental breakfast. They offer single beds in 4-bed mixed dorm rooms, 2 single beds in a twin room with shared bathrooms, double bed in double rooms with private bathrooms, and 3 single beds in triple rooms.
The hostel arranges tours and activities for the guests, or you can stay at the property and chill out in the nice patio, watch movies, play games, or use the computer. It has indoor and outdoor spaces that let you relax and chill with the other travelers.
Conveniently located near the hostel, you can find shopping centers, pharmacies, hospitals, bars, ATM machines, restaurants, and pretty much whatever else you’re looking for. Hospedaje Turistico Recoleta is indeed a perfect home base for you before or after trekking through the Peruvian highlands.
Ecopackers Hostels is set in a colonial-style house with a charming, beautiful inner patio and is located about 5 minutes away from the main square of the city. Offering spacious rooms, this property is designed with a local theme, parquet floors, and hanging plants. If you are down for staying in a vintage house, then Ecopackers Hostels is in one of the first Spanish Casonas built when the Spaniards came to conquer the Inca empire.
Ecopackers Hostels room rates start at $11 USD/night with continental breakfast. They offer bunk beds in 8-, 12-bed mixed dorm rooms, single beds in 4-, 5-, 8-, 10-bed mixed dorm rooms, single beds in female-only dorm rooms, and double beds in double rooms.
This lovely hostel offers its weary travelers cool sun loungers in its inner patio where you can relax and chill. There is also a game room with a billiards table and ping-pong. If you need to check your email, use the computer stations available for everyone’s use.
Staying in the hostel is also nice sometimes, especially if your hostel has its own fully equipped common kitchen for the guests to use. Some nights the hostel has a BBQ on the terrace. And at the bar, you can enjoy Peruvian and international dishes with your drinks. Don’t worry the bar is on the other side of the building so there isn’t much disturbance. And they turn off the music by 11 PM so guests can sleep soundly.
Wouldn’t it be nice to find a place with a homey feeling that offers good food and nice music playing in the background? Ecopackers Hostels will be your comfy place to stay while you are in Cusco or in-between treks (they can even store your belongings while you’re away).
Ecopackers Hostels is an environment-friendly accommodation, which is an important thing in today’s world, beyond just a comfortable and friendly place where you can get great service and enjoy a relaxing atmosphere.
Wild Rover Hostel Cusco
Wild Rover Hostel Cusco is a great party hostel right in the heart of Cusco. Indeed, this place is known as THE party hostel in Cusco and is home to the biggest Irish bar in South America. Chill out at the lawn area or party all night at the bar while you are at the hostel. There are always interesting activities every night so you won’t have to worry about what to do.
Wild Rover Hostel Cusco room rates start at $7 USD/night with free lunch. They offer bunk beds in 4-, 6-, 8-, 10-bed mixed dorm rooms, bunk beds in mixed dorm rooms, double beds in double rooms, 2 single beds in twin rooms, and large double bed in the standard double suite.
The property has a shared lounge, a barbecue, a communal terrace, table tennis, and a restaurant. If you ever go hungry, the $5 USD meals will definitely fill you up without emptying your pocket.
It is the place to be with the DJ whipping up some music and budget-friendly drinks specials. The bar can be rowdy with the happy crowd but don’t worry, it is located on the opposite end of the property so you won’t have to worry about the noise. They also have soundproofing to ensure a good night’s sleep.
But who wants sleep when you could join in at the cocktail-making class or an evening pub crawl? Play a game of pool or ping pong with the other guests of the hostel. If you want to get out on the town, just ask the staff for tips on things to do or ask for some maps. The front-desk can also book you some cool Cusco tours and activities.
Party all night and chill by day at the Wild Rover Hostel Cusco. Every second counts while you are in this city. If you want to party in Cusco, then remember to stay here for your next trip.
Intro Hostels Cusco
Intro Hostels Cusco is a hidden gem in Cusco. This hostel has an outdoor patio for lazing around in the sun during the day and chilling out at night. While you stay in the hostel, you’ll be happy to know this property is well located, quite close to tons of restaurants, cafes, shopping areas, a supermarket, and the main square Plaza de Armas.
Intro Hostels Cusco room rates start at $14 USD/night with breakfast. They offer bunk beds in 6-, 8-, 12-, 14-bed mixed dorm rooms, a double bed in a double room with shared bathroom, 2 single beds in the twin room with shared bathroom, a double bed and bunk beds in a triple room with shared bathroom, and a double room with private bathroom.
Intro Hostels Cusco features a garden, a bar, barbecue area, computer stations, a billiard table, and a lounge area with TV. There are a lot of common spaces to be shared by guests and there is even a rooftop terrace.
Each night has its own theme to introduce activities to its guests. It has a friendly social vibe but they also emphasize that it is a place where you can still have a good night’s sleep (bar closes at 11 PM).
Your budget will go a long way in Intro Hostels Cusco since they have cheap but comfortable rooms with great service. Food and drinks are also inexpensive here. What more can you ask for? Be sure to book now!
Milhouse Hostel Cusco
Milhouse Hostel Cusco is in a charming colonial building near Plaza de Armas. The building is actually an 18th-century monastery. Inside you can find an indoor patio that opens up to the sky and where you can chill with the other guests.
Milhouse Hostel Cusco room rates start at $13 USD/night with continental breakfast. They offer bunk beds in 4-, 6-, or 12-bed mixed dorm rooms, bunk beds in 6-bed female-only dorm rooms, a double bed in a single room with a private bathroom, a double bed in double room, bunk beds in a twin room, 3 bunk beds in a triple room, and 4 bunk beds in a quadruple room.
This hostel features two central courtyards surrounded by the rooms, which is super cool. Enjoy some of your favorite drinks and unique concocted drinks at the bar on site where you can also meet other guests. Or maybe just head up to see the city from the rooftop terrace? It’s a great place to marvel at the area’s landscape.
There is also a mud oven (try their pizza), a BBQ area, and a restaurant where you can get a taste of the Peruvian highlands cuisine. And for your entertainment, you can play table tennis, foosball, and billiards in the game room. For your convenience, there is a travel company where you can book a tour to Machu Picchu or other area attractions.
Walking distance to almost everything, Milhouse Hostel Cusco is truly a mix of comfort and fun and will probably make you think of extending your trip or coming back to stay some more.
Nao Victoria Hostel
Cusco has the most charming hostels in Peru and Nao Victoria Hostel is just one example of these superb hostels.
Nao Victoria Hostel is also near to the main square at the Historic Center, restaurants, cafes, bars, and to the different establishments that you might want to go to during your stay in Cusco. Some tourist attractions like Santa Catalina Convent, Church of the Company and La Merced Church are very close to the property.
Nao Victoria Hostel room rates start with $15 USD/night with continental or buffet breakfast. They offer single beds in an 8-bed mixed dorm room, bunk beds in an 8-bed female-only dorm room, single beds in a 6-bed mixed dorm room with shared and private bathroom, a large double bed in a superior queen room, 2 single beds or a double bed in a superior double or twin room, or an extra-large double bed and 1 sofa bed in a junior suite.
More than the endless supply of cocoa and tea, you can get sumptuous food from the on-site restaurant. Some nights you can also enjoy live music with some beers at the bar. For your convenience, the hostel provides a tour desk which can help arrange your tour to Machu Picchu or the other spots near Cusco (currency exchange is also available).
The amazing views of Cusco and the lands that lay beyond it can be seen from Nao Victoria Hostel, which make it a really great choice for where to stay in Cusco!
La Casa de Hilda
La Casa de Hilda is about 10 minutes walk from the Cusco Airport, officially named the Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport. Offering a homey feel to its guests, it is the closest hostel to the airport.
La Casa de Hilda room rates start at $12 USD/night and they offer single beds in mixed dorm rooms and single beds in single rooms. They have a shared kitchen, a shared lounge, and luggage storage.
If you would like to stay closer to the airport for an early flight, then La Casa de Hilda is a good choice for you, but it isn’t necessarily the best place to base yourself if you want to enjoy the best of what this city has to offer.
Book your stay at La Casa de Hilda on Booking.com now.
Best of the Best Hostels in Cusco, Peru
Cusco is a small city and you don’t want to try a hit-or-miss in choosing the right hostel for you. Most likely, by the end of the day, you are probably exhausted from trekking or you are mentally preparing yourself to go on a trek in the Peruvian highlands. You need a place where you can get excellent service, hassle-free and sound sleep, and good food. On top of that, your chosen hostel should give you more bang for your buck, so you can continue to enjoy all that Peru has to offer.
If your instincts need a little more guidance, then this should help you better decide on where to stay based on where and what is most important to you…
Most Reviewed Cusco, Peru Hostels
(combined number of reviews from Booking.com and Hostelworld.com)
#1 Pariwana Hostel Cusco with 7,367 reviews
#2 Kokopelli Hostel Cusco with 3,322 reviews
#3 Hospedaje Turistico Recoleta with 3,013 reviews
Best Reviewed Hostel: Pariwana Hostel Cusco
Best Party Hostel in Cusco: Wild Rover Hostel Cusco
Most Eco-friendly Hostel: Ecopackers Hostels
Best Garden: Ecopackers Hostels
Best On-site Restaurant: Milhouse Hostel Cusco
Best Hostel Near the Airport: La Casa de Hilda
Best Breakfast: Pariwana Hostel Cusco
Best Bunk Beds: Kokopelli Hostel Cusco
Most Peaceful and Quiet: Hospedaje Turistico Recoleta
Hostel with the Best Social Events and Arranged Tours: Pariwana Hostel Cusco
Got any more suggestions for other hostels? Don’t see your favorite on this list? Leave a comment below with your suggestions of why it deserves to be included…
Map of the Best Cusco, Peru Hostels
More about Cusco, Peru
Cusco in the Peruvian highlands is not only a gateway to Machu Picchu but also a gem entirely by itself, truly one of the most charming cities in Peru. It would be a huge missed opportunity if you don’t take the time to fully explore this place.
After all, it is the former capital of the Incan empire and a place filled with history. Not even considering all the incredible things to near Cusco, we loved our time in the city itself, which was only rivaled by Arequipa, Peru in terms of charm.
Traveling to Cusco, Peru soon? Be sure to book your room from Booking.com now to save on the best hostels in Cusco, Peru. If you are staying on for a few weeks, I highly recommend looking into Airbnb units. Don’t forget to purchase international travel insurance for Peru to protect yourself against theft, sickness, and injury. I use and recommend World Nomads for the best combination of affordability and coverage.
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