San Blas is a very beautiful and unique quarter in Cusco. It has such an amazing vibe and is just really adoreable to me. It is very close to the main square in Cusco ( plaza de armas). On the right side of the cathedral is a way leading up to San Blas, it only takes about 10 minutes to get there. Already the way to get there is very lovely, you will find many small stores and it is perfect to buy souvenirs.
If you take any of the little calles (streets) to the north of Plaza de Armas you´ll find yourself going up! Steps, steps, steps! But trust me it’s worth it especially if you take the ancient Incan road, Hathunrumiyoc (Quechua for “great stone street”) towards San Blas. Don’t just walk down this street though, take it in! You will be surrounded by ancient Incan history. You will see the famous 12-angled stone, set into one of the best-surviving walls in Cusco. This is definitely one of the most beautiful streets in Cusco. As you come to the end of the street and before you start to ascend the steps of Cuesta de San Blas.
You’ll then reach the tiny Iglesia San Blas famed for its intricate pulpit. The church was built in 1544 over the old Incan Temple dedicated to Illapa, the god of thunder and lightning. It is the oldest parish church in Cusco. If you’re thirsty after the walk up you´ll have a choice of bars and a plethora of cafés to pick from.
San Blas is filled with adoreable, alternative coffee shops, restaurants, bars and absolutely lovely stores. There is a really nice bar called Limbus. From here you can enjoy a beautiful view over Cusco, while having a drink.
KM0 is up the hill to the left side of the church. It has live music most nights of the week and a good food menu. Even if you don’t like fancy eating or drinking it´s enjoyable just to wander the quaint streets and just take it all in. Around the side of the chapel there are benches, some grass and a waterfall that make it a perfect spot to sit and people watch.
In San Blas are many little museums, which are free and definitely worth a visit. For example a coca museum or The Hilario Mendivil museum, which is filled with amazing pieces of art. The museums are super cute and little. I enjoyed it a lot. The lady workin at the museum was really sweet, her english was great and she explained me a lot about the art in the museum. It was really interesting to learn what those pieces of art are representing. So for example the long throats the figures have stand for llamas and alpacas. Also when the ladies carry kids on their back, wrapped up in a blanket or have fruits with them then this is a representation of mother earth (Pachamama).
The Mendivil family are a famous family, who live in the San Blas barrio. They are well known for their sculptures of religious icons. Hilario Medivil (1929-77), San Blas´s most famous artist, is most known for his religious sculptures depicting long necks. There is a small gallery in this area with this religious art on show and also a shop selling Mendivil style work.
You will find very beautiful accessoires here, which are handmade and have a reasonable price. For me it is a very special atmosphere it seems much less touristic and quieter even tho there are many tourists. I think, because San Blas has many little, winding streets it is cuter and mystical compared for example to the main square, which is one huge place.
Also there is a little local market, where they sell food for a reasonable price and local markets in general are always fun to experience.
San Blas offers many hostels and hotels for different types of budgets. Hidden away up here you´ll find somewhere to rest your head after a day of walking the streets of Cusco or trekking to Machu Picchu. But do be weary, the further you go up the sketchier it gets!
If you are in Cusco this is definitely a must-see I love it everytime I go it is really a wonderful quarter to wander around!