Life in Cusco: The best bars in town

“You can’t buy happiness, but you can prepare a cocktail. And that’s kind of the same thing.”

When googling Cusco to do your volunteer work, I’m sure you are bombarded with cute photos of llamas and alpacas (and, of course, you’re not able to tell which one is which). And you’re also bombarded with beautiful photos of Machu Picchu, Rainbow Mountain, the Sacred Valley, Lake Humantay, and the list goes on.

And then you think Cusco is a very small town where not much happens and you will go to your volunteer project in the mornings and take Spanish lessons in the afternoon or vice versa, and you’d go on hikes during the weekends. But that’s it.

Don’t get me wrong, that sounds amazing and a great plan as doing volunteer work in a responsible way leaves great memories in you and the people with help. And if you’re an outdoor person, you can’t beat Cusco in terms on hikes.

However, Cusco has much more to offer and some say it is the perfect city if you love a night life and are an outdoor person. Cusco would be perfect if it had a beach, but nothing is perfect and Peru has beautiful beaches up north.

This will be a short list based on our Marketing Coordinator, Cheyenne. If she finds more great bars, we’ll edit this entry!


Calle Pasñapakana 133.

It is very likely that you heard about this rooftop bar that’s very popular among tourists and locals.

Getting to this bar is not an easy task. If you’re staying around the Main Square, then you’ll have to walk up quite a lot stairs, where you will be asked to take photos with llamas and alpacas. But once you get there, the almost-heart-arrest will be worth it!

If you just got here and are not used to the Cusco altitude, then we recommend to wait a few days before you enjoy the views of this bar. Either way, you’ll be busy doing volunteer work and taking Spanish lessons. 😉

This bar features a balcony and a new second floor so everyone can enjoy the Cusco sun, especially during its cold winters. This, plus their really nice drinks, makes the perfect spot if you want to relax after a long day at your proyect with a cocktail in your hand and an amazing sunset in front of you.

Limbus bar view.
Ex-intern Alex enjoying the views from Limbus.

Museo del Pisco

Santa Catalina Ancha 398.

You can find this museum in front of the Marriot Hotel, in the corner of Calle Ruinas and San Agustín. Museo del Pisco is not exactly a museum like its name says, but in their menu you can read the story behind every drink.

This bar is definetly aimed for tourists, but you can find many locals there. The building has two floors and a basement for a more relaxed environment. The basement is the perfect place to chill with your fellow volunteer mates and just talk about your projects and what not.

Museo offers live music every night, as well as classes on Pisco Sour making and Pisco-Chocolate pairing. So if you want to learn how to make the Peruvian national cocktail, this is the place!

Museo del Piso.

República del Pisco

Calle Plateros 354

This is our Marketing Coordinator’s favourite bar! Located only one block from the Main Square, República del Pisco is the perfect spot if you want to relax or dance to live peruvian and international music

República del Pisco bar. Chasqui cocktail.
If you go to this bar, make sure you order the Chaqui… You won’t regret it!

República del Pisco is always full of local people enjoying an after-office drink, but you can also find some foreigners there.

At this bar, you can find different types of music every night. From Monday to Sunday, you can see a different band performing covers of very popular songs or original ones. For our Marketing Coordinator, the Saturday band is the best as it performs more lively music that will take you to the dance floor.

Now, for the craft beer lovers

Cervecería Zenith

Av. Collasuyo 3407.

This craft beer bar is not located in the centre of Cusco as others do, you’d probably have to take the Arco Iris bus from the centre to get there. However, if you’re staying with a homestay, it is very likely that you will be living close to this bar, only a few blocks from the mall of Cusco.

This bar is very popular amongst locals and expats living in Cusco. This might be the perfect way to practice your Spanish as you know what they say a beer will help you speak more languages.

La emolientería

Ruinas 451.

A new bar from the Emolientería chain in Lima. La Emolientería bar arrived in Cusco just a couple months ago and it’s a hit for locals.

This bar is located in a central place and offers live music everyday starting around 9 pm. You will find a different types of music each day of the week, so this place is good to interact with locals and experience Peruvian music!

La Emolientería bar. La Luchita cocktail
This is La Emolientería’s signature drink. Make sure you order it!

So this a short list, but we guarantee you will love them! And if you have another suggestion, let us know in the comments and our Marketing Coordinator will make sure to follow it!

Proyecto Peru Centre is a Spanish and Volunteer Centre focused on responsible volunteering. Check our website and find out about our projects!