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San Blas: A stroll through the charming streets of Cusco

Written by Orange Cares | Noviembre 14, 2023
San Blas: A Stroll Through the Charming Streets of Cusco

Cusco is a major tourist hub with many popular tourist attractions in and around city. Now, might be asking yourself, where should I stay in this city. A possible answer to that is the vibrant, eclectic and bohemian neighborhood of San Blas.

Its welcomes you with its vibrant art scene, colonial architecture and rows of cobbled streets lined with restaurants, museums and art stores. There is a great nightlife scene and scores of all types of accommodation establishments.

San Blas is Cusco’s artistic heart. Traditional workshops stand side by side with modern cafes. The fusion of old and new for all to enjoy.

The enchanted Enclave: Introducing San Blas, Cusco’s Artistic Neighborhood

San Blas isn’t just another neighborhood in Cusco. It’s the city’s soul, exuding artistic expression at every corner. Meandering streets are brimming with life, color, and creativity.

Unlike the bustling San Pedro Market, San Blas offers quiet reflection. Here, artisans craft traditional wares with precision and passion. Delicate textiles, intricate ceramics, and hand-carved trinkets line the streets.

Venture a bit further, and you’ll discover hidden galleries. They showcase the rich artistic traditions of Cusco’s residents. Time seems to pause in these intimate spaces.

The neighborhood tells tales of the past. Historic buildings whisper ancient stories, while modern murals shout vibrant narratives. Together, they paint a portrait of a neighborhood alive with culture.

Yet, San Blas isn’t locked in the past. Modern coffee shops and eclectic boutiques find their home here too. Visitors can sip on coca tea while marveling at contemporary art.

Its elevation offers unparalleled views of Cusco. From certain vantage points, one can gaze upon the iconic Plaza de Armas. A sight that stirs the heart of every onlooker.

Nightfall brings a new side of San Blas. Cozy bars light up, inviting visitors for a taste of local brews. Music wafts through the streets, a blend of traditional and contemporary beats.

Despite its charm, the neighborhood remains unpretentious. Locals and travelers blend seamlessly, sharing stories and experiences. Every interaction becomes a cherished memory in San Blas.

Colors, crafts, and culture: Exploring the unique charm of San Blas’s Streets

San Blas is not a mere neighborhood in Cusco. It’s a vibrant canvas showcasing Peru’s rich traditions and culture. Every street corner bursts with colors, crafts, and tales.

Wandering these streets feels like entering a live museum. Handmade crafts overflow from local shops and stalls. The vibrant hues of Peruvian textiles catch every visitor’s eye.

Artisans sit at their workshops, weaving intricate patterns. These patterns tell stories passed down through generations. Tourists often pause, captivated by the craftsmanship on display.

As you stroll, the aroma of freshly baked bread entices. Local bakers craft traditional Andean pastries with pride. Each bite is a taste of the region’s rich culinary history.

San Blas isn’t just about crafts and cuisine, though. Its cobbled streets also house some of Cusco’s Colonial Churches. These historic gems add depth to the neighborhood’s colorful tapestry.

Imposing wooden doors open into tranquil courtyards. Inside, religious artworks adorn ancient walls. The marriage of art and architecture here is genuinely captivating.

Craftsmanship and creativity: Unveiling the artistic essence of San Blas, Cusco

San Blas is not just a neighborhood; it’s an artistic haven. Every alleyway and corner reflects Cusco’s deep-rooted creativity. Craftsmanship isn’t just a skill here; it’s a legacy.

Wandering its streets feels like an art gallery tour. Handcrafted goods flaunt the dedication of local artisans. Each piece embodies generations of skill and passion.

Ceramics with intricate designs catch the eye instantly. They depict myths, legends, and the daily life of the Andes. Each pot and vase tells its own tale.

Woodwork is another highlight in San Blas. Carved wooden doors stand as sentinels of history. Their designs weave stories of times gone by.

Jewelry shops shimmer with handcrafted silver and gemstones. Artisans craft these treasures with precision and love. Their creations echo the beauty of the surrounding landscapes.

Yet, it’s not only tangible art that thrives here. Music fills the air, enhancing San Blas’s vibrant ambiance. Local musicians play tunes that resonate with the soul.

Dance, too, plays a crucial role in this artistic enclave. Traditional dances pass down stories, keeping history alive. Watching these performances is a journey through time.

San Blas’s artistry is not confined to its streets. It spills over into the hearts of its inhabitants. Their warmth and hospitality make the experience unforgettable.

After soaking in San Blas’s artistic essence, the adventure doesn’t have to end. The region offers even more for the intrepid traveler. Majestic trails beckon, promising unparalleled experiences.

For those keen to dive deeper into history, consider this. A Machu Picchu Inca Trail Hike awaits. Or, for a unique challenge, embark on a Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu.

In Cusco, every path tells a story. Every journey is a masterpiece waiting to be discovered. And San Blas? It’s just the beginning.

What to DO, see and visit in San Blas area?

On your tour of San Blas you can visit the workshops and shops of the best artists in Cusco. You can also visit other places such as: the 12 angle stone, the main temple, the San Blas market and more.

Hatun Rumiyoc Street (12 Angle Stone)

Hatun Rumiyoc is a Quechua word that means ‘great stone street’. Connect the Plaza de Armas of Cusco with the famous Stone of the 12 angles. This popular polished rock in twelve corners is part of a wall of the Inca palace of Sinchi Roca (today the Archbishop’s Palace). In this street it shows some craft shops.

San Blas earring

At the end of Hatun Rumiyoc Street you will find the famous San Blas slope, a narrow and steep street where you will find one of the best art collections in the city. This street leads to the church and main square of San Blas.

Gallery of Hilario Mendivil and family

Next to the Plaza de San Blas is the exhibition of the renowned craftsman Hilario Mendivil and his family. This artist from Cusco was one of the best in terms of traditional imagery. Its elongated neck ceramics inspired by llamas and alpacas, is unmistakable and recognized worldwide. Although Hilario Mendivil passed away in 1977, his family continues his legacy.

The Merida house

The Casa Mérida family is located on Carmen Alto street. Edilberto Mérida’s work moved away from traditional imagery with a European style. His work has disproportionate features with large hands and huge feet. Most of them are costumbristas where the indigenous people stand out with faces of pain. One of his most recognized works is the ‘indigenous Jesus Christ’.

Olave Crafts

The artisan from Cusco Antonio Olave is famous for being the creator of the ‘Manuelito boy’. The tenderness and delicacy that his works give off have earned him several recognitions such as: ‘Grand Master of Peruvian Crafts’ and ‘Living Human Treasure of the Nation’. In his work you can see mirror palates, bird feather teeth and natural hair on the heads of these ‘Manuelitos’ children.

The Temple of San Blas

In the Plaza de San Blas is the main church and temple built in 1563 on an Inca temple dedicated to the god of lightning (Illapa). Inside the church stands out the pulpit carved in cedar attributed to the craftsman Juan Tomás Tuyro Túpac. On the temple walls you can also see beautiful pieces of art.

The San Blas market

The small but famous San Blas market is characterized by offering fruits, vegetables and foods from Cusco to tourists who transit there. Many of them choose to have lunch or breakfast in this market. You can also buy various handicrafts such as alpaca clothing, sourvenirs and more

Gastronomic Delights: Food and Drink in San Blas Area

Chakruna Native Burgers
There are multiple different gastronomic and drink options in the neighborhood for any budget. Chakruna Native Burgers is a small burger restaurant where you get a Peruvian style bread bun with your choice of beef, alpaca or vegetarian burger with fries and a free drink, usually chicha morada, at a very good price. Chakruna is located just one street off the main plaza of San Blas, with a very relaxed vibe and a good place to spend an afternoon with friends.

Green Point Vegan Restaurant
Cusco is a fantastic place to live for those who prefer healthier options like the Green Point Vegan Restaurant. The restaurant is a unique plant based gastronomic experience. Located a short walk from the main San Blas plaza makes it a great place to visit.

Limbus Restobar
Limbus Restobar is priced a little higher than the others in this list, but it’s well worth it. It is situated high up the hill with a great balcony overlooking Cusco and San Blas, making it the perfect spot for photos and a cocktail while you watch the sunset. They serve classics like burgers and typical Peruvian food like ceviche, lomo saltado and leche de tigre. If you want to experience Limbus, you’d better be ready to climb the steps to reach the restaurant high above the San Blas plaza.

L’atelier Café Concept
L’atelier is a small cafe near the San Blas plaza that serves delicious artisanal coffee and pastries. The café is very small and beautiful. It is definitely one of the most beautiful cafés in Cusco. The café also sells artisanal jewelry and clothing. This is a great place to have a morning coffee, or an afternoon pick me up with the perfect Cusco vibe.

Interesting facts about San Blas in Cusco

  • During the time of the Incas, the area corresponding to San Blas was called ‘T’oqokachi’, a Quechua word that means ‘Salt cave’. After the Spanish invasion, the place was renamed San Blas in honor of the Bishop of Sebaste who lived in the 3rd century.
  • According to some chroniclers, the Inca mummy Pachacutec (emperor who had Machu Picchu built) was in the temple of Tococache (current church of San Blas) until the Spanish took it and destroyed it.
  • During the Republic of Peru, Cusco artisans settled in San Blas. Since then, the place became famous as: the bohemian neighborhood.
  • Currently, in the San Blas neighborhood many ‘backpackers’ gather, offering their crafts, music and artistic talent. Despite its fame, its streets are little traveled by tourists. Its small square is the perfect place to enjoy a moment of silence.
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