San Blas Vacations
San Blas is an animated neighborhood packed with artist studios, galleries, historic attractions, and excellent dining and nightlife. This district draws visitors throughout the day with its picturesque cobblestone streets and intriguing shops, but truly sparkles at night when its bars and restaurants hum with an infectious energy.
During Incan times, San Blas was one of Cusco’s 12 administrative centers. Following the Inca’s defeat by the Spanish, the area’s architecture and culture blossomed with a mix of local and Spanish influences. It suffered widespread destruction during a 1950 earthquake; restoration work continues to this day. Many of the neighborhood’s charming colonial houses have now been transformed into trendy shops, restaurants and hostels.
Most attractions are found around the hilltop Plaza San Blas. Stop by this scenic plaza on Saturday, when an open-air market of contemporary and traditional jewelry, art and handicrafts takes place. Musicians often gather to provide entertainment for shoppers.
Explore the neighborhood’s pleasant streets, noticing the beautiful contrast between the whitewashed walls and bright blue doors of the adobe houses. Look inside workshops of sculptors, potters and weavers. The narrow pedestrian-only streets are perfect for an afternoon stroll. Look for the remains of Incan walls.
Be sure to check out the Iglesia de San Blas, originally constructed in the 16th century. The church’s exterior is relatively modest, but inside you’ll find an impressive pulpit carved from a single cedar trunk. Notice the lovely gold-leaf work on the church’s Baroque main altar.
Find the Plazoleta San Blas on the southeast side of the church. This beautiful fountain is shaped like an Incan cross. Come at night when the fountain is illuminated with an enchanting light display. Then have a drink at one of the district’s casual pubs or cocktail bars.
Reach San Blas by following a short, steep flight of stairs from the Plaza de Armas in Cusco. There is an admission fee to visit the Iglesia de San Blas.