Why you should go: You don’t hear much about Peru aside from Machu Picchu, but Cusco is a wonderful place to hang out,” says Tim Leffel, the author of The World’s Cheapest Destinations (amazon.com). Built by the Incas, it has Spanish-colonial buildings, sits high in the Andes Mountains, and welcomes the U.S. dollar.
Where to sleep: Cusco is a stopping point for backpackers (read: plenty of cheap lodging). The Niños Hotel (ninoshotel.com), which uses its profits to feed and care for poor children in Cusco, is within walking distance of the central Plaza de Armas.
Where to eat: Pachapapa, located across from the church of San Blas, is one of many quintas, casual restaurants that line the streets. There you can get the city’s specialty, guinea pig. Or go upscale at the Inka Grill.