Walk away from the Plaza de Armas along Hatun Rumiyoc and continue walking straight until reaching Cuesta San Blas, which leads to Cusco’s San Blas neighborhood.
This square, known as Plazoleta San Blas, is home to several artisan families who have been operating here for decades. Its steep cobblestone alleys offer excellent views over Cusco.
Iglesia San Blas (Plazoleta San Blas, 8 a.m.–6 p.m. daily, US$5 or boleto religioso) is a small, whitewashed adobe church built in 1563. One of the New World’s most famous works of art is found here, a carved pulpit made from the trunk of a single tree. There is also a gold-covered baroque altar.
Another interesting place to visit, on top of the fountain in the Plazoleta San Blas, is the family-run Museo de la Coca (Suytuk’atu 705, museodelacoca [at] hotmail [dot] com, 8 a.m.–8 p.m. daily, US$3.50). This interesting exhibition demonstrates the history of the coca leaf through to the adulterated production of cocaine. It also has a boutique filled with a large selection of coca products.
San Blas is a great neighborhood to find accommodations or just to wander around and have lunch.
© Ross Wehner and Renée del Gaudio from Moon Peru, 3rd Edition