The city of Cuzco has ever more tourism. Tourism itself does not stay the same; it changes and develops new tendencies. At the same time, the businesses that promote tourism advance by originating new offerings and by innovating to give better service to the tourist.
On arriving in Cuzco, the great majority of visitors rely on the services of travel agencies that they may have arranged beforehand. However many tourists also travel without preset plans; they travel freely as they explore Cuzco on their own. Nevertheless they still need information.
They ask themselves what should they do when they first arrive in Cuzco. To answer this they generally rely on tourist information such as where they might stay, which sites to visit, where they might eat. All of these are important details and worry you when you arrive at a place in constant movement.
What these travelers usually do when they first breathe the air of the city of Cuzco is find information. If they arrive by air or by land they will find in the airport and bus terminal small tourism offices who have agents trained to capture the tourists that arrive by themselves in order to sell them tourist packages. Still they give information without obligation on the part of the tourist. Besides providing tour packages they also suggest and recommend hotels and hostelswhere you might stay.
It is a better idea to take a taxi to the Plaza de Armas. This is the principal place where one can find centers of information and tourist attention. One of these is the governmental office called DIRCETUR located half a block from the main square, the Plaza de Armas, on Mantas Street. Nearby one can find hotels, from the most exclusive to the most accommodating and welcoming, as well as a great variety of restaurants, money change houses, and ATMs.
Much of the needed information can also be found online on sites such as those of DIRCETUR, EMUFEC, our own site (CUZCO EATS), digital tourist guide books and magazines, as well as published books and guides. In them you can find information on the tourist attractions of Cuzco as well as background on the place. One can also find many travel agencies that sell tourist packages online.
However, many times all the information online is not sufficient, especially when we encounter a city in constant movement filled with changing activities.
Because of this shifting need the city provides a team of young women and men in typical dress who have the obligation to offer free tourist information to visitors. Established by DIRCETUR (the Regional Directorate of Tourism) this project is direct towards tourists who travel on their own and do not use the services of a travel agency.
These young people dress in the different costumes that represent the regional dress of Cuzco’s districts in order to better grab the attention of the tourists. In this way, they are able to give them information on the principle activities in the city as well s information on the established tours around the city and region.
When we talked to them they said that many times the tourists are lost and disoriented, sometimes even in the worst ways. Event though the monumental core of Cuzco is small there are still many details one must know or get information on. They say they are there with the mission of helping and providing information to tourists.
It has been two months now that the young people have been working in Cuzco’s tourist core. By now they are well known and with every passing day more tourists know to approach them with confidence because they known they give information and assistance to the tourists. Tourists also take advantage of the moment to have their picture taken with them in their traditional dress.
Almost every day I take a spin around the Plaza de Armas to stretch my legs a bit and I have seen that tourists are happy with this new service. They seem better informed.
These young sources of information are scattered around the Plaza de Armas, the main Square, and other principle sites in small groups. There they call the attention of tourists to help them and to briefly teach them about our culture. They offer basic descriptions of the tourist attractions and give out maps of the main tourist circuits around our town. They also give details such as the names of streets, and the provide recommendations for places that give good service. Their information is quite useful when you are in the city of Cuzco.
This idea from DIRCETUR helps the travelers who come to our city to enjoy a better stay, have better information, and obtain better service. It strengthens Cuzco as a city that attracts ever more tourists.