Quirky and characterful El Mercado aims to offer something a little different to the traditional colonial fare in Cusco, and is a charming place to stay. Though occupying a colonial-era building with plenty of historic charm, the hotel has adopted a market theme relating back to the original use of the premises, and this is reflected in light-hearted touches such as the juice cart at breakfast. All rooms are bright and welcoming, with marble bathrooms and colourful touches. Higher category rooms also feature their own fireplace and free-standing bathtub. El Mercado’s lively central courtyard is an attraction in itself and sometimes features live music in the evenings – the perfect accompaniment to a sundowner Pisco Sour.