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At an altitude over 11,000 feet, the air is thin in the ancient city of Cusco in the Peruvian Andes and the vibe is thick with trekker chic, a mix of Andean and hip-hop inspiration, bright clashing colors, patterned leggings, statement accessories, and some practical baby alpaca sweaters and caps for the cool nights.

It’s most evident in the Plaza Sans Blas (just above Cusco’s Plaza des Armes central square) with its trendy enclave of laid-back cafés and bistros, like the El Hada bakery/ice cream parlor, restaurants like Pachapapa with live pan-pipe folk music and cuy (aka roasted guinea pig) and hostels where youthful world travelers network and link up for the next leg of their excursions. Interspersed between are mom-and-pop shops like the Artesania “La Piedrita” for handmade jewelry and accessories at everyday low prices — subject to negotiation.

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