Calca is a very pretty town, characterised by two wonderfully appointed squares, side by each. Both are heavy with flowers, sculptures and ancient trees, and are divided by a charming colonial church and market.
The town is still highly authentic, with little tourism. There’s a bus station that takes travellers to Cusco (an hour away), as well as to Ollantaytambo, a ride of around 90 minutes. The main market is on Sunday, with local farmers selling their wares, including fresh flowers, produce, cheeses and meats. During the week, Calca offers plenty of shops and businesses that service the local population, making it a convenient place to reside.
There’s lots to do here, including trekking the gorgeous trails on the outskirts of town, or you can stop by the Machacancha hot springs for an invigorating dip in your choice of three large pools. Locals espouse the curative properties of the water, and soaking in the cloudy mineral water is said to be good for just about anything.
Pros of living in Calca
- Some nice cafes and restaurants
- Plenty of services for residents, such as markets, legal offices, banks, etc
- Beautiful plazas
- The area just outside the town centre has some nice hikes, parks and ruins
Cons of living in Calca
- Smaller expat community than Huaran/Arin or Urubamba
- Fewer things to do than in Urubamba
- Frequent fiestas may make noise that can bother some people
Recommended Restaurants in Calca
Some say this new restaurant offers the best vegan cuisine in the valley. The daily specials are generous, healthy and cheap – expect rich veggie soups, falafel bowls, risottos and delicious desserts, including vegan ice creams, chocolate cakes and muffins.
Homemade ice creams, cakes and great coffee are served in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere in this cafe, situated just in front of the main marketplace.