Cusco
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Top attractions in Cusco

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Top 10 Things to do in Cusco

Small and easy to navigate, the city of Cusco is a destination for the adventurer. It’s jam packed with a fascinating history of the Inca Empire and Spanish conquest that been amazingly well preserved and restored.

Museo de Arte Precolombino
Photo: t_y_l@flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Museo de Arte Precolombino

Originally an Incan courthouse, this museum is dedicated to artifacts and artwork from all regions of pre-Columbian Peru.

San Pedro Cusco

San Pedro Cusco

Feel the living heart of Peru while wandering the colorful Mercado Central de San Pedro. Explore endless aisles of local food, coffee, beer, jewelry, textiles and handicrafts.

Saksaywaman

Saksaywaman

Laying on the northern edge of Cusco is Saksaywaman, the historic capital of the Inca Empire. Find a stunning view of the city from the ancient architectural marvel.

Santo Domingo Church

Santo Domingo Church

Incan and Spanish stonework meet in this 17th century cathedral. It is the site of The Temple of the Sun—it was originally lined with about 700 sheets of solid gold.

Huchuy Qosqo

Only reachable by a long hike or horseback ride, Huchuy Qosqo is a prime example of the innovation of the Inca’s irrigation and cooling storage systems.

Tambomachay

Tambomachay

A bit closer to the city, and much more accessible, is another site of Inca ancient ruins made up of a string of aqueducts, canals and waterfalls that run through its tiered stone.

Sacred Valley

Sacred Valley

A great day trip, Sacred Valley was called such by the Inca for its fertile land. Be sure to visit the Inca village and fortress of Ollantaytambo on the way back to the Cusco.

The Inca Trail

The Inca Trail

Nearly as much of a wonder as the one it leads to, the Inca Trail is not to be taken lightly and the casual trekker should take heed before heading out on this long journey.

Moray

Moray

The most fascinating of the Inca ruins, Moray’s gigantic terraced circular depressions are truly a sight to behold.

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

One of the New Seven Wonders of the World, it is the icon of the Inca civilization.

Planning Your Cusco Visit

How many days to visit Cusco?

Give yourself at least five days for a trip to Cusco—the first couple to adjust to the elevation and navigate the city, the last few to make it to the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu.

When to visit?

The summer is the best time to visit for the climate, which also makes it peak tourist season. To avoid the crowds, early fall could be nice. Anytime after November and before April, however, is not recommended—Cusco’s rainy season could ruin your sightseeing.

How to get there?

Fly into Cusco’s Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport, located on the edge of the city.

Should I worry about elevation?

It is advised to spend at least 3 days in Cusco to acclimate to the high elevation before heading out on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, especially if arriving from sea-level.

Good to know

  • Language
    Spanish, Quechua and Aymara
  • Currency
    PEN (S/.)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (-05:00)
  • Country Code
    +51
  • Best time to visit
    To avoid the rainy winter and the tourist-packed summer, try to visit in early fall, when the sightseeing is still incredible!

Things to Do in Cusco

Top Attractions in Cusco

Cities in Peru

Other Sightseeing Options in Cusco

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What people are saying about Cusco

Excellent! Recommended to all my friends

At first I was a little iffy about getting this because I had a meeting schedule at 6 and I wasnt sure if we would get back on time but we did. We were back in Cusco by 5:00 pm. Everything was very well organized. They were very punctual at picking me up and we were the first group in the Lagoon. The food that was included was good. Our tour guide Freddy was amazing, he was very patient and funny. Going up the lagoon I would definitely recommend getting a horse it goes from 70-80 soles. It would only take you up the mountain because the incline is so high its dangerous to go down in a horse. Walking down the mountain will take you about an hour but it doesnt feel like it. Just be very careful because it does get slippery. Mornings are really really cold but once the sun comes out you will start to take layers off. The lagoon is magical. Totally worth it. If i wouldnt have come, i would definitely be upset and regretting it.

From Cusco: Humantay Lake 1-Day Trek Reviewed by Natalia, 06/02/2019

Awesome experience and amazing organization throughout the entire time

- Great pick up from the hostel (very punctual and tremendously safe driver) - Awesome organizational process from start to end - Not the cheapest way but definitely the most convenient way to experience Machu Picchu (all relevant aspects included like transfers from accommodation, train ticket, bus ticket, Machu Picchu ticket and tour guide, so you really do not have to worry about anything prior to that day) For me it was definitely worth the money especially if you do not have so many days in Cusco / Peru.

Machu Picchu: Full Day Tour by Train from Cusco Reviewed by Martin Josef, 03/03/2019

A great time, I would give 5 stars but not all inclusive as stated.

This was a wonderful adventure in Peru. The Pros: great guides, very responsible, guest safety, comfort and hospitality all get high marks. The hot lunch was delicious too. The Cons: it was listed as an all-inclusive activity but when we got there they told us the river shoes were an additional 15 Peruvian Soles per pair and you definitely can't do without them. You need them to walk in and around the river. That is not "all inclusive" when it comes to an accurate description of the tour.

Cusco: Urubamba River Rafting Adventure Reviewed by Tom, 06/06/2019

Very magical experience and well organised

This tour is definitely worthwhile and good value for money. The guy that spoke English really well and the breakfast and lunch provided was very good . There were options to either walk the whole 2 to 3 km to the view of the mountain or take a horse for a fee of about US$30. It is a tough walk due to the altitude but take your time and taking all of the surroundings along the way . Was enough time to take it all In and get back to the room still in daylight . Can highly recommend .

Cusco: Full-Day Tour to Rainbow Mountain Reviewed by Danielle, 06/24/2019

Nothing left to chance and met at every turn and no problems.

We would recommend this tour to especially older folks because nothing was left to chance. We had all our entry tickets given to us at the beginning of our tour and all drivers and guides very kind and super knowledgeable on the way. Excellent service and we enjoyed our group of two and the convenience. Many thanks!

From Cusco: 2-Day Guided Tour of Machu Picchu Reviewed by LaDonna, 04/20/2019