4.5 star rating: Recommended 26 Reviews

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  • Address: Centro Historico


Cusco Historic Center

When it comes to history, few cities in South America are more historic than Cusco. This sprawling city was once the capital of the entire Inca Empire, and many will tell you that ancient Cusco was the grandest city in Peru. Even the name “Cusco” translates as “Navel of the Earth” since the Inca believed the city to be the center of the known world. It pulses with an energy unlike elsewhere in Peru, and there is a palpable magic which permeates these streets set high in the foothills of the Andes. 

During the 16th Century, when Spanish conquistadors came marching into Cusco, they kept the structure of the city intact but destroyed many of the buildings. Colonial cathedrals and Spanish architecture took the place of Inca temples, and the city became an Andean fusion of Spanish and Inca design. Given the cultural combination and the grandiose scale of the city, UNESCO declared Cusco as a World Heritage Site in 1983. 

When visiting the Cusco Historic Center, begin your tour in the center of town at the fountain-clad Plaza de Armas. This bustling square was the site of many of Cusco’s most historic moments, and the colonial buildings which spring from the square define the charm of Cusco. At the Iglesia Compañia de Jesus, the labyrinths and hidden passages beneath the church house the remains of many conquistadors. On the outside, photograph the building and its ornately-carved entrance which is an iconic image of Cusco.

When leaving the Plaza, meander down streets such as famous Calle Loreto which still features stonework set in place by the Inca. In addition to the remarkable size of the stones, notice how the blocks fit perfectly together like a jigsaw mosaic of rock. 

Once outside of the Plaza, pay a visit to Santo Domingo Church which was built atop sacred ruins. Prior to the arrival of the Spanish, this site was known as Coricancha and was dedicated to the worship of the sun. Since this was the temple for the Inca’s most important deity, the building was flush with statues and altars which were comprised of solid gold. Unsurprisingly, the site was completely looted by the Spanish and a church was erected in its place. Portions of the temple still remain, however, and it’s one of the most culturally-rich sites in the entire Cusco Historic Center.

Other than buildings and architecture, art-lovers can wander the streets of San Blas and peruse the streetside markets. Others can visit the various paqchas which are ancient sources of water. Or, simply get lost amongst the historic streets and bask in the power of the city. Watch as groups of traditionally-dressed women blend with wide-eyed tourists, and immerse yourself in the mestizo blend in this ancient capital of the Inca.

Tours & Tickets

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Cusco Markets and Ruins Small Group Tour

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 19 Reviews

For a great introduction to Peruvian culture, join a small-group walking tour of Cusco's vibrant markets and impressive Inca ruins. Start at the vibrant San ...  Read more

Location: Cusco, Peru
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

From USD $35.00

Cusco Night Walking Tour and Pisco Sour Lesson

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 13 Reviews

Explore the ancient Incan streets of Cusco and then make the perfect pisco sour like a true Peruvian local. Begin your 2.5-hour night walking tour in Plaza de ...  Read more

Location: Cusco, Peru
Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $35.00

Private Tour: Cusco City Sightseeing including San Pedro Market and Archaeological Sites

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 1 Reviews

This 4.5-hour private tour will take you on a sightseeing tour of Cusco, 'The Capital of the old Incan Empire' and important archaeological site. Get immersed ...  Read more

Location: Cusco, Peru
Duration: 4 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $143.00

Cusco City Sightseeing Tour

4.5 star rating: Recommended 54 Reviews

Discover the magic and beauty of Cusco, the capital of the Incan Empire. The flawlessly built Incan roads spread to all regions from the “Plaza” which was ...  Read more

Location: Cusco, Peru
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

From USD $50.99

Cusco Archeological and Religious Sites Tour Including Sacsayhuaman and Cathedral of Santo Domingo

4.5 star rating: Recommended 21 Reviews

Be fascinated on a half-day tour of Cusco’s surrounding archeological sites, including the famous Sacsayhuaman, where the Incas’ construction of tightly placed ...  Read more

Location: Cusco, Peru
Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $77.99

City Tour of Cusco and Archeological Sites

Visit the charming city of Cusco, historic capital of the Inca Empire. The tour starts with a visit to Santo Domingo Convent, a large Renaissance-baroque ...  Read more

Location: Cusco, Peru
Duration: 5 hours (approx.)

From USD $85.00

Private Cusco Walking Tour: Inca Museum, Qorikancha and San Pedro Market

This fabulous half day tour takes you around all the most important sites of Cusco, including visits to the Inca Museum, the Temple of the Sun (Qorikancha) and ...  Read more

Location: Cusco, Peru
Duration: Flexible

From USD $59.00

Private Walking Tour: Cusco City Sightseeing and San Pedro Market

Visit the city of Cusco, 'The Capital of the old Incan Empire' on this 4-hour private, walking tour. You will be picked up from your hotel to see the main ...  Read more

Location: Cusco, Peru
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

From USD $65.00

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