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Things to do in Cusco

Things to do in  Cusco

Welcome to Cusco

With its verdant backdrop, high-altitude location—a dizzying 11,150 feet (3,400 meters) above sea level—and rich indigenous culture, Cusco is one of Peru’s most enchanting cities. Perhaps best known as the gateway to Machu Picchu, Cusco is both the sacred capital of the Incas and the grand finish to the legendary Inca Trail. Below Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley of the Incas boasts a wealth of archaeological wonders, traditional market villages, and mesmerizing views, while the Salkantay and Lares treks are two of the country’s most worthwhile long-distance hikes. Cusco itself has plenty to offer too, with its beautiful colonial buildings, buzzing marketplace, and traditional and neo-Andean restaurants.

Top 10 attractions in Cusco

#1
Aguas Calientes

Aguas Calientes

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If you're visiting Machu Picchu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, there’s a good chance you'll pass through the small pueblo of Aguas Calientes en route. This gateway town to Peru’s famous Incan ruins sits nestled in a valley of cloud forest, where a series of natural hot springs gives the town its name.More
#2
Cusco Historic Center (Centro Historico de Cusco)

Cusco Historic Center (Centro Historico de Cusco)

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Once the shimmering capital of the entire Inca Empire, Cusco is the gateway to the Sacred Valley of the Incas and the ruins of Machu Picchu. Bearing its original Inca name, meaning “Navel of the Earth,” Cusco pulsates with a unique and magical energy rivaled by few other South American cities, most notably in its historic center.More
#3
Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

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The lost city of Machu Picchu is the most famous archaeological site in Peru and, arguably, all of South America. The UNESCO World Heritage–listed collection of temples, terraced hills, and plazas was once the mountaintop citadel of the ancient Inca empire. It may now be world famous, but Machu Picchu still hasn't revealed the mysteries behind its construction, function, and eventual demise.More
#4
Sacred Valley of the Incas

Sacred Valley of the Incas

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Between Cusco and Machu Picchu lies the Sacred Valley of the Incas (Urubamba Valley), home to some of Peru’s most interesting pre-Columbian ruins and attractive colonial towns and villages. While many travelers pass through here en route to Machu Picchu, the valley has become a destination in its own right.More
#5
Cusco Cathedral (Catedral del Cuzco)

Cusco Cathedral (Catedral del Cuzco)

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Built atop the Inca palace Viracocha, the Cusco Cathedral was a triumphant statement for conquering colonists who laid the foundation stones in 1559. Now Plaza de Armas’ showpiece, the cathedral is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cusco and a significant cultural monument holding the largest collection of Cusco School paintings.More
#6
Plaza de Armas (Huacaypata)

Plaza de Armas (Huacaypata)

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From the coastal deserts of southern Peru to the frigid peaks of the Andes, every part of the vast Inca Empire traced back to Cusco. Tucked within the Andean mountains, the scenic capital city was the beating heart of one of the greatest civilizations in history. Today, you can feel this powerful history most palpably in its central square, Plaza de Armas.More
#7
Qorikancha (Coricancha)

Qorikancha (Coricancha)

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A symbol of both Incan cosmology and their brutal conquest at the hands of the Spanish, Qorikancha (Coricancha) is one of the most important sites in Cusco. The sacred temple—which the Incas created to worship their sun deity and then swathed in gold—was looted and destroyed by conquistadors, who built a colonial church atop the temple ruins.More
#8
Sacsayhuaman (Saqsaywaman)

Sacsayhuaman (Saqsaywaman)

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The largest and arguably most impressive of the four archaeological ruins on the outskirts of Cusco, Sacsayhuaman (Saqsaywaman) was built by the Incas from massive stones weighing as much as 300 tons. A critical military site in the battle with the Spanish for the Inca empire in 1536, the ruins offer impressive views over the city below.More
#9
Ollantaytambo Ruins

Ollantaytambo Ruins

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Perched at the northern end of Peru’s Sacred Valley of the Incas, the Ollantaytambo Ruins were once the administrative center of the Inca Empire. At this well-preserved and partly rebuilt archeological park, learn the secrets of Inca urban planning, admire the ceremonial temple, masterful Inca stonework, and set off on the legendary Inca trail.More
#10
Inca Trail

Inca Trail

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South America's most famous trek is an unforgettable way to reach the lost Inca city of Machu Picchu. Along the way, the four-day trek takes hikers past three Andean mountain passes, Inca ruins, and views of the snow-capped Andes, culminating in a stellar sunrise over Machu Picchu—a UNESCO World Heritage site—from the Sun Gate.More

Trip ideas

How to Spend 2 Days in Cusco

How to Spend 2 Days in Cusco

What to Pack for Machu Picchu

What to Pack for Machu Picchu

Top Markets in Cusco

Top Markets in Cusco

Recent reviews from experiences in Cusco

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Must See Tour of Cusco with Wonderful Guide!
Geraldine_Y, Jul 2021
Half Day Cusco City Sightseeing
I couldn't have explored the places I wanted to see in Cusco without them!
star-5
Unreal. Magical. Unforgettable.
Geraldine_Y, Jul 2021
Machu Picchu Day Trip from Cusco
I couldn't have explored the places I wanted to see in Cusco without them!
star-4
it's a great change of pace ATVing on dirt roads by the Incan ruins and the Peruvian Andes
keita_s, Jun 2021
ATV Tour to Moray, Maras and Salt Flat in the Sacred Valley from Cusco
The guide spoke very good english, the scenery was amazing, and the ATV worked flawlessly.
star-4
Great budget tour
John_P, May 2021
8-Day ||All Included|| Excursión: Cusco & MachuPichu Amazing
But it was totally worth the effort to see Rainbow Mountain and Humanity Lake the following day.
star-5
Great Experience
Matthew_M, Mar 2020
Inca Bridge of Qeswachaka Private Service
What an interesting place to visit.
star-5
Wow! Really a wonderful day!!!
James B, Dec 2019
Cusco Food Walking Tour
His English is fantastic and he really cares about Cusco, its history, heritage and culinary scene.
star-5
Full day horseback riding
Bree W, Sep 2019
Machu Picchu Private Guided Tour from Aguas Calientes
You get to see so much of the country side and her customer service was amazing!
star-5
Awesome
CaroleR678, Jun 2019
Machu Picchu Tour from Cusco Full Day
To see such an amazing sight.
star-5
Must visit!
vickyhsu1, Jul 2018
Machu Picchu Day Trip from Cusco
I would recommend people to stay overnight in Machu Picchu area as the transportation from Cusco will take about 9-10 hours, leaving you 2-3 hours to visit Machu Picchu.
star-4
The trip went very smoothly. The...
Jeffrey H, Dec 2017
Private Machu Picchu Full-Day Tour from Cusco
The guide was very good in English and did a great job.
star-5
This was a well organised tour and...
Kate, Nov 2017
2-Day Private Tour to Machu Picchu from Cusco
A great way to see Machu Picchu if you are short on time and want the highlights.
star-4
Opportunity to see the heart of...
Keith V, Nov 2017
Half-Day City Tour of Cusco Including Tambomachay
Opportunity to see the heart of Cusco and get up close to many Incan ruins.
star-5
The place is already great to visit...
Ilka R, Jun 2017
Machu Picchu Private Full-Day Tour from Cusco
The place is already great to visit!
star-4
We got to see the major sites in...
Sandra M, Feb 2018
Half-Day Temples and Cusco City Tour
We got to see the major sites in Cusco with a good guide.
star-5
I had a great trip. Fredi the...
Ravi D, Aug 2017
Best of Peru 6-Day Cusco, Machu Picchu, and Lake Titicaca Tour
Peru is a great place to visit and Machu Picchu is the crown Jewel.
star-5
A very sufficient service with...
Pam, Aug 2016
Cusco Airport Arrival Transfer
A very sufficient service with english speaking driver, who gave really important information about cusco and the specifics of the place.
star-5
If you are looking for something a...
William F, Dec 2016
Sacred Valley 4x4 Quadbike Adventure from Cusco
It was a great way to see the valley and some of it's sights!
star-4
The whole bus was Spanish speaking...
greek519, Oct 2016
Full-Day Sacred Valley Tour Including Buffet Lunch from Cusco
The guide was great and said everything in both Spanish and English.
star-5
Clean car and very kind driver...
Jennifer D, Jun 2016
Cusco Airport Arrival Transfer
gave great advice on where to eat and what to see while in Cusco!
star-5
Great tour. Got to see the city with...
Eric L, May 2016
Half Day Cusco City Sightseeing
Got to see the city with a detailed tour guide and also get some great references for food!!.

All about Cusco

When to visit

For trekkers looking to tackle the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, May through September offers the most pleasant conditions, but be prepared for crowds—this is Cusco’s peak season. Those willing to visit during the rainy months (December through March) will be rewarded with crowd-free sights, cheaper accommodation, and a number of traditional fiestas and folklore festivals.

Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
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