Cusco (Inca city)

(3.399 meters) above sea level


Map of Cusco


Birthplace of the world

Seductive, striking and natural, Cusco’s history lives in its streets, squares, valleys and towns.Stunning destinations and examples of fine engineering by Inca stonemasons can be seen in Choquequirao, Saysayhuamán, Kenko, Tambomachay, Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu, the Inca jewel built with the wisdom of the ancient Peruvians in an ecological environment. Captivating landscapes such as the Sacred Valley, where the mountains are clothed by terraces.

Pictures villages where the past forms part of the present. Cusco really is the birthplace of the world.

When arriving in Cusco from the coast you’ll immediately notice the thin clear mountain air, a result of the City’s high altitude. The first day in particular should be spent quietly relaxing and taking things easy as you gently acclimatize. Plan to spend at least 3 days in and around Cusco before starting any serious trekking such as the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. This is an ideal opportunity to see the highlights Cusco has to offer such as a tour of the City, the nearby Inca Ruins of Sacsayhuaman, Qenko, Pucapucara and Tambomachay and, of course, a day trip out to the Sacred Valley of the Incas including a visit to the traditional Indian market at Pisac, the beautiful village of Ollantaytambo and the small village of Chinchero located high up in the mountains.

Location: Andes mountain range in the south of Peru

Extension: 72,104 km2.

Routes & length of stay

4 Dias

length of stay)

  • 2 days: City and surrounding area: Sacsayhuamán, Qenko, Pukapukara
    and Tambomachay.
  • 1 day: Machu Picchu – take the train from the city to the mountain.
  • 1 day: Sacred Valley of the Incas: Písac, Ollantaytambo and Chinchero.
  • 1 day: Southern circuit: Pikillacta and Andahuaylillas.
  • 3 days: Suykutambo Canyon.
  • 4 days: Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu.
  • 4 days: Trek to Choquequirao.

Recommended for


Archeology lovers: who, besides Machu Picchu, can visit other fabulous sights, like Choquequirao, Sacsayhuamán, Tipón, Písac and Ollantaytambo, just to name a few.

People interested in religious landmarks: who will find the city is full of them, as are the surrounding country villages (Andahuaylillas, Huaro).

Popular tradition buffs, who can attend such festivals as the Inti Raymi and the Qoyllur Rit’i.

Experiential tourism aficionados: who, at Raqchi, can share in the daily labors of the farmers there.

Handicraft collectors: who must visit the San Blas quarter in Cusco and check out the Sunday flea markets at Chinchero and Písac.

Birdwatchers: who should not pass on the journey to Huacarpay Lagoon and the Málaga Pass.

Adventure sports lovers: who can river-raft, mountain bike, paraglide and do many other adrenaline pumping activities at spots located in and around Cusco.

What to buy?

que comprar

Cusco is a handicraft lover’s dream come true, with so much to choose from that it will be hard to say no to any of them, starting with handmade clothing, pottery pieces, silver jewelry, copies of paintings from the Cusco School, wood carved statues decorated in gold leaf,
religious figurines (the Three Kings, the Virgin Mary, Baby Jesus and archangels), masks, etc. The San Blas quarter is traditionally where
you will find most of Cusco’s famous artisans’ workshops, the likes of Edilberto Mérida, Antonio Olave, Jesús La Torre and the Mendívil family.

What to eat?

que comer

Since visitors from all over the world come to Cusco, food to satisfy all tastes and budgets is served there. You can find restaurants that serve traditional southern Andean dishes, like qapchi (potato and cheese salad) or lawa (a vegetable-beef soup) as well as those featuring alpaca meat (prized for its tenderness and low cholesterol), and restaurants that are increasingly providing specialties from the Novo-Andean style, which has prided itself on using rediscovered Andean produce, like quinoa (a grain) and aguaymanto (type of berry), in modern cooking techniques. There are plenty of Italian restaurants and other, international ones. Yet, you should try one of the traditional country restaurants that offer a varied menu without losing the taste of a good home cooked meal.

Typical dishes Cusco.

  • Chancho al horno: Roast pork or pork served as piqueo. Pieces of pork bone are selected, washed, seasoned and put to marinate with salt, pepper, red pepper, vinegar, beer or soy sauce and ground red pepper sauce. Allow to marinate for 24-48 hours. Then baked at low heat until sure it is ready. It served with yucca and mote.
  • Chiri uchu: In the Cusco cuisine there is a representative dish is well known called Chiri uchu which means cold pepper. It is a delicious soup served cold and consumed at parties of Corpus Christi in June, is celebrated in Sacsayhuaman. The food is cold, is prepared with guinea pig baked, boiled chicken, mountain sausage, cheese, toast court, hot pepper, egg cup trout, Chinese onion, sausage, seaweed or algae, chorizo, chicken broth, beef jerky or chalona and tortilla corn flour. It puts everything boiled and served together on a single plate.
  • Pepián cuy:
    It is a stew of corn and guinea pig meat, seasoned with onion and red pepper sauce. After peel in boiling water, he takes guts to guinea pig and is cut into several pieces, which polvorean with cornmeal to fry in hot oil. In another pot a garnish of onion, browned garlic and red pepper is prepared. Guinea pigs are seasoned and peanuts are added to taste. The dish is served with rice and boiled potatoes huayro.
  • Timpu o puchero:
    It is a typical plate of the carnival season. It is a clade that bears various meats, vegetables, legumes and more. Boil a chest of cow or lamb, bacon. When in full boil cabbage leaves, potatoes, beans and rice, and preparations are added. In another pot potatoes, pears and boiled yucca. The broth is served separately.
Cusco Attractions in the City
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Cusco Attractions Beyond the City
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Cusco Festivals
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