Cusco (Inca city)

(3.399 meters) above sea level

 

Map of Cusco

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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

(Minimum
recommended
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

machupicchu

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
Temple of the Sun (Qoricancha)

Temple of the Sun (Qoricancha)

Visiting Hours: Monday – Friday 08:30 a.m. – 16:00 p.m.; Sunday 07:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Location: The Koricancha was built on a terrace of rain origin, on the esplanade that separated the Tullumayo and Huatanay rivers, currently Avenues Tullumayo...

Temple of San Blas – Peru excursions

Temple of San Blas – Peru excursions

Visiting Hours : Monday – Saturday 8.00 am – 6.00 pm; Sunday and public holidays 10.00 am – 6.00 pm. Location : Plazoleta (Small plaza) San Blas. Cusco Built in 1560 during the colonial period, upon an old Inca...

San Blas neighbourhood – San Blas tours

San Blas neighbourhood – San Blas tours

Visiting Hours : Daytime. Location : 4 blocks from the Plaza de Armas. Cusco Named “T’oqokachi or hueco de sal” (salt hole), with steep, narrow streets and lovely colonial-style houses. It is known as the artisan’s neighbourhood. Many families...

Temple of La Compañía de Jesús Church

Temple of La Compañía de Jesús Church

Visiting Hours : Monday – Saturday 9.00 am – 11.45 am and 1.00 pm – 5.30 pm / Sun 9.00 am – 10.45 am and 1.00 pm – 5.30 pm. Location : Plaza de Armas. Cusco A Jesuit church,...

Cusco Cathedral – Cathedral tours

Cusco Cathedral – Cathedral tours

Visiting Hours : Mon – Sun 10.00 am to 6.00 pm, including public holidays. Location : Plaza de Armas. Cusco Construction occurred in two phases: first the Chapel of Triumph was built on what had been the ancient temple...

Cuzco Plaza de Armas – Cusco main Square

Cuzco Plaza de Armas – Cusco main Square

Visiting Hours : Daytime and at night. Location : Surrounded by the Provincial Municipality’s headquarters, the city cathedral and the Church of the Society of Jesus. Cusco In Inca times, it was called “Huacaypata,” a Quechua word meaning a...

Cusco Attractions Beyond the City
Tourist attraction of Cusco – Yucay

Tourist attraction of Cusco – Yucay

Visiting Hours: Daytime Location: It is located 78 kms. Northeast of the city of Cusco by asphalted road (1 h 15 min. approximately), and 28 kms. North of Calca. In the heart of the Sacred Valley, on the right...

Tourist attraction of Cusco – Piquillacta

Tourist attraction of Cusco – Piquillacta

Visiting Hours: Monday – Sunday 07: 0 0 a.m. – 18:00.p.m. Location: Piquillacta archaeological park is located 33 km from Cusco (southeast), and 3,250 meters above sea level in the river basin Lucre mesothermal environment in the course of...

Tourist attraction of Cusco – Urubamba

Tourist attraction of Cusco – Urubamba

Location: The capital of the province of Urubamba bears his name and is located 57 km. northwest of Cusco, vía Chinchero. It is 2,875 meters high. Located in the center of the Urubamba Valley and surrounded by the beautiful...

Tourist attraction of Cusco – Pisac

Tourist attraction of Cusco – Pisac

Visiting Hours: Monday – Sunday 07: 0 0 a.m. – 18:00.p.m. Location: It is located 32 km. Northeast of Cusco at an altitude of 2,950 meters. The temperature ranges from 14 – 20 degrees Celsius during the day and...

Tourist attraction of Cusco – Ollantaytambo

Tourist attraction of Cusco – Ollantaytambo

Visiting Hours: Monday – Sunday 07: 0 0 a.m. – 18:00.p.m. Location: It is located 80 km northeast of Cusco, gateway to the Amazon region of Cusco, and where the river Vilcanota, about 2,850 meter above sea level. The...

Tourist attraction of Cusco – Chinchero

Tourist attraction of Cusco – Chinchero

Visiting Hours: Monday – Sunday 07: 0 0 a.m. – 18:00.pm. Location: It is located 28 km. northwest of Cusco, about 3160 meter above sea level, flanked by the snow-capped Salkantay, Verónica and Spray. Chinchero, the most typical of...

Tourist attraction of Cusco – Maras

Tourist attraction of Cusco – Maras

Visiting Hours: Monday – Sunday 07: 0 0 a.m. – 17:30.p.m. Location: It is located 3375 meter above sea level, 40 kilometers of Cusco City. Entrada general: S/. 10.00 Maras was an important town during the colonial period (it...

Tourist attraction of Cusco – Choquequirao

Tourist attraction of Cusco – Choquequirao

Visiting Hours: Monday – Sunday 07: 0 0 a.m. – 17:00.p.m. Location: It is located 3,033 meter above sea level in the foothills of Mount Salkantay, north of the valley of the Apurimac River in the province of La...

Tourist attraction of Cusco – Moray

Tourist attraction of Cusco – Moray

Visiting Hours: Monday – Sunday 07:00 a.m. – 16:00 p.m. Location: A 38 km northwest of Cusco and 7 kilometers southwest of Maras, lies the town of Moray. You can be reached by car through the road of the...

Qenko Archaeological – Cusco attractions

Qenko Archaeological – Cusco attractions

Visiting Hours : Mon – Sun and public holidays 8.00 am – 5.00 pm. Location : 3 km north-west of Cuzco (10 minutes by car). Cusco Qenko or “labyrinth” is considered a sacred place in which ceremonies were performed...

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu – excursions

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu – excursions

Visiting Hours : The best time to visit is during the day. Location : The location of the trail varies depending on the section you wish walk. The most popular route starts at km 82 on the Cusco-Machu Picchu...

Tambomachay Archaeological – Cusco tours

Tambomachay Archaeological – Cusco tours

Visiting Hours : Mon – Sun and public holidays 8.00 am – 5.00 pm. Location : 7.5 km north-west of Cuzco (20 minutes by car). Cusco The building would probably have had an important religious role linked to water...

Puka Pukara Archaeological – excursions

Puka Pukara Archaeological – excursions

Visiting Hours : Daytime. Location : 7 km north-east of Cuzco (15 minutes by car and 2 hours on foot). Cusco The complex holds numerous halls, inner plazas, aqueducts, watchtowers and paths. Its role would have been a “tambo”...

Sacsayhuamán Archaeological – Cusco Peru

Sacsayhuamán Archaeological – Cusco Peru

Visiting Hours : Mon – Sun and public holidays 8.00 am – 5.00 pm. Location : 2 km north-east of Cuzco (10 minutes by car). Cusco The complex comprises 33 archaeological sites, the best known of which is the...

Cusco Festivals
Ch’iaraje – Festivals in Peru

Ch’iaraje – Festivals in Peru

Cusco Begins: 20-January Ends: 20-January Ritual fight between the Checa y Quehue communities, who fight in a war game in order to bring about soil fertility. The community that takes the most land is the winner. Men, armed with slingshots, leather...

Independence Day – Peru traditions

Independence Day – Peru traditions

Cusco Begins : 28-July Ends : 29-July All over the country, Peruvians hold parties and patriotic celebrations to remember the Declaration of Peru’s Independence (July 28, 1821). In Lima and several cities of Peru, and even in remote villages,...

Virgin of Carmen – Festivals in Cusco

Virgin of Carmen – Festivals in Cusco

Cusco Begins : 16-July Ends : 16-July Worship of the Virgin of Carmen of Mamacha Carmen, patron saint of the mestizos, is expressed with colourful images during the procession of the image through the streets of the town, accompanied...

Qoyllur Riti – Festivals in Cusco

Qoyllur Riti – Festivals in Cusco

Cusco Begins: 17-June Ends: 17-June The largest pilgrimage of indigenous nations of the Americas. More than 10,000 people arrive in Sinakara, at the base of Ausangate Mountain (6,362 masl), to worship a painting of the Baby Jesus. The climb...

Corpus Christi – Festivals in Cusco

Corpus Christi – Festivals in Cusco

Cusco Begins: 18-June Ends: 26-June A procession of images of fifteen patron saints that are extremely revered in the city. Musical and folkloric groups take part in the procession. The typical and classical dish at this festival is the...

Inti Raymi – Festivals in Cusco

Inti Raymi – Festivals in Cusco

Cusco Begins: 24-June Ends: 24-June Inti Raymi is the Festival of the Sun, which coincides with the winter solstice and harvest time. The ceremony takes place in Sacsayhuaman Fortress, where attendants follow a detailed script and sacrifice two llamas...

Cusco Carnival – Festivals in Cusco

Cusco Carnival – Festivals in Cusco

Cusco Begins: 01-February Ends: 31-March Celebration that unites the Cusco population through joy and restrained games. Cusco carnivals start with the Compadres y Comadres festival two Thursdays before the main Carnival day; then “Yunzas o Cortamontes” takes place, which is the...

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