Places to visit in Cusco

Places to visit in Cusco


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Places to visit in Cusco

Places to visit in Cusco

This list of the best places to visit in Cusco will help you prepare a route through one of the most historic and beautiful cities in Latin America, which we are sure will not disappoint. Located on a slope of the Andes mountain range, Cusco was the capital of the Inca Empire and one of the most important cities in the Spanish colonial era. Declared a World Heritage Site, it still preserves remains of Inca temples and constructions in the foundations of numerous colonial buildings in which this mixture of two cultures can be observed while walking through its cobbled streets and squares, visiting the most important temples and churches, as well as when try its delicious gastronomy accompanied by a pisco sour. In addition, the city is perfect as a base to visit some of the great jewels of Peru such as the Sacred Valley, the Mountain of the 7 colors and Machu Picchu.


1. Plaza de Armas

The Plaza de Armas is the heart of the historic center and one of the most important places to visit in Cusco. Formerly, this square was a swamp that the Incas dried to make it the center of administration for the entire Empire, but with the arrival of the Spanish, numerous buildings and churches were built around the square, on top of the Inca temples and palaces. Today the square is full of tourist restaurants and large chains such as McDonald’s or Starbucks, travel agencies and souvenir shops, which for us have taken away the charm of past times, although it is still a must in the city.
Two of the most interesting places that you can visit in the square are the Cathedral of Cusco and the Church of the Company of Jesus. The Cathedral with a mix of Baroque, Gothic and Plateresque styles has several wonders inside such as the chapels, the main altar and the sacristy. Next to the Cathedral, there is the Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús, one of the most beautiful baroque churches in Peru where, in addition to observing its impressive façade, it is worth entering to see the main altar, the 4 cedar altars and the golden pulpit.
An interesting option to learn about the history of the city and not miss a thing is book this private tour with guide in Spanish.
Visiting hours of the Cathedral: every day from 10am to 6pm Visiting hours of the Church: every day from 8am to 11am and from 1pm to 5pm

Plaza de armas cusco


2. San Blas neighborhood

San Blas, located in the historic center, is the most beautiful and charming neighborhood to see in Cusco. Strolling through the narrow and steep cobblestone streets, seeing the old colonial houses or looking for some original souvenir in one of the shops and craft workshops, are some of the best things to do in Cuzco.
Among its most interesting places is the Church of San Blas, the oldest in the city built on an Inca temple that is worth going inside to see its fantastic carved wooden pulpit.
Also in this neighborhood, being in the upper part of the city, you will have good views of the city. It is recommended to finish a route through Cuzco in a day returning to this bohemian neighborhood at night to have a pisco sour in one of its picturesque places full of tourists and locals. An interesting option to learn about the history of the city and not miss a thing is book this private tour with a guide in Spanish.

Barrio San Blas Cusco

3. Qorikancha and the Convent of Santo Domingo

Qorikancha was a temple built by the Incas dedicated to the Sun god that over time expanded and beautified until it became the most important place of worship in the Inca Empire. One of the most outstanding elements that are preserved from the temple are the large blocks of solid rock that were joined without any mortar, to form large walls. These walls that were covered with gold foil delimited several temples within Qorikancha such as the Sun, the Moon and the Stars.
With the arrival of the Spanish, the Convent of Santo Domingo was built on top of Qorikancha, destroying the upper part of the Inca temple.
Visiting hours: Monday to Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sunday from 2pm to 5pm.
Book this private tour.

Qoricancha Cusco

4. Sacsayhuamán

Located about 40 minutes walk north of the historic center, there are the ruins of the Sacsayhuamán fortress, another of the essential places to visit in Cusco. This complex began to be built in the 15th century by order of Pachacutec, one of the most important Incas that the Empire had. And although currently only a part of the old Sacsayhuamán is preserved, you can still see the incredible walls of large stone blocks forming 3 overlapping platforms. Keep in mind that in the complex you can walk through the different platforms using the stairs and doors made of stone such as the fantastic Puerta del Sol and on various stones of the walls, which reach 400 meters in length, see various images made by the Incas .
If you have time, we recommend doing a route that can take you one morning, first visiting the Inca ruins of Tambomachay, Pukapukara, Qenqo and ending with Sacsayhuamán. To do this route you can take a combi in the Plaza de Armas until you reach the last site and walk down the hill visiting the rest of the temples.
Visiting hours: every day from 07:00 to 18:00
Book this private tour.

Saqsayhuaman Cusco

5. Hatun Rumiyoc Street and 12 Angle Stone

Hatun Rumiyoq is a stone wall (green diorite) located on the street of the same name. It must have been part of the palace attributed to Inca Roca. This covers almost all of Hatun Rumiyoc Street; street known worldwide because it houses the “stone of the twelve angles”, famous for the perfect assembly of its 12 corners and its sides, with the stones that surround it.
This wall has overlapping colonial and republican structures, and is currently occupied by the Archbishop's Palace and the Museum of Religious Art of Cusco. In this place the architects had to build a kind of platform, to level the terrain, since the steep slope that leads to the traditional neighborhood of San Blas begins here.
It is located about 200 m from the Plaza de Armas of the City of Cusco, in Peru; It is reached in a northeast direction by the side of the Iglesia del Triunfo; From here walk straight and you will reach Hatun Rumiyoc Pedestrian Street.
Book this private tour.

Hatun Rumiyoc - Piedra de los 12 ángulos - Cusco

6. San Pedro Market

Another of the places to see in Cuzco is the Mercado de San Pedro, the oldest and best known in the city. This market, also called Central Market, was built by the famous Gustav Eiffel, author of the Eiffel Tower and inside you will see stalls of all kinds of typical products of Peru such as passion fruit, pineapple, corn, cassava, Andean potatoes and others more common in all markets. It is also a good place to buy handicrafts and try typical local dishes at one of the food stalls. The Central Market of Cusco is located 5 blocks from the Plaza de Armas of Cusco in a western direction near the San Pedro train station.
The Central Market of Cusco houses a large number of food stalls, with entire sections, dedicated exclusively to fruit juices and juices, snacks and prepared meals. If the weather is cold, one of the best options is head broth (from lamb), but if, as usual, the sun shines, you can enjoy a delicious ceviche (raw fish marinated in lemon juice).
Hidden among the corridors of the Mercado de San Pedro (in the fruit section) you can find stalls with exotic products brought from the Amazon, tinctures of herbs, and sebum-based ointments from certain animals. Here you can buy coca leaves and prepare your own infusion; Coca tea is one of the best natural remedies to combat altitude sickness. There is a row dedicated to chocolate, here you can find a mixture of delicious chocolate, coca leaves and mint (very delicious). It is not unusual that people who come from nearby provinces come in typical costumes, carrying their babies on their backs in typical blankets, from which it seems that they are going to fall, but you will see that this is not the case.
Book this private tour.

Mercado San Pedro - cusco

7. Tambomachay, Pukapukara, Qenqo and Cristo Blanco

In addition to Sacsayhuamán, there are three other Inca archaeological sites that deserve to be among the essential places to visit in Cusco. The first is Tambomachay, dedicated to the cult of water and located 8 kilometers from Cusco, which highlights a beautiful natural environment where an Inca hydraulic system consisting of sources, channels and aqueducts was located.
A 5-minute walk from Tambomachay is Pukapukara, known as the Red Fort. In these ruins you can see the different rooms and walls of the old fortress, which could be used as a hunting lodge, guard post or a stopping place for the royal procession.
Following the road in the direction of Sacsayhuamán you will arrive, in an hour on foot, to Qenqo, a religious complex where you can see the remains of various Inca buildings such as an amphitheater, two columns with astronomical functions, a canal and an underground room . Qenqo is located one kilometer from Sacsayhuamán and also very close to the Cristo Blanco, an 8-meter statue from which you can take the way down to the city, with fantastic views of the city of Cusco.
To save money we advise you to book the specific tourist ticket for the Cusco area that includes all these ruins and the tourist attractions of the city. Keep in mind that although it is recommended to do this walking tour of the landscapes, you can take a combi that brings you closer to this site.
Book this private tour.

Qenqo - Tambomachay - Puca pucara - cristo blanco - cusco

8. The Sacred Valley of the Incas

The magical Sacred Valley of the Incas, located 15 kilometers from Cusco, is one of the most impressive places to visit in Peru. In this Andes valley that passes several rivers, you will find archaeological sites of the ancient Incas, indigenous and colonial towns and landscapes that will leave you speechless.
This valley was highly appreciated by the Incas for its good conditions for agriculture in which, taking advantage of the geography, they created a system of terraces to cultivate their precious corn. Among the essential places to see in the Sacred Valley are:
Pisac: The impressive Inca ruins situated on a hill, the cultivation terraces and the handicraft market are enough reasons to visit Pisac. Ollantaytambo: This is one of the masterpieces of Inca architecture in which an enormous complex of several floors built on two mountains stands out, which had defensive, religious and administrative functions. Moray: In this place you can see perfect circular terraces that would have been used by the Incas to do experiments with different crops. Salineras de Maras: Thousands of small pools filled with water form this old salt mine that will leave a postcard image on your retina. Chinchero: This indigenous town is one of the most beautiful in the Sacred Valley. Do not miss the square located on what was an Inca palace and the stalls to buy crafts that mount in the surroundings.
To save money we advise you to book the specific tourist ticket for the Cusco area that includes all these ruins and the tourist attractions of the city. Keep in mind that although it is recommended to do this walking tour of the landscapes, you can take a combi that brings you closer to this site.


Sacred Valley of the Incas Inkas - Cusco

9. Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu, the lost city of the Incas, located just over 100 kilometers from Cusco, is considered one of the seven wonders of the world as well as one of the most important places to visit in Cusco. This ancient Inca city, which was hidden between the mountains and the vegetation until the explorer Hiram Bingham discovered it in 1911, stands out for its 15th-century ruins such as the Intihuatana stone, the Temple of the Sun, the Main Temple, the Temple of the Condor and the Three Windows Room.
To get to know the history of this ancient city better and not miss any interesting place, it is advisable to do part of the visit with a guide. To visit the city of Machu Picchu and climb the Huaynapicchu you must reserve the entrance several months in advance, as you have a limited number of daily visitors. To get to Machu Picchu by public transport, you can take a train in Cuzco or Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes, where buses leave every hour to take you to the entrance of the archaeological site.
Another option is to book this day trip that includes transportation, hotel pickup, entrance, and a guide in Spanish during your visit to Machu Picchu. That said, we have to highlight that the most magical way to get to Machu Picchu is by walking the 40 kilometers of the Inca Trail, which have made it one of the best things to do in Peru. This 4-day excursion through paths with ancient stone steps, valleys and mountains with dream landscapes, will take you to this wonder of the world. You can shorten part of the journey by booking this two-day tour. Visiting hours: every day from 6 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.


MachuPicchu - Cusco

10. The Rainbow Mountain

Another of the best excursions and places to visit in Cusco is the Rainbow Mountain also called the Mountain of the Seven Colors. Located more than 5000 meters high in the Andes, it presents one of the most incredible geological phenomena on earth, which have made it one of the best-known places in the area in a few years. This explosion of colors is the product of the combination of different minerals that give the sensation that a rainbow fell from the sky on the mountain, when viewed from afar. Keep in mind that the best time to see the hues clearly is in July and August, the dry season.
The best and most comfortable way to get to the Rainbow Mountain is to book this excursion from Cusco with a guide in Spanish or this 4-day tour that includes Machu Picchu, both will take you to one of the most impressive places to visit in Cusco. Keep in mind that the journey to the point where the trekking begins is about three hours and although the views of the mountain and the path are impressive, the trek of about 3 hours to the viewpoint of the Rainbow is quite demanding. It is advisable to bring warm clothes and coca leaves to overcome altitude sickness.
Although this place is far from the usual tourist routes that focus on knowing the Sacred Valley, it is becoming very fashionable and more and more people visit it, so if you are going to take the excursion, it is worth booking in advance. .


Rainbow Mountain - Cusco

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