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Cusco
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Top attractions in Cusco

See all tours & things to do in Cusco

Top 10 Things to do in Cusco

Small and easy to navigate, the city of Cusco is a destination for the adventurer. It’s jam packed with a fascinating history of the Inca Empire and Spanish conquest that been amazingly well preserved and restored.

Museo de Arte Precolombino
Photo: t_y_l@flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Museo de Arte Precolombino

Originally an Incan courthouse, this museum is dedicated to artifacts and artwork from all regions of pre-Columbian Peru.

San Pedro Cusco

San Pedro Cusco

Feel the living heart of Peru while wandering the colorful Mercado Central de San Pedro. Explore endless aisles of local food, coffee, beer, jewelry, textiles and handicrafts.

Saksaywaman

Saksaywaman

Laying on the northern edge of Cusco is Saksaywaman, the historic capital of the Inca Empire. Find a stunning view of the city from the ancient architectural marvel.

Santo Domingo Church

Santo Domingo Church

Incan and Spanish stonework meet in this 17th century cathedral. It is the site of The Temple of the Sun—it was originally lined with about 700 sheets of solid gold.

Huchuy Qosqo

Only reachable by a long hike or horseback ride, Huchuy Qosqo is a prime example of the innovation of the Inca’s irrigation and cooling storage systems.

Tambomachay

Tambomachay

A bit closer to the city, and much more accessible, is another site of Inca ancient ruins made up of a string of aqueducts, canals and waterfalls that run through its tiered stone.

Sacred Valley

Sacred Valley

A great day trip, Sacred Valley was called such by the Inca for its fertile land. Be sure to visit the Inca village and fortress of Ollantaytambo on the way back to the Cusco.

The Inca Trail

The Inca Trail

Nearly as much of a wonder as the one it leads to, the Inca Trail is not to be taken lightly and the casual trekker should take heed before heading out on this long journey.

Moray

Moray

The most fascinating of the Inca ruins, Moray’s gigantic terraced circular depressions are truly a sight to behold.

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

One of the New Seven Wonders of the World, it is the icon of the Inca civilization.

Planning Your Cusco Visit

How many days to visit Cusco?

Give yourself at least five days for a trip to Cusco—the first couple to adjust to the elevation and navigate the city, the last few to make it to the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu.

When to visit?

The summer is the best time to visit for the climate, which also makes it peak tourist season. To avoid the crowds, early fall could be nice. Anytime after November and before April, however, is not recommended—Cusco’s rainy season could ruin your sightseeing.

How to get there?

Fly into Cusco’s Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport, located on the edge of the city.

Should I worry about elevation?

It is advised to spend at least 3 days in Cusco to acclimate to the high elevation before heading out on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, especially if arriving from sea-level.

Good to know

  • Language
    Spanish, Quechua and Aymara
  • Currency
    PEN (S/.)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (-05:00)
  • Country Code
    +51
  • Best time to visit
    To avoid the rainy winter and the tourist-packed summer, try to visit in early fall, when the sightseeing is still incredible!

Things to Do in Cusco

Top Attractions in Cusco

Cities in Peru

Other Sightseeing Options in Cusco

Want to discover all there is to do in Cusco? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Cusco

Excellent! Recommended to all my friends

At first I was a little iffy about getting this because I had a meeting schedule at 6 and I wasnt sure if we would get back on time but we did. We were back in Cusco by 5:00 pm. Everything was very well organized. They were very punctual at picking me up and we were the first group in the Lagoon. The food that was included was good. Our tour guide Freddy was amazing, he was very patient and funny. Going up the lagoon I would definitely recommend getting a horse it goes from 70-80 soles. It would only take you up the mountain because the incline is so high its dangerous to go down in a horse. Walking down the mountain will take you about an hour but it doesnt feel like it. Just be very careful because it does get slippery. Mornings are really really cold but once the sun comes out you will start to take layers off. The lagoon is magical. Totally worth it. If i wouldnt have come, i would definitely be upset and regretting it.

Cusco: Humantay Lake All-inclusive Full-day Tour Reviewed by Natalia, 02/06/2019

Good Food, Good Guide and a Stunning Walk to the Mountains

Breakfast and Lunch included, the latter being essential after a gruelling walk in high altitude conditions. Picked up from our hotel on a good old Sprinter, constant humorous feedback from our guide in Spanish and English. We travelled 90 minutes from Cusco for a carb loaded breakfast and then a further 60 minutes to base camp. Surrounded by other minibuses in bright, snowy conditions we began the nicely inclined walk to the summit with not quite the right clothing. This is a high altitude climb, 4200m to 5200m and it gets cold when the sun isnt out. Be prepared to layer up AND down as you walk. We gave up on the last 750m (and the summit) due to tired legs (huayna picchu and Machu mountain 2 days prior). Returned for an excellent lunch and then dropped off at our hotel. Amazing viewing, amazing mountains.. and 40 sol for a horseride to the top.

Cusco: Full-Day Tour to Rainbow Mountain Reviewed by Richard, 14/10/2019

Absolutely worth the hike. Stunning view. A must-see!

It took us about 90-100 minutes from Auges Calientes to the entrance gates of Machu Picchu. We were there around 8:30-8:45. It did not takes us long to get in. After that we went straight up to Machu Picchu Mountain. This hike took us about two hours up and one hour down. You should be there early, because the Mountain closes quite early. So in order to spend some time on the mountain, enjoying the landscape, the views and taking some nice shots, you should be up there around 11 am. At the latest. The clouds move rapidly. Do not become desperate if Machu Picchu is covered in clouds for the first 30 minutes. Just be patient and wait. Enjoy the wind, the height and the view. It is absolutely worth it.

Knowledgeable, friendly guide Charlie made Inca trail yet more amazing

We went on that 2 day trip with my 11 yo son. It was a great experience for us. The trail connects ancient Inca's cities at the top of the mountains, and is only possible to hike with the local guide. Hiking just a small part (12 km out of total 82 km) on the trail already gives a feeling of the educational-spiritual journey that the Inca nobility did here. Our wonderful, knowledgeable guide Charlie told us a lot about plants, animals, history and spirit of the people who built the trail and its cities. The view from Sun Gate on the trail onto Machy Pichhu is stunning. Thank you Charlie!

A great time, I would give 5 stars but not all inclusive as stated.

This was a wonderful adventure in Peru. The Pros: great guides, very responsible, guest safety, comfort and hospitality all get high marks. The hot lunch was delicious too. The Cons: it was listed as an all-inclusive activity but when we got there they told us the river shoes were an additional 15 Peruvian Soles per pair and you definitely can't do without them. You need them to walk in and around the river. That is not "all inclusive" when it comes to an accurate description of the tour.

Cusco: Urubamba River Rafting Adventure Reviewed by Tom, 06/06/2019