Top 10 Reasons To Visit Cusco, Peru

Top 10 Things About Cusco

1.) History:

Spelled both “Cusco” and “Cuzco”, this oversized pueblo is filled with Pre-Incan, Incan, and Spanish history, and you can see the works of all three remarkably scattered around the city. Named by the Incas, Cusco means “navel” in the native language of Quechua and indicates the city as the center and capital of the Incan Empire. Hop on an open-air bus tour throughout the city to get brief narratives of all three collections of wonder.

2.) Hiking and Treks:

The phenomenon of Machu Picchu speaks for itself and tends to be the major magnet for people visiting Peru, and rightfully so. However, there are a plethora of other close treks and tours available surrounding the city of Cusco. The Sacred Valley (La Valle Sagrado), Sacsayhuamán, and the Incan Temple of the Sun (Qurikancha) are just a few that shouldn’t be overlooked.

3.) Native People and Artisans:

The people alone are a spectacle of vibrancy and motion. On any given day, you will find women in their colorful Peruvian garments, holding llamas by their side, speaking Quechua and Spanish interchangeably, while in simultaneous poetry of motion, weaving their amazing handicrafts. Rumiyoq Street, which runs from the Plaza de Armas to the Barrio de San Blas, is perhaps the best place to experience this.

4.) Architecture:

Cusco holds both Incan and Spanish Architecture alike, mutually fascinating and bold. Adding to the city’s dynamic and rich heritage, the Spanish Architecture is most often built upon Incan walls, palaces and corridors and the same goes for Incan architecture upon that of the Pre-Incan Killke constructions. All in all, it makes for an unusual culmination of styles and quite the visual experience.

5.) Views and Energy:

Situated high in the Andes at 11,200 feet (3,400 m), Cusco features some of the best views in Peru. Surrounded by mountains at all angles, this city boasts tremendous views from either the downtown areas or any vantage point you take. El Mirador de San Blas, Cristo Blanco, and the Plaza de Armas are three free views worth checking out at no cost.

6.) Cultural Gatherings/ Fiestas:

The City of Cusco is Mecca for cultural and religious events and fiestas. Not only are there parades, dancing or music in the streets most days, but most districts hold a celebration and anniversary every year. Inti Rayni, the celebration of the sun, is one of the largest festivals that take place in Sacsayhuamán in June. Whichever month you decide to come to Cusco, check out what area is in celebration mode and don’t be surprised to hear the jubilee of distant Peruvian music and fireworks from your hostel/hotel.

7.) Food:

Cuzco has some tasty dishes that aren’t heard of in other parts of the globe. Where else can you try Guinea Pig (Cuy) and an Alpaca burger in the same day? Another popular dish is chicharrón a la cusqueña, cuts of pork browned in its own grease, prepared in a pot, and served with corn and potatoes. If you want the best Chicharrón, visit the El distrito de Saylla.

8.) Nightlife:

It’s obvious Peruvians know how to party, and even better yet, how to salsa. Nearly every Discotec you enter will give you the chance to observe, and if you dare, step into a salsa session. Try a traditional Pisco sour cocktail or pass around a Cusqueña beer with friends, Peruvian style. Mama Africa on Portal de Panes Street and El Templo on Tecsecocha are among two of the favorites here in Cusco.

9.) Diversity:

People from all over the world come to visit Machu Picchu and Cusco is the city where 99% of them stay beforehand. Take a stroll through the Plaza de Armas and catch the intermingling of cultures, diverse liveliness, and different languages from around the world. El Mercado de San Pedro also offers a fusion of cultures, shopping amongst the various sections of fruits, vegetables, meats, handmade items, and more.

10.) Climate:

Considered a subtropical climate region, the city has two distinct seasons: The dry season (April- October) with plentiful sunshine and the wet season (November – March) with frequent rain and occasional frosts. With the altitude and geographic advantage on its side, Cusco offers a breath of clean and fresh air to anyone who visits. However, often times travelers come down with case of soroche, or altitude sickness. Be sure to bring your altitude medicine or simply purchase the ancient remedy of Mate de Coca (coca leaf tea) or coca leaves, sold readily on almost every corner.

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THE INCA’S SACRED VALLEY TOUR

The-Sacred-Valley-of-the-Incas,-PeruOVERVIEW: In the heart of the spiritual homeland of the Incas lies The Sacred Valley of Peru (La Valle Sagrado) extending between Cusco, the capital and center of the fallen Incan Empire, and the renowned immaculate ruins of Machu Picchu. Surrounding what was the abundant motherland of the Incan Empire (1438 to 1533) today the region- also called Urubamba Valley- is a landscape of inspirational beauty where Andean villages thrive among the ruins of an ancient civilization.
This guided tour consists of a full day in the Sacred Valley and deeper look into its beauty and grace; with additional stops to the Pisaq Market, and the Temple of the Sun in Ollantaytambo.
ITINERARY: 8:20 a.m.

  • Tour departs from Cusco hotels within city limits.

    Pisac

    After a 50-minute bus ride, we will stop at our first destination, Pisac Market. Pisac is a popular town in the middle of the Sacred Valley and is known for its marketplace of beautifully handcrafted textiles and products. Then, the tour travels up the hills of Pisac to an Incan ruin site, where the guide will explain the history and culture.

    Urubamba

    this is the town identified as the capital of the Sacred Valley. A traditional Peruvian lunch will be provided in this quaint pueblo.

    Ollantaytambo

    The literal Quechua translation of these ruins is “citadel” or “fortress” and was used by the Incas as a retreat and security post for royalty. We will spend a few hours in this location; where the Incas faced some of their last battles with the Spaniards, amongst spectacular scenery of the Patakancha and Urubamba rivers.

    Chinchero

    Concluding the trip, we will visit the village of Chinchero and the royal temple that was built upon the Inca Estate of Tupac Inca Yupanqui.

    5:30 p.m.

    The-Sacred-Valley-of-the-Incas-mapArrive back to Cusco City.

 

 

CUSCO CITY TOUR

OVERVIEW: Discover the magic and beauty of Cusco City, the capital of the Incan Empire. Formerly the center of the vast Incan domain, the breathtaking and magical Cusco City remains a highlight of any Peru vacation. The impeccably constructed Inca roads stretch to all regions from the downtown Cusco City (Plaza de Armas) that was considered to be “the navel” of the world.

This tour encapsulates some of the great Incan ancient architecture of Cusco. Some of the sights include: the Saqsayhuaman Fortress and nearby Tambomachay (the Inca’s bath) with its spectacular “Incan masonry”, Puca Pucara, the Koricancha Temple of the Sun and the San Francisco market. Cusco City has some of the finest Incan buildings in the city where many churches, restaurants, government buildings, and bars still inhabit them today.
ITINERARY: 1:30 p.m.

  • Meet at the Plaza de Armas or get picked up from your hotel. Meet your tour guide and board the motor coach.

    The Cathedral

    built a new after a major earthquake in 1650, the Spanish Cathedral is the focal point of the Plaza de Armas. The cathedral has UNESCO World Heritage Status under the city of Cusco since 1983.

    The Incan Temple Of the Sun, Koricancha

    Originally named Inti Kancha (‘Temple of the Sun’), it was the most important temple in the Inca Empire, dedicated primarily to Inti, the Sun God. The walls and floors once covered in gold, the Spanish described the temple as “fabulous beyond belief.”

    The Incan Fortress, Sacsayhuaman

    At an altitude of 2701 meters (12, 142 ft.), this pre-Incan and Incan walled complex still remains a mystery. Each massive stone of the complex weighs between 90 and 150 tons and is thought to have been a place for religious and military functions.

    The Ampitheater ruins of Q’enqo

    This large limestone outcrop was used for ceremonial rituals and has etchings of puma, llama, snakes and condors. A series of caves and tunnels with altars can also be explored at this site.

    Puka Pucara Red Fortress

    Most likely an overnight lodging-barracks-quarters before arriving to Cusco, It consists of a red andesitic structure with numerous enclosures, rooms, stairways and water channels.

    The Bath of the Inca, Tambomachay

    This was a shrine dedicated to the worship and cultivation of water and consists of a series of aqueducts, canals, and waterfalls that run through terraced rocks.

    6:00 p.m.

    Arrive back to Plaza de Armas.

    * Traffic, weather, and time of year may affect the duration and schedule of this tour.

  • Visit: http://cuscocity.com/

 

 

MACHU PICCHU TWO-DAY TOUR

OVERVIEW: The Machu Picchu architecture is the most impressive of all the Incan ruins in Peru. Rendered as one of the new 7 wonders of the world, it is a spectacular and mystical place to visit and ideal for first-time visitors, families (non-strenuous hiking) and individual travelers.

The two-day tour is all-inclusive. From the pick-up, train ride, and lodging to the exploration of the ruins led by a professional guide- this tour lets you effortlessly enjoy the phenomenon that is Machu Picchu.

ITINERARY: DAY 1:

  • – 6:00 a.m.

    Pick-up from hotel (within limits) and transfer to train station.

    – Aguas Calientes:

    After a 3 ½ hour scenic trip, the train arrives in Aguas Calientes, the gateway to Machu Picchu. Here you will be transferred to your schedule accommodations where we will have lunch. You will have your own time to explore this beautiful little town, whether it be sightseeing, hiking the Putukusi trail, enjoying the natural hot springs, or walking to the Waterfalls of Mandor. We will have dinner later in the evening and get some rest for the early Machu Picchu departure.

    DAY 2:

    – 6:00 a.m.

    Pick up from hotel and approximately 30-minute bus ride to Machu Picchu.

    Machu Picchu: the 2- hour professionally guided tour of the mysterious and magical Machu Picchu begins when you step off the bus. Afterwards you will have free time to explore the ruins on your own and come back at around 1:00 p.m. for lunch (optional).

    – 4:00 p.m.

    Leave from Machu Picchu back to Cusco via bus and train.

    – 8:00 p.m.

    Return to Cusco city

    * note- If you wish to climb the Huayna Picchu peak, you must leave immediately after the guided tour portion as the trek takes about 2-hours round trip.

    * Traffic, weather, and time of year may affect the duration and schedule of this tour.