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.

 

 

TIPON, PIQUILLACTA TOUR

OVERVIEW: On this tour, you will go to the nearby beautiful complex of Tipon, full of agricultural terraces, long stairs, and stone canals. The terraces and aqueducts were built over 500 years ago by the Incas and are still used today for agricultural purposes. After Tipon, you will visit the pre-Inca archeological site of Piquillacta, the epicenter of the Wari culture, who dominated a large part of Peru before being absorbed by the Incan Empire. Lastly, you will visit the colonial church of Andahuaylillas of San Pedro, built in the 17th century.

It is decorated with polychrome ceilings, numerous paintings from the Cusco school, a majestic organ, and intricate silverwork and alters. From here, you will return back to your hotel in Cusco.
ITINERARY: 8:30 a.m.

  • Pick up from your hotel to the Port of Puno.

    Tipon.

    After a 30- minute bus ride, we will arrive to our first destination, Tipon. Here we will have a guided hour- long tour, exploring the archeological wonders of the Incan culture. Afterwards, we will make our way to Piquillacta.

    Piquillacta.

    Later, we will arrive to Piquillacta, the epicenter of the Wari culture. Here we will have a guided tour of this interesting archeological site.

    Andahuaylillas.

    We then enter and discover the ornate church of Andahuaylillas, built in the beginning 17th century. With its spectacular decorations and intricate silver and gold works, we will have an informative guided tour to learn the history of this hidden church.

    02:00 p.m.

    We arrive back to Cusco.

 

CUSCO, COLCA, AREQUIPA TWO-DAY TOUR

ArequipaOVERVIEW: On this tour, you will travel from Cusco to Arequipa with several amazing stops along the way. On the first day, some of the stops include: the magnificent Langui Lake, the “Stone Forest” of Yauri, Espinar, Condoroma Dam, the castle shaped rock formations of Castillos de Callalli, and Chivay, where we will spend the night. The next morning after breakfast, you will be taken to the viewpoint of la Cruz del Condor in Colca Canyon to observe the spectacular flight of the Condor. On the way to Arequipa, you will also visit the traditional villages of Pinchollo, Maca, and Yanque with views along the way of the famous and impressive Colca Canyon.

This tour lets you enjoy several of the many amazing places Peru has to offer without having to coordinate your transportation, guide, lodging, or stops.
ITINERARY: DAY 1:

  • – 7:00 a.m.

    Departure from Cusco city.

    – 7:00 a.m.- 1:00 p.m.

    Drive to Espinar, with stops in Langui Lake and Yauri “stone forest”.

    – 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

    Stop in Espinar to have lunch.

    – 2:00 p.m. -5:30 p.m.

    Drive to Chivay with stops at Condoroma Dam and Castillos de Callalli.

    – 5:30 p.m.

    Arrive to Chivay and spend the night there.

    DAY 2:

    – 6:00 a.m.

    Have breakfast and depart for Colca Canyon.

    – 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

    arrive to Colca Canyon and stay approximately 2 hours.

    – 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

    Drive to Arequipa with stops in Pinchollo, Maca, and Yanque.

    – 5:00 p.m.

    Arrive to Arequipa.

Arequipa-misti-volcano

 

 

MACHU PICCHU FULL-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 full-day tour is all-inclusive. From pick-up to train ride to exploration of the ruins led by a professional guide- this tour lets you effortlessly enjoy the phenomenon that is Machu Picchu.

ITINERARY: 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 meet your guide and depart on a 30-minute beautiful bus ride to the citadel of Machu Picchu.

    Machu Picchu

    Alas, you will reach the illustrious and heavenly Machu Picchu. Your expert guide will walk you through the main paths of the majestic citadel and enlighten its mysteries for approximately 2 hours. Afterwards, you will have ample time to discover and get to know the site on your own.

    Aguas Calientes

    After the exploration of Machu Picchu, you may be hungry. Here we will stop for lunch before returning back to Cusco.

    9:00 p.m.

    Return to original departure point.

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

 

 

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.