The former capital of the Inca Empire, Cusco is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Peru’s most captivating cities. Its historic cobblestone streets radiate from the central Plaza de Armas and are surrounded by the spectacular landscapes of the Sacred Valley.
Things to do in Cusco
Explore the elaborate churches and red-roofed Spanish colonial houses that line the streets of Cusco, many of which are built atop ancient Incan walls. Shop for Quechua handicrafts in the street-side markets and soak up the views from the immense Cristo Blanco statue that watches over Cusco.
On the edge of Cusco lie the Inca ruins of Sacsayhuaman that were originally established by the Killke culture in the 12th century. Admire the zigzagging stone walls and carved thrones built by the Incas, together with the Explanada platform where the annual Raymi Festival of the Sun takes place.
Cusco is the gateway to the Sacred Valley where the Urubamba River carves between soaring peaks. Travel by horseback to witness the terraced salt pools of Maras and visit local Andean villages or tackle the four-day Inca Trail that winds past ancient ruins to the Sun Gate of Machu Picchu.
Visit the magnificent ruins of Machu Picchu, which have been listed as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Join a guided tour to learn about the astronomical alignment of the stone buildings and discover how they were built without the use of mortar, then get a unique perspective from the peak of Huayna Picchu.
Getting around Cusco
Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport is around 15 minutes’ drive from Cusco. The Centro Historico is best explored on foot, with bus and train connections to Machu Picchu.