Cusco: A Gateway to Ancient Wonders and Andean Culture

Welcome to Cusco, the historic heart of the Inca Empire, nestled high in the Andes Mountains of Peru. This UNESCO World Heritage site is not just a gateway to the iconic Machu Picchu but a captivating city steeped in history, vibrant street life, and rich cultural traditions. Let’s embark on a journey through Cusco, exploring its cobblestone streets, sacred ruins, and the living heritage of the Andean people.

Cusco Day Tours: See the Sacred Valley.
The Sacred Valley in Peru

Curated Tours and Activities in Cusco, Peru

  1. Sacsayhuamán: Begin your exploration with a visit to Sacsayhuamán, an imposing Incan fortress with massive stone walls, just outside the city. The precision of the stone construction and the panoramic views of Cusco below are truly awe-inspiring.
  2. Plaza de Armas: At the heart of Cusco lies the Plaza de Armas, surrounded by colonial arcades and important historical buildings, including the Cathedral of Cusco. This bustling square is the perfect place to soak in the city’s atmosphere.
  3. Qorikancha (Temple of the Sun): Discover the Qorikancha, once the most important temple in the Inca Empire, dedicated to the Sun God, Inti. Spanish conquistadors built the Church of Santo Domingo on its foundations, creating a fascinating blend of Inca and colonial architecture.
  4. San Pedro Market: Immerse yourself in local life at the San Pedro Market, where you can find everything from fresh produce and traditional textiles to local crafts. It’s a great place to try Peruvian delicacies and interact with local vendors.
  5. Twelve Angled Stone: Stroll down the narrow streets to see the famous Twelve Angled Stone, part of an Inca wall on Hatun Rumiyoc Street. This perfectly carved stone exemplifies the Incas’ advanced masonry skills.
  6. Inca Museum: Gain deeper insights into the Inca civilization at the Inca Museum, housed in a colonial mansion. The museum’s collection includes artifacts, mummies, and models that trace the history of Cusco and the Inca Empire.
  7. San Blas Neighborhood: Wander through the artistic neighborhood of San Blas, known for its steep, narrow streets, artisan workshops, and bohemian vibe. Don’t miss the San Blas Church, with its beautifully carved pulpit.
  8. Moray and Maras: Take a day trip to the Moray terraces and Maras salt mines, remarkable examples of Inca ingenuity in agriculture and resource management. The circular terraces of Moray were possibly used as an agricultural laboratory, and the salt pans of Maras have been in use since pre-Inca times.
  9. Andean Music and Dance: Experience the vibrant culture of the Andes with a traditional music and dance performance. Cusco offers many places to enjoy folklore shows that bring ancient Andean stories to life.
  10. Sacred Valley: Venture into the Sacred Valley of the Incas, a lush agricultural region that was vital to the Inca economy. Explore the market town of Pisac, the fortress of Ollantaytambo, and the serene village of Chinchero, each with its own unique ruins and history.

Wrapping Up the Cusco Experience

Cusco is a city where ancient traditions and modern life converge against a backdrop of stunning natural beauty. From its archaeological wonders to its lively markets and warm, welcoming people, Cusco offers a profound connection to Peru’s past and present. Whether you’re navigating its historic streets, delving into the mysteries of the Inca Empire, or simply enjoying the beauty of the Andean landscape, Cusco promises an unforgettable journey through the heart of the Andes.

Visit Peru’s capital of Lima next.

After seeing the ruins at Machu Picchu, the fabulous cultures of antiquity seemed to be made of cardboard, Papier-mâché…” – Pablo Neruda