Cusco is considered the Archaeological Capital of America. Yes, the ancient capital of the Incas is a place full of archaeological sites, museums, temples and more. Magical places such as the fortress of Sacsayhuaman, the temple of the Coricancha, the archaeological centers of Qenqo, Puca Pucara, Tambomachay, the Plaza de Armas and the Cathedral of Cusco. Although it is possible to visit these places on your own, the best way is to do it with the City Tour Cusco.
- What is a City Tour Cusco?
- How long does the City Tour Cusco take?
- What places does the Cusco City Tour include?
- How much does a City Tour cost?
- City Tour Private
- What does the tour include?
- How is the itinerary of a City Tour?
- Recommendations during the City Tour Cusco
- Photo gallery
Majestic Qoricancha Temple
What is a City Tour Cusco?
The City Tour Cusco is a tour of the main tourist attractions of the city of Cusco, the ancient capital of the Incas. The route includes places of great historical importance such as the temple of the Coricancha, the fortress of Sacsayhuaman and other enclosures. This tour is the most extended way to start the visit to Cusco and Machu Picchu.
Cusco is one of the oldest cities in South America. It is also the archaeological capital of America and the most cosmopolitan city in Peru.
How long does the City Tour Cusco take?
A tour of Cusco will take about half a day. You can do it on your first day in Cusco, as long as you are in the city before 11 am
These are the hours in which it can be done in City Tour:
- 1st Hours: from 7 am to 12 pm
- 2nd. Hours: from 2 pm to 7 pm
What places does the Cusco City Tour include?
Cathedral of Cusco
- The Cathedral of Cusco or Basilica of the Virgin of the Assumption is one of the most popular architectural monuments of the city.
- In addition, it is the first site you will visit. It is located in the Plaza de Armas of Cusco.
- Its construction took almost 100 years until its culmination in 1654. It was originally an Inca temple dedicated to the god Wiracocha.
- However, during the Spanish conquest it was looted and demolished for the construction of this historic Catholic monument.
In 1983 it was declared by UNESCO, Patrimony of the Humanity.
Main Square of Cusco
- The Plaza del Cusco is world famous for its beauty, history and point of concurrence of people from all over the world.
- It was the religious center and administrative control in the time of the Incas. After the Spanish conquest, colonial temples were built around it.
Today, the Plaza Mayor of Cusco is one of the main attractions of Peru.
Coricancha and Convent of Santo Domingo
- The Coricancha is one of the most important religious centers of the empire of the Incas.
- Its stone buildings have an even greater perfection to Machu Picchu.
- It was covered with gold, silver until before the Spanish conquest. They built the Convent of Santo Domingo there.
- It is located 2 blocks from the Plaza de Armas. It also houses paintings from the Cusco school.
Today, both temples coexist as a symbol of cultural syncretism.
Fortress of Sacsayhuaman
- Sacsayhuaman is one of the most enigmatic places on the planet.
- There the tourist will be able to appreciate stones of up to nine meters of height and more than 120 tons. All fit with incredible precision.
- The Spaniards believed that the site was the work of the devil. There fought hard battles between the Incas and Europeans.
Today, it is one of the most symbolic attractions of Cusco and Peru. There the Inti Raymi is celebrated or the sun party, on June 24 of each year.
Archaeological site of Qenqo
- Qenqo is approximately 1 kilometer from Sacsayhuaman.
- Qenqo was an Inca ceremonial center whose buildings were dedicated to Mother Earth.
- There stands out a space called amphitheater where the Incas had to place their dead in trapezoidal niches.
Its main attraction are its underground labyrinths. What’s more, Qenqo in Quechua (language of the Incas) means ‘Labyrinth’.
Archaeological site of Puca Pucara
- Puca Pucara is known as the ‘Red Fort’, this thanks to the amount of iron present in its stones and the reddish tone acquired at sunset.
- It is deduced that this place was used as a military post and resting place for the Inca troops.
- Perhaps its main function was to take care of Tambomachay and Sacsayhuaman.
There you can also see fountains, aqueducts and other Inca buildings.
Entrance to the archaeological park of Puca Pucara
Archaeological site of Tambomachay
- Tambomachay is one of the most beautiful archaeological sites. It is located approximately 400 meters from Puca Pucara.
- Its Inca buildings pay homage to water. Even today, after several centuries, its channels continue to flow water.
- The enclosure is also formed by a set of finely carved rocks, waterfalls, canals and aqueducts fed by springs.
- The beauty of the surroundings harmonizes with the buildings and the sound of the water.
Tambomachay Water Fountain
Textile center of Cusco – The Cusco textile centers offer a demonstration of the spinning and dyeing process of clothing made of alpaca and other materials used in Cusco for many years. In addition, each visitor will be able to learn the difference in types of materials such as: alpaca, baby alpaca, vicuña and more. At the end, tourists will be able to buy clothes and other crafts made by Cusco hands.
How much does a City Tour cost?
The cost of a City Tour varies depending on the following:
- If the tour includes the Tourist Ticket of Cusco (entrance to Sacsayhuaman, Qenqo, Tambomachay, Puca Pucara and Coricancha); the cost varies between $ 60 to $ 70.
- If the tour does not include the Cusco Tourist Ticket, the cost varies between $ 15 and $ 30.
- If the tour is in private service, the cost is even higher.
Most of the ‘City Tour’ tours include: pick up of the tourist from their hotel, complete tourist transportation, professional guide and entrance to the tourist attractions to visit: Coricancha, Sacsayhuaman, Qenqo, Pucapucara, Tambomachay and Cathedral (optional in some tours). Other tourist agencies offer everything except the entrance to the tourist attractions (tickets are purchased by the tourist separately). You choose the best option!
City Tour Private
- This special service is designed for families or a group of friends. Transportation, guiding service and the entire tour is exclusive for that group of people.
- The private service can be arranged from 2 tourists to more.
- The tourist limit varies: it can be 7 tourists or more.
There are discounts?
Some City Tour services offer discounts for:
- Tourists from Peru: To access the discount, you only have to present your identity document (DNI).
- Children under 18 years of age: To access the discount, they only have to show their identity document that certifies their age.
What does the tour include?
All tours include the following:
- One way transportation (hotel pick-up).
- Return transportation a few meters from the Plaza de Armas (in Plaza San Francisco).
- Bilingual tour guide service.
Some tours include the following:
Differences between shared and private tour
|Shared service tour||Tour in private service|
Group of 5 to 15 people approx.
Group of 1 to 7 people approx.
Guided in Spanish or English.
Guided in Spanish, English or more languages.
Guided depending on the group.
Strict schedules in each tourist attraction.
Flexible schedules according to the tourist.
Tour time 5 hours.
Tour time 5 hours.
Transportation by minivan.
Transportation by car or minivan (depending on the number of visitors).
How is the itinerary of a City Tour?
City Tours in Cusco can be done in the morning or in the afternoon and have the following schedule:
|Start of the tour||Visitors meet at a point near the city’s Plaza de Armas in the company of their tour guide.|
|Visit to the Cathedral||The first destination is the famous Cathedral of Cusco where visitors will discover the treasures of the temple such as its relics of gold, silver and paintings made by the colony.|
|Visit to the Coricancha||After visiting the cathedral, the tour group will go to the famous Temple of the Sun (Coricancha), the most important religious site of the Incas. They will also visit the Santo Domingo church, a Christian temple built on the walls of the Coricancha.|
|Visit to Sacsayhuaman||After visiting Coricancha, a tourist transport will take visitors to the Sacsayhuaman fortress, a mysterious place located on top of the city. There are some of the most amazing Inca constructions.|
|Visit Qenqo||The tourist transport will lead the visitor to the archaeological site of Qenqo where they can visit its labyrinths and other Inca constructions.|
|Visit to Puca Pucara||After visiting Qenqo, the route will continue towards the archaeological site of Puca Pucara. This Inca construction is famous for its walls and terraces that would have functioned as a resting place for the Inca troops.|
|Visit to Tambomachay||After visiting Puca Pucara, the tourist transport will take visitors to the archaeological site of Tambomachay where they will be able to appreciate the mastery with which the Incas used water through conduits that are still working today, after several centuries.|
|Return to Cusco and end of the tour||Finally, the visitor will return to the city of Cusco. The end of the tour will be at a point near the Plaza de Armas of the city. In total the tour lasts approximately 5 hours.|
Some ‘City Tour’ services include a visit to one of the famous ‘Textile Centers’ in Cusco. There, the visitor will be able to learn how alpaca clothing is made in the traditional way. In addition, you will have the opportunity to purchase some products made with baby alpaca fiber (the first cut of alpaca, which is the finest).
Recommendations during the City Tour Cusco
- The city of Cusco is located at 3,399 meters above sea level (msnm). At that altitude it is recommended to drink coca tea to combat altitude sickness.
- The climate of Cusco is temperate. The days are usually sunny in the day. However, rains can occur at any time. It is advisable to bring a poncho for the rain.
- Bring plenty of water, snacks and cash. It is also advisable to use sunscreen and wear a hat or hat.
How long does the service last?
Touring Cusco will take approximately half a day. You can do it on your first day in Cusco, as long as you are in the city before 11 am. These are the times in which you can do the City Tour:
- 1st Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. to 1 p.m.
- 2nd. Schedule: from 1.30 p.m. to 6.30 p.m.
Other attractions of the city of Cusco
These are some tourist attractions in the city of Cusco that are not included in the City Tour:
- The Stone of the 12 angles – A famous stone that fits perfectly in its twelve corners with the immense rock wall that belonged to the palace of Inca Roca. It is located on Hatun Rumiyoc street, a few steps from the Plaza de Armas. Because it is in the middle of the street, the visit is free.
- The Machupicchu museum of the Casa Concha – A museum inside a colonial house where some of the pieces found in Machu Picchu in 1911 are exhibited, which were returned by Yale University in the United States between 2010 and 2012. It is a few steps from the Plaza de Armas.
- The church of the Company of Jesus – A beautiful and imposing Baroque-style colonial church located in the Plaza de Armas of Cusco. Its interior presents objects made of silver and gold used in religious rites. It also highlights its collection of paintings from the ‘Escuela cusqueña’ of painting.
- The temple of the moon – It is a mysterious inca-carved building inside a cavern. Light filters through its cracks through what looks like a mystical place. It is also known as the ‘Fertility Temple’. It is near Sacsayhuaman, on the outskirts of the city.
This is the City Tour in pictures
- The city of Cusco is located at 3,399 meters above sea level (m.s.n.m.). At that altitude it is recommended to drink coca tea to combat altitude sickness.
- The climate of Cusco is temperate. The days are generally sunny during the day. However, rains can occur at any time. It is advisable to bring a poncho for the rain.
- Take plenty of water, snacks and cash with you. It is also advisable to use sunscreen and wear a cap or hat.
By Ticket Machu Picchu – Last updated, April 28, 2023