Cusco
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10 things to do in Cusco
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10 things to do in Cusco

Cusco was the capital of the Empire of the Incas. Today it is considered the ‘Archaeological Capital of America’ and the first tourist destination in South America. The city ‘Navel of the world’ has many attractions for tourists. The main one, without a doubt, is Machu Picchu, one of the 7 Wonders of the World. However, there are many other activities to do in Cusco.


  1. Visit Machu Picchu and other Inca archaeological sites
  2. Tour the city of Cusco
  3. Enjoy Peruvian cuisine
  4. Meet people from other parts of the world
  5. Practice adventure tourism in the Sacred Valley
  6. Take amazing walks
  7. Make mystic tourism
  8. Enjoy the nightlife in Cusco
  9. Dare to do experiential tourism
  10. Take away unique souvenirs

1. Visit Machu Picchu and other Inca archaeological sites

Tourists in the Sacsayhuaman fortress in Cusco
Walls of the Sacsayhuaman fortress in Cusco

2. Travel the city of Cusco

  • Cusco is considered a ‘museum city’ since its cobbled streets are full of history.
  • In the streets of Cusco the Inca tradition is harmoniously combined with the Spanish one. The old Inca palaces are combined with the colonial structures forming unique constructions.
  • That is why in 1983 Unesco declared the city of Cusco as ‘Cultural Heritage of Humanity’.
  • Among the most important tourist attractions of Cusco are: the Plaza de Armas, the 13 churches of the Historical Center, the Coricancha Temple, the Stone of the 12 angles in the neighborhood of San Blas and many more.
  • In addition, in the city of Cusco abound the cafes, restaurants, bars, hotels and all kinds of tourist service.
Tourists in the Plaza de Armas in Cusco
Family touring the main square of Cusco

3. Enjoy Peruvian cuisine

  • Peru is considered the number one gastronomic destination in the world, according to the World Travel Awards.
  • Cusco, because it is the most important tourist city in the country, has a variety of dishes to satisfy the taste of tourists.
  • Among the most popular typical dishes of the region are: the cuy al horno (guinea pig), the baked pork, the Chiri Uchu, among others.
  • There are different types of prices: from 5 forks restaurants to the popular San Pedro market with dishes at affordable prices.
  • Some of the typical dishes of Peru that you can try in Cusco are: the ceviche, the lomo saltado, the stuffed cause, the potato a la huancaína and more.
Women tasting a Cuy silver baked
Cuy al horno, one of the typical dishes of Cusco

4. Meet people from other parts of the world

  • Cusco receives more than 1 million visitors a year. It is the most cosmopolitan city in Peru.
  • That is why traveling to the ‘Capital of the Empire of the Incas’ is an excellent opportunity to meet people from all over the planet.
  • The Peruvians, for example, are friendly people so it is not difficult to know a little more about Peru through its people.
  • In the same way, citizens from all over the planet come to Cusco with the intention of interacting with people from other places.
  • The most popular places for tourists in Cusco are: Machu Picchu, the Mountain of the 7 Colors, Sacsayhuaman and the Plaza de Armas.
Friends visiting Machu Picchu
The visit to Cusco and Machu Picchu will give you the opportunity to meet people from all over the world

5. Practice adventure tourism in the Sacred Valley

  • The Sacred Valley of the Incas has a privileged location in the Cordillera de los Andes. It is made up mainly of the towns of Pisac, Chinchero, Urubamba and Ollantaytambo.
  • Its geography has necessary scenarios to practice adventure tourism. However, they also house important archaeological sites such as Pisac and Ollantaytambo.
  • Its steep mountains are ideal for zipline, paragliding, rock climbing and more.
  • Its Urubamba and Vilcanota rivers are suitable for boating at any of its levels.
  • You can also explore the beautiful landscapes of the Sacred Valley on horseback, bicycle or ATV.
  • One of the adventurous options preferred by tourists is the Inca Jungle Tour, which combines cycling, boating, hiking to finish with a visit to Machu Picchu.
ATV ride in Cusco
The ATV rides are some of the sports you can do in Cusco

6. Take amazing walks

  • The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is considered one of the 5 best hiking trails in the world. It runs approximately 39 kilometers through impressive landscapes until reaching Machu Picchu by the ‘Puerta del Sol’, as the Incas did more than 500 years ago.
  • However, this impressive walk is not the only one you can do in Cusco. There are other equally incredible options such as: the route through the snowy Salkantay, the walk through Lares or the Inca city of Choquequirao.
  • In Machu Picchu it is also possible to take short walks such as the Intipunku trek, the Inca Bridge, the Machu Picchu mountain or the Huayna Picchu mountain. The latter is considered one of the most incredible short walks on the planet.
Tourists taking the Salkantay trek
Salkantay hike to Machu Picchu

7. Do mystical tourism

  • Cusco was the capital of the empire of the Incas. The Andean man’s worldview was and is closely related to nature: the earth, the sun and the hills.
  • It is so that to carry out the mystical tourism offers the visitor the opportunity to know the way of thinking of the ancient Inca settlers.
  • Among the most practiced activities in adventure tourism are: the payment to the land, the reading of the coca leaf, the purification ceremony and the retreats of ‘ayahuasca’.
  • The ‘ayahuasca’ is a hallucinogenic drink native to the dense vegetation of the Peruvian Amazon. This ceremony takes place mainly in the villages of the jungle of Peru.
Payment to land in Cusco
Ritual of payment to the land

8. Enjoy the nightlife in Cusco

  • Cusco attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world every night willing to have a good time.
  • This makes the ‘Navel City of the World’ one of the places with the highest nightlife in Peru.
  • The Plaza de Armas is the center of a wide variety of bars, clubs and pubs where you can enjoy all kinds of music: from electronic to Latin American.
  • In Peru there are several cocktails whose main ingredient is pisco (Peruvian grape brandy), such as: pisco sour, chilcano, algarrobina cocktail and a very curious one called ‘Machu Picchu’.

9. Dare to do experiential tourism

  • Experiential tourism has been growing in recent years. It is an alternative to conventional tourism: the tourist stops being an observer to become a participant in the daily life of the environment.
  • Cusco has several options to involve the visitor of the daily life of the man of the Andes. The most outstanding activities are: agro-tourism in indigenous communities such as Raqchi, Willoq and others.
  • During the tours of experiential tourism in Cusco, the visitor carries out common activities in the lifestyle of the Andean man such as: sowing and harvesting of natural products, raising domestic animals (guinea pigs, cows, alpacas), garment making, ceremonies of payment to the land and more.
Group of tourists doing experiential tourism in Cusco
Group of tourists doing experiential tourism in Cusco


10. Take unique souvenirs

  • Cusco is the land of artisans. Among the works carried out by the people of the place, textiles, ceramics, silverware, painting and wood carving stand out.
  • Craft objects are sold in different parts of the city such as the San Pedro markets, the Pisac market and the Aguas Calientes market.
  • Between the products of greater demand between the tourists they are: the chullos, the ponchos of alpaca, vicuña as well as the jewels of silver and even gold.
  • The neighborhood of San Blas in the city of Cusco is famous for the making of saints and elongated neck virgins made in the style of the renowned Cusco artisan Hilario Mendívil.
Souvenir seller in Cusco
In all your tour of Cusco you can find souvenier of all kinds

Advice from people who have been there

Cusco

Mario C.By: Mario C.

“Nice city!“

“A beautiful city to travel, with beautiful viewpoints from where you can see the whole city, there are good and varied bars, karaoke, discos, restaurants and crafts. The civic center is a good place to visit, also very safe and you can find all kinds of memories“


 

By Ticket Machu Picchu – Last updated, July 12, 2019