Cusco

Image for Cusco showing a church or cathedral and heritage architecture as well as a large group of people

Visit Cusco

Once the capital of the Inca Empire, this historic city is the gateway to the Sacred Valley of the Incas and one of the most important sites in indigenous Peruvian culture.

Discover the colourful history of southern Peru in this mountain city. Cusco is the former capital of the Inca Empire, and remnants of the civilization can be seen scattered throughout the town. The city has a vibrant culture that mixes traditional Quechua customs and contemporary Peruvian traditions. On the edge of the Andes Mountains, Cusco is an ideal location to base yourself in as you explore the terrain, including the Machu Picchu citadel and the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

Cusco’s city center is a charming blend of colonial architecture and Quechua culture. The city’s population is largely indigenous, and walking its cobbled laneways will reveal the colourful outfits and crafts of the locals. Seeing the city on foot is the best way to explore its small neighbourhoods, where you’re sure to stumble across groups of men playing Sapo – a traditional coin tossing game – in the windows of Cusco’s many bars and cafes.

Stay on foot to reach the major attractions of the city, including the San Pedro Market, a fascinating and authentic Peruvian experience. Visit the Plaza de Armas for some of the best restaurants and shopping in the city. The city is home to some of the most important cultural institutions in Peru, including the Museo del Sitio del Qoricancha, a museum dedicated to pre-Columbian cultures, and a number of contemporary art galleries. The Saqsayhuaman complex is one of the most important Incan sites in the region, and offer excellent views across the city.

Cusco is located 3400 metres (11 150 feet) above sea level, and so temperatures are frequently very cold in the evenings. Some visitors are likely to experience altitude sickness, and it can take a few days to acclimatize to the thin air. Buses and trains depart frequently to Cusco from within Peru, while some airlines service the small airport on the edge of town. Visitors arriving from international destinations should travel via Lima to the west or Arequipa to the south. While Cusco may not be the most convenient city to reach in Peru, the journey is well worth the effort as travelling through rural Peru is a beautiful experience.

Top hotels in Cusco

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Antigua Casona San Blas
Antigua Casona San Blas
4 out of 5
Calle Carmen Bajo 243, San Blas, Cusco
SG$122
per night
Feb 17 - Feb 18

Located in Cusco Historic Center, this spa hotel is within a 10-minute walk of San Blas Church, Plaza de Armas, and Cusco Cathedral. Hatunrumiyoc and Twelve ...

4.9/5Exceptional! (612 reviews)

"Staff was super professional, very clean and very attentive."…"

Reviewed on 26 Jan,2020

Antigua Casona San Blas
JW Marriott El Convento Cusco
JW Marriott El Convento Cusco
5 out of 5
Esquina De La Calle Ruinas 432, y San Agustin, Cusco, Cusco
SG$172
per night
Feb 27 - Feb 28

Located in Cusco Historic Center, this luxury hotel is within a 5-minute walk of UNSAAC Yale International Center, Plaza de Armas, and Cusco Cathedral. Museum ...

4.8/5Exceptional! (1,056 reviews)

"Great location and great property ! Recommend it !"…"

Reviewed on 25 Jan,2020

JW Marriott El Convento Cusco
Palacio del Inka, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Cusco
Palacio del Inka, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Cusco
5 out of 5
SG$228
per night
Feb 8 - Feb 9

Located in Cusco Historic Center, this luxury hotel is steps away from Coricancha and Kusicancha. Centro de Textiles and Santa Catalina Convent are also within ...

4.7/5Exceptional! (604 reviews)

"The device was excellent. My daughter got altitude sickness and Elmer and all his staff went above and beyond to help in her recovery. I’m extremely thankful for that. My only suggestion is for the kitchen. I would love to see more authentic Peruvian dishes on the menu, but the food was excellent. ..."…"

Reviewed on 5 Jan,2020

Palacio del Inka, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Cusco

Popular things to do in Cusco

Plaza de Armas
Image for Plaza de Armas

Plaza de Armas

4.5/5(22 reviews)

Cusco’s busy main square has been the center of public life for centuries. Enjoy its spacious layout, ancient churches and restaurants.

Cusco Cathedral
Image for Cusco Cathedral

Cusco Cathedral

4.5/5(18 reviews)

An imposing building constructed with stones from an Inca fortress is celebrated for its beautiful architecture and artwork that spans three centuries.

San Pedro Market
Image for San Pedro Market

San Pedro Market

4.5/5(13 reviews)

Get caught up in the chaos of this intriguing attraction and enjoy a uniquely Andean experience. 

Coricancha
Image for Coricancha

Coricancha

4/5(12 reviews)

Discover the remains of an important Incan temple dedicated to the sun, admire its construction and learn about its fascinating history.

Sacsayhuaman
Image for Sacsayhuaman

Sacsayhuaman

4.5/5(14 reviews)

The colossal stones of Cusco’s hilltop fortress are a powerful testimony to the ingenuity of Incan construction techniques.

Santa Catalina Convent
Image for Santa Catalina Convent

Santa Catalina Convent

4.5/5(3 reviews)

Visit this enthralling religious site and discover its fine collection of artwork dating from the 16th through 20th centuries.

Top activities in Cusco

Machu Picchu - Day Trip From Cusco withThe Voyager train
Image for Machu Picchu - Day Trip From Cusco withThe Voyager train

Machu Picchu - Day Trip From Cusco withThe Voyager train

SG$458

A train trip takes you into the mountains to see one of the wonders of the Americas on this tour to Machu Picchu. Discover the ancient citadel of the Incas in the hands of expert guides thanks to tickets on the Inca Rail.

Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain Hiking Tour
Image for Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain Hiking Tour

Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain Hiking Tour

SG$74

Be dazzled by the Vinicunca Mountain, also known as Rainbow Mountain, on this full-day adventure through the Peruvian Andes to the amazing spot. Follow an expert guide through breathtaking landscapes to a natural rainbow painted across the mountain ridges, a one-of-a-kind sight.

Full-Day Sacred Valley Tour to Awana Kancha, Pisac & Ollantaytambo
Image for Full-Day Sacred Valley Tour to Awana Kancha, Pisac & Ollantaytambo

Full-Day Sacred Valley Tour to Awana Kancha, Pisac & Ollantaytambo

SG$54

Venture into the Sacred Valley to discover Inca heritage and present-day agricultural communities. Meet local families in this peaceful, verdant setting, learn traditional weaving techniques, and visit the Pisac market to find handmade goods before exploring the mystical ruins of Ollantaytambo.

Private Tour of Incan Archaeological Sites in Cusco Region
Image for Private Tour of Incan Archaeological Sites in Cusco Region

Private Tour of Incan Archaeological Sites in Cusco Region

SG$68

The outskirts of the ancient Incan city of Cusco offer an abundance of rich archaeological sites for you to explore. On this private guided tour, visit ruins at the Sacsayhuamán citadel, the holy compound of Qenqo, the military fortress of Puka Pukara, and the Tambomachay complex.

Private Half-Day Cusco City Tour
Image for Private Half-Day Cusco City Tour

Private Half-Day Cusco City Tour

SG$180

At 1.30pm we will pick you up from your hotel and take you to start the tour. We will visit as part of the tour: Koricancha: Visit the exquisite architectural feats of the ancient Koricancha Temple. The Main Cathedral: The first stone was placed to begin construction of the cathedral in 1560.

One-Way Private Transfer from Cusco to Ollantaytambo Train Station
Image for One-Way Private Transfer from Cusco to Ollantaytambo Train Station

One-Way Private Transfer from Cusco to Ollantaytambo Train Station

SG$27

Avoid cramped and ill-timed public transportation or the uncertainty of fairs and finding a cab. A driver will be waiting for you at an agreed upon time and location in your hotel of Cusco. Enjoy the peace and quiet of riding alone, and have a chance to look at the scenery hustle-free.

Reviews of Cusco

4.4

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
28
5 - Excellent 53.84615384615385%
4 - Good
19
4 - Good 36.53846153846154%
3 - Okay
5
3 - Okay 9.615384615384615%
2 - Disappointing
0
2 - Disappointing 0%
1 - Terrible
0
1 - Terrible 0%

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Oct 12, 2019

Nice city, very safe and friendly locals, good tourism offers

5/5 - Excellent

Ara

Oct 10, 2019

It's a hilly town so take it easy and enjoy. Don't forget deep breaths.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Oct 8, 2019

Excellent service, staff friendly and polite definitely 100% recommended.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Oct 4, 2019

rich historical and monumental legacy makes you dazzle with the testimonies of the Inca architecture, admire the artistic wealth of the colonial churches, with a big variety of delisious food.

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

Sep 30, 2019

Interesting town, though definitely a tourist trap. Shame, as the history is fascinating

3/5 - Okay

Verified traveler

Sep 28, 2019

The hotel ruined our experience

Read travel guides and advice on visiting Cusco

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