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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
Palacio del Inka, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Cusco
Palacio del Inka, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Cusco
5 out of 5
SG$246
per night
1 May-2 May

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! (618 reviews)

"Absolutely amazing experience and stay. Highly recommended!"…"

Reviewed on 5 Mar,2020

Palacio del Inka, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Cusco
Polo Cusco Suites
Polo Cusco Suites
3.5 out of 5
SG$55
per night
4 Apr-5 Apr

Situated near the airport, this hotel is within 1 mile (2 km) of Cusco Craft Center, Plaza de Armas and Cusco Cathedral. Garcilaso de la Vega Stadium and Centro ...

4.2/5Very Good! (467 reviews)

"I like the location and the view. What I didn’t like was poor lighting in the bathroom and no ventilation in the bathroom. But overall I was happy with the hotel and would stay there again"…"

Reviewed on 19 Mar,2020

Polo Cusco Suites
Estancia San Blas
Estancia San Blas
3 out of 5
Calle Siete Angelitos N° 640, Barrio San Blas, Cusco
SG$61
per night
4 Apr-5 Apr

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

4.7/5Exceptional! (346 reviews)

"Great staff, super clean, good amenities , great breakfast,"…"

Reviewed on 6 Mar,2020

Estancia San Blas

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

88% of travellers recommend
SG$490
Per adult
Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain Hiking Tour
Image for Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain Hiking Tour

Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain Hiking Tour

90% of travellers recommend
SG$76
Per adult
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

92% of travellers recommend
SG$58
Per adult
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

92% of travellers recommend
SG$73
Per adult
Private Half-Day Cusco City Tour
Image for Private Half-Day Cusco City Tour

Private Half-Day Cusco City Tour

80% of travellers recommend
SG$193
Per adult
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$32
Per adult

Reviews of Cusco

4.5

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
30
5 - Excellent 55.55555555555556%
4 - Good
19
4 - Good 35.18518518518518%
3 - Okay
5
3 - Okay 9.25925925925926%
2 - Disappointing
0
2 - Disappointing 0%
1 - Terrible
0
1 - Terrible 0%

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

12 Oct 2019

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

5/5 - Excellent

Ara

10 Oct 2019

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

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

8 Oct 2019

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

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

4 Oct 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 traveller

30 Sep 2019

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

3/5 - Okay

Verified traveller

28 Sep 2019

The hotel ruined our experience

Read travel guides and advice on visiting Cusco

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