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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.

Where to stay in Cusco

La Merced Church showing a city

Cusco Historic Center

4.5/5Wonderful!(62 area reviews)

Cusco Historic Center is known for its popular shops, and with sights like Plaza de Armas and Cusco Cathedral, you won't get bored spending a day wandering around this part of Cusco.

Cusco Historic Center

Top hotels in Cusco

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Hilton Garden Inn Cusco
Hilton Garden Inn Cusco
3.5 out of 5
Santa Ana, Avenida Abancay 207, Cusco, Cusco
The price is Rs7,688 per night

Located in Cusco Historic Center, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of San Pedro Church and San Pedro Market. Plaza de Armas and Cusco Cathedral are also ...

4.6/5Wonderful! (722 reviews)

"Wonderful. Just be prepared Cusco’s altitude is no joke. The hotel will provide oxygen if needed"…"

Reviewed on 16 Mar 2020

Hilton Garden Inn Cusco
Estancia San Blas
Estancia San Blas
3 out of 5
Calle Siete Angelitos N° 640, Barrio San Blas, Cusco
The price is Rs3,191 per night

Located in Cusco Historic Center, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of San Blas Viewpoint, Plaza de Armas and Cusco Cathedral. San Pedro Market is 0.8 mi ...

4.7/5Exceptional! (358 reviews)

"Amazing service"…"

Reviewed on 9 Mar 2020

Estancia San Blas
Novotel Cusco
Novotel Cusco
4 out of 5
San Augustin 239 Esquina, Cusco, Cusco

Located in Cusco Historic Center, this historic hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Hatunrumiyoc, Plaza de Armas, and Cusco Cathedral. San Pedro Market is 0.6 ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (712 reviews)

"Friendly and helpful staff. Good food but pricey to local standard. Nice clean rooms and great service from staff. Not much view from most of the rooms. No gym or swimming pool but a spa. Courtyard is beautiful and more at night with the lighting"…"

Reviewed on 22 Mar 2020

Novotel Cusco

Popular places to visit in Cusco

Plaza de Armas
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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
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San Pedro Market

4.5/5(13 reviews)

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

Image for 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.

Image for 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.

Inca Museum
Image for Inca Museum

Inca Museum

4/5(11 reviews)

You can browse the exhibits at Inca Museum, a museum with a story of its own, during your trip to Cusco. Discover the area's shops or seek out its local tours.

Reviews of Cusco


Top Destination

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

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

12 Oct 2019

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

5/5 - Excellent


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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