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Cusco

Travel Guide
Cusco featuring a ruin, heritage architecture and a house

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.

Cusco Travel Guide Video

Where to stay in Cusco

Novotel Cusco
Novotel Cusco
4 out of 5
San Augustin 239 Esquina, Cusco, Cusco
The price is Rs4,624 per night from 23 Aug to 23 Aug
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! (743 reviews)
"Love the Hotel. Location, excellent, very close to the main square. Food awsome, restaurant opens for breakfast, lunch and dinner, also offers room service. Room spacious, heater perfect. Cleaness great. I requested a private taxi to go outside the city and the hotel made the arrangements for me. ..."

Reviewed on 25 Jul 2021

Novotel Cusco
Antigua Casona San Blas
Antigua Casona San Blas
4 out of 5
Calle Carmen Bajo 243, San Blas, Cusco
The price is Rs5,671 per night from 1 Aug to 1 Aug
Located in Cusco Historic Center, this spa hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Plaza San Blas, Plaza de Armas, and Cusco Cathedral. San Pedro Market is 0.8 mi ...
4.9/5Exceptional! (727 reviews)
"It is very rare I travel and stay at a hotel where I do not have something negative to say. This place was happiness. All the staff goes out of their way to commentate in every way. Whether it is money exchange, a taxi, a wake up call, or ordering you pizza at 2 am. the staff is by far one"

Reviewed on 24 Jul 2021

Antigua Casona San Blas
Hilton Garden Inn Cusco
Hilton Garden Inn Cusco
3.5 out of 5
The price is Rs4,747 per night from 3 Aug to 3 Aug
Located in Cusco Historic Center, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Museo de Plantas Sagradas Magicas y Medicinales, Plaza de Armas and San Pedro Market. ...
4.6/5Wonderful! (737 reviews)
"Staff was truly helpful in all situations"

Reviewed on 25 Jul 2021

Hilton Garden Inn Cusco
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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