Cuzco, also spelled Cusco, is a popular tourist destination in Peru famous for its rich history, stunning architecture, and proximity to the iconic Machu Picchu. Its historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage site and features well-preserved examples of Inca and Spanish colonial architecture. I arrived expecting a normal Latin-American city, a colonial old Spanish town. But immediately as a visitor you will notice that is more that. This is a proper Inca capital with a very strong identity preserving the authentic best of all its blending past. In this article we will be discovering the wonders of Cuzco, which is besides a must in Peru a proper keystone town in America.

A bit of history of Cuzco

Cuzco was once the capital of the Inca Empire, which dominated much of South America before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century. The Inca Empire dated back to the early 13th century. Manco Capac, probably the first Inca ruler, encompassed a vast territory that stretched from present-day Colombia to Chile and Argentina.

Cuzco was the political and cultural center of the Inca Empire, and it was home to many important religious and administrative buildings. The city has the shape of a puma, with the head of the animal at the center of the city, represented by the fortress of Sacsayhuaman. The city was also home to many impressive temples, including the Temple of the Sun, which was the most important religious site in the Inca Empire.

In 1533, the Spanish troops of Francisco Pizarro arrived in Cuzco, and after a brief battle, they conquered the city. They destroyed many of the Inca buildings and built their own structures on top of the ruins. The Spanish also introduced Christianity to the region and built many churches and cathedrals, including the famous Cuzco Cathedral,  dating back to the mid-16th century.

Things to do in the Cuzco

Today, Cuzco is a popular tourist destination known for its rich history and stunning architecture. Many of the city’s Inca ruins and Spanish colonial buildings have been well-preserved, and the city has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is also the gateway to Machu Picchu, one of the world’s most famous archaeological sites.

Cuzco as the capital of the Inca Empire has many historical assets, and there are many impressive Inca ruins in the surrounding area too. The main square, Plaza de Armas, is a popular spot for tourists to explore and take perfect photos. Cuzco also has several museums dedicated to Inca history and culture, including the Inka Museum and the Museum of Pre-Columbian Art. The city offers a vibrant food scene, with a mix of traditional Andean cuisine and modern fusion restaurants. Local specialties include alpaca meat, quinoa dishes, and the national drink of Peru, pisco sour. There are as well excellent outdoor activities to do. Cuzco is surrounded by beautiful mountains and valleys, making it a great destination for outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding.

Historic city center of Cuzco

Cuzco’s historic city center is a UNESCO World Heritage site and features well-preserved examples of Inca and Spanish colonial architecture. Just take stroll around and take a glance to its fantastic architecture.

Plaza de Armas

This large, beautiful square is the heart of Cuzco’s historic center and features a statue of the Inca ruler Pachacutec. Be sure to admire the stunning colonial architecture, including the Cuzco Cathedral and the Church of La Compañía de Jesús.

Plaza de Armas, Cuzco, Peru
Cuzco Cathedral

This impressive cathedral was built in the mid-16th century and features a mix of Renaissance, Baroque, and indigenous styles. Inside, you’ll find beautiful altars, religious paintings, and a collection of colonial-era art.

Cathedral of Cuzco, Peru

This Inca temple was once the most important religious site in the Inca Empire and was dedicated to the worship of the sun. The Spanish built the Church of Santo Domingo on top of the temple, but you can still see some of the original Inca stonework and architecture.

San Blas neighborhood

This is a charming neighborhood just at north of the Plaza de Armas and features narrow, winding streets, artisan shops, and traditional adobe houses. Be sure to visit the San Blas Church, which features an impressive Baroque altar.

Traditional street in the old town of Cuzco, Peru
Inka Museum

The museum is in the Plaza de las Nazarenas and features a collection of Inca artifacts, including textiles, ceramics, and gold and silver objects. The museum also has exhibits on the history and culture of the Inca Empire.


Sacsayhuaman (also spelled as Saksaywaman) is an Inca fortress located on a hill overlooking the city of Cusco in Peru. The site is famous for its impressive stonework, consisting of massive limestone blocks that were carefully fitted together without the use of mortar. The walls of Sacsayhuaman are up to 9 meters (30 feet) tall and weigh as much as 200 tons. The site was built by the Inca Empire in the 15th century and served as a military fortress during the Spanish conquest of Peru. Today, Sacsayhuaman is a popular tourist destination and is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is also the site of the Inti Raymi or Sun Festival, which takes place every year on the winter solstice.

Sacsayhuaman in Cuzco, Peru

Pisac Market

If you’re interested in shopping for souvenirs, be sure to check out the Pisac Market, located about 20 miles from Cuzco. The market features a wide variety of local handicrafts, including textiles, ceramics, and jewelry. It takes place every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday, and features a wide variety of goods, including textiles, pottery, jewelry, and other handicrafts made by local artisans. The market is famous for its vibrant colors and lively atmosphere, and it attracts tourists and locals alike. In addition to the market, the town of Pisac is also home to several important Inca ruins, including the Pisac Archaeological Site, which features impressive terraces, temples, and other structures built by the Incas.


Q’enco, also spelled as Qenko or Kenco, is an archaeological site located near the city of Cusco in Peru. It was an important religious site for the Incas, who used it for ceremonial purposes, including the worship of the sun, moon, and stars. The site contains a series of carved channels and seats in the rock, as well as a large stone monolith that was used for sacrificial offerings. Q’enco is known for its intricate stonework and is one of several important Inca sites in the Cusco area, along with Machu Picchu, Sacsayhuaman, and Ollantaytambo.

Q'enco in Cuzco, Peru

The town of Ollantaytambo

Ollantaytambo is a small town located in the Sacred Valley of Peru, about 60 kilometers northwest of Cusco. It is a popular tourist destination and serves as a starting point for many visitors to Machu Picchu.

Ollantaytambo has well-preserved Inca ruins, which include a fortress, a temple, and terraced agricultural fields. The town itself also has a rich history and is considered one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements in South America. It was built by the Inca in the late 15th century and was later conquered by the Spanish in the 16th century.

Today, Ollantaytambo is a charming town with cobblestone streets, traditional buildings, and a relaxed atmosphere. It’s a great place to explore on foot, with plenty of shops, restaurants, and cafes to enjoy. The town’s central plaza is a popular meeting place for locals and visitors alike. Another attraction in Ollantaytambo is the town’s traditional market, which takes place every day in the town’s central plaza. Here, you can find a variety of handmade crafts, textiles, and souvenirs.

Ollantaytambo Inca Ruins

One of the main attractions in Ollantaytambo is the Inca ruins, which are located on a hill overlooking the town. The ruins include a massive stone fortress, known as the Temple Hill, which features several levels and large terraces. The site also includes the Temple of the Sun, a ceremonial center that was used for astronomical observation.

Where to stay in Cuzco

Cuzco is a popular tourist destination and offers a range of accommodations to suit different preferences and budgets. There are luxury hotels, boutique hotels, hostels, guesthouses, and homestays. The prices of the accommodations vary depending on the location, facilities, and the time of year.

In the historic center of Cusco, you can find many well-preserved colonial-era buildings that have been converted into hotels and guesthouses. These accommodations are often located within walking distance of major attractions such as Plaza de Armas, the Cusco Cathedral, and the Qorikancha Temple. They offer comfortable rooms, free Wi-Fi, and many amenities such as restaurants, spas, and fitness centers.

There are also many budget-friendly accommodations in Cusco, such as hostels and guesthouses. These accommodations are often located in quieter neighborhoods, away from the bustling tourist areas. Some hostels even offer private rooms and en-suite bathrooms for those who want more privacy.

In addition, many visitors choose to stay with local families in homestays. This is a great way to experience Peruvian culture and learn about the local way of life. Homestays offer a unique opportunity to interact with local people, try traditional foods, and learn about the history and culture of the region.

Enjoy our discounts in Cuzco

Useful information about Cuzco


How to get to Cuzco?

You can get to Cusco by air, bus, or train.

  • By Air: The easiest and quickest way to reach Cusco is by air. The Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport is just a few kilometers from the city center and is served by several domestic and international airlines. Flights from Lima to Cusco take approximately 1 hour.
  • By Bus: Another option is to take a bus from Lima or other cities in Peru to Cusco. The journey can take anywhere from 18 to 24 hours, depending on the route and the type of bus. Several bus companies offer daily services to Cusco, with varying levels of comfort and amenities.
  • By Train: The train is a scenic way to reach Cusco from other parts of Peru. The most popular route is the one that connects Cusco to Machu Picchu, with several trains departing from the nearby town of Ollantaytambo. The train journey offers stunning views of the Andean mountains and passes through several small villages and ancient ruins along the way.
How to move around Cuzco?

Once in Cusco, visitors can use taxis or public transportation to get around the city and explore the surrounding areas. In the old town the spots are walking distance in between them. It’s important thogh to acclimate to the high altitude before undertaking any strenuous activities. Cusco sits at an altitude of 3,400 meters (11,200 feet) above sea level.


Is Cuzco safe?

Cuzco is generally a safe city for visitors, but like any destination, it’s important to take certain precautions to ensure your safety.

The main concerns for visitors to Cuzco are petty crime and scams. Tourists are often the targetes of pickpockets and thieves in crowded areas. So it’s important to be vigilant and keep an eye on your belongings. It’s also a good idea to avoid carrying large amounts of cash and valuables with you when you’re out.

Another common scam in Cuzco is the “fake police officer” scam, where criminals impersonate police officers and ask to see your passport and valuables. If someone claiming to be a police officer asks to see your documents or valuables, it’s important to ask for identification and verify their credentials before complying.

When is the best time to visit Cuzco?

The high season for tourism in Cusco is from June to August, which coincides with the dry season. This is generally the best time to visit if you want to avoid the rain and enjoy clear skies and comfortable temperatures. However, this is also the busiest time of year. Crowds can be heavy, especially in popular tourist spots like Machu Picchu.

If you prefer to avoid the crowds, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons of April to May or September to November. During these months, the weather is generally mild and dry, and there are fewer tourists around.

The rainy season in Cusco runs from December to March, and this is generally the least popular time to visit. However, the rain can also bring out the lush greenery and vibrant blooms of the landscape, and this can be a beautiful time to explore the city and surrounding areas. Just be prepared for the occasional downpour and muddy trails.

Best experiences in Cuzco

Cuzco has everything a visitor needs to have a great experience. Its natural beauty draws visitors from around the world- along with its numerous important sites and cultural heritage. As far as things to do in the place go, there are plenty of activities available for visitors.

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