Cusco is a beautiful city in the Peruvian Andes, full of charm, Inca ruins, restaurants, and many things to do. You can easily fall in love with this city and stay here for weeks. Here are some things to do in Cusco and its surroundings:
Exploring the ancient streets of Cusco and the Plaza de Armas
Cusco used to be the historical capital of the Inca Empire, and you can find archaeological remains of Inca stone. There are a lot of interesting places in the city, including the Plaza de Armas (the beautiful main square), Convent of Santo Domingo (Inca temple) impressive cathedrals, incredible museums, San Blas district and much more. Take your time to marvel at the beautiful streets of ancient Cusco, admiring the unique architecture of the city. Go to one of Cusco’s views to enjoy the great views of the surrounding Andes. It is recommended to buy the Tourist Ticket (Cusco tourist ticket) that will allow you to enter the most interesting archaeological sites and museums of the Incas.
Koricancha or Convent of Santo Domingo
During the times of the Incas, this temple was the richest in the area. It was covered in golden walls and even the life-size statues were made of gold. After the arrival of the Spaniards, the Dominican religious order built the great convent that mixes Inca architecture with colonial architecture.
The Incas’ Sacred Valley
There are many day trips that you can take around the Sacred Valley and near Cusco, allowing you to learn more about the Incas, their lives, their history, and their unique architectures. It is recommended to book guided tours in Cusco, so you can enjoy the ruins while understanding more about the Incas.
Among the most impressive and popular places: Ollantaytambo, Saqsaywaman, Qenqo, Tambomachay, Pukapukara, Moray, Salineras, town of Pisac, and more.
Central Market of San Pedro
I am a fan of the market, and everywhere I travel visiting the local market is one of the first items on my list. San Pedro is a lively market full of local food, fruits and vegetables. You will also find food and juices in the place. If your stomach is strong enough, try them all!
ATV Tours around the Sacred Valley
If you want to enjoy the adrenaline activity while touring some places of interest in the beautiful mountains around Cusco, you should take a ATV tour! The landscape of the surrounding mountains is incredible. Instead of going only for the usual guided tours, go for a fun ride by ATVs to Moray and Salinas de Maras.
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Hike to the Rainbow Mountain Cusco (Vinicunca)
The Walk to the Mountain of 7 Colors of a day. The Vinicunca mountain offers you a dreamlike landscape by having the seven colors of the rainbow stacked one on top of the other. Like a multicolored mantle or the reflection of the rainbow on earth, Vinicunca rises to be admired throughout the year. This destination is more than 5,000 meters high (16,400 feet) and three hours of climbing and another three hours of descent and a little more if you go through the red valley. The radiant sun will accompany you along the route as well as families of south american camelids such as llamas or alpacas, sheep and the imposing landscape of mountains that will be the protagonists of your photographs.
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A walk to Machu Picchu
There are many ways to get to Machu Picchu, and most of them start in Cusco. Among the popular treks to Machu Picchu: Inca Trail, Salkantay Trek, Choquequirao Trek, Inca Jungle trek, and much more. I recommend the Inca Jungle Trek, check it here.
If you visit Cusco and do not go to Machu Picchu, it is as if you had not known Cusco. If you are not considering visiting, I would recommend that you reconsider. One of the new wonders of the world, and the amount of tourists that visit it, remains one of my favorite historical sites in the world and tops the list of the best things to do in Cusco. Here you can book a day trip to Machu Picchu from Cusco here.
If you know more places that I have not mentioned and that travelers should know, do not hesitate to comment, so that more people can have a better trip.