Top attractions in Cusco
Top 10 Things to do in Cusco
Small and easy to navigate, the city of Cusco is a destination for the adventurer. It’s jam packed with a fascinating history of the Inca Empire and Spanish conquest that been amazingly well preserved and restored.
1. Museo de Arte Precolombino
Originally an Incan courthouse, this museum is dedicated to artifacts and artwork from all regions of pre-Columbian Peru.
2. San Pedro Cusco
Feel the living heart of Peru while wandering the colorful Mercado Central de San Pedro. Explore endless aisles of local food, coffee, beer, jewelry, textiles and handicrafts.
Laying on the northern edge of Cusco is Saksaywaman, the historic capital of the Inca Empire. Find a stunning view of the city from the ancient architectural marvel.
4. Santo Domingo Church
Incan and Spanish stonework meet in this 17th century cathedral. It is the site of The Temple of the Sun—it was originally lined with about 700 sheets of solid gold.
5. Huchuy Qosqo
Only reachable by a long hike or horseback ride, Huchuy Qosqo is a prime example of the innovation of the Inca’s irrigation and cooling storage systems.
A bit closer to the city, and much more accessible, is another site of Inca ancient ruins made up of a string of aqueducts, canals and waterfalls that run through its tiered stone.
7. Sacred Valley
A great day trip, Sacred Valley was called such by the Inca for its fertile land. Be sure to visit the Inca village and fortress of Ollantaytambo on the way back to the Cusco.
8. The Inca Trail
Nearly as much of a wonder as the one it leads to, the Inca Trail is not to be taken lightly and the casual trekker should take heed before heading out on this long journey.
The most fascinating of the Inca ruins, Moray’s gigantic terraced circular depressions are truly a sight to behold.
10. Machu Picchu
One of the New Seven Wonders of the World, it is the icon of the Inca civilization.
Planning Your Visit
How many days to visit Cusco?
Give yourself at least five days for a trip to Cusco—the first couple to adjust to the elevation and navigate the city, the last few to make it to the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu.
When to visit?
The summer is the best time to visit for the climate, which also makes it peak tourist season. To avoid the crowds, early fall could be nice. Anytime after November and before April, however, is not recommended—Cusco’s rainy season could ruin your sightseeing.
How to get there?
Fly into Cusco’s Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport, located on the edge of the city.
Should I worry about elevation?
It is advised to spend at least 3 days in Cusco to acclimate to the high elevation before heading out on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, especially if arriving from sea-level.
Good to know
- Spanish, Quechua and Aymara
- PEN (S/.)
- Time Zone
- UTC (-05:00)
- Country Code
- Best time to visit
- To avoid the rainy winter and the tourist-packed summer, try to visit in early fall, when the sightseeing is still incredible!
Other Sightseeing Options in Cusco
Want to discover all there is to do in Cusco? Click here for a full list.
What people are saying about Cusco
I had great time! You wake up before sunrise and go on this long bus trip up to the base of the mountain. There, they stop at a small town and give you some breakfast. take this opportunity to eat really well, and drink a lot of water, you will need the energy. After that we continued up, it is so nice to have to transportation taken care of because honestly I would not have felt comfortable driving along those steep mountain roads myself. we then made the climb, spent about an hour or so at the glacier, we sat together while our guide gave us an explanation of the surrounding areas. The climbed back down, stopped for a very good late lunch, and they dropped us back in town. Just to note- The climb up to the glacier is REALLY HARD. Im in my late twenties, I am pretty athletic shape, my only health issue is that I have mild asthma. Im not sure if I would recommend it the anyone with more severe health issues. The altitude really messed with a lot of people, bring coca leaves to chew.
I had the most INCREDIBLE time on this tour. My guide, Olgar, was very knowledgeable about the local Incan sites and natural plant remedies. We explored many different sites on horseback and walking. My horse, Sol Andino, was very sweet and made me feel super safe! I would highly recommend this tour, it is perfect for everyone!
This trip was amazing! The guide was very knowledgeable about the places we visited and what we were doing. Definitely would do it again, the only thing I recommend is to check the weather. We were not able to see the rainbow mountain because it was snowing when we were there and we were not prepared for that
This was a really fun activity and a good way to see the surrounding areas of Cusco. The salt mines are quite interesting and Moray was nice. You will get a bit dirty on the bikes so wear appropriate clothes, and I highly suggest bringing a bandana or something to cover your nose and mouth from all the dust.
The trip was amazing! We were able to walk at our own pace and had a great guide who checked to make sure everyone was managing and didn’t get altitude sick. The mountain was truly spectacular