Cusco, the archaeological capital of South America

Cusco offers visitors a lot of promenades and places to visit. Crossing point for those who decide to live the experience of the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu, this city surprises us with many postcards and it is impossible to not stay there for a few days.

The flight Lima – Cusco is short (about 1 hour) and all services are offered during the morning. The later arrival we can get is during the afternoon (around 4 p.m.), and this is very important because we can visit local streets since the moment we arrive to Cusco.




Cusco Plaza de ArmasPlaza de Armas


The ideal for our first afternoon is a walk around the Plaza de Armas; the square has churches (the Cusco Cathedral and the Church of the Society of Jesus), shops, restaurants and bars backing on to it and is a great place to spend an afternoon. Then, and after walking along the Avenida del Sol, we will visit the Sacred Garden and the Qorikancha (Santo Domingo Convent), a temple built in carved stone in honor of the God Inti.


Catedral de CuscoCatedral de Cusco


Cusco QorikanchaQorikancha


We recommend a morning walk through the narrow streets of the picturesque neighborhood of San Blas, including the obligatory visit to the homonymous church, the square and the viewpoint; there are many bars and restaurants where we can stop to have lunch.


Cusco Barrio San BlasBarrio San Blas


Our plan for the afternoon will be an excursion to the ruins of Sacsayhuaman. We will need a ticket (Boleto turístico) to get in; we can then walk to the adjacent hill with the big Jesus on it and look down on the city. The tour also includes additional stops at the archaeological sites of the Temple of the Moon, Tambomachay (an ornamental fountain whose source is unknown), Pukapukara (named after the red hue of the hillsides nearby) and Q’enqo (Inca sanctuary).


Cusco PukapukaraPukapukara


Another interesting circuit is the Sacred Valley of the Incas. The route (more than 12 hours) allows us to visit Pisac, Ollantaytambo (the only ancient Inca town still inhabited), Chinchero and Moray. At this point, we highlight Ollantaytambo for its handicrafts market and its quiet streets; up to the Fortaleza de los Andenes it requires legs and fitness, but it rewards us with amazing views of the valley and the village.


Cusco PisacPisac

Cusco OllantaytamboOllantaytambo


Cusco ChincheroChinchero


In Cusco, we should not miss the San Pedro Market, which offers meals and regional products, some of the many Catholic churches built by the Spanish conquerors during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries –La Merced, San Francisco de Asis, Santa Clara and San Pedro are our favorites– and the Plaza Regocijo (in front of the Town Hall).


Cusco Iglesia San FranciscoIglesia San Francisco


When we look for accommodation, the Belmond Hotel Monasterio and the JW Marriott El Convento are located a few blocks from the main square and they ensure us a perfect rest and quality services. If we are looking for low-cost options, the Hostal El Andariego gives us a pleasant stay.


Time to visit the main city of the Inca Empire and travel, because it enriches our soul.

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