Things to do in Cusco
January 1, 1970
by Elizabeth Mendoza
Cusco is known as the historical capital of Peru, although the current capital is the city of Lima, is declared as such in its constitution. Also is one of the most incredible cities in the world to be in one of the highest places in the world, 3 400 meters to be precise. Cusco is full of customs, myths and legends and beautiful landscapes. All worthy of an authentic postcard, so be sure packed your camera.
Besides, this magical and amazing city offers natural and cultural attractions. The ancient capital of The Inca Empire was adorned by the Spaniards with palaces, squares, churches to make it today the main tourist city of Peru.
So, if you are planning to visit Cusco and you are not sure which places go or what things do in Cusco and around. I’m here to help you. I made my trip in one week, although was not enough for me, because this city has many peaceful places, for example in the city, you can enjoy a good meal, there are plenty of restautans (the prices vary depends on the proximity of the main square), try the coffee and chocolats (there are museums of it, where you can try for free, different mixes of flavours and aromas), and there also good bars and pubs (enjoy the nightlife plus, the main square is also beautiful by night). Around Cusco, you can do some hiking, climbing, horse riding, biking, etc.
This is why everybody wants to return and explore it more because has so much to offer to the tourists, besides their people are attentive and always treat you with respect.
You can not miss Machu Picchu because this a magical place and is recognised worldwide for being one of the nine wonders of the world. This historical sanctuary is also recognised as a world heritage site by UNESCO and its part of the Sacred Valley. The excellent state of conservation of the Inca City with its 500 years of known history, attract thousands of people every day. However, being one of the most cities visited in Peru, I advice organizing your trip in advance. Why? Because to get to Machu Picchu you must book a place in the Inca trail 6 months in advance or book the Machu Picchu tickets a few weeks before and arrive by train. On one hand, to choose the train you will need to book the train tickets as soon as you know the date you will enter Machu Picchu. And then you can book flight tickets, hotels and tours. On the other hand, I recommend you to book also a good guide, without him, you can not enter Machu Picchu. The train is located in the city of Ollantaytambo, this train will take you to Aguas Calientes town. This is a small town and has a main square, but don’t worry, there are plenty of restaurants, luxury hotels and hostels.
What is the best season to go?
Well, the dry season in Machu Picchu mixes sunny days with delicious climates, although the nights are cold, you will need warm clothes. This goes from April to October. However, as you must be imagined, most of the people choose this season. On the other hand, if you choose the rainy season it is possible to get a little bit wet, but there are other incredible advantages of the rainy season. I also recommend you book your Machu Picchu ticket for the afternoon shift. Many people agree that is the best time to be there not only because you can do it without so many people in it.
Since the Mirador of Taray which it has a spectacular view of the Andes and the Sacred Valley itself. Then you can go to the Pisac town. It is well known for its popular market which is a local market that has alpaca wool workshop. In Ollantaytambo, learn about that was built to guard the entrance to Machu Picchu, also to protect the Incas from possible invasions. Last but not least, Chinchero’s Village, where you can see the remains of the royal estate of Tupac Inca Yupanqui, see and learn how locals dye alpaca wool with natural plants of the region and also you can buy beautiful souvenirs.
Cusco City and nearby Ruins
Visit the Plaza de Armas which is Cusco’s main square, admire the Cathedral from the inside and outside, find the popular rock with 12 angles in the Hatun Rumiyoc street and try the typical food. Around Cusco, the Coricancha Sun Temple is a stunning ceremonial construction. It was built during the heyday of the Incas. The Inca complex at Sacsayhuaman, where you can get marvel at the huge walls. They were built with massive rocks weighing up to 180 tons and fitted with absolute perfection. Qenqo is an unusual site of subterranean passages and carved stone interiors. Also where Incas likely mummified their deads. The archaeological site of Tambomachay, where a series of aqueducts, canals and waterfalls from the days of the Inca Empire run through the terraced rocks. And lastly, you can see the Temple to the God of Water and the Military Ruins of the Puka Pukara fortress.
Urubamba Valley: Moray, Maras and Salt Mines
Explore the most intriguing sites of the Urubamba Valley discovering the ancient wisdom of the Incas at the Moray circular terraces. Also, marvel at the spectacular salt mines of Maras, explore its history as a centre for salt production and admire the unique quilt work of over 3 000 salt ponds spilling into the Sacred Valley. Plus, you can watch an instructive cultural demonstration at a local weaving centre. And finally, take advantage of buying some souvenirs and to try the salty chocolate or maybe one with dried fruits.
The Rainbow Mountain
The Vilcanota mountain range is located southeast of Cusco. It is an important branch of the Andes. It is Also one of the mountain ranges of Peru that has the highest concentration of snowy peaks. To get there you have to take a tour. The trip might start in K’ayrawiri, it has 4 326 masl, and then you will walk approximately 2-3 hours uphill where you can see beautiful and amazing landscapes with many mountains covered with snow, local people with their typical dress and breeders of llamas and alpacas. Once you reach the top, which is 5 020 masl, you will so marvel at the beauty of its High-Andean landscape of the Vilcanota mountain range. Last but not least, pass through the Red Valley, so called due to the special pigmentation of the earth that has a reddish colour.
At the end of this amazing trip, I assure you that you will feel relax and in peace, reconnected with mother nature. Well, my friends, I hope this article has been helpful and if you have questions or wants some suggestions. Just let me know.