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Cusco

Practical information on Cusco

  • Hiking / Trekking
  • Place or Religious Monument
  • Festivals
  • Archaeological Site
  • Museums
  • Castle and fortress
  • Handicraft
  • Place or Historical Monument
  • Unesco World Heritage
  • Essential
4 / 5 - 3 reviews
How to get there
14hrs 30min drive from Lima
When to go
From May to November
Minimum stay
3 to 5 days

Reviews of Cusco

Emilie Couillard Seasoned Traveller
117 written opinions

Cuzco is an amazing town! For tourists fascinated by Inca history, Cuzco, the former Inca capital, is a must-see that has been classified a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  

My suggestion:
Cuzco is the perfect place for stocking up on supplies. If you're going on a trek, you can buy warm clothes, walking sticks, windbreakers and so on. All for a reasonable price too.
My review

If you like markets as much as I do, then get out and head to the San Pedro Market! On my first visit, I spent 2 hours trying everything and chatting away with stall holders. They were really welcoming and happy to answer all my questions - in Spanish, of course!

My many interesting encounters included fortune tellers, coca leaf readers and traditional healers who prepared a delicious juice made from...frogs! Apparently its used to alleviate mental problems! For the less adventurous amongst you, there is also an aisle that sells regional chocolate and coffee. You can buy bars of cacao and make up your own, yummy hot chocolate. You can also take them home from your trip to Peru and spend an evening wishing you were back in the Andes.  

Apart from appealing to the food-lover in me, the town of Cuzco is an orderly place that boasts some amazing architecture. And it goes without saying that this is the place for visitors interested in the Incas. The town has a rich cultural heritage, several museums, archaeological sites, frequent shows and churches, all well worth your time.

Claire Brehmer Seasoned Traveller
14 written opinions

Cusco is a magnificent town which has earned its Inca nickname "the bellybutton of the world".

My suggestion:
Stay in the town and use it as a base to discover the surroundings. Lots of excursions leave here for day trips in the region.
My review

Perched 3,300 metres above sea level, Cusco is an open book which tells you about the riches of Peru's history and culture. The architecture, the stones, the lanes, the atmosphere...it's great to stroll about and explore all the Peruvian art shops.

I was lucky enough to visit this town during June, 24th June to be precise, during the festival of Inti Raimi, a celebration of the sun. On that day the whole of Cusco parties. There are parades with Inca costumes and the lanes heave with street sellers offering souvenirs, local food such as roasted guinea pig or Chicha to slake your thirst.

The parades head for the heights, towards the Sacsaywaman fortress. There is music, scents, colours and fun - the perfect cocktail to help you explore one of the most important festivals in the country and for meeting the locals.  

Virginie Bigeni Seasoned Traveller
49 written opinions

Cusco, a typical stopping point, unmissable during your holiday in Peru. In the midst of the Andean mountains, this ancient Inca city is the gateway to the famous Machu Picchu. 

My suggestion:
The town is at an altitude of 3400 m, about 12,000 ft, so it takes time to adapt, especially if you have come directly from Lima. Don't panic, it doesn't take long!
My review

The Plaza de Armas is magnificent, certainly one of the most beautiful in South America. It's surroundings are unavoidable, but don't hesitate to go off to explore the town and wander the little paved streets with their gentle ambiance. Climb up a little, the view is fantastic. Take your time, lose yourself, you'll find a great little restaurant somewhere off the beaten track and leave delighted.

Cusco remains a lovely place to visit despite the hordes of tourists that sometimes bump into each other! I still picture a very gentle town where life is good, full of colour, everything is a on human scale and it's pleasant to wander about. Its not surprising therefore to want to stay there a little longer than planned. So set off on an adventure. Fear not, the town is safe enough! With its mixture of Inca and Andean cultures, fans of old stone and history will be delighted. There are lots of museums here. After all, it's a Unesco world heritage site!

You'll have understood by now that at Cusco, there is something for all tastes. Without forgetting that it's here that you get ready for your trek to Machu Picchu or your visit to the Valley of the Incas. All in all unmissable...

Just one little point: as in all tourist towns, it's best to negotiate prices where you can, for taxis etc.

Tours and travel ideas Cusco