Cusco City Guide
Cusco Location: South Central Region of Peru (in the Andes)
Cusco offers the traveller an incredible array of attractions and activities, and it is very worthy of being the main tourist destination in Peru. The city is located in beautiful mountain scenery, and offers a wonderful combination of colonial Peru and the Inca heritage of the country. The nearby archaeological sites of Sacsayhuaman, Pisac and Ollantaytambo are some of the most interesting in the country, and the fabled lost city of Machu Picchu is every bit as beautiful and mystical as the famed images suggests. The Cusco area is also home to one of the most famous hikes in the world: the Inca Trail. This walk through Inca settlements offers some stunning scenery, rising through the Andes before descending into the cloud forest and arriving, magically, at Machu Picchu.
For visitors wishing to get away from the tourist crowds, there are many nearby areas of outstanding interest, which are far less visited. The major Inca ruins of Choquequirau, in a setting every bit as impressive as Machu Picchu’s, are rarely seen by visitors, and the last Inca city of Vilcabamba, from where Manco Inca launched guerrilla attacks on the Spanish conquistadors, is a fascinating site set in verdant jungle. Both of these sites are reached by hikes through beautiful mountain scenery, and present wonderful alternatives for travellers wishing to escape the crowds on the Inca Trail.
Cusco is one of the best bases in South America for adventure sports, and there are some fine mountain biking routes near the city, and it is possible to go paragliding in the Sacred Valley. The Apurímac River, a couple of hours from the city of Cusco, offers excellent white-water rafting, with rapids of up to class V, and the Urubamba River also offers good, although gentler, rafting. For hikers, in addition to the routes mentioned above, there are some spectacular treks around the 6,400m Ausangate, and other snow-capped peaks.
The Cusco area is home to some sites of outstanding natural beauty. The Pongo de Mainique, a long, but beautiful, bus ride from Cusco, is a narrow gorge, with 300m-high cliffs on either side of the Urubamba River, with waterfalls pouring down into the river. Tres Cruces, only four hours from the city, offers one of the world’s most spectacular sunrises, with optical illusions giving the impression of the sun dancing, splitting in two and changing shape.
Known to the Incas as the “navel of the world”, Cusco is an exciting and colorful city, built by the Spanish on the sumptuous and solid remains of Inca temples and palaces, and as rich in human activity today as it must have been at the height of the empire. Enclosed between high hills and visually dominated in equal degree by the imposing fortress of Sacsayhuaman and a more recent white-stone Christ figure, the city attracts visitors eager to see both its substantial Inca ruins and the many churches and monasteries of Catholic Spain. Despite the high level of tourism in Cusco, most of the surrounding towns and villages have remained unaffected and still cling to ancient ways of life and traditions.
Things To See And Do In The Area
- Visit the fortress of Sacsayhuaman
- Check out the Plaza de Armas
- Visit the Cathedral, La Merced, Santo Domingo and other interesting historic churches.
- Visit the Qoricancha
- Take a tour to the Sacred Valley
- Visit Ollantaytambo
- A day or overnight trip to Machu Picchu
- Stop by local markets in small villages
- Hike the Inca Trail
- AND much more!
Come to Cusco to learn Spanish and explore a cultural, historic, and simply beautiful area of Peru.
Getting To Cusco, Peru
You have one main way to arrive.
- Take a flight from Lima to Cusco.
- There are numerous flights to Cusco each day.
- About an hour flight time.
- We can arrange pickup service.
If you have questions about how to arrive into Lima, Peru please do not hesitate to contact us.
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