Welcome to the captivating city of Cusco, a treasure trove of ancient Incan heritage, awe-inspiring natural wonders, and vibrant cultural experiences. In this guide, we will embark on a journey through the 25 best things to do in Cusco, offering you a comprehensive overview of this mesmerizing destination.

1. Machu Picchu

Prepare to be transported back in time as you explore the enigmatic Machu Picchu. This ancient Incan citadel, shrouded in mist and mystery, stands as a testament to the ingenuity and architectural prowess of its creators. Whether you choose the iconic Inca Trail or opt for a scenic train ride, the journey to Machu Picchu is a pilgrimage to the heart of Incan history.

Facts About Machu Picchu That Will Surprise You - What is the natural environment around Machu Picchu

Read: Best time to visit Machu Picchu

2. San Blas Neighborhood

Perched on a hill behind Cusco Cathedral, the San Blas neighborhood is a haven for artists, craftsmen, and free spirits. Explore its winding streets, adorned with vibrant murals and quaint boutiques. Don’t miss the breathtaking views of Cusco’s red-tiled rooftops from the iconic San Blas Plaza.

3. The Qoricancha Temple

Stroll down Av. Sol and discover the ancient marvel of Coricancha, once the Incan Empire’s most revered temple. The golden walls and sacred chambers have witnessed centuries of history, bearing silent witness to the passage of time.

Cusco city tour - coricancha sun temple
Cusco city tour – Coricancha Sun temple

4. The Rainbow Mountain

Venture to the mesmerizing Rainbow Mountain, a geological wonder boasting a breathtaking spectrum of colors. This natural masterpiece, situated over 5200 meters above sea level, offers a trek of unparalleled beauty and a true connection with the Earth’s artistic splendor.

Rainbow Mountain

5. The Humantay Lake

Embrace the serenity of the Humantay Lake, a crystal-clear gem nestled amidst the majestic Andean peaks. The turquoise waters reflect the snow-capped mountains, creating a scene straight out of a postcard. This is nature’s poetry at its finest.

Best time to visit Humantay lake Elevation

6. Siete Borreguitos Street

Immerse yourself in the charm of Siete Borreguitos Street, a picturesque alley adorned with flower pots and whitewashed walls. This historic thoroughfare, once frequented by women tending to their sheep, now invites visitors to capture its timeless beauty.

7. Sapantiana Aqueduct

Journey back in time to the colonial period as you marvel at the Sapantiana Aqueduct, a testament to 16th-century engineering. Its four tiers of arches, hewn from local stone, served as a lifeline for the city, channeling water to its thirsty residents.

8. The Sacsayhuaman Complex

Explore the archaeological wonders of Sacsayhuaman, a complex steeped in history and mystique. From the towering walls of Sacsayhuaman to the enigmatic Qenqo, each site reveals a chapter of the Incan saga. Puka Pukara and Tambo Machay complete this archaeological tapestry, offering a glimpse into the past.

Cusco city tour - the biggest stone at Sacsayhuaman
Cusco city tour – the biggest stone at Sacsayhuaman

9. The Cathedral of Cusco

Step into the majestic Cathedral of Cusco, a living testament to the harmonious melding of Incan and Spanish cultures. With its awe-inspiring Renaissance architecture, grand pillars, and intricate Baroque façade, the cathedral stands as a beacon of faith and artistry.

10. Traditional San Pedro Market

Embark on a sensory journey at the bustling San Pedro Market. From colorful souvenirs to exotic foods and medicinal herbs, the market offers a kaleidoscope of local treasures. Indulge in freshly squeezed juices and savor the vibrant flavors that define the essence of Cusco.

11. The Cristo Blanco Statue

Much like Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer, Cusco boasts its own iconic Cristo Blanco. This eight-meter marvel, adorned in marble and plaster, extends open arms in a gesture of peace. A gift from the Palestinian Arab community, it offers unparalleled views of the city.

12. The Inti Raymi Festivity

Experience the grandeur of the Inti Raymi, a celebration dedicated to the Sun God. With over 300 performers in traditional Incan attire, this outdoor spectacle transports you back to a time when the Incas sought to rekindle the sun’s warmth during the winter solstice.

13. The Viewpoint of San Cristobal

For breathtaking views of Cusco, make your way to the San Cristobal viewpoint. A short walk from the main square, this vantage point offers an unrivaled perspective of the city’s red-tiled roofs, sprawling markets, and historic landmarks.

14. The Sacred Valley of the Incas

Embark on a journey through the Sacred Valley, a testament to the Incas’ deep reverence for nature. Explore Pisac, Ollantaytambo, Chinchero, Maras, Moray, and the mesmerizing salt mines. Each site unveils the intricacies of ancient Incan life and their ingenious agricultural practices.

Read more at: Best things to do in Sacred Valley.

15. The Twelve Angled Stone

Marvel at the legendary twelve-angled stone, a symbol of Incan precision and craftsmanship. Located in Cusco’s historic center, this meticulously carved stone is a testament to the Inca’s architectural prowess.

16. The Qosqo Center of Native Art

Immerse yourself in the vibrant world of Andean art at the Qosqo Center. Here, local artisans showcase their talents, offering a glimpse into the rich tapestry of indigenous creativity.

17. The Cusco Planetarium

Embark on a celestial journey at the Cusco Planetarium, where ancient Incan astronomy comes to life. Delve into the mysteries of the cosmos and gain insights into the Incas’ profound understanding of the night sky.

18. The Inca Museum

Step into the Inca Museum and journey through time. From meticulously preserved artifacts to detailed exhibits, the museum offers a comprehensive look at the rich history and culture of the Incan civilization.

19. The Picanterias

Indulge in the culinary delights of Cusco at the local Picanterias. Don’t miss the opportunity to savor cuy, a traditional Peruvian dish. Immerse yourself in the flavors that define the region’s culinary heritage.

20. Nightlife in Cusco

Experience the vibrant nightlife of Cusco, where historic streets come alive with music, dance, and festivities. From lively bars to traditional dance performances, Cusco offers a nightlife experience like no other.

21. Tipon and South of Cusco

Venture south of Cusco to uncover the lesser-known marvels of Tipon. This archaeological site showcases intricate terraces, water channels, and impressive stonework, offering a glimpse into ancient Incan engineering prowess.

22. Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain

Explore the Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain, a captivating geological marvel that rivals its more famous counterpart. With its vibrant array of colors and stunning vistas, Palccoyo offers a unique and less-trodden path to nature’s artistic palette.

Palccoyo rainbow mountain
Palccoyo rainbow mountain – view from the top

23. Inca Trail and Salkantay Trek

Embark on the legendary Inca Trail or the Salkantay Trek, both offering unparalleled journeys through breathtaking landscapes and ancient ruins. These treks are a testament to the enduring spirit of adventure and discovery.

24. Adventure Tours

For the thrill-seekers, partake in adventure tours such as Skybiking or Quad Biking. These heart-pounding activities provide a unique perspective of Cusco’s stunning terrain, offering an unforgettable adrenaline rush.

25. Ausangate Trek

Embark on the Ausangate Trek, a high-altitude adventure leading to the mesmerizing Seven Lakes. Surrounded by dramatic peaks, these crystalline waters offer a serene escape and a chance to connect with the raw beauty of the Andes.

Table of Cusco and its surroundings Things to do

Things to do near Cusco CityThings to do outside of the cityHidden GemsAdventure and Trekkings
San Blas NeighborhoodMachu PicchuTiponInca Trail
The Coricancha TempleThe Sacred Valley of the IncasPalccoyo Rainbow MountainSalkantay Trek
TambomachayAusangate Trek (7 Lakes) Ausangate Trek 
QuencoTipon and South of Cusco Short Inca trail 
Siete Borreguitos StreetVinicunca rainbow mountain Lares Trek
Sapantiana AqueductHumantay Lake Huchuy Qosqo trek
The Sacsayhuaman ComplexQueswachaca tour  
The Cathedral of CuscoMaras Moray  
Traditional San Pedro Market   
The Cristo Blanco Statue   
The Inti Raymi Festivity   
The Viewpoint of San Cristobal   
The Twelve Angled Stone   
The Qosqo Center of Native Art   
The Cusco Planetarium   
The Inca Museum   
The Picanterias, try cuy   
Nightlife in Cusco   
This table provides a categorized list of activities based on their proximity to Cusco, popularity, and level of adventure.

 

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