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.
Table of contents
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 City
|Things to do outside of the city
|Adventure and Trekkings
|San Blas Neighborhood
|The Coricancha Temple
|The Sacred Valley of the Incas
|Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain
|Ausangate Trek (7 Lakes)
|Tipon and South of Cusco
|Short Inca trail
|Siete Borreguitos Street
|Vinicunca rainbow mountain
|Huchuy Qosqo trek
|The Sacsayhuaman Complex
|The Cathedral of Cusco
|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