You’ve probably heard about the Inca’s astronomy and have wanted to visit. In the Andes, they tracked the stars and predicted the entire calendar by following them.
Visit the Cusco Planetarium, a cultural interpretation center devoted to the Incan art of astronomy. Then, take a walk through a traditional Cusco cemetery, known as Almudena. Here, people put things and photos of loved ones buried there.
Or, if you’re a bit more adventurous, try river rafting and bungee jumping!
1. Machu Picchu
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing getaway or a more adventurous activity, you can’t go wrong with the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Machu Picchu.
The site has a wealth of archaeological exhibits, including mummies and Inca skulls. You’ll also find 450 queros, carved wood cups, and textiles made by local weavers.
While Machu Picchu is a popular tourist attraction, you should also consider hiking Rainbow Mountain, the most Instagrammed spot in Peru.
The rainbow-colored mountain is only accessible since late 2016, so it can be difficult to get the perfect shot without tourists in the background.
Rainbow Mountain is about two to three hours from Cusco, but it can be difficult on your lungs. To avoid the pain and strain on your lungs, you should consider hiking it only after you’ve acclimatized in Cusco.
In addition to the famous Machu Picchu, you should also explore the Sacred Valley, an area 15km northeast of Cusco. The Incas valued this valley for its fertile agricultural lands, and the ruins of old Inca cities can be found throughout the area. The valley has a traditional Peruvian feel thanks to many authentic villages. It’s a great place to acclimatize to the high altitude.
You’ll also find the town’s bohemian side in the city of San Blas. Tucked away from the tourist areas, San Blas is a more relaxed, secluded neighborhood with narrow cobblestone streets, whitewashed buildings, and a vibrant cafe scene.
It’s easy to get lost in the ruins and miss this historic district altogether.
This ruin is open from 7 am to 5 pm Monday to Sunday. You can get there on foot, by taxi, or by local bus. If you want to visit the whole site, you can purchase a Boleto Turistico ticket, which costs 130 soles (about $40) and includes access to 15 other attractions in Cusco. This ticket is a must-have for any visitor to Peru, as it includes access to all 15 places in Cusco.
The easiest way to get to Sacsayhuaman is by taxi, which is the most comfortable and cheapest way to reach it. Nonetheless, walking may be a more affordable option if you’re on a budget. A taxi ride costs about 10 soles and should get you to the ruins in under ten minutes.
When planning your trip, make sure you consider the distance between the ruins and the city center.
When you are looking for imposing ruins, the most famous in Cusco is Sacsayhuaman. Built during the 15th century by the Inca emperor Pachacuti, these ruins have a high level of complexity. The stonework and craftsmanship behind the buildings were done with surgical precision and without using mortar or wheel knowledge.
Visiting Sacsayhuaman is an exciting experience and a must-see for any visitor to Peru.
When you visit Sacsayhuaman, make sure to wear comfortable clothing, as it can get very hot in the sun. Make sure you pack plenty of water and sunscreen because Sacsayhuaman is not shaded.
A phone or offline map is helpful, as this will help you navigate without WiFi or cell service. Finally, make sure to bring some soles. The site accepts them.
3. Limacpampa Square
One of the most popular tourist attractions in Cusco is the Humantay lagoon. The lagoon is home to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites and a replica of Da Vinci’s “Last Supper” painting.
The lagoon is also the site of a colorful market where you can buy souvenirs and fresh juices. It is a great way to get a taste of local life.
The San Blas neighborhood is a bustling cultural district located just behind the Cusco Cathedral. The area is home to artisan shops, local vendors, trendy coffee shops, and amazing views of the city. It is a great place for lunch or dinner and is a great place to meet local people.
Many restaurants are also located in San Blass, including Jack’s Café and Greens Restaurant. While you’re there, head up the hill to Limbus Restobar for incredible views of the city.
The Moon Temple is another impressive historic monument in Cusco. Consecrated in 1668, this impressive building is home to a large collection of colonial art.
The artwork in the cathedral is a fusion of indigenous and European themes. It contains carvings of various symbolic animals, which represent the sun and the moon. Cusco is also known for its imposing churches.
Another must-visit in Cusco is Limacpampa Square, an Incan ceremonial site. These stones were once used to build many Spanish structures in Cusco.
Today, visitors can buy souvenirs and enjoy local fare. One important tip when visiting this site is to have cash on hand. As with any tourist attraction, it is important to bring cash with you when you visit Cusco.
4. Moon Temple
For those interested in exploring Cusco’s off-the-beaten-path, the Moon Temple is a must-see attraction.
Located about Limacpampa Square, it offers panoramic views of the city and an opportunity to take a horseback ride.
Located in a natural gorge, the Temple of the Moon accepts offerings to the gods and is also a popular spot for horseback riding.
You can take a tour of this off-the-beaten-path location or opt for horseback riding.
If you’re an art lover, don’t miss the Museum of Contemporary Art. Opened in 1995, this museum contains a stunning collection of contemporary and local art.
On display are rotating exhibits of different mediums and movements. On top of that, you can also go on a hot air balloon tour! Once you’re done sightseeing, you’ll be ready to explore the city’s other attractions.
The Moon Temple is a striking Inca site that was used for worship. The ancients used the stone from the cave to carve whimsical shapes. The sculptures here include a snake, a puma, and an Andean condor. They also used it as a ceremonial table. You can visit the temple for three dollars or more.
There are plenty of other things to do and see in Cusco, so take time to visit all of them.
If you’re planning a cultural tour of Cusco, you should consider visiting the nearby Planetarium.
Located just 15 minutes away from the historic center of Cusco, this museum offers a spectacular view of the city.
It’s possible to view traditional and Inca constellations, and an audio guide will tell you stories about them. The guide at the Planetarium will also tell you about the Andean worldview.
Qorikancha is a popular attraction in Cusco, Peru. The name means “place of watering”, and refers to a natural spring.
Visitors can enjoy a cup of coffee or tea at the cafe’s terrace, and the view is amazing. While in Cusco, you may also want to check out the Chocolate Museum or attend a chocolate workshop at the Choco Museo.
Tambomachay offers stunning views, two aqueducts, and three interlinked terraces. Visitors can explore Tambomachay on their own, or take a day trip to nearby sites such as Pisac, Qenqo, and Qorikancha.
If you want to experience a more active excursion, you can also head to nearby Rainbow Mountain. This massive, multi-colored mountain is also a great place to catch your breath.
If you’re visiting Cusco in March, be sure to take the time to see the Moon Temple, one of the largest Inca temples in the city. It features two caves with sacred altars and ancient carvings.
Visitors can also go stargazing at the Cusco Planetarium. And don’t forget to see the ancient fortress of Sacsayhuaman, one of the 15 best places to visit in Cusco.
Another must-see attraction in Cusco is the Morada de Los Dioses, also known as Apukunaq Tianan de Cusco. It honors Peruvian Gods and is home to several 8-meter-high statues carved by Michel de Titan Monteagudo Mejia.
Tours can be arranged to take you to the site, but you should make a reservation in advance to avoid crowds.