« PERUDiscover Peru • Cusco

Destination Magical Cusco

Cusco was the site of the historic capital of the Inca Empire and was declared a World Heritage Site in 1983 by UNESCO. It is a major tourist destination and receives almost 2 million visitors a year. It is designated as the Historical Capital of Peru by the Constitution of Peru. The Killke occupied the region from 900 to 1200, prior to the arrival of the Incas in the 13th century.

Cusco, Peru

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» Aguas Calientes

Aguas Calientes, Cusco, Peru

If you're visiting Machu Picchu while you're in Peru - and why wouldn't you? - there's a very good chance you'll pass through the small pueblo of Aguas Calientes en route. The gateway town to Machu Picchu, Aguas Calientes is nestled in a valley of cloud forest below the famous Incan site. Make Aguas Calientes your base if you want to tour Machu Picchu in depth. It has all the facilities of a well set-up service town for visitors, including a varied collection of accommodaton …

» Ausangate

Ausangate, Cusco, Peru

The Inca Trail might be the most popular trek in the Peruvian Andes near Cusco, but an arguably equally impressive (and certainly less crowded) trail leads visitors to Ausangate. Nevado Ausangate, the highest mountain in southern Peru, peaks at 20,945 feet (6,384 meters) above sea level. On a clear day, the snow-topped peak can be seen from Cusco. The Ausangate Trail, named after the peak, takes five to six days, plus travel time to and from Cusco from the trail head. The trail begins in the brown grasslands of the Andean plateau …

» Awana Kancha

Awana Kancha

The textile mill at Awana Kancha is an entertaining and culturally-rich stop on the journey between Cusco and the Sacred Valley. Set 30 minutes outside of the Cusco city center, this popular artisan outpost is a budget-friendly place to experience alpacas and Andean culture. With no entry fee, visitors to Awana Kancha can marvel at traditionally-dressed women and the colorful textiles they spin before your eyes. Using the wool of alpacas, llamas, guanacos, and vicunyas …

» Belmond Hiram Bingham

Belmond Hiram Bingham, Cusco, Peru

There are two main ways to get from the Peruvian city of Cuzco to Machu Picchu - either by a long hike or a four-hour train ride, which is what most visitors choose. Though there are a few different kinds of train service, the crème de la crème is without a doubt, the Belmond Hiram Bingham, named for the archaeologist who discovered Machu Picchu. It is the most luxurious of the different trains and seats only 84 passengers. The train, which runs on the same rails from Cuzco to Aguas Calientes …

» Chincheros Indian Market

Chincheros Indian Market, Cusco, Peru

The colorful Sunday market at Chinchero attracts stallholders and browsers from near and far. This traditional Andean town is known as 'the birthplace of the rainbow', and it has the full complement of photogenic attractions: Inca ruins, Andean village houses, an elaborate colonial church built on Inca foundations, and of course the lively weekly market. Visit the market to buy vegetables from the local traders, and Andean handicrafts from the Quechua stallholders. The hand-woven textiles are a particular highlight …

» ChocoMuseo Cusco

ChocoMuseo Cusco, Cusco, Peru

Cusco's ChocoMuseo allows travelers to immerse themselves in everything cacao. The interactive museum covers the history of cocoa beans in Peru as well as the chocolate-making process, from bean to the chocolate bar. In partnership with local Peruvian farmers, the ChocoMuseo produces organic, high-quality chocolate with its guests, who get the opportunity to create their own handmade treats with custom ingredients in the workshop. From roasting the cocoa beans and removing the husk to grinding the cocoa nibs on a metate …

» Choquequirao

Choquequirao, Cusco, Peru

Sometimes referred to as 'the other Machu Picchu', Choquequirao is an Incan ruin in the mountains outside of Cuzco. Unlike Machu Picchu, however, Choquequirao sees only a handful of visitors due to the difficult two-day hike. That could potentially change, however, as plans are in the works to shorten the access to a 15-minute ride on a tram. Many believe that this will greatly-reduce the sense of tranquility which is found at the outpost, although others argue it will open the ruin for a greater amount of visitors …

» Cusco Historic Center

Cusco Historic Center

When it comes to history, few cities in South America are more historic than Cusco. This sprawling city was once the capital of the entire Inca Empire, and many will tell you that ancient Cusco was the grandest city in Peru. Even the name 'Cusco' translates as 'Navel of the Earth' since the Inca believed the city to be the center of the known world. It pulses with an energy unlike elsewhere in Peru, and there is a palpable magic which permeates these streets …

» Cusco La Catedral

Cusco La Catedral

Cusco's Cathedral of Santo Domingo is a colonial gem, boasting an altar of silver and a magnificently carved choir. The building stands on the site of an Inca palace, and was built from stone blocks removed from the nearby Inca city of Sacsayhuaman by the triumphant conquistadors. The elaborately decorated cathedral was built from 1559 to 1654 on the city's main square, Plaza de Armas, and is filled with colonial artworks, artifacts and richly decorated chapels …

» Inca Museum

Inca Museum, Cusco, Peru

Built on an authentic Inca foundation, this humble museum in the heart of Cusco houses an impressive collection of Incan artifacts. Hundreds of examples of handmade goldwork, pottery, textiles and queros line the halls of this truly memorable spot and offer travelers a rare look into the nation's ancient past. Visitors will find plenty to explore inside the Inca Museum, but its outdoor courtyard, where Andean weavers showcase their skills, is also worth checking out. Travelers can purchase handmade items directly from the artists …

» Inca Trail

Inca Trail

South America's most famous trek is the most stunning and unforgettable way to reach the lost Inca city of Machu Picchu. Along the way, the four-day trek takes in three Andean mountain passes, Inca ruins and stupendous views of the snow capped Andes. Over the four days the treks take you from km82 (82 kilometers along the railway from Cusco to Aguas Calientes) to Huayllabamba on day one, to Pacamayo on day two, to Huinay Huayna on day three, and to Machu Picchu on day four …

» Interpretation Center of Andean Textiles

Interpretation Center of Andean Textiles, Cusco, Peru

From boldly patterned, knitted ponchos to bright, intricately woven textiles or chullo hats made from baby-soft alpaca wool; few visitors leave Peru without buying some of the country's colorful handicrafts. The Andean region in particular is world-renowned for its dazzling textiles, incorporating unique indigenous designs with traditional weaving techniques and locally sourced materials like sheep, alpaca and llama wool. Learn more about the region's rich craftmaking heritage …

» Lares Trek

Lares Trek, Cusco, Peru

Travelers who want an alternative route to the famed Inca Trail can find the same scenic Peruvian landscapes, challenging paths and epic views on the popular Lares Trek. This well-known route is a bit shorter, but offers a more challenging climb for outdoor enthusiasts looking a less traditional route to Machu Picchu. In addition to incredible landscapes and lush hillside vegetation, Lares Trek hikers will likely cross paths with traditionally dressed Andean farmers and local villagers along this scenic trek …

» Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu, Cusco, Peru

The holy grail for lovers of Inca monuments, the enigmatic lost city of Machu Picchu is the most famous archaeological site in all of South America. The spectacular collection of temples, terraced hills and plazas was the mountain-top citadel of the Inca under Pachacutec and Tupac Yupanqui, until the coming of the Europeans with Pizarro. It may have the most familiar name, but Machu Picchu has refused to reveal many of its mysteries, including the secrets of its construction …

» Maras Salt Pools

Maras Salt Pools, Cusco, Peru

Nestled in the Sacred Valley of the Incas is the remote town of Maras, known throughout Peru for its thousands of worked salt pans. Salt has been collected here since before the time of the Inca, rising to the surface from a subterranean stream and evaporating in the Andean sunshine. You can gather your own handful of salt or buy some packaged to take home from Maras' gift store. The terraced saltwork pools dotting the Andean hillsides look quite stunning, glittering like bright white snow in the sunshine, so bring your camera …

» Mercado Central de San Pedro

Mercado Central de San Pedro

There is a certain irony that one of the best sites in Cusco really isn't a site at all. Rather, the Mercado Central de San Pedro (San Pedro Market) is simply the place in the center of Cusco where most of the locals go for their groceries. The difference, however, is that grocery shopping in Cusco is a little bit different than shopping at the local market back back home. At the Mercado Central de San Pedro, all of the items are on vibrant display …

» Moon Temple

Moon Temple, Cusco, Peru

Located at the bottom of Cerro Blanco just outside of Trujillo, the Moon Temple (Huaca de la Luna) dates back to 500 AD - significantly older than nearby Chan Chan. What remains of the Moche-period ceremonial temple are a few interior rooms - a small part of a much larger complex - where archaeologists uncovered alters, brilliant frescoes, skeletons of sacrificial victims and ceramics. The exact purpose of the temple remains somewhat of a mystery, as does its name …

» Moray


Of all the surviving Inca ruins which surround the Sacred Valley, most are known for their size, their age, or their complex level of construction. The Moray, however, located 31 miles northwest of Cuzco, stands out from many of the other ruins for its fascinating level of genius. At the height of the empire, the Inca were regarded as some of the most successful farmers in all of the Western Hemisphere. Crops such as maize, quinoa, and various potatoes trace their roots …

» Ollantaytambo Fortress

Ollantaytambo Fortress

Inca street and town planning at its finest is preserved in the village of Ollantaytambo, surrounded by neatly terraced hills. Soaring above the town's cobbled streets, which have been lived in since the 13th century, is the massive Inca fortress and the monolithic stones of the Temple of the Sun. Built by Pachacuti in the 1400s, the huge complex features fine stonework and a ceremonial temple hill area topping the stepped, fortified terrace …

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« PERUDiscover Peru • Cusco

Cusco, Peru Tours, Travel & Activities
Cusco, Peru Hotels & Accommodation

Cusco Tours, Travel & ActivitiesCusco Travel,
Tours & Activities

Cusco Tours, Travel & Activities

Once the capital city of the great Incan empire, Cusco is now better known for its archaeological wonders. If you're headed to Cusco you're likely on your way to see Machu Picchu along the Inca trail. Once you've experienced the tremendous wonder, explore the Plaza de Armas or shop for traditional crafts at the market. South America's premiere destination …

» ALL CUSCO Tours & Activities

Places to Stay in PeruCusco Hotels
& Accommodation

Places to Stay in Peru

Cusco (or Cuzco) is a city in southeastern Peru, near the Urubamba Valley (Sacred Valley) of the Andes mountain range. The altitude of the city, located on the eastern end of the Knot of Cuzco, is around 3,500 m. The historic capital of the sun-worshipping Inca empire, it has been found in 2006 to be the spot on Earth with the highest ultraviolet light level …

Places to Stay in Peru

» CUSCO Hotels & Accommodation

Peru Travel Guides

Peru Travel Guides