Enjoy Cusco city, the ancient capital of the Incas, while acclimatizing for your trekking adventure in the Andes
14 March 2019
Travelers from around the world come to Cusco, Peruto enjoy its amazing cultural wonders and countless fun activities.
Cusco city (also spelled Cuzco) offers everything from ancient Inca sites to colonial-era architecture, bustling native markets, beautiful handcrafts, delightful restaurants and cafes, charming squares and fountains, and much more.
Although many travelers arrive here to visit world-renowned Machu Picchu, most find that spending a few days in Cusco is certainly worth their time.
Cusco has much to offer. It’s a perfect place to wander about, relax at a plaza and people watch. Cusco is a photographer’s dream, where you can witness the grandeur of Inca palaces and their perfectly-built stone walls.
The city’s stately colonial churches, intricately adorned with paintings and sculptures of the Cusco School of Art, give a sense of the Spanish colonial heritage.
There’s no shortage of fine dining and nightlife, from international cuisine to Peruvian fusion specialties and delicious pizza, from cozy pastry shops to boisterous pubs that serve craft beers and delectable Pisco cocktails.
Let’s take a brief tour of must-see sights in Cusco. Cusco’s main plaza, the Plaza de Armas, in the heart of the historic downtown, is a perfect place to lounge and relax.
Flanked by Cusco’s Cathedral and the Church of the Compañía, the Plaza has restaurants, cafes and pubs where you can enjoy a cup of tasty coffee and snacks while appreciating the views from a balcony.
The cobblestone street alongside the Cathedral, Triunfo, takes you up to the San Blas neighborhood. With its artists, restaurants, shops and a charming fountain and church, it’s a magnet for shoppers, diners and sightseers. Along the way, you’ll find the legendary 12-angled stone on a massive Inca wall.
To see as much as possible on your first or second day take a Cusco city tour, available from many agencies and hotels.
Most city tours take you above the historic downtown to astonishing Sacsayhuaman, an Inca fortress with giant megalithic stone ramparts and expansive views of Cusco.
Continue to Tambo Machay, the Inca’s royal fountains, and other nearby Inca ruins. Many city tours include a visit to Cusco’s Cathedral, with over 400 colonial-era paintings, including the Last Supper in which cuy (guinea pig) is the main dish.
You can’t miss visiting the Korikancha, the Palace of the Sun, the Inca’s most important sacred building.
More things to do in Cusco- take a walk to large traditional San Pedro market to find exotic foods, handcrafts and fresh fruit juices.
Cusco also has interesting museums, peñas featuring traditional dance shows, and more handcraft shops and markets than you can imagine.
Beyond Cusco, on the way to Machu Picchu, the beautiful Sacred Valley is a favorite destination for visiting more Inca ruins and for overnight stays.
Remember, Andean Lodges offers you acclimatization programs that include Cusco and the Sacred Valley. It’s the perfect way to get ready for your trekking adventure to Mt. Ausangate!