Welcome To Cusco & The Sacred Valley

Situated in the Andes Cordillera Peru, Cusco was deemed by the Incas as the belly button of the world, with dazzling temples, ancient Incan cities and access to famed Inca ruins. Cusco is only the gateway to Sacred Valley and beyond lies the continent’s biggest draw

Machu Picchu The 7th Wonder Of The World

Cusco Region History
Inca Heritage
Inca Economy
Amazon Biodiversity
Machu Picchu Peru

Cusco or Cuzco: October 2017 updated information about Cusco geography, climate, maps, reviews, tips and holidays. Get a quick overview of important facts. The Incas deemed Cusco City as the navel of the world. Sure enough, a guided tour to Cusco will bring you back into the cosmic realm of ancient Andean culture. Cusco Peru is the place to dig and appreciate Inca culture. Cusco City (Inca capital) was the center of Inca religion and administrative life.

NOTE: Cusco is a Department/Region compose of 13 provinces with Cusco City being the capital of the Department/Region

Cusco magic awaits you on every corner of its cobblestone streets.

1Where is Cusco located?

The City of Cusco is located at 3,400 m above sea level, south of Lima (Peru’s capital) in the Huatanay valley fed by several rivers in the Central Peruvian Andes of South America. Under the rule of Inca Pachacuteq in the 13th century, Cusco City was occupied redesigned and remodeled and became the capital of the Inca Empire (Tawantinsuyu), that extended to the north to Colombia, the South to Bolivia, Chile and parts of Argentina and to the East much of present Brazil.

3Cusco Brief Summary:

  • Cusco is located in the south east of Peru at 3,400m above sea level
  • Famously known as the entrance to Machu Picchu, one of the 7th wonders of the world
  • Cusco has 13 provinces
  • Cusco City is one of the 13 provinces
  • Cusco City was the capital of the Incan Empire
  • Home to Sacred Valley of The Incas
  • Home for the famous scenic hike Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
  • 2How to Get to Cusco?

    There are two main ways: by plane or by bus. Majority of visitors opt the 1 hour flight versus the 19 hours bus ride.

    Cusco is Peru’s most touristic city, the Alejandro Astete International airport only receives flights from Bogota, Colombia and La Paz Bolivia. All the domestic local flights come from Lima, Juliaca and Puerto Maldonado. The airport is just 15 minutes from the main Plaza de Armas (downtown Cusco) where most hotels and hostels are located.

    4When to go

    The best time to visit Cusco is in Winter to Fall weather (June to September). During this period Cusco (Departmento or Region) stays dry and sees very little rain, with a 70s sunny warmer temperatures throughout the day and very cold early morning and late evening. Peak tourist season starts from early May through July, this is due to the Incan festival Inti Raymi June 24th.

    5Getting Around

    Getting around Cusco City the safest and best way is by taxi, an average taxi ride is 4 soles ($1.20 US Dollar) within downtown Cusco City and 4 to 8 soles to further out places. A ride from the main Plaza de Armas (most hotels and hostels are located here) to the airport is about 6 to 8 soles.

    6Cusco Maps

    A good way to enjoy all the Incan attractions and places of interest is to map out your vacation plans before hand, so that you can enjoy the Andean spectacular landscapes along the way. With the help of our Cusco map gallery we invite you to discover and explore not only Machu Picchu’s main tourist destination, but also other places that give Cusco its uniqueness and individuality.

    Cusco Weather

    When planning travel to Cusco or Peru in general, you have to consider the different regions (Costa, Sierra, Amazon), weather and seasons so you can make informed decisions about where to go and what to pack.

    January-March

    Wet and Rainny

    April-June

    Sunny, Dry and Cold

    July-September

    Warmer & Cloudy

    October-December

    Cloudy & Rainy

    Cusco City Weather
    • Connector.

      Temperatures are slightly milder 64°F to 68°F (18°C-20°C) and 59°F (15°C) at night.

    • Connector.

      Warm temperatures 68°F to 77°F (20°C-25°C), and nights are often quite cold (near freezing)

    • Connector.

      Warm temperatures 64°F to 68°F (18°C-20°C), and nights are a bit cold.

    • Connector.

      Temperatures are slightly milder 64°F to 68°F (18°C-20°C) dropping only to 59°F (15°C) at night.

    Jan - March - Summer Weather
    Wet - Heavy Showers
    April - June - Winter Weather
    Dry & Cold
    July - September - Fall Weather
    Cold & Windy
    October - December - Spring Weather
    Dry & A Bit Wet

    Attractions & Places of Interest Outside Cusco City

    Machu Picchu

    • Machu Picchu Citadel
    • Huayna Picchu Climb
    • Inca Trail (Trekking)
    • Aguas Calientes Town

    Sacred Valley

    • Ollantaytambo Fortress
    • Pisac Market & Ruins
    • Maras Moray
    • Salineras Salt Mines

    Amazon

    • Tambopata Reserve
    • Manu & Puerto Maldonado
    • Manu National Park
    • Manu Wildlife Center

    How to Get to Machu Picchu?

    Majority of visitors use the train service and very few the bus ride due to the inconclusive road that ends 25 kilometers away from Machu Picchu.

    To board the train you need to get to Poroy train station, 25 minutes from Cusco City by local taxi or colectivo. The ride time by train is 3 1/2 hours with a train stop at Ollantaytambo Station before arriving to Aguas Calientes. From Aguas Calientes you can take the shuttle bus to Machu Picchu citadel.

    How to Get to Sacred Valley?

    Visiting the Incas Sacred Valley can be accomplish from the Southern side of Cusco City via Pisac, Calca then Urubamba and from the Northern side of Cusco City via Chincheros, Maras Moray and then Urubamba.

    You can reach by shared taxi (cost between 15 and 20 soles) or by bus (cost around 15 soles, $5 US dollars) or private taxi cost between 60 and 120 soles it depends on where you want to go. The ride takes about 1 1/2 hours.

    Machu Picchu Ticket

    machu picchu ticketNow, one of the lesser but essential costs of visiting Machu Picchu is purchasing entrance tickets to the ruins. This must be done before arrival at the site, as tickets are not sold at Machu Picchu itself. There’s several ways to purchase your tickets.

    Get your Machu Picchu Ticket ahead of time and save yourself some time & hassle. There are three kinds of Machu Picchu tickets, no matter if you are wanting to catch sight of the 7th wonder of world (Machu Picchu Sanctuary) or climb Wayna Picchu or Trek the Machu Picchu Mountain.
    3 Types of Machu Pichu tickets:

  • Machu Picchu Main Citadel ~ $57 USD
  • Machu Picchu & Montaña (Mountain) ~ $67 USD
  • Machu Picchu, Huayna Picchu & Temple of the Sun ~ $67 USD
  • Boleto Turistico or Cusco Tourist Ticket

    boleto turisticoYou need to buy Boleto Turistico or Cusco Tourist Ticket that will allow you admission to many of the most popular attractions in Cusco and the surrounding region including archaeological sites and museums.

  • Cusco cathedral
  • Religious Art Museum
  • Church of San Blas
  • Regional History Museum
  • Sacsayhuaman
  • Qenko
  • Puca Pucara
  • Tambomachay
  • Pisac ruins
  • Ollantaytambo ruins
  • Chinchero
  • Pachacutec Monument
  • Performance of Andean dance and live music
  • Tours Cusco

    Cusco or to be exact Cusco City is an ancient Incan city formerly capital of the Inca empire that preserves the architectural majesty of the stone masonry on street walls, temples, houses, etc. Observe and admire the Saqsayhuaman Fortress with crafted stones weighting over 12 tons that you can not fit a needle in between each stone. Observe millenary Incan murals, like the 12 angle stone, you will not regret.

    Tours Cusco offers a wide range of Incan attractions, exceptional customer service, knowledgeable staff, and a great time guaranteed.
    Explore the Ollantaytambo Fortress at Sacred Valley, an archeological Incan site that dates back to 500 B.C. Other important sites like the Pisac market where Andean locals bring their handcrafted goods, get a glimpse of the Incan salt mines “Salineras” and then head to Maras Moray agricultural terraces to test crops on different climates.

    Plaza de Armas

    The history of the Plaza de Armas stretches back all the way to the Inca Empire when it was called Huacaypata or Aucaypata. The massive square (originally twice its current size) was built as a venue for festivals and ceremonies in ancient times.

    Plaza de Armas Cusco
    La Catedral

    La Catedral

    Facing the Plaza de Armas are two mayor cathedrals. The Cathedral of Santo Domingo, simply called La Catedral, was Cusco’s first cathedral. Constructions started in 1560 on the grounds of the Palace of the Viracocha Inca, the red granite blocks forming a more than impressive façade.

    Sacsayhuaman Fortress

    Sacsayhuamán is often overshadowed by Machu Picchu, but this towering ancient Incan fortress – filled with exquisite stone masonry and dramatic vistas – is worth a visit. Much of the massive structure was used as building materials for the Spaniards, but what remains gives a glimpse at how large the fortress once was.

    Sacsayhuaman Fortress
    Qorikancha

    Qorikancha

    For a glimpse of the Inca’s former grandeur, look no further than Qoricancha (Temple of the Sun), also known as “Court of Gold.” In its heyday, Inca’s elite watched as light bounced from 700 gold-plated walls and danced across the temple’s altars and statues.

    The 12 Angle Stone

    The Palacio Arzobispal has been, like many other buildings in the old part of Cusco, built upon ancient Inca foundations. So even if you decide you don’t want to go inside, it nevertheless should be on your list of things to do in Cusco. Why? Because the very walls of the palace are, to be quite frank, more than massive! They really give a very good impression how ancient Inca palaces must have looked like. Most famous is a gigantic twelve angled stone. Personally speaking, I don’t think that very stone itself I all that spectacular – the whole ensemble, however, is.

    12 Angle Stone
    Sacred Valley

    Sacred Valley

    A tour is an easy way to experience the amazing history and Inca architecture found less than an hour from Cusco, surrounded by a landscape that is almost indescribably beautiful (believe me, I tried in one of my earlier posts). The Inca ruins in Pisac and Ollantaytambo rival Machu Picchu in scope and beauty. The still functional Salt Pans of Maras and the ruins of the experimental agricultural in Moray are worth visits as well.

    Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain

    The Rainbow Mountain is a growing tourist attraction in Peru. While almost unheard of a few years back, Vinicunca can easily be counted amongst the most spectacular natural phenomena in Peru, so the hike to get there is well worth the struggle. For those who don’t want to hike the entire Ausangate trail to get see Vinicunca, it is possible to hike the Rainbow Mountain in a single day. While shorter than the Ausangate trek, this hike is still exhausting and takes about five hours to reach the top, with a few additional hours to complete the descent.

    Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain
    Inca Trail

    Inca Trail

    There’s a reason people from all over the world descend upon Peru every year for this experience. (Permits are required for this trek and must be arranged far in advance). If you can’t get a spot on the Inca Trail (or want to avoid the crowds), check out alternative treks that end up at Machu Picchu like the Salkantay trek or Lares Valley trek. The scenery is equally amazing, and you won’t have 499 fellow hikers on the trail that day. You might even have a better experience on one of these lesser-known treks.

    Machu Picchu

    Machu Picchu actually doesn’t belong on any list of things to do in Cusco. Most travelers come to Cusco because it is actually on their way to one of the modern 7 wonders of the world. But never even consider visiting the lost city of the Incas on a day trip. While it actually is possible, it really makes you miss so much. Rather plan to stay at least one night, it’s not something you should do while staying in Cusco.

    Machu Picchu
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