The gateway to one of the seven wonders of the world, Machu Picchu, it is little wonder that Cusco is a very popular tourist destination. Whether you are a first-time or a seasoned traveler, there is so much to do and enjoy here. Set high in the Andes at just over 11,000 feet, the altitude may take some getting used to but it is absolutely worth it. With a unique mix of traditional Incan craftsmanship along with a strong colonial influence, you will delight in getting to know the amazing history of Cusco and of the surrounding areas. You can easily spend a few days in Cusco itself, exploring museums, and stores and enjoying the abundance of cafes and restaurants that cater to all tastes. For those who like more of a local feel, take a short walk in any direction and you will find yourself immersed in local culture. Of course, you can’t leave without doing several of the many tours available to the abundance of Incan archaeological sites including Machu Picchu. If you venture to Peru, you certainly need to make Cusco part of your trip.
Cusco is an incredible hub for outdoor discoveries. Whether you are a serious adventurer, history buff, or general sightseer, the treasures that can be found in Andean mountain ranges will capture your senses and leave you completely in awe of the ancient Incan civilization that once resided here. There are many ruins and places to visit within short distances of Cusco which are easily accessible if you want to go it alone. Otherwise, there are a plethora of tour companies that will help you out with this. From the infamous Inca trail to easy day trips, the great outdoors surrounding Cusco has something for all tastes and levels of fitness.
Seductive, striking, and natural, Cusco’s history lives in its streets, squares, valleys, and towns. Stunning destinations and examples of fine engineering by Inca stonemasons can be seen in choquequirao, saysayhuamán, Kenko, Tambo achy, Ollantaytambo, and Machu Picchu, the Inca jewel built with the wisdom of the ancient Peruvians in an ecological environment. Captivating landscapes such as the sacred valley, where the mountains are clothed by terraces pictures villages where the past forms part of the present. Cusco really is the birthplace of the world.
Incas deemed this spot the belly button of the world. A visit to Cusco tumbles you back into the cosmic realm of ancient Andean culture – knocked down and fused with the colonial splendors of the Spanish conquest, only to be repackaged as a thriving tourist mecca. Yet Cusco is only the gateway. Beyond lies the sacred valley of the Andean countryside dotted with villages, high-altitude hamlets, and ruins linked by trail and railway tracks to the continent’s biggest draw – Machu Picchu.
Old ways are not forgotten here. Colorful textiles keep vivid the past, as do the wild fiestas and carnivals where pagan tradition meets solemn Catholic ritual. A stunning landscape careens from Andean peaks to orchid-rich cloud forests and Amazon lowlands. Explore it on foot or by the fat tire, rafting wild rivers or simply braving the local buses to the remote and dust-worn corners of this far-reaching, culturally rich department.