We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Exclusively commissioned by TripAdvisor

96%
Found this guide helpful

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. 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, 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.

Good for
  • History Buff
  • Thrill Seeker
  • Shopping Fanatic
  • Art and Architecture Lover
  • Nightlife Seeker
  • Nature Lover
  • Foodie
  • Peace and Quiet Seeker
  • Thrifty Traveller
  • Like a Local

12 Places

8 City Tips

Print
Map

12 Places

Day 1

Plaza de Armas

Historic Sites

San Blas

Historic Walking Areas, Neighbourhoods, Points of Interest & Landmarks

Amigos Spanish School

Lessons & Workshops

El Molino Market

Gift & Speciality Shops

Day 2

Statue of Christ

Monuments & Statues

Sacsayhuaman

Ancient Ruins, Historic Sites

Tambomachay

Ancient Ruins

Museo del Pisco

Restaurants

Day 3

Casa Concha Museum

Speciality Museums

ChocoMuseo

Speciality Museums

Centro de Textiles Tradicionales del Cusco

Gift & Speciality Shops, Art Galleries

Planetarium Cusco

Speciality Museums

Lynda C's City Tips

  • Make sure you carry cash as many places will not take credit cards.
  • Tipping is not necessarily customary among Peruvians however as Cusco is more of a tourist destination it is more common – 10% will cover it.
  • In many stores you don’t need to take the first price. Ask around and barter a little before settling.
  • You may need to look into altitude medication if you feel yourself suffering. If you want to try the local remedy, Coca is sworn by and can be taken as a tea, chewed or in a candy.
  • Getting around on foot will ensure you get to see the most of Cusco but be prepared for the climb – lots of steep inclines along with the altitude, it takes some getting used to so pace yourself. Hydration is the key to combating altitude sickness.
  • Taxis are very cheap and abundant. Taking them around central Cusco is quite fine but do make sure they have the registered taxi sticker in the front window. It is also a good idea to confirm where you want to go and the price before you get in.
  • Cusco temperatures vary a lot, bright clear sunny days in April to October followed by very chilly nights and in November to March you will find it rainy but not quite as cold.
  • Dress in Cusco is casual, however if you decide to go to a finer dining restaurant dress smartly.
    Day 1
  • Plaza de Armas
    Historic Sites
    See more photos
    Lynda C Says:

    No matter where you are staying in Cusco, you will find yourself drawn to Plaza de Armas. Beautiful Colonial architecture with a strong Incan influence around every corner. A great meeting point, place to relax and enjoy the sun and grab a bite to eat at the many restaurants and cafes that surround. Many architectural highlights such as the church of La Merced and the Cathedral reside here and it is also the starting point of the many alleyways that will lead you to many other treasures. A great way to start your adventure in Cusco and get yourself accustomed to the new environment and altitude.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Peruvian vendors will offer you tasty treats as you sit to take a rest. If not interested just say so or you might want to try Choclo, a giant type of corn served with cheese.
    • There are lots of guide companies that you will find in the surrounding area that can help you plan your trips out of Cusco.
    • If you happen to be here for New Years Eve prepare for a very crowded drunken run at midnight – 12 times around the Plaza for good luck. Mind your feet!
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #7 of 128 things to do in Cusco
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Nice town!! 13/12/2018
    • Good Place to Start in Cuzco 11/12/2018
    • Plaza de Armas
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    00:00 - 23:59
    Other:
  • San Blas
    Historic Walking Areas, Neighbourhoods, Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Lynda C Says:

    Just a short walk up the hill from Plaza de Armas, San Blas is a beautiful little square complete with water feature, that you can come to pause for a moment and enjoy the surrounding stores, cafes and San Blas Church. Traveling vendors often set up their wares at the top of the stairs and you might just see a Sharman or two walking around. Generally a quieter part of town except for Saturdays where you will find a local market.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Take the stairs up the back and to the right to find Café Loco for a great coffee and treat.
    • If you head further in the same direction you will find Mercado Rosaspata which is fresh food market with little local restaurants.
    • Highly recommended is the vegetarian restaurant tucked in the corner of the Mercado for the daily ‘menu’ available at lunch time at a very reasonable price.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #15 of 128 things to do in Cusco
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • San Blas market 14/12/2018
    • cute neighborhood 13/12/2018
    • San Blas
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    00:00 - 23:59
  • Amigos Spanish School
    Lessons & Workshops
    See more photos
    Lynda C Says:

    It is great to see that in recent year Peruvians are embracing their heritage and the Quechuan native language is making a resurgence. If you want a deeper understanding of the culture and to learn some basics of the language you will be hard pressed to find a better place to find it than Amigos Spanish School. Owner and teacher Jesus is vibrant, welcoming and incredibly patient and he and the other teachers will go to any lengths to help you out. You can also take hourly, daily or weekly lessons in Spanish and will be put in a class to suit your level. The classrooms are clean, modern and intimate with a beautiful rooftop break out area. You will make lasting friends and memories at Amigos.

    Good for
    • Hidden Gems
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    Tips
    • The real city tour that is organized from the school is definitely worth doing, especially the visit to the mud brick making factory.
    • The staff will help you out with any of your needs while in Cusco including Salsa and cooking lessons – even where to spend a night out on the town!
    • Some proceeds from the school go to local disadvantaged children which the school is very involved with. You can ask them for more details if you want to take part in helping out.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #7 of 30 Classes & Workshops in Cusco
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Great Spanish school and tutors 28/11/2018
    • Great learning experience 10/11/2018
    • Amigos Spanish School
    Address:
    Zaguan del Cielo B-23
    Cusco
    Peru
    Phone:
    +51 84 225053
    Price range:
    US$33 - US$33
    Other:
  • El Molino Market
    Gift & Speciality Shops
    Lynda C Says:

    Less known about to tourists but definitely bustling with locals is the El Molinoa market. You can find just about anything here and it’s a great place to do your souvenir shopping with lots of authentic pieces at much lower prices than you will pay in the center of Cusco. Along with every sort of household goods, clothing, jewellery and the like, you will also find a wide range of fresh food and places to eat. A great place to experience life like a local and get yourself a real bargain.

    Good for
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • You can get here by taxi for just a few soles.
    • Everything is cash here, so make sure you have some before heading off.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #20 of 65 Shopping in Cusco
    • Incredible first hand view of the real life in Cuzco 16/06/2017
    • Definitely worth a visit for a local experince 12/04/2017
    • El Molino Market
    Address:
    Street Urbanizacion Ttio
    Cusco
    Peru
  • Day 2
  • Statue of Christ
    Monuments & Statues
    See more photos
    Lynda C Says:

    If you are up for an early morning walk, there is nothing quite like the view of the sun coming up over Cusco from this vantage point. It is quite a hike with steep stairs so you will need to have a reasonable level of fitness especially if you are adjusting to the altitude. If not, you can always jump on a bus or catch a cab and take the easier way up. The statue itself is worth seeing but the views are one of the best you will see in Cusco.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • From here you can access Sacsayhuama, just 15 minutes walk away.
    • If you don't want to pay for entry, grab a tourist map and go up the route away from Sacsayhuama. Otherwise if you want to do tour of Sacsayhuama you will get entry here also.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #43 of 128 things to do in Cusco
    • Nice View from the Top 05/12/2018
    • Nice view from Cusco 22/10/2018
    • Statue of Christ
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    08:00 - 19:00
  • Sacsayhuaman
    Ancient Ruins, Historic Sites
    See more photos
    Lynda C Says:

    The closest Incan archaeological site to Cusco, Sacsayhuama is a great place to start to get an understanding of this incredible area. Believed to have been a fortress, its construction seems to be nothing short of a miracle with each stone being cut to fit together perfectly without the use of mortar. Considering the time period, this was an amazing feat considering the boulders are estimated to weigh up to 200 tonnes. A great introduction to the many sites that you will enjoy discovering.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • You will need to purchase a boleto turistico (a tourist ticket) which will also gain you entry to a group of other sites which includes Tambomachy.
    • If you are feeling up to the walk it takes about 45 minutes from the Plaza, otherwise a Combi or cab will get you to the main car park and then you will need to walk about 15 mins.
    • Its worth getting a guide that can explain in detail the history of the site.
    • There are toilet facilities by the carpark and you can purchase local food just up from the carpark also.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #2 of 128 things to do in Cusco
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Amazing Peru 15/12/2018
    • Highly recommend 15/12/2018
    • Sacsayhuaman
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    07:00 - 17:30
    Other:
  • Tambomachay
    Ancient Ruins
    See more photos
    Lynda C Says:

    Theories are that Tambomachy was either a spa area for Incan VIP’s or a military outpost. The water still runs through here and includes fountains and pools. Like anywhere in this region, you are up for a bit of a hike but the ruins are of interest and the surrounding area is very beautiful where you will see the local people with their Llamas.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Entry here can be purchased as part of the boleto turistico.
    • Check with a local tourist agency about available tours of all different ruins included in the tourist ticket or make your own way there via Combi’s, taxi or by foot.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #29 of 128 things to do in Cusco
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Tambomachay to Cuzco walk 20/11/2018
    • Small but perfectly formed 31/10/2018
    • Tambomachay
    Other:
  • Museo del Pisco
    Restaurants (Peruvian, Latin, Bar)
    See more photos
    Lynda C Says:

    You simply must try Pisco while you are in Peru and here is a great place to start your love affair with this drink. Pisco is a spirit prepared from the white Pisco grape with a smooth flavor. The museum will provide you with a history and an insight in to the making of Pisco, the preparation of various drinks and you will also get to sample this tasty beverage. You can even make your very own Pisco Sour.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Nightlife Seeker
    Tips
    • Open 11am to 1am for both tastings and food – there are a range of tapas style food and plates.
    • Pisco Sour is the most well known and delicious drink made from Pisco. Try it in a few different places as the preparation does vary a little.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #53 of 741 restaurants in Cusco
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Nice to get to know how to make pisco 10/12/2018
    • Best negroni i had in my life What a great bar! 22/11/2018
    • Museo del Pisco
    Address:
    Calle Santa Catalina Ancha 398
    corner with Calle San Agustin
    Cusco 08002
    Peru
    Phone:
    +51 84 262709
    Price range:
    US$10 - US$40
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    12:00 - 01:00
    Other:
  • Day 3
  • Casa Concha Museum
    Speciality Museums
    See more photos
    Lynda C Says:

    A great place to prepare yourself with some knowledge before heading out to Machu Picchu. Gain insight into the history of the site and the people that lived there over 10 rooms with artefacts of pottery, stonework and jewellery. Videos and photographs will leave you with a deeper appreciation and you will leave eager to get out and discover Machu Picchu for yourself.

    Good for
    • History Buff
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • The Museum is open Monday to Saturday 9am to 5pm, closed on Sundays.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #44 of 128 things to do in Cusco
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Nice but small 19/10/2018
    • Enjoyed seeing the artifacts 13/10/2018
    • Casa Concha Museum
    Address:
    Santa Catalina Ancha 320, Cusco
    Cusco
    Peru
    Phone:
    +51 84 255535
    Other:
  • ChocoMuseo
    Speciality Museums
    See more photos
    Lynda C Says:

    Peru is typically known for producing Cacao but generally we leave it to the Belgians to make the best chocolate. At the museum you have both the opportunity to learn about the history, growing and roasting of Cacao, but also sample the delicious range they have on offer. If you have a couple of hours to spare, you can book in for one of the workshops and get to be part of the process yourself. If you haven’t had enough chocolate after all of that, take a seat and enjoy a coffee or hot chocolate along with a decedent dessert.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • History Buff
    Tips
    • Open every day from 11am to 7pm.
    • Try the Chilli hot chocolate for a delicious way to warm up.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #25 of 128 things to do in Cusco
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Nice shop good product 14/12/2018
    • Choco Museum Cusco 13/12/2018
    • ChocoMuseo
    Address:
    Calle Garcilaso 210
    Int. 216,
    Cusco
    Peru
    Phone:
    +51 84 244765
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    09:00 - 19:30
    Other:
  • Centro de Textiles Tradicionales del Cusco
    Gift & Speciality Shops, Art Galleries
    See more photos
    Lynda C Says:

    Before you head out to visit some of the local villages, it is a good idea to come here to understand the process that goes into the making of the very special Peruvian textiles. You will then be prepared with the knowledge and appreciation of the craftsmanship that goes into every piece and no doubt want to take some home with you. A group of women's cooperatives that produce fabrics and garments come together here for sale to the public. The little museum displays a range of pieces and gives an insight into the process of dying and weaving process.

    Good for
    • History Buff
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • You will find local textiles all over Cusco as well as the surrounding areas – the prices will vary a lot and generally they will be cheaper in the towns surrounding Cusco.
    • If you don’t venture out of Cusco buying your products this is a great way to support the work of the local women.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #6 of 65 Shopping in Cusco
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Wonderful insight 12/12/2018
    • Emotionally satisfying to connect directly with weavers! 15/11/2018
    • Centro de Textiles Tradicionales del Cusco
    Address:
    Avenida Sol 603
    Cusco
    Peru
    Phone:
    +51 84 228117
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    07:30 - 20:00
    Other:
  • Planetarium Cusco
    Speciality Museums
    See more photos
    Lynda C Says:

    A unique insight to the stars through the eyes of the Incan’s. Just 15 minutes from Cusco, you will be provided with both Incan and modern day knowledge of the stars. Information is provided from the interpretation rooms based in a little cabin, then head out for a star gazing session from a big Telescope. You can expect a personalized experience from this family owned business, complete with blanket and a warm cup of coca tea.

    Good for
    • History Buff
    • Hidden Gems
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Tours can be organized through the Planetarium website.
    • Tours meet around 5.30pm Plaza Regocito and last around 2 hours.
    • Bring something warm to wear as Cusco can be very cold at night.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #11 of 128 things to do in Cusco
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Enjoyable time 12/12/2018
    • Nothing special 07/12/2018
    • Planetarium Cusco
    Address:
    Reserva eco turistica privada Llaullipata
    Km 2 carretera Sacsayhuamán
    Cusco 0084
    Peru
    Phone:
    +51 974 782 692
    Other:
top
×
Was this guide helpful?
YesNo