Cusco

Travel Guide
Cusco showing a house, building ruins and heritage architecture
Once the capital of the Inca Empire, this historic city is the gateway to the Sacred Valley of the Incas and one of the most important sites in indigenous Peruvian culture.

Discover the colorful history of southern Peru in this mountain city. Cusco is the former capital of the Inca Empire, and remnants of the civilization can be seen scattered throughout the town. The city has a vibrant culture that mixes traditional Quechua customs and contemporary Peruvian traditions. On the edge of the Andes Mountains, Cusco is an ideal location to base yourself in as you explore the terrain, including the Machu Picchu citadel and the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

Cusco’s city center is a charming blend of colonial architecture and Quechua culture. The city’s population is largely indigenous, and walking its cobbled laneways will reveal the colorful outfits and crafts of the locals. Seeing the city on foot is the best way to explore its small neighborhoods, where you’re sure to stumble across groups of men playing Sapo – a traditional coin tossing game – in the windows of Cusco’s many bars and cafes.

Stay on foot to reach the major attractions of the city, including the San Pedro Market, a fascinating and authentic Peruvian experience. Visit the Plaza de Armas for some of the best restaurants and shopping in the city. The city is home to some of the most important cultural institutions in Peru, including the Museo del Sitio del Qoricancha, a museum dedicated to pre-Columbian cultures, and a number of contemporary art galleries. The Saqsayhuaman complex is one of the most important Incan sites in the region, and offer excellent views across the city.

Cusco is located 11 150 feet (3400 meters) above sea level, and so temperatures are frequently very cold in the evenings. Some visitors are likely to experience altitude sickness, and it can take a few days to acclimatize to the thin air. Buses and trains depart frequently to Cusco from within Peru, while some airlines service the small airport on the edge of town. Visitors arriving from international destinations should travel via Lima to the west or Arequipa to the south. While Cusco may not be the most convenient city to reach in Peru, the journey is well worth the effort as traveling through rural Peru is a beautiful experience.

Cusco Travel Guide Video

Where to stay in Cusco

Sonesta Hotel Cusco
Sonesta Hotel Cusco
4 out of 5
Ave. El Sol 954, Cusco, Cusco, 0
The price is $73 per night from Dec 3 to Dec 4
$73
per night
Dec 3 - Dec 4
Stay at this 4-star business-friendly hotel in Cusco. Enjoy free WiFi, 2 bars/lounges, and breakfast. Our guests praise the breakfast and the restaurant in our ...
4.6/5 Exceptional! (1,001 reviews)
"Excellent property. Polite staffing. Centrally location. Perfect."

Reviewed on Nov 24, 2022

Sonesta Hotel Cusco
Palacio del Inka, A Luxury Collection Hotel by Marriott
Palacio del Inka, A Luxury Collection Hotel by Marriott
5 out of 5
Plazoleta Santo Domingo No 259, Cusco, Cusco, 8002
The price is $279 per night from Dec 17 to Dec 18
$279
per night
Dec 17 - Dec 18
Stay at this 5-star luxury hotel in Cusco. Enjoy a full-service spa, room service, and a fitness center. Our guests praise the restaurant and the helpful staff ...
4.7/5 Exceptional! (704 reviews)
"The property is beautiful and conveniently located. The service is amazing and the property itself is truly historic."

Reviewed on Nov 11, 2022

Palacio del Inka, A Luxury Collection Hotel by Marriott
Union Hotel Cusco
Union Hotel Cusco
3.5 out of 5
Calle Union 189, Cusco, Cusco, 8002
The price is $91 per night from Dec 2 to Dec 3
$91
per night
Dec 2 - Dec 3
Stay at this 3.5-star boutique hotel in Cusco. Enjoy free breakfast, free WiFi, and free airport drop-off. Our guests praise the helpful staff and the comfy ...
4.5/5 Wonderful! (505 reviews)
Live music excellent
"I enjoyed our stay the live music every night was excellent. And close to market shops. Although if you are planning to go to Machu Picchu it is a long journey and you will have to take a taxi, train and bus to get there. There is a town closer that would have not required us leaving at 330 am. But ..."

Reviewed on Nov 22, 2022

Union Hotel Cusco
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
Cities Of The World - Hotel Cusco
Cities Of The World - Hotel Cusco
3.5 out of 5
Calle Tandapata 372, Cusco, Cusco, 08000
Stay at this 3.5-star business-friendly apartment in Cusco. Enjoy free breakfast, free WiFi, and private spa tubs. Popular attractions Plaza de Armas and Sapantiana ...
4.7/5 Exceptional! (18 reviews)
"Nice spot, nice receptionist. Maybe bring a blanket if you are coming in the winter months."

Reviewed on Jun 29, 2022

Cities Of The World - Hotel Cusco
Apartamentos Quewe
Apartamentos Quewe
3 out of 5
Urbanizacion Lucrepata F-21, Dpto 303, Centro de Cusco, Cusco, Cusco, 8003
Stay at this 3-star apartment in Cusco. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking, and an airport shuttle. Our guests praise the WiFi and the comfy beds in our reviews. ...
4.4/5 Wonderful! (9 reviews)
"Host was very accommodating and quickly resolved issue that arose. I would recommend this property. 10 walk to the center."

Reviewed on May 10, 2022

Apartamentos Quewe
Apartment Samana House
Apartment Samana House
2.5 out of 5
Calle Recoleta Pasaje Pantaccaclle 188-A, Cusco, Cusco, 8003
Stay at this apartment in Cusco. Enjoy free WiFi, onsite parking, and a 24-hour front desk. Popular attractions Plaza San Blas and San Blas Church are located ...
Apartment Samana House
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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