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

Novotel Cusco
Novotel Cusco
4 out of 5
San Augustin 239 Esquina, Cusco, Cusco
The price is $69 per night from Nov 12 to Nov 12
Located in Cusco Historic Center, this historic hotel is steps from Hatunrumiyoc, UNSAAC Yale International Center, and Museum of Religious Art. Twelve Angled ...
4.5/5 Wonderful! (778 reviews)
"Property is very beautiful, staff was very pleasant and accommodating. This was a VIP property and I didn’t received any benefits."

Reviewed on Oct 16, 2021

Novotel Cusco
Antigua Casona San Blas
Antigua Casona San Blas
4 out of 5
Calle Carmen Bajo 243, San Blas, Cusco
The price is $77 per night from Nov 1 to Nov 1
Located in Cusco Historic Center, this spa hotel is steps from Plaza San Blas, San Blas Church, and Olave Art Gallery. Hatunrumiyoc and San Blas Viewpoint are ...
4.9/5 Exceptional! (773 reviews)
"Perfect"

Reviewed on Oct 22, 2021

Antigua Casona San Blas
Hilton Garden Inn Cusco
Hilton Garden Inn Cusco
3.5 out of 5
Santa Ana, Avenida Abancay 207, Cusco, Cusco
The price is $75 per night from Nov 1 to Nov 1
Located in Cusco Historic Center, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Museo de Plantas Sagradas Magicas y Medicinales, San Pedro Church, and Museum of Contemporary ...
4.6/5 Wonderful! (753 reviews)
"The staff was super friendly but the breakfast was terrible and the service at the restaurant horrible, the pillows oh my God . From the stone age. Hard as concrete or granite."

Reviewed on Sep 30, 2021

Hilton Garden Inn 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.
Pvt & Wooden Apart Close to Main Square
Pvt & Wooden Apart Close to Main Square
3 out of 5
216 Choqechaka, Cusco, Cuzco
The price is $40 per night from Oct 27 to Oct 27
Located in Cusco Historic Center, this apartment building is steps from Plaza de las Nazarenas, Hatunrumiyoc, and Pre-Columbian Art Museum. Olave Art Gallery ...
Pvt & Wooden Apart Close to Main Square
Cities Of The World - Hotel Cusco
Cities Of The World - Hotel Cusco
3.5 out of 5
Calle Tandapata 372, Cusco, Cusco
The price is $84 per night from Oct 27 to Oct 27
Located in the heart of Cusco, this aparthotel is within a 10-minute walk of Plaza Sán Cristobal, San Blas Viewpoint, and Pre-Columbian Art Museum. San Blas ...
4.6/5 Wonderful! (14 reviews)
Must stay when in Cusco
"It was an amazing stay at „The cities of the world“. We had the „Cusco“ room and we loved it. The host Tim was amazing he took really care of us. When in Cusco I highly recommend the cities of the world"

Reviewed on Jun 20, 2021

Cities Of The World - Hotel Cusco
Luxury Apart Cusco Sauna Spa
Luxury Apart Cusco Sauna Spa
Cusco, Cusco Region
The price is $100 per night from Oct 27 to Oct 27
Situated in Cusco, this apartment building is within 1 mi (2 km) of Cusco Craft Center, Garcilaso de la Vega Stadium, and Plaza Tupac Amaru. Centro de Textiles ...
Luxury Apart Cusco Sauna Spa
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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