Travel Guide for Cuzco

Travel Guide for Cuzco

Personalized for these inputs:

  • Destination: Cuzco, Cusco, Peru
  • Trip length: 5 days
  • Trip dates: None
  • Travel style: None
  • Budget: None
  • Accommodation: None
  • Activities: None
Picture of Cuzco, Cusco, Peru

Key Facts

  • location: Cuzco, Cusco, Peru
  • currency: Sol (PEN)
  • religion: Roman Catholic
  • population: 428,450
  • language: Spanish
  • electricity: 220V / 60Hz, Type A & C?
  • time zone: PET (UTC-5)
  • country code: +51
  • internet access: Widespread, with varying speeds and costs.
  • climate: Mild and temperate, with a rainy season from November to March.

Useful Phrases

Language: Spanish
    hello
    hola (oh-lah)
    goodbye
    adiós (ah-dee-ohs)
    yes
    (see)
    no
    no (no)
    how much
    ¿Cuánto cuesta esto? (kwan-to kwesta ehs-to)
    please
    por favor (por fah-bor)
    thank you
    gracias (grah-syas)
    excuse me
    disculpe (dee-skool-peh)

Introduction

Welcome to Cuzco, a charming city nestled in the heart of the Peruvian Andes. Known as the historic capital of the Inca Empire, Cuzco is rich in culture and surrounded by breathtaking archaeological sites. The city's cobblestone streets are lined with colonial architecture and vibrant markets, offering a mix of Andean and Spanish influences. Cuzco serves as the gateway to the iconic Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley, making it a paradise for history enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike.

With its lively festivals, delicious Peruvian cuisine, and warm hospitality, Cuzco promises an unforgettable experience for anyone seeking a blend of history, culture, and natural beauty.

Getting There

Getting to Cuzco, Peru is primarily done by air, with the Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport serving as the main gateway. Many major airlines operate flights to Cuzco from Lima, the capital of Peru. The flight from Lima to Cuzco takes about an hour. Keep in mind that flights can be affected by weather, especially during the rainy season from November to March.

Another popular option is the scenic train ride from Ollantaytambo or Poroy to Cuzco. This is a fantastic way to enjoy breathtaking views of the Andes. There are also bus services from various cities in Peru, including Lima. However, the long distances involved make this a less popular choice for travelers.

Climate and Best Time to Visit

Cuzco, Cusco, Peru experiences two distinct seasons: the dry season from April to October and the wet season from November to March. The dry season is the best time to visit, with clear skies and warm days, making it ideal for outdoor activities and exploring the city. The wet season brings heavy rainfall, which can impact travel and outdoor excursions.

If you're planning a visit, aim for the dry season, particularly between May and September, to enjoy pleasant weather and vibrant festivals. However, it's best to avoid the wet season, especially if you want to explore the region without being hindered by rainy conditions.

Itinerary

Day 1

Explore the historic center of Cusco and visit ancient Inca sites.

  • Plaza de Armas

    Start the day at the Plaza de Armas, a historic square filled with colonial architecture, a beautiful cathedral, and lined with cafes and shops.
  • Qorikancha

    Visit the Qorikancha, an important Inca site which displays the incredible engineering and architecture skills of the Inca civilization.
  • San Pedro Market

    Stroll through the bustling San Pedro Market, where you can find local crafts, textiles, and enjoy some traditional Peruvian dishes.
  • Cusco Cathedral

    End the day with a visit to the Cusco Cathedral, a stunning example of colonial architecture filled with artwork and artifacts.













Day 2

Immerse yourself in the Sacred Valley and discover the beauty of the surrounding natural landscapes.

  • Sacred Valley

    Embark on a day trip to the Sacred Valley, surrounded by towering mountains, lush green fields, and ancient ruins.
  • Pisac Ruins

    Explore the Pisac Ruins, a remarkable archaeological site perched high on the mountainside with breathtaking views.
  • Moray Terraces

    Visit the Moray agricultural terraces, an innovative Inca farming site with circular terraces that served as an experimental agricultural laboratory.
  • Chinchero Village

    Experience the traditional Andean village of Chinchero, known for its colorful markets and skilled textile artisans.













Day 3

Discover the iconic archaeological site of Machu Picchu and learn about its fascinating history.

  • Machu Picchu

    Embark on a breathtaking journey to Machu Picchu, the ancient Inca citadel nestled high in the Andes mountains.
  • Huayna Picchu

    For the adventurous, hike to the top of Huayna Picchu for panoramic views of Machu Picchu and the surrounding landscape.
  • Sun Gate

    Take a hike to the Sun Gate for a stunning view of Machu Picchu at sunrise and gain a deeper appreciation for the site.
  • Machu Picchu Museum

    End the day with a visit to the Machu Picchu Museum, where you can learn about the history and culture of the ancient Incas.













Day 4

Experience a taste of Andean culture and traditions through unique activities and local hospitality.

  • Cusco Cooking Class

    Participate in a cooking class to learn how to prepare traditional Peruvian dishes using local ingredients and techniques.
  • Traditional Textile Demonstration

    Attend a traditional textile demonstration and learn about the intricate art of Andean weaving and the cultural significance of textiles.
  • Pachamama Ceremony

    Participate in a Pachamama (Mother Earth) ceremony to connect with Andean spirituality and traditions.
  • Andean Folk Dance Show

    Enjoy a lively Andean folk dance show, featuring colorful costumes and traditional music that celebrates the rich heritage of the Andes.













Day 5

Wrap up your trip with a day of relaxation and reflection, as well as some last-minute exploration of Cusco's charm.

  • Relaxation Day

    Spend the morning at a luxury spa, indulging in tranquil treatments and enjoying breathtaking views of the city and surrounding mountains.
  • Sacsayhuaman

    Visit the impressive Sacsayhuaman fortress, a majestic Inca ruin with breathtaking panoramic views of Cusco.
  • Coca Leaf Reading

    Experience a traditional coca leaf reading session to gain insight and spiritual guidance from Andean traditions.
  • Q'eswachaka Rope Bridge

    Take a scenic drive to the Q'eswachaka Rope Bridge, the last remaining Inca rope bridge, and witness this incredible ancient engineering feat.













Accommodations

In Cuzco, you'll find a wide range of accommodation options to suit different budgets and preferences. The Plaza de Armas area is popular for its proximity to attractions and eateries, offering a mix of upscale hotels and charming boutique accommodations. If you're looking for cost-effective options, San Blas is known for its bohemian vibe and has several excellent hostels and guesthouses. Additionally, booking websites such as Booking.com and Airbnb offer a variety of choices, from cozy apartments to luxurious resorts, providing flexibility for different travel styles.

Food and Drink

In Cuzco, you must try traditional Peruvian delights like ceviche, lomo saltado, and cuy (guinea pig). To experience local flavors, head to Cicciolina for a mix of Italian and Peruvian cuisine or Chicha for innovative dishes by a world-renowned chef. For a cozy coffee spot, Jack's Café is a favorite. Don't miss a Pisco Sour or chicha morada, a refreshing Peruvian beverage.

Tipping about 10-15% is customary in Cuzco. Be aware of the high altitude and its effects on digestion. Also, try to avoid drinking tap water and eating raw foods from street vendors to prevent stomach issues. Remember, reservations are often needed at popular restaurants, and many places only accept cash.

Ceviche

Ceviche

Ceviche is a popular dish made with fresh raw fish or seafood, marinated in freshly squeezed lime or bitter orange juice and seasoned with a mix of onions, salt, and chili peppers. It is typically served with sweet potato, corn, and lettuce, and is a refreshing and zesty culinary delight.

Lomo Saltado

Lomo Saltado

Lomo Saltado is a stir-fry dish that combines marinated strips of sirloin steak with onions, tomatoes, and other vegetables, seasoned with soy sauce, vinegar, and Peruvian spices. It is often accompanied by rice and French fries, and is a flavorful fusion of Peruvian and Chinese cuisines.

Anticuchos

Anticuchos

Anticuchos are marinated and grilled skewers of meat, with the most traditional versions using beef heart as the main ingredient. The meat is typically marinated in vinegar, garlic, aji panca (Peruvian red pepper), and cumin, resulting in a smoky and robust flavor that is a hit at street food stalls and local restaurants.

Papa a la Huancaína

Papa a la Huancaína

Papa a la Huancaína is a classic Peruvian appetizer consisting of boiled yellow potatoes smothered in a creamy, spicy sauce made with cheese, aji amarillo (yellow chili pepper), garlic, and evaporated milk. It is often served over lettuce leaves with hard-boiled eggs and olives, creating a colorful and flavorful dish.

Aji de Gallina

Aji de Gallina

Aji de Gallina is a creamy chicken stew featuring shredded chicken in a thick and creamy sauce made from aji amarillo (yellow chili pepper), onion, garlic, bread, and ground nuts. This dish is often served with white rice, boiled yellow potatoes, and hard-boiled eggs, and offers a rich, spicy, and comforting eating experience.

Attractions and Activities

Cuzco, Cusco, Peru, is a captivating destination known for its rich history and stunning architecture. Visitors can explore the ancient Incan ruins at Sacsayhuaman, marvel at the beauty of Plaza de Armas, and visit the enchanting Qorikancha (Temple of the Sun). Additionally, the vibrant San Pedro Market offers a delightful immersion into local culture with its colorful array of handicrafts, textiles, and fresh produce.

Off-the-Beaten-Path Experiences

Cuzco, Cusco, Peru offers off-the-beaten-path experiences for adventurous travelers. Explore the Rainbow Mountain, a stunning natural wonder with colorful mineral deposits. Visit the Salinas de Maras, ancient salt pans that have been in use since Inca times. Discover the remote archaeological site of Choquequirao, often referred to as the