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Cusco City: 1 Day
The former capital of the Inca Empire, Cusco is a small, vibrant city of almost half a million people and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Cusco is best approached at a leisurely pace, especially for those just arriving at such an elevation (3,400 meters or 11,200 feet). You may want to give yourself at least a day to adjust to the altitude.
Under the Inca ruler Pachacutec, Cusco developed into a complex urban centre with distinct religious and administrative functions. It was surrounded by areas specified for agricultural, artisan and industrial production. When the Spaniards conquered it in the 16th century, they preserved the basic structure of the city but built Baroque churches and palaces over the ruins of the Inca city. The important agricultural area around Cusco had many thousands of native Peruvian species under cultivation, including around 3,000 varieties of potato. Today Cusco boasts many fusion and neo-Andean restaurants, which combine modern techniques with local Andean ingredients. The cuisine is excellent.
Our staff will pick you up from your hotel in Cusco at around 8:30 a.m. to start the bus tour of Cusco and its surroundings. We will visit the following archeological and religious attractions from the Inca empire:
Tour of Qoricancha Temple and the Santo Domingo Convent. This is a religious center known as “Temple of the Sun” and it was the most important Temple in Incan times. What stands out here is the impressive engineering employed in its construction, and the paintings from the Cusquenian school housed inside.
Tour of the Cathedral. This is a colonial and religious monument of extraordinary artistic value; a variety of artistic works are found there.
Tour of Sacsayhuaman. Located 3 km outside of Cusco, this is an impressive fortress of excellent architecture. It is famous for its construction based on rocks. Some of these rocks are about 9 m (30 ft) high and weigh more than 350 tons. Sacsayhuaman is the place where the “Inti Raymi” (Celebration of the Sun) is observed every 24th of June.
Tour of Qenqo. This was a ceremonial and religious center in Inca times. Qenqo was an amphitheater in which sacrifices took place.
Tour of Pucapucara. This was an old Tambo (rest and guard post); these posts were found all along the Inca pathways throughout their vast empire.
Tour of Tambomachay. This was a ceremonial center where the Incas used to worship the water; it is also known as the place of waters of eternal youth.
After the guided tour, we will visit a traditional market featuring beautiful local handicraft work; you can also get some souvenirs there. The tour lasts about five hours and ends at Regocijo Square (a half away block from the main square) at around 6:30 pm. We will return you to your hotel at the end.
- Professional guide (fluent in English, German, Spanish, Quechua)
- All transfers from and to your hotel
- Entrance tickets to all places we visit
- Discretionary spending, tips
For tips on what to bring, check our Travel Tips page.