Cusco is a Unesco World Heritage Site and is one of Peru’s most visited cities
Located in the Southern Sierras is a fascinating city that was the capital of the Inca Empire. It is the largest and most comfortable city from which tourists can begin visits to Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley of the Incas, and other Inca sites in the region.
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Cusco is a beautiful city with well preserved colonial architecture, evidence of a rich and complex history. The city itself represents the center of indigenous Quechua culture in the Andes, and by merely walking the streets one sees the layers of history. Spanish colonial buildings erected directly atop Inca walls line the square, while the modern tourist nightlife flourishes in their midst.
The city is surrounded by a number of ruins, the most impressive being Sacsayhuaman, the site of the 1536 battle in which dozens of Pizarro’s men charged uphill to battle the forces of the Inca.
Nowadays, Cusco is known for its indigenous population–often seen on the streets in traditional clothing–and its substantial tourist-fueled night life.
To See & Do
The Sacred Valley has become one of the most important tourist centers
in the country
Apart from the historic wealth, the area of Urubamba offers many possibilities to enjoy for the tourist: trekking, thermal baths, rafts or kayaks rides, paragliding or hang gliding, horsing and climbing. The Sacred Valley holds two handicraft markets: Pisac and Chinchero.
Among the tourist activities we have the andinism practised in the snowy peaks of Chicon, Vtkav Willca, Piturisay, Sawasiray, Terijway and Sunchobamba (all of them are tops of the the chain of mountains of the Vilcanota up to 5000 meters high), trekking, rafting (along Pisac, Calca, Huaran, Ollantaytambo), horsing and mountain riding. In the town along the valley there are numerous hotels and restaurants.
Guides and tours to all four sites in one day
If interested, pay/negotiate for a guide at the second control at Sacsayhuamán to tour you through all four sites. Ask the guard at the ticket control which guides have been through the government training. Expect between 60-80 soles depending upon the season which is about 15-20 soles per site. Allow 4-5 hr for the trip when taking the Cumbis shared buses. Pack a snack although water is available along the way. Bathrooms (clean and well maintained) are only available at the final site Tambomachay. A boleto turisitico is recommended as control points exist at three of the four sites and are carefully monitored.
If you don’t want to hire a guide, then you could take a taxi or combi to Tambomachay/Pukapukara and walk back down the hill to the remaining sites. If you go to the first two sites in the morning, there is a backpacker’s cafe about 250 m down the road on the right that does tasty and inexpensive sandwiches and very good fruit juice. The walk down to Q’enqo and Sacsayhuamán has nice views.
The Lost Inca Civilization • Locations & Activities