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100% Authentic Peruvian Operator with headquarters in Cusco and offices in Lima, Puno and Arequipa


PERU VACATIONS TOURS AND TRAVEL

  • Since you arrive at the Lima Airport we will share with you our passion for our country showing you the best of Peru with our team of GOTOPERU professional guides, representatives and drivers always with our authentic peruvian hospitality!
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Offer our travelers the best authentic travel experience showing you all the options that best fit for your travel preferences and budget until we designed together a dream travel to the land of the Incas, PERU!!

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CEL: 958.198.847
paul@gotoperu.org
MOST RECENT TESTIMONIALS
  • Having GoToPeru.com organize our tour of Peru was the best decision we ever made. It was one of the best tours we have ever been on. We used GoToPeru for a tour of Lima and for a tour that took us from Cusco to Machu Picchu and back including stops at points of interest between the two. There were 16 people in our group. GoToPeru took care of every detail including organizing stays for us at very nice hotels, organizing all our transportation, and supplying very knowledgeable guides who took good care of us. We encourage you to watch a video we made about the trip.<a href="http://youtu.be/AOa1ygLiapc" target="_blank">http://youtu.be/<wbr>AOa1ygLiapc</a>'.. Catherine & John Conover
  • Booked with GoToPeru in Aug. Their service was absolutely top notch. The quality of all the tours they assigned us were very high, Majority of our tours were either private, or in a very small group of people, even though we never requested for private tours. Logistically, our trip was perfectly planned -we were never stuck waiting for someone at any point and we never had to worry about figuring out where to go, and this is for a pretty customized booking too. The price of our booking was also very competitive and reasonable. My only gripe is that I felt they could have picked slightly better hotels at the same price points. Overall, a fantastic experience and highly recommended... TomY
  • Me and six other friends had just recently visited to Peru with GOTOPERU.org. we were all very satisfied with their services. They were on time, super friendly, and tailored our itinerary according to our needs. All their staff are wonderful and very responsive to emails. I compared prices with other companies and found GOTOPERU the most affordable and reasonable. The staff were very fast and keen on solving issues and I felt they had a great sense of responsibility. We thank GOTOPERU for creating such a wonderful once in a lifetime experience for us!.. Jasson M.
  • I recently visited Peru and used Gotoperu to put together our itinerary as well as travel logistics i.e.: guides, transportation, lodging, food etc. throughout our vacation. When visiting a different country such as PERU, there are a few things we wanted to make sure we looked for in a travel company. First we wanted a travel company who is stationed in South America and understood the culture and really knew all there is to know, this we felt would give us the best chance for an amazing experience. A company that could customize our trip to our wants, as well as provide us with opportunities/ suggestions we were not aware existed.. **Nothing worse then to book with a travel agent who lives .. Gary F
  • I wanted to share my experience with GOTOPERU. This was my first trip to Peru that I thought up in the last minute. Despite that this agency was able to put a a 9-day trip together for me in less than 24 hours. I was of course at first skeptical as I have never been to Peru and have not dealt with any Peruvian travel agency before, but the experience was stellar. Starting with the secure payment and then proceeding with my day to day adventures in Peru, everything was secure and smooth. I was always picked up on time and everything was always clearly explained to me. It is clear that GOTOPERU strives to do well by its customers and takes very good care of them. This agency comes highly recom.. Martin Z
  • I only had 3 days to visit Machu Picchu at the end of a work trip to Lima, so used GoToPeru to arrange the travel to/from Lima-Cusco-Machu Picchu. Their prices were competitive and they provided very professional service. Everything was exactly as they had promised. They used very good, English speaking tour guides, booked me on great trains to/from Machu Picchu, and selected a great hotel in Cusco. I would recommend them to anyone!.. Mc Lean Mon
  • I booked my honeymoon with GoToPeru recently... It was an amazing experience... They are very serious and helpful... We lost one of our flights and they did their best to squeeze the program in so we wouldn't miss anything.. great guides, service, etc... Highly recommended... Rosalila Angulo
  • Hi,we recently returned from our Peru and Amazon trip with gotoperu.org I will highly recommend their services, as our experience with this tour company was very satisfying, right from start to finish. Paul along with the other members of gotoperu are thoroughly professional and ensure that the trip goes exactly as planned on paper/ email. The picks ups, hotels , guides and sight seeing everything was done very timely and in comfort. Prisa the manager is very efficient and speaks very good english and gets things fixed quickly if the need arises. They are a bunch of sincere and efficient people who are in the business to stay . We had an amazing time in Peru thanks to Paul and his team!!!.. Kavitabhagia
  • Yes, they are serious. My wife and I just returned from a 10 day trip booked with them and we had a wonderful time. They had one of the lowest prices out of all the agencies we looked at but they were still able to provide top-notch service. The guides were excellent, the transfers were on time, and the hotels were more than adequate. I would definitely recommend booking through them... Jhonatan K
  • My wife and I had the whole trip booked with GOTOPERU in April-May 2013. We thoroughly enjoyed our trip. The travel arrangements were very good. The hotels were up to the expectation (5 stars). All GOTOPERU staff we met or spoke to were very helpful and made us welcome. We were very pleased with their service. There were some small disconnects in communication. E.g. our train stopped at Machu Picchu when many guides came to meet their guests next to train. But ours was awaiting somewhere in the train station. We only realised later that the train did not stop at the usual location. It took a couple of phone calls to meet up with the person fetching us. As a small travel company locally based.. Jimi N
  • hi, Together with 7 friends we had with GOTOPERU great adventure doing 5 days Salkatray Trek. All provided service well very good- good tent quality, helpfull staff and delicious meals done by our cook Helmut. We spend great time, beside small problems we manage to have our adventures as it was planned, and all problems were fixed immidetly by Paul. I recommend trip with GOTOPERU to everyone!.. Anna C.
  • I booked a tour with GOTOPERU - they took care of my flight from Lima to Cusco, a 2 day tour including going up to Machu picchu, hotel, and my flight back. They are very helpful pre booking in terms of clarifying the itinerary and the costs - I had booked it relatively last minute but everything went smoothly. They were very flexible in terms of changing my flights when I decided to extend my stay in Cusco. I was a lone traveler and I was very glad that I had booked this tour with GOTOPERU because I was so well taken care of - due to the high altitude I fell severely sick on 2 occasions. When I was in Cusco I fell quite sick in the middle of the night and had to postpone the sacred valley to.. Karen F
  • My wife and I went To Peru with GotoPeru in May. We had a wonderful time We worked closely with Prisa on our trip and she found things to do we never would have found ourselves. Lima, Cusco, whitewater rafting, Machu Picchu, horse back riding thru per-Inca ruins outside Cusco, the Andean Explorer to Lake Titttitaca, the Huros, Arequipa, Colcoa Canyon, the Nazcas lines, down to the coast to the Balleras islands and regrettably home. We had a few hiccups but Go To Peru was there to get us back on track going way out of their way to keep us happy . When we wanted to adjust our schedule they happily did Our rep in Cusco, Elvis, was fantastic. The buses in Peru are without compare, better than fi.. Roy C
  • I am going to Peru in October and everything people are saying is true. Karla is wonderful and answered all my questions. I know that the trip will be wonderful... Leslie P.
  • GOTOPERU is amazing!! I booked a 5day/4night tour of Cuzco and Machu Picchu with some colleagues after a work conference and everything - the booking, the tours, the pickups, the accommodations - was perfect and done seamlessly. Our agent, Prisa, was extremely helpful and nice, giving us all our options and making sure we had everything we needed before leaving. She was so accommodating, even when we had colleagues added to the group just a few days prior to departure! All the hotels and tours that were booked for us during the trip were great - nice, clean, accommodations with friendly staff in great locations within the cities. All our tour guides were super knowledgeable as well. All of o.. Jim T.
  • We used GoTo Peru in May 2013. We contacted them 6 days ahead of our departure from the US. We utilized their services for tours as well as Airline reservations within Peru. They were able to make all this happen in less than 5 days time. Our travels were as following: Lima-Arequipa-Colca-Chivay-Arequipa-Cusco-Aguas Calientes-Macchu Pichu-Cusco-Lima We were met with someone at the airport every time and were dropped at the airport too. Guide at Sacred Valley and Cusco (name Edgar) was excellent !!!!! All accommodations were very good. We opted for 3 star... They take credit cards...major PLUS. I will absolutely recommend using them. When we visit Peru again we will definitely use GoToPeru. R.. Giri k
  • Gotoperu.org is a fine organization excellent with details and truth in every dealing and statement they make to you while planning and executing the trip. All of them have very good English fluency and some of them are even excellent. Just be sure to ask for all of the optons in each trip since they have many choices and they never get tired of custom fitting to you :) Have no qualms recommending this organization to you... Hari D
  • We just got back from our trip to Peru, with tours coordinated with GOTOPERU. We toured Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu and the Amazon. All tours, tour guides, transfers, etc, were on point. Everyone was easy to communicate and was always there 24/7 when you needed them. From start to finish the company was very professional and trustworthy. Even through a minor hiccup, where we were not picked up for our flight, they reimbursed us for our taxi. The owner Paul met us in person to hand us our reimbursement personally in Cusco which meant a lot to us. I would definitely recommend this company to anyone traveling to Peru for a trip of a lifetime... Nadia I
  • We returned from Peru last week and Gotoperu made a memorable trip even better. Paul and Nohely were more than patient during the booking process and my million requests. They made great recommendations and created a completely custom experience for us at Cuzco, Sacred Valley, Machu Pichhu. So booking, payment etc was smooth BUT once we got there things got even better. Great driver and guides in a new comfortable 7 seater for the 3 of us. Fun insight and stories on Inca and Peru culture. Super recommendations for food and shopping. Most importantly, really caring about our stay and having pride of ownership. Nohely even called us at our hotel after the tour to check on us. Special shoutout .. Rahul Austin
  • We just finished up a tour with GotoPeru and everything went super smoothly. Everyone was super friendly and helpful. GotoPeru's arrangements were excellent. All the hotel and transport reservations were flawless and the guides and transportation punctual. When we had a minor hiccup (ran out of time to visit a scheduled museum), and communicated the issue to them, they called everyday after that to check how that day had gone. They then arranged an alternate outing for us. They were extremely responsive right from the first contact, right up to the time we returned back home. We would recommend this agency without any reservation... James H.
  • Good morning - I live in New York and worked with Gotoperu to design the best itinerary possible during a week of special vacations. Having traveled around the world I have to confess they are one of the best travel agency I worked with. Very responsive over email, Knowledgeable about all the locations, their guides are the best, logistics was immaculate, and their expertise was over the top. We took a private guide option guide option which I recommend strongly , and all their hotels suggestions and booking were over the top. After everything was booked and organized they even threw in various perks such as a photography session which really makes all the difference. I would give them 5 sta.. Georges B
  • I booked a trip to see Macchu Pichu a couple of months ago. I have been to a lot of countries, and have been on a lot of tours. These guys are top notch. Great service, great communication, and everything was just as promised. I would use them again... Mike T
  • my partner and I booked a trip to cusco, lima and machu pichu with gotoperu and it was wonderful. the tours were great and they were very accomodating. They booked us at great hotels and made the experience very memorable. highly reccomended.. EBRU X 2
  • GOTOPERU is absolutely fantastic! I booked a 5-day tour with 3 friends and the entire staff was so accommodating, especially because 2 of the friends joined the trip within weeks of our arrival. Our trip planner, Prisa, was a doll! She gave us suggestions, worked out specified itineraries, and even helped 2 friends book their transport to the airport after our trip completed and they were staying on to travel a bit more independently! The transport pick-ups and drop offs were always on time, the guides were extremely nice, knowledgeable, and clear with directions when we needed information. The accommodations they booked for us were so lovely, included breakfast, internet access, and were ce.. JENNIFER X 5
  • I am from Belgium and booked a package for a 15 days tour in Peru last November. I want to mention that I have a very good experience with the travel agent Go to Peru : although travelling alone I was picked up at every stop; all tickets were planned before; they called me at the hotel to inform if everything was ok. Only once the taxi forgot to pick me up at the hotel for transfer to the bus station, so I had to take another bus; but Go to Peru offered me 2 free dinners in the best restaurants! They are very kind and helpful, so don't hesitate to book with them!.. JACKY X 1
  • My cousin and I are from Canada (Toronto and Vancouver) and we took a 13 day custom trip to Peru. After doing months of research I found that Gotoperu.org was by far the cheapest and had the most personal service. They helped us customize our itinerary and took the time to exchange appx. 100 emails with me. (Yes, I had a lot of questions lol). They have a really neat live chat service on their website and this makes planning a lot easier. They were always in contact with us throughout our trip and provided us with a few free upgrades and bonuses as we went along. Since then I have sent 4 people to Peru through Gotoperu and 4 more will be visit with them in October. Our agent was Karla Florez.. Zeeshan B
  • Hi, i booked in gotoperu.org last november for the very first time, and even i was very eskeptical of booking something that my family or friends hadnt experienced before, it was too good to be true for me. Starting that the website is very modern and i found this chat option to chat with someone right away to answer my million questions, the wonderful girl that helped me was Karla, not only was she sweet and professional but she went out of her way to answer every question and general information and my change of mind several times to get me the best vacation i ever had ;) i work in hotels and live in Hawaii and if i could hire her here i would !!! Outstanding customer service with the spec.. DIANA X 2
  • Hello, We are a spanish couple that contracted our trip with GOTOPERU.ORG before travelling to this wonderful country and everything was organized perfectly for two weeks. They are allocated in Cuzco but the have agreements with transport companies and hotels in all the country. Congratulations GOTOPERU! Every pick was on time and all guides were very kind and professional. I recommend to trust this tourist agency, If you have any problem, they are going to try to solve it asap. If you are going to travel to Peru, they are going to make it easier you stay. Don't doubt about this agency they are professional and serious... DAVID X 2
  • I have travelled to 120 different countries from Australia a many several times, and this is my visit 5 or 6 to Peru. So am pretty savvy and critical re choosing and rating good ground operators. Rule #1 is to find someone reliable *IN* the destination country, and not pay silly, high, a middle ommissions to travel agents in USA or Europe etc. www.GotoPeru.org are based in Cuzco, and came up with an attractive quote, tailored to exactly what time we had there. Taking us exactly where we wanted to go, which included very off beat places like a long day trip from Arequipa to the Toro Muerto petroglyphs etc. As always we booked last minute, and hotels and flights over Xmas/New Years Eve were ve.. GLEN X 2
  • I had booked our flights for our S. America trip and then started filling in the blanks. I have a friend in Lima who said I couldn't fit in Cusco and Machupicchu as I thought I could. Luckily I stumbled on to gotoperu.org and they made it work for the time we had. My friend in Lima said it couldn't be done for the price that gotoperu quoted. We were unsure, but doubts disappeared as we were met by Elvis, our tour coordinator, at the airport. Unfortuntely my wife suffered from altitude sickness and missed a lot. The trip to Machupicchu was everything that one could anticipate. The rail ride had to be shortened due to a landslide, so knew we'd be late returning to Cusco. We were beat after the.. MARK X 2
  • My husband and I (Australian and American) just completed our Inca Trail Trek, which we booked with GOTOPERU.ORG. Prisa, as well as her staff, were extremely helpful. They were able to organize everything for us, including our bus ride to La Paz after our time in Cusco. Prisa and the staff members all spoke perfect English and even helped us when our bags were lost by the airline. The guide for the Inca trek and Machupicchu also spoke great English and wa a great guy. I highly recommend GOTOPERU.ORG. They will help you out a lot while in Peru... KATIE X 2
  • I asked a million questions via email, changed my mind, my schedule, and my plans a lot, but Karla was gracious, friendly, and upbeat. Everything was arranged and the guides were excellent and informative. I even got a parting gift! Good experience... EMILY X 1
  • Yes I would definitely recommend them. All pick ups, tours and accommodations were spot on. They were also very helpful in adjusting some of the set tours to our requirements. No doubt you can find cheaper options once on the ground through a variety of agencies but all with an unknown risk factor. The peace of mind from having everything reliably organised pre arrival was well worth it. Our original tour had only one day entry in to Macchu Picchu, we asked for two days which GoToPeru not only accommodated but they also took the initiative to book us on to the Wayna Picchu climb on our second day which apparently needs to be booked well in advances limited numbers permitted each day. That wa.. LEANNE

PERU

INCLUDES: ALL EXCURSIONS & TOURS, ALL ENTRANCES, ALL TRANSFERS, ALL HOTELS, ALL BREAKFASTS, ALL ASSISTANCES
NOT INCLUDED: FLIGHTS
1 DAYS
20%OFF
GTP104: MACHU PICCHU FULL DAY
$399 $ 319
PRICE PER PERSON BASED ON DOUBLE ACCOMODATION
4 DAYS
15%OFF
GTP404: CUSCO FLEXIBLE
$587 $ 499
PRICE PER PERSON BASED ON DOUBLE ACCOMODATION
5 DAYS
15%OFF
GTP500: INCA CLASSIC
$728 $ 619
PRICE PER PERSON BASED ON DOUBLE ACCOMODATION
7 DAYS
15%OFF
GTP724: PERU INCA
$1081 $ 919
PRICE PER PERSON BASED ON DOUBLE ACCOMODATION
10 DAYS
15%OFF
GTP1000: FUN PERU
$1411 $ 1199
PRICE PER PERSON BASED ON DOUBLE ACCOMODATION
6 DAYS
10%OFF
GTP600: PERU MAGIC
$866 $ 779
PRICE PER PERSON BASED ON DOUBLE ACCOMODATION
11 DAYS
10%OFF
GTP1104: ENJOYING PERU
$1677 $ 1509
PRICE PER PERSON BASED ON DOUBLE ACCOMODATION
13 DAYS
5%OFF
GTP1300: THE BEST OF PERU
$2103 $ 1998
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PERU & ECUADOR

11 DAYS
GTPE110: PERU ECUADOR EXTENSION
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GTPE1005: PERU AND ECUADOR EXPERIENCE
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PERU & BRASIL

12 DAYS
GTPBR1207: BRASIL & PERU
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17 DAYS
GTPBR1702: RIO - IGUAZU - MACHUPICCHU - GALAPAGOS
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cusco

Cusco Geography and Climate Essentials Quick Reference

Elevation: 3,400 meters (11,200 feet)
Latitude: 13.5183° S
Longitude: 71.9781° W
Time Zone: UTC-5:00
Population: ~ 413,000 (Cusco City); ~1.3 million (Cusco Department) (Source: INEI, 2013)
Official Languages: Quechua, Spanish, and Aymara
International Calling Code: +51
Currency: Peruvian Nuevo Sol
Nicknames: The Imperial City
Dry season: May through October (peak travel season)
Wet season: November through March (low travel season after January)

So, what and where is Cusco?

Visiting Cusco holds only one regret and that is that the trip simply wasn’t long enough! Nearly everyone wishes they could have spent more time and almost all can’t wait to go back. Take our advice and give yourself extra time when you plan your vacation trip there. That is the one thing you won’t regret!.

At one point in history, Cusco was the capital of the Inca Empire and is now the gateway to Machu Picchu and the epicenter for travelers visiting the area. The city appeals to a wide range of people from adventurous backpackers to those looking to spend time basking in the luxuries the area has to offer.

We urge you to read up on the history of Cusco so when you get there you’ll be able to find a quiet spot, perhaps one with a view of the Plaza de Armas, close your eyes, and imagine the pageantry of the vast Inca armies and the blow of defeat they experienced at the hands of the much smaller number of Spanish soldiers. Even that wasn’t enough to defeat this great city and today it’s easy to see how wondrously Peru’s widely varied past and present has come together to depict both its indigenous nature and its adoption of the wide range of other cultures that have inhabited the area.

Throughout the city architectural remains can be found that depict the eras and violent evolutions of Cusco’s history. Each era builds on the remains of the past. The Catholic churches of Quechua, for example, were built on the foundations of the palaces of Inca kings. Visits to hotels, museums, restaurants, bars, lounges, and boutique shops showcase how Colonial-era mansions were revamped into 21st-century marvels.

Don’t be lulled by the cities diurnal serenity! When night falls, it bursts into life when locals and travelers both enjoy the night club scene and the evening entertainments. That doesn’t mean the sunlit hours hold no appeal! Cusco pulses with the energy of its mixed culture, languages, and traditions of peoples who once were strangers.

One of the joys of Cusco is that the past never truly fades. Explore the city’s streets and discover the oldest inscriptions mingled with the new. Together they paint a picture of how the city has managed to join the two and surge forward with the same ingenuity. What you’ll find when you come here is likely to be far more mesmerizing than what you may have thought to experience.

Utilize this guide to tailor your exploration of the historical expressivity that is Cusco. You’ll find information about the city, the Sacred Valley, and valuable tips regarding the weather, geography, and transportation options. That’s not all you’ll discover though. Included are reviews of the area’s hotels, restaurants, and essential attractions. Treks and available adventures, including the classic Inca Trail, are a popular reason for many travelers so we’ve incorporated a section that explores these options.

qoricancha sacsayhuaman

Sights and Attractions

Quick Reference

  • Where: Approximately three to seven miles away from Cusco City.
  • Altitude: 12,000 feet above sea level.
  • How to Get Here: Bus and car accessible. Walking tours available in between sites.
  • Entrance Fee: Included in Cusco City’s Boleto Turístico.
  • What to Bring: Comfortable shoes, sunglasses, sunscreen, hat, water, poncho (during rainy season).
  • Handicap Accessible: No.

As you might imagine, the Cusco region is a wonder and wealth of historical and archeological attractions. Though there are many and varied things to see, there are a few ruins that are especially poignant examples of the culture and civilizations that came before. Among these are Qengo, Pucapucara, and Tambomachay. Admission to all of them is included in the Boleto Turistico and they are often combined with tours of Sacsayhuaman.

Qorikancha – The Andean Temple of the Sun

The Temple of the Sun has been known by various names, including Qurikancha, Koricancha, and Coricancha, throughout its history. Temples within Cusco vary from humble to magnificent and Qorikancha was destined to be the most majestic of them all. What remains can be found at the intersection of Calle Santo Domingo and Avenida Sol within the city’s historic center.

Astronomy is just one of the myriad of Inca talents and evidence can be found in the observatories they raised. Huacas, or sacred places such as caves, mountains, and rivers that were located directly on ceques (transcendental lines) were believed to be connections between the heavens and the earth.

Qorikancha was built to honor Inti, the sun god, and its location is not accidental. The Inca pinpointed the spot where ceques converged and raised the temple on a hill between the rivers of Shapy-Huatanay and Tullumayo. For those that may wonder at this specific location, a visit during the Andean New Year of Inti Raymai provides the answer. During the solstice, sunlight streams through its windows due to its specific alignment with astronomic entities.

The wonder of Inca architectural ability is never clearer than when one looks closely at examples such as Qorikancha. Its walls are shaped and fitted from stones that were relocated from quarries as far away as the towns of Waqoto and Rumicolca (20-30 kilometers/12-18 miles) and all of it was done without the use of mortar. Construction techniques include irregular stone shapes with rounded edges and slightly inclined trapezoidal walls. Why use such methods? Inca designs are known for their ability to withstand seismic movements and these mortar-free structures allow the stones to vibrate in place during seismic activities. Once the event is over, they settle back into position and keep the building a solidly in place as it was before.

Church of Santo Domingo

The Church of Santo Domingo marks a convergence of Western and Andean. Following the Spanish invasion, the land upon which it was built was given to Juan Pizarro, Francisco Pizarro’s younger brother, who then willed it to the Dominican Order. They retain ownership to this day.

The stonework of Qorikancha was dismantled and used in the building of the Santo Domingo Church. Given the information about Inca structures, it should be no surprise to learn that earthquakes that had leveled other Spanish construction did nearly no damage to Inca walls. Only man’s interference could undo such architectural marvels.

Baroque carvings and vaulted ceilings exhibits Santo Domingo’s grandeur and the wooden door of the church boasts the only place in Cusco where Moorish style carvings can be found. Within the Spanish walkway edged internal garden a pre-Columbian single stone fountain still stands.

The 1950 major earthquake in Cusco exposed original Inca walls beneath layers of old plaster and efforts are now underway to preserve both historical legacies of this religious structure. It is, and ever will be, a captivating example of the merging of Inca and Spanish architecture.

Sacsayhuaman

On a hill high above Cusco city, the Inca built terraces using massive stones weighing hundreds of tons. These were cut and polished to form what was once a truly awe inspiring architectural delight. Only a small portion remains but even that captures the imagination at the skill and scale of the Inca builders. It has survived centuries of history and the passing of one culture into another and still it stands proudly.

Sacsayhuaman covers about 12 square miles, sits at an altitude of over 12,000 feet above sea level and was used to keep watch for external attacks on the city. Its size and grandeur also serve well as a place to hold rituals and other functions. Today, Cusco’s Inti Raymi festival is held there.

Though only a small percentage of the original buildings and structures remain, there is plenty to see that speaks to the history and detail of this massive site. The site’s primary defensive feature, baluartes, are comprised of staggered walls that had been built using the enormous stones mentioned earlier.

Throughout the complex, sets of stones resembling a lion’s paw can be found. Add to these, and located directly above the main walkway of Sacsayhuaman, is the K’usilluc Jink’ian (the “throne”). This area sports a view of the entire fortress, the city of Cusco, and neighboring hills. It is believed that this is where the Inca presided over important ceremonies.

Three tall towers once existed and faint outlines found on the highest parts of the ruins bear witness to their locations. The Muyucmarca tower was the political core though it is sometimes mistaken for a solar calendar because of its circular nature. It served not only for defense but also housed food, water, an arms depot, and a temple. Its siblings, the Paucamarca and Sallamarca towers, were devoted to religious and logistics respectively.

Various gates mark the areas and layers of the compound but few of these still survive. Most are now gone as they were dismantled in the periods following the conquest. Garcilaso de la Vega is our sole accounting for these gates: Tio Puncu, Acahuana Puncu, and Huiracocha Puncu. Puma Punchu (Gate of the Puma) is a smaller example and is one of remaining examples.

June is the most popular time to visit because many celebrations take place during this time. Sacsayhuaman is a wonder to visit at any time, however, as it is one of the most impressive examples of Inca archeology and military architecture.

Qengo

The original name for Qengo is lost to history and its reason for being still remains a mystery. Qengo is a Quechua word for labyrinth and it was named such due to the twisting channels and steps that are carved on the outer rock surfaces.

The site is located on hill above Cusco city and consists of two main areas. The Qengo Grande and Qengo Chico sit some hundred yards apart and evidence indicates that the area was a temple that was used during rites surrounding fertility and harvest. One of the largest huacas (a sacred natural place) it represents a manifested spiritual being, pre-Columbian deities that were linked to how these places came to be.

“The Mortuary”, an underground room is one of Qengo Grande’s famous features. It is an interior chamber made up of polished walls, ceilings, an altar, niches, and steps all of which were carved from the stone itself. Access to the chamber is via man-made tunnels that work inward.

Pucapucara

Located 4.5 miles from Cusco city and sitting over 12,000 feet above sea level, Pucapucara is comprised of walls, internal plazas, a multitude of small rooms, and aqueducts. Defensive walls among rooms of various sizes indicate that the site was both military and administrative in nature. It may well have been a military base and its name suggests it as well. “Puca” means red and “Pucara” means fortress making this the Red Fortress.

A walk up the hill leads to Tambomachay which leads us to believe that this fortress may also have regulated transit to the hydraulic site.

Tambomachay

Tambomachay is a primary example of Inca achievements in hydraulic advancements. This site is located about half a mile from Pucapucara and is above a stream of the same name. It covers over 5000 square feet and is known by the locals as “The Bath of the Inca”.

Tambomachay is a series of aqueducts and canals that channel thermal water that then spills out over four walls that form a set of terraces. Unlike many other sites, the terraces were decorative and ritualistic in nature versus agricultural.

It is thought that the site was either a military post or used by Inca elites for cleansing rituals. Whatever the purpose, it is a classic example of Inca artistic and architectural mastery over the elements of earth and water.

machupicchu train Travelling from Cusco to Machu Picchu

Travelling from Cusco to Machu Picchu

There are a number of options to get from Cusco to Machu Picchu. One is, of course, to hike the Inca Trail. If this is not something you wish to do then your only other direct option is to make the trip via train. Fortunately, there are a number of rail options available to you.

If you wish to depart from Cucso, a fifteen minute car ride to PeruRail’s primary train station in Poroy is in order. A second option is to depart from the town of Ollantaytambo instead. The Aguas Calientes station is the arrival destination for both routes. Be sure to purchase train tickets well in advance of your trip in order to guarantee availability. This is especially true during the busy season of May through September. Be aware, also, that the train ride from Ollantaytambo averages around two hours vs the four hours it takes from Cusco.

Another deciding factor in rail choice may be the scenery. It has been said that the panorama between Ollantaytambo and Aquas Calientes is vibrantly stunning. This route shadows the course of the Urubamba River as it flows through the Andean cloud forest. Alternatively, PeruRail’s Vistadome Train offers a spectacular view of the mountains that hover over the valley.

Regardless which option is chosen, schedule at least one leg of your journey during the daylight hours. You won’t regret it the beauty you’ll experience.

Arriving in Aguas Calientes is, however, only one portion of the entire trip. To get to Machu Picchu, a shuttle bus must be taken. Tickets may be purchased from the office upon arrival or in advance from the Consettur office in Cusco. Expect buses to run at approximately fifteen minute intervals and don’t expect assigned seating. Time of day will effect waiting time to board the bus so be sure to take that into account.

Travelling In and Out of Cusco

What you need to know: By Air

There are a number of flight based options for travelers finding their way into Cusco. Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport (airport code: CUZ) is located roughly fifteen minutes from the city’s historic center but is not able to handle large aircraft. Because of this, most travelling from abroad fly into the airport in Lima, spend a night there, and depart for Cusco in the morning. This is the norm since most international flights arrive in Lima at night and flights departing for Cusco do so in the mornings. Limited afternoon connections are available via airlines, such as LAN, that own more modernized fleets. You can expect around an hour of travel time regardless of connection used to arrive into Cusco.

What you need to know: By Long Distance Bus or Car

Flight access isn’t the only option, however. For travelers who aren’t pressed for time, have flexibility in their itineraries, or are on a tighter budget, long distance bus trips are available. Be aware that these trips can take anywhere from ten hours (Cusco/Puno or Cusco/Arequipa) to over twenty hours (Cusco/Lima). The longest trips are not recommended, however, because the trip covers dangerous and very windy mountain routes.

For those that wish to drive themselves, car rentals are also available but are very expensive and the routes are fraught with risks in the form of narrow highways edged by steep mountainous cliffs and drops.

Though these options may seem less expensive than air travel, when you take into account the risks and travel times, the flight choice may well be the better bargain.

What you need to know: By Train

A third, and popular choice, is to board the Andean Explorer and trip it by train from Puno/Lake Titicaca to Cusco. The ride is longer (just under ten hours) but is relaxing and the scenic route is reminiscent of early 20th century rail. Amenities include dining cars and a bar-car where travelers can enjoy the open-air observation deck.

Staying Safe

Caution, common sense, and discretion are your friends! With the exception of admission to Machu Picchu or major credit and purchases, you’ll rarely need your important travel documents on your person. The safest choice here is to leave them in a safe deposit box at your hotel. For those times when you do need them, make sure you carry them concealed and secured close to your person. One good choice is to purchase a money belt.

The savvy traveler keeps any personal belongings tucked close and never lets these items out of their sight. Thieves watch for the unwary and a bag hanging on the back of a chair is an easy snatch and grab.

Being aware of your surroundings and the people around you is key to staying safe. Travel in groups and trust your instincts. Anything that sparks your suspicion should be avoided and you should never consider it foolish to evade becoming a petty theft target. Be sure to carry with you a fully changed and functional cell phone.

Last, but not least, talk to those who live in the area. When you do so you, not only immerse yourself into the culture, you also make friends and help ensure a greater measure of safety for yourself and your belongings.

Cusco Transportation and Safety

Cusco Walk-About

You won’t want to miss a thing in Cusco and when you strike out on foot in historic Cusco, you won’t have to. Walking gives you time to linger and appreciate the finely crafted Inca stonework, sculptural colonial architecture, vibrantly colored balconies, and the eccentric shops that line the streets of the city’s historic center.

Naturally, the Inca didn’t create their streets and alleys with vehicles in mind and so access to the narrow walkways can only be made by pedestrians, well, and the occasional lama. The narrow street of Hatun Rumiyoc, host of the Stone of Twelve Angles, is but one of many examples of places you won’t be able to see in Cusco unless you set out on foot.

Within walking distance of the Plaza de Armas can be found most of Cusco’s main attractions. The structure of the city, however, is such that the some streets are very steep and can pose quite a challenge to many who visit. For those that can’t, or don’t want, to endure the heart racing effort it takes to climb some sets of stairs, there are many other options for travelling around the historic center and the city itself.

Taxis in Cusco

As pointed out earlier in this guide, high elevation can sometimes be problematic. Fortunately, one transportation option in Cusco is taxi service. Fares within the city can range between S/.5 and S/.10 (US$2-3). Travelers should be aware that taxis are not metered and, therefore, prior to climbing in the destination and fare should be settled. Should there be a language barrier, presenting the driver with a business card or a handwritten address can be the answer. Small change in the local currency is the best form of payment.

Unfortunately, travelers are at risk to be scammed so get an idea of the standard prices for local services prior to agreeing to them. If possible, arrange official registered taxi services through your hotel or restaurant. Should you be out and need taxi service, look for taxis with a visible placard displayed on the vehicle.

Because the area around the historic center, and the Plaza de Armas especially, is comprised of one-way streets vehicles will often need to find convoluted routes to get from one place to another. This can often mean that it will take more time to drive somewhere than it would have taken had you walked instead.

Travelers should also be aware that, during some holidays (such as Inti Raymi and Semana Santa), the streets near an around the Plaze de Armas will be closed to automotive traffic. This may mean that, despite the driver dropping you as close as possible, you’ll find yourself on foot with your luggage should your hotel be close to the festival areas.

Combis and buses

Other travel options include combis, which are minivans that have been modified to be used as a shared taxi, mini-buses, and full sized buses. While combis generally provide access to neighborhoods and areas just outside the historic center of the city, mini-buses and full sized buses are often used to offer service between Cusco and surrounding towns. Unlike what you may be used to in other countries, routes and schedules are likely to be haphazard. You may well be in for an unanticipated adventure when you make use of buses!

The Boleto Turistico del Cusco

What is it?

There is so much to see and do in Cusco and the surrounding area and, while much of it is accessible on an individual basis, some attractions are not. Access to these is obtained by purchasing a full or partial Boleto Turistico del Cusco (Cusco Tourist Ticket).

The full Boleto Turistico provides entry to 16 different areas of interest and is valid for ten days. For those that wish to visit only some of these, there are three other options:

Circuit I – One day access to the following four Inca ruins:

  • Sacsayhuaman
  • Qenqo
  • Pucapucara
  • Tambomachay

Circuit II – Two day access to the following eight museums:

  • Centro Qosqo de Arte Nativo (native art and folkloric dance)
  • Monumento a Pachacuteq (Pachacuteq Statue)
  • Museo de Arte Contemporaneo
  • Museo de Arte Popular
  • Museo Historico Regional
  • Museo de Sitio del Qorikancha (museum only, not the Qorikancha site)
  • Pikillacta
  • Tipon

Circuit III – Two day access to four Inca ruins in the Sacred Valley:

  • Chinchero
  • Ollantaytambo
  • Pisac
  • Moray

Some important sites are not included in the Boleto Turistico. These include:

  • Machu Picchu
  • The Maras salt mines in the Sacred Valley
  • The Qorikancha
  • The Cathedral in the city’s main plaza
  • The Inca Museum in Cusco

Boleto Turistico Need-To-Know

The Boeto Turistico only grants access to attractions and does not include transportation or guides. This means you’ll have to book your tours of Cusco or the Sacred Valley, so when you do, be sure to ask if the price includes the cost of your Boleto Turistico choice.

There are several purchase location options for your Cusco Tourist Ticket.

  • The entrance of the principal archeological sites
  • The government and tourist building on Avenida Sol 103 in Cusco offers advanced ticket purchase
  • Selected tourist offices
  • Authorized travel agencies.

Because U.S. dollars and bank cards are not accepted, be sure to bring Peruvian Soles to pay for your ticket. Each ticket is stamped with its dates of validity at the time of your purchase and authorization. Note that tickets are not refundable or extendable and that each attraction can only be visited once within the allotted time frame.

You will need to carry identification (ID or a copy of your passport) along with your ticket to be allowed entrance to the various attractions.

cusco plaza cusco

Where is Cusco?

One couldn’t ask for a more scenic location in which to discover this fascinating city. Snuggled into the wings of the Andes in southeastern Peru, Cusco can be found south and west of Machu Picchu and the beginnings of the Amazon jungle. Lake Titicaca can be found to the south of the city and some 586 kilometers (364 miles) by air the capital city of Lima awaits.

Along with their scenic valley and high altitude plains companions, the snow-capped peaks of the Salkantay and Ausangate mountains welcome those who fly into Cusco. These giants reach above 6,200 meters (20,000 feet) and, on clear days, Ausangate is visible from the city. Both the airport and the bus terminal are located within 20 minutes from the historic area of the city.

Spanning from the curves of the river basin, where the oldest sections of the city are found, Cusco stretches into the valley and meanders into the surrounding hills. Indeed, the historic center is just a small section of the present-day city but it is the heart and soul of the region. Locals and travelers alike gather together to participate in the years’ most important cultural events.

Thirty minutes via the road to Pisac will take visitors to the Sacred Valley. The ever growing popularity of the valley, due to its historical attractions and lower elevation, can also be reached via the higher altitude town of Chinchero to Urubamba and Ollantaytambo though this trek will need closer to an hour.

If nothing else, the diverse geography of the region surrounding Cusco make it a unique visiting experience. Its proximity to both the Amazon and the Andes mean that a record-breaking range of climactic types and biological species can be encountered. Protected by the Peruvian state, the Machu Picchu Historic Sanctuary houses both Machu Picchu and Mt. Salkantay.

The reserve itself is home to some 200 orchid, 400 butterfly, and hundreds of other plant and bird species. Those who visit the Cochahuasui Animal Sanctuary, an animal rehabilitation center within the Sacred Valley, are treated to the region’s faunal diversity consisting of endangered condors, parrots and macaws, pumas, and other Andean creatures including llamas, vicuñas, and guanacos.

What you need to know: Altitude Sickness:

While most Cusco visitors will experience few ill effects due to altitude sickness, the best preparation is to be well informed of the symptoms and potential complications. Adjustment to the higher altitude can include:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Decreased appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Mild shortness of breath

More serious symptoms should not be ignored and medical help sought immediately as some complications, including pulmonary and cerebral edema, can be fatal if not treated. Watch out for extreme lethargy and trouble breathing even while at rest.

Plan on enjoying a slow and easy first day in Cusco to allow yourself time to become acclimatized.

aeropuerto cusco aeropuerto

Planning the trip: What to pack

Because the weather in Cusco is unpredictable and there can be enormous temperature differences throughout the course of the day, the wise traveler makes it a habit to keep an eye on the forecast. Plan to wear layers that can be removed or added as needed throughout the day.

In general, lightweight short sleeves are sufficient for the warmer parts of the day and longer sleeves or a warm fleece or sweater come in handy when the sun goes down. Rain and windproof jackets are an essential wardrobe accessory for the rainy season’s torrential downpours. Another essential is some kind of UV protection for both skin and lips regardless of the season.

Don’t neglect your feet! Comfortable walking shoes are fine for most day tours while proper hiking boots are best for the more serious trekking. Even so, shoes with thicker soles work just fine for trails where the footing is minimally rocky.

What you need to know: Packing Light

It is tempting to pack everything you think you might need but packing lighter has advantages. Fitting what you’ll need into a single carry-on means you won’t have to worry about missing flight connections or lost or damaged luggage. In addition you can forgo waiting time at the baggage carousel and you’ll save money for checked luggage. You’ll also be far more mobile during your journeys from the airport, hotel, and between all the destinations you’ll want to visit.

There are a few keys to this trick! Make a list of all the items you’ll actually need and use and don’t forget that you can easily buy items you may have forgotten or may find you need or want. You’ll certainly want to indulge is the local fashions and it’s easy to purchase an extra bag or two for such things while you’re there.

What you need to know: Cusco Dining Code

Don’t worry! Due to the high populous of backpacking and adventure travelers, the dress codes in the area are not strict. In fact, “Trekker Chic” is the fashion of choice! It is helpful to know, however that there are a smaller number of 5-star Cusco hotels, restaurants, and bars that are classy enough to warrant a more formal dress-up.

plaza cusco plaza cusco

Cusco Seasons and Weather

Rainy and dry, South America’s summer and winter respectively, are the two seasons Peru’s highland regions can boast. From November to March, visitors can expect steady rain with January and February being the wettest months. While cloudy skies (which provide insulation and more temperate evening weather) are the norm, sunshine peeks through occasionally. Rainy season temperatures range from 16°C (60°F) during the day to 8°C (46°F) at night.

From May to October, the dry season reigns. During this time temperatures fluctuate dramatically between day and night due to a lack of cloud cover though snowfall in Cusco is rare. Be prepared for ranges of warmer 18-19°C (64-67°F) during the day and more frosty nights around 1°C (33°F).

For those wishing to experience a wider variety of climates, the mountainous regions around Cusco provide everything from warm and humid valleys to frigid plains in the higher altitudes.

Cusco Hotels

You won’t find a dearth of places to stay when you visit Cusco. Hotels range anywhere from 5-star luxury to serene and private to comfy Bed and Breakfasts. The choices are outstanding and you may wish to consult with your travel advisor at GOTOPERU for help in deciding what will work best for you.

Here we’ll list a few to get you started.

Casa Andina San Blas

The Casa Andina San Blas is just a short walk away from the main plaza in Cusco’s San Blas area. It features vaulted ceilings and dark woodwork that gives it an alpine-cottage feel. Décor is completed with Andean rugs, broad glass windows, and a stone crafted fountain in the central courtyard.

Rooms are large and well-appointed with bathtubs, hair dryers, and reliable hot water. The view from any room is superb and reasonable pricing make this hotel a perfect choice for those wishing to splurge on any of the sites and attractions that abound.

Casa Andina Private Collection

Guests who wish to stay closer to the main plaza in Cusco without the noise of the night life may wish to choose this hotel. Patterned after an 18th century mansion and located in the quieter corner of Qorikancha in historic Cusco, the hotel boasts four open courtyards and a gurgling stone fountain. The lounge features a large stone fireplace and a relaxing atmosphere.

Rooms in this hotel are all non-smoking and offer free wifi. Guests may choose between one king size bed or two full beds and each room comes equipped with a desk, safety box, a flat screen television, and coffee kits. The hotel also offers ATM and same-day laundry service.

Aranwa Cusco Boutique

This hotel’s 16th century architecture exudes luxury and is appointed by a vast collection of colonial-era Cusco School style paintings and sculptures. The Arwana is a 5-star hotel that caters to their guests’ need for higher altitude acclimation. Each elegant room is equipped with a smart oxygen system that feeds O2 directly into the rooms.

Organic baths, heated floor tiles, Scottish showers, and gracefully detailed marble are just some of the luxuries travelers can expect while staying here. Other amenities available include currency exchange, laundry service, spa, sauna, and a hair salon.

Andean Wings

The Andean Wings is located only a couple blocks from the Plaza de Armas which means it is close to a slew of restaurant, bar, and shopping options. Each room in this 4-star hotel is unique and each is inspired from various Peruvian influences.

Amenities featured include wireless internet, laundry service, and room service. The Six Pumas Holistic Spa offers guests a variety of massage options, Zen Shiatsu, and other therapies. Their on-site restaurant serves up Peruvian specialties such as lomo saltado and grilled trout.

Casa San Blas Boutique

Tucked in the cozy San Blas area, the Casa San Blas Boutique is a comfortable choice in historic Cusco. Not far away is the Plaza de Armas as well as one of Cusco’s most famous streets, Hatun Rumiyoc. This hotel’s architecture was inspired from Andean textile-weaving and each room is named after an animal or design that are often featured in Quechua textiles.

The hotel’s on-site restaurant, the Tika Gourmet Bistro, serves lunch and dinner as well as offering room-service.

Hotel Pakaritampu

Located at Avenida Ferrocarril in the Sacred Valley. This is a charming hotel found a short distance from the train station in Ollantaytambo. It offers scenic views of the mountains and beautiful gardens.

El Albergue

Located at Avenida Estacion (next to the train platform) in the Sacred Valley If you’re looking for an alternative that isn’t as fancy as some, El Alberque is the answer to your desires. It is a small and homey inn that offers spacious and rustic rooms with free WiFi and an in-house café – the Café Mayu.

Cusco Places to Eat

Restaurants

Along with its bevy of hotels, Cusco and the surrounding areas treat travelers to a wide choice of dining experiences. Listed here are just a few of these wonderful places to eat.

Dress tends toward casual and major credit cards are accepted at most of the upscale restaurants. To ensure eating at your choice of restaurants, reservations are highly recommended. For help, please speak with your travel advisor at GOTOPERU.

Limo

The Limo overlooks the central plaza of Cusco and features modern décor and dishes served with Cusquenan flare.

Address Portal de Carnes 236, 2nd floor
Phone (+51) 84 240-668
Hours Daily 11am– 11pm
Best seats By the windows overlooking the central plaza.
Tips Reservations Recommended. Credit Cards Accepted.
Main courses $10-20.

MAP Café

This café can be found within the Museo de Arte Precolumbino. Its crystal cube décor makes dining here a unique artistic experience.

Organic baths, heated floor tiles, Scottish showers, and gracefully detailed marble are just some of the luxuries travelers can expect while staying here. Other amenities available include currency exchange, laundry service, spa, sauna, and a hair salon.

Address Casa Cabrera (inside Museo de Arte Precolombino), Plaza Nazarenas 231.
Phone (+51) 84 242-476.
Hours Daily 11am– 3pm and 6– 10pm.
Tips Make Reservations. Credit Cards Accepted.
Main courses $20-$30; Prix-fixe 3-course dinner menu about $62

Cicciolina

Cicciolina, a Mediterranean/International bakery and Tapas bar, can be found on the second floor of a restored colonial home just around the corner from the Cusco Cathedral. By day the bakery fare tempts passersby and by evening visitors can enjoy a cozy dinner and scrumptious desert.

Address Calle Triunfo 393 2nd floor, Cusco
Website http://www.cicciolinacuzco.com/
Phone (+51) 84 239-510
Hours Mon-Sun 8:00-11:00; 12:00-15:00 and 18:00-22:00
Tips Reservations Recommended. Credit Cards Accepted.
Main courses $10-$20

Greens Organic

Greens Organic makes eating healthy a decadent delight. The restaurant makes use of Andean protein-rich grains and legumes as well as local produce to create a menu that tastes as rich as the items it features.

Address Santa Catalina Angosta 135, Piso 2, Plaza de Armas
Phone (+51) 84 254-753
Hours Daily 12:00-21:30
Tips No reservations required, but recommended. No credit cards.
Main courses $12-$25

Chicha

Located in both Arequipa and Cusco, Chicha offers multiple chances to feast on a combination of Andean and Peruvian specialties. Gaston Acurio, Peru’s most celebrated chef, is responsible for culinary discoveries here as well as his flagship restaurant in Lima, Astrid & Gaston.

Address Plaza Regocijo 261, 2nd floor.
Website http://www.chicha.com.pe/
Phone (+51) 84 240-520
Hours Mon-Sat 12:00-23:00 - Sun 12:0-17:00
Tips Good vegetarian option. Reservations recommended. Credit cards accepted.
Main courses $10-$20

Pachapapa

Pachapapa features traditional Peruvian cuisine and is best known for two dishes: Cuy Horneado con Huacatay y Ají Panca (a whole guinea pig roasted with special Peruvian herbs and hot yellow pepper), and Pachamanca which consists of various tubers, corn, and meats all baked in a traditional ground oven.

Address Plaza San Blas 120, San Blas
Website http://www.cuscorestaurants.com/pachapapa/
Phone (+51) 84 241-318
Hours 11:30-22:00
Tips Call 24 ahead to reserve the Cuy (guinea pig) or Pachamanca (ground-oven baked assortment). Reservations strongly recommended.

Cafes

Jack’s Café

Located at the crossroads between the Plaza de Armas and the San Blas neighborhood, Jack’s Café satisfies palates yearning for a taste of home. The serve everything from any style eggs to pancakes, to burgers, and chicken soup.

Website http://jackscafecusco.com/pachapapa/
Phone (+51) 84-254606
Hours 7:30 - 23:30
Note No Reservations Available

La Bodega 138

Proving that pizza is popular the world over, La Bodega 138 stands out from all the others by serving pizzas made with the freshest, locally grown ingredients. Each pie is made to order so you’re certain to be satisfied.

Phone (+51) 84 260-272
Dining options Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch, and Late Night
Note Closed Sun. Reservations Available
Price per plate $7-$12

Fallen Angel

The Fallen Angel is one of Cusco’s hidden surprises. This original dining experience serves an array of taste treats including Mediterranean, Andean, Steak, and vegetarian options.

Website http://www.fallenangelincusco.com
Phone (+51) 84 258-184
Hours Mon-Fri 11am-11pm; Sat-Sun 2-11pm
Note Closed Sun. Reservations Available
Price per main course $15-$25

Choco Museo

If you are a chocolate lover, then you’re going to adore Choco Museo. This café/museum/workshop is an expert in all things chocolate and serves a delicious list of items from chocolate treats to coffee to cocoa tea.

Website http://www.chocomuseo.com/
Phone (+51) 84 244-765
Hours Monday - Sunday 10:30 AM to 6:30 PM
Note Cost of workshops vary and must be booked.
Price for beverage $3-$5

The Sacred Valley Eateries

Blue Puppy Lounge and Restaurant

(Peruvian fusion cuisine) – Located in the Plaza de Armas, Calle del Horno

Website http://www.cuzcodining.com
Phone (+51) 84 630-464
Hours 7:30 AM - 11:30 PM
Note Also a great place to grab a cocktail, fresh juice or milkshake
Average price per plate $10

Mayupata

(Peruvian fusion cuisine) – Located at Jr. Convencion (Opposite of the Templo de Santiago Apostol)

Phone (+51) 84 204-009
Hours Daily 10 AM to 9 PM
Note The pizzas are very large and are good for at least 2 hungry travelers
Average price per plate $10

Pachamama (Pizzeria)

Located in the Plaza de Armas

Phone (+51) 84 204-168
Hours Daily 8 AM to 10 PM
Note Stop in for lunch and grab a table outside to soak up the local vibes of the town and enjoy some leisurely people watching.
Average price per plate $8

Puka Rumi (Mexican fusion cuisine)

Located in the Calle Ventiderio

Phone (+51) 84 204-151
Hours Daily 7:30 AM to 10 PM
Note The burrito and fajita plates come with countless sides so you can build them any way your heart desires.
Average price per plate $7

Cafe Mayu (Cafe)

Located at the Estacion de Tren Ollantaytambo

Phone (+51) 84 204-014
Hours Daily 7 AM to 7 PM
Note Does not accept credit cards
Average price per plate $5 (To-go orders $10)

Hearts Café (Café)

Located at Avenida Ventiderio

Website www.heartscafe.org
Phone (+51) 84 436-726
Hours Daily 7 AM to 10 PM
Note Does not accept credit cards
Average price per plate $5

Night Life Fun

Eating, drinking, and making merry are easy to find in Cusco and we’ve listed here a number of places you might want to visit.

Here we’ll list a few to get you started.

Bars, Lounges & Cocktails

The Casa Andina San Blas is just a short walk away from the main plaza in Cusco’s San Blas area. It features vaulted ceilings and dark woodwork that gives it an alpine-cottage feel. Décor is completed with Andean rugs, broad glass windows, and a stone crafted fountain in the central courtyard.

  • Museo del Pisco
  • Limo’s Pisco Bar
  • Fallen Angel
  • Paddy’s Irish Pub
  • Norton Rat’s Tavern

Folklore, Performing Arts & Theater

  • Kusikay Theater Company
  • Centro Q'osqo de Arte Nativo
  • Teatro Municipal
  • Restaurants featuring dinner shows
    • La Retama
    • El Truco
    • Tayta Inti
    • Tunupa

Cinema and Live Music

  • 8-theater cinema located in the Real Plaza Cusco
  • El Garabato Video Pub
  • The Film Lounge & Danish Café
  • Ukukus Bar Cultural
  • Le Nomade
  • The Muse

Dance Clubs and Discotecas

  • Mama Africa/Mushrooms
  • Mythology
  • Kamikaze

Casa San Blas Boutique

Tucked in the cozy San Blas area, the Casa San Blas Boutique is a comfortable choice in historic Cusco. Not far away is the Plaza de Armas as well as one of Cusco’s most famous streets, Hatun Rumiyoc. This hotel’s architecture was inspired from Andean textile-weaving and each room is named after an animal or design that are often featured in Quechua textiles.

The hotel’s on-site restaurant, the Tika Gourmet Bistro, serves lunch and dinner as well as offering room-service.

Hotel Pakaritampu

Located at Avenida Ferrocarril in the Sacred Valley. This is a charming hotel found a short distance from the train station in Ollantaytambo. It offers scenic views of the mountains and beautiful gardens.

El Albergue

Located at Avenida Estacion (next to the train platform) in the Sacred Valley If you’re looking for an alternative that isn’t as fancy as some, El Alberque is the answer to your desires. It is a small and homey inn that offers spacious and rustic rooms with free WiFi and an in-house café – the Café Mayu.

cusco

The Sacred Valley of the Incas

The Sacred Valley and Cusco go hand in hand and you’ll not want to bypass any of the wonders to be found here. Also known as the Urubamba Valley, it reveals the shaping of one of the most environmentally diverse areas in the Peruvian highlands. It stretches from a flat and bountiful valley to hills and mountains that reach elevations where snow can be found any time of the year.

The area was populated by societies from Pre-Columbian, to Inca, and beyond. Terraces were formed on the cliffs along the valley’s hills that resulted in the valley becoming such a fertile agricultural region. The Incas viewed the valley as a religious (sacred) center and a site in which to experiment with crops imported from other regions and altitudes.

Today the area faces threats from climate changes and is the focus of efforts to combat these negative effects. Future generations of indigenous people as well as visitors will benefit from the safeguarding of agricultural activities and historical sites.

Indigenous Communities

One can get so caught up in the wonders and sites of Cusco and the Sacred Valley that it may be easy to forget that nearly 10% of the area’s population are indigenous. Take time to visit and peruse the wares offered by the various communities. It’s a marvelous way to get a today glimpse into the life of the peoples who have called this place home for so long.

Biodiversity

Hand in hand with local agriculture and continuing the Inca experimentation comes those that have made the Sacred Valley their university. Agriculturalists quickly realized how richly fertile, not only in earth but in an abundant water supply as well, the area was. They eagerly set to work and have created what is one of the largest reserves of horticultural diversity in the Andes and worldwide.

Because the Sacred Valley spans multiple levels of elevation it offers an enticing set of environments in which to study. The Inca’s interest in this same science has provided us today with a richly agrarian infrastructure.

One spectacularly successful area of study is with potatoes. In fact, there is even a spot specifically reserved for research on over 4,000 species of potatoes. The Parque de la Papa is comprised of 9,000 hectares located in the middle of the Sacred Valley and is home to five Quechua villages – Sacaca, Chawaytire, Pampallaqta, Paru-Paru, and Amaru. The park thrives due to innovations geared toward community sustainable projects and a mutual respect for the environment.

Ollantaytambo

Known as the Sacred Valley’s most precious gem or as the “living Inca city”, Ollantaytambo rewards those who take a closer look a glimpse into a view of what small town daily life is like in modern Peru. One unique feature of this town is that it has remained inhabited with no interruptions since Inca times.

Exquisite stonework as well as ancient technology, including terraces, fountains, and irrigation canals still in use today, can be viewed side by side. Together they make Ollantaytambo one of the most sophisticated of the Inca constructs.

Quick Reference

  • Where: Ollantaytambo, 40 miles from Cusco City, 25 miles from Machu Picchu
  • Accessibility: Car/Bus from Cusco City, Train from/to Machu Picchu
  • Schedule (archeological site): Monday-Sunday, 07:00 - 18:00 hrs
  • Fee: Included in the Boleto Turistico; single entry also available
  • Average Hiking Time: 2-3 hours
  • What to Bring: Comfortable shoes with non-slippery sole, sunscreen, sunglasses, hat, poncho or umbrella (during rainy season), water
  • ATM: Available on the Plaza de Armas.
  • Handicap Accessible: No. Consult with hotel and tour operators to arrange accommodations or contact your travel adviser at GOTOPERU for help

Urubamba

Urubamba is the largest town in the Sacred Valley and offers a quieter and more easygoing alternative to staying in Cusco. Short forays from the main road offers travelers a breathtaking opportunity to view the mountainous backdrop and a countryside covered in wild flowers and pisonay trees.

Pisac

Sunday crafts markets are a favorite in this town and offer visitors a chance to purchase local goods on their way to the surrounding ruins. Intihuatana boasts exceptional stonework and can be seen along with massive wall that protects one side of the citadel and five gates (four unnamed). Two tunnel systems, an Inca bridge, towers, statues, and a largely unexcavated cemetery are among other worthwhile sites here.

Calca

During pre-Columbian times, Calca was a trading garrison that connected the highlands with the lower mountain regions. Spectacular views of the Pitusiray and Sahuasiray mountains can be had during a visit here. But the more popular reason to stop at Calca are the two systems of natural springs, formed from a combination of snowy peaks and volcanic soil,that can be found here.

Yucay

Yucay is sometimes called the Historic Capital of the Sacred Valley and is the home of the Sayri Tupac ruins, the Antibamba gateway, and Santiago Church. The town’s charm is its tranquility and pleasant climate so staying here offers a time for meditation and peace.

Chinchero

This thriving agrarian community is the focal point for a dramatic change due to plans to build a new airport here. The feria dominical, or Sunday fair, is a trading festival that occurs every Sunday. Locals and tourists alike attend to buy and sell local products and flair.

Moray

In addition to the local ruins, Moray is attractive for the abundance of sports activities. Horseback riding, hiking, and mountain biking are among the most popular. Its altitude makes it advisable for anyone wishing to participate to allow themselves time to acclimate.

Maras

Maras offers views of the Veronica and Qaqawiñay mountains. The slopes of Qaqawiñay provide rose-colored salt crystals which are formed from natural wells that dry out once the rainy season ends. A spring near the mountain sends salty water down the slope and is responsible for filling these natural wells.

Adventure sports in Cusco and the Sacred Valley

There is a plethora of adventures to be had in Cusco and the surrounding areas. Listed here are a few of the favorites and if you need more details on the when’s where’s be sure to consult with your GOTOPERU trip advisor.

  • Horseback Riding
  • Mountain Biking
  • River Rafting
  • 1-day treks
  • Ziplining
  • Rock climbing
cusco

What you need to know: Trekking options

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

This is a 4-day, 26 mile trek that covers two mountain passes, steep stone steps, and ends at the Sun Gate of Machu Picchu. Permits for this trek typically sell out months in advance so, if you’re planning a visit anytime from May to August, you’ll want to book well ahead of time.

Salkantay Trek

This is a 5-day journey and is one of the most popular treks aside from the Inca Trail. Because this trek doesn’t require a permit, it’s easier to access and can be experienced alone or as part of a group. The morning of the 6th day includes a visit to Machu Picchu.

Lares Trek

This trek typically spans 3-days with a visit to Machu Picchu on the 4th day. Here you’ll venture into the highlands above the Sacred Valley and witness communities of those native to the area. You’ll get to interact and see their agriculture and what they produce including woven textiles as well as enjoy the natural hot springs near the town of Lares. Unlike other treks, this one is customized to fit your interests and abilities.

Choquequirao Trek

This is one of a two alternative treks and its final destination is Choquequirao (also known as Machu Picchu’s sister city). There are two versions of this trek – a 4 or 5 day tour that departs and returns to the town of Cachora, or a 9-day tour that continues deeper into the terrain until it reaches the site of Machu Picchu.

Vilcabamba

This trek visits the town of Espiritu Pampa and gives trekkers the opportunity to experience the ruins of the last rebel stronghold of the Incas. Travelers end at Aquas Calientes and finish their tour with a visit to Machu Picchu.

Luxury Trek

For those who need or prefer the comforts of lodges versus “roughing it”, there is a way to experience these treks. The Lodge to Lodge Trek is operated by the Mountain Lodges of Peru and follows the same route as the Salkantay Trek. It also adds an extra day so trekkers can behold the wonders of the glaciers and lagoons near the Salkantay peak. As with other treks, this one also ends with a tour of Machu Picchu.

Ollantaytambo

Known as the Sacred Valley’s most precious gem or as the “living Inca city”, Ollantaytambo rewards those who take a closer look a glimpse into a view of what small town daily life is like in modern Peru. One unique feature of this town is that it has remained inhabited with no interruptions since Inca times.

Exquisite stonework as well as ancient technology, including terraces, fountains, and irrigation canals still in use today, can be viewed side by side. Together they make Ollantaytambo one of the most sophisticated of the Inca constructs.

Quick Reference

  • Where: Ollantaytambo, 40 miles from Cusco City, 25 miles from Machu Picchu
  • Accessibility: Car/Bus from Cusco City, Train from/to Machu Picchu
  • Schedule (archeological site): Monday-Sunday, 07:00 - 18:00 hrs
  • Fee: Included in the Boleto Turistico; single entry also available
  • Average Hiking Time: 2-3 hours
  • What to Bring: Comfortable shoes with non-slippery sole, sunscreen, sunglasses, hat, poncho or umbrella (during rainy season), water
  • ATM: Available on the Plaza de Armas.
  • Handicap Accessible: No. Consult with hotel and tour operators to arrange accommodations or contact your travel adviser at GOTOPERU for help
7 DAYS
6 NIGHTS

GTP716: ANDEAN ORIGINS

  • CUSCO
  • SACRED VALLEY
  • MACHU PICCHU
  • LAKE TITICACA
FROM
$919
INCLUDED

EXCURSIONS & TOURS, ENTRANCES, TRANSFERS, HOTELS, BREAKFASTS, ASSISTANCES

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