Located in the middle of the Peruvian Andes is the former home of the Inca Civilization, Cusco. The town is famous for its spectacular main plaza, cobblestone streets and houses with terracotta-tiled roofs, that will remind you of old European towns. There are some great things to see in Cusco City and its surrounding areas, so let us take you through some of what Cusco, Peru travel has to offer.
To get a good bearing of where you are, you should always start at the main square, called the Plaza de Armes. According to legend, in Inca times the square was twice the size of what we see today. It was the heart of Cusco in Inca time and still is today.
The churches that feature at the main plaza are the Cathedral, construction began in 1559 and took almost a hundred years to build; the church is Cusco’s main church and one of the city’s best examples of colonial architecture. The church holds an impressive collection of Spanish art that deserves some of your attention.
The other church that is featured at the main plaza is La Compania; the church is built on the foundations of the Inca palace of Huayna Capac. The church was built by the Jesuits, work beginning in 1571. Sometimes lit up at night, the church makes an impressive feature at the Plaza de Armes.
The best example of Inca architecture in Cusco is Koricancha, once considered the richest temple in Cusco, it was in the Inca time covered completely in gold sheeting, the temple featured many gold life-sized figures. Today, all that remains is the stonework that is still visible, as all of the gold, precious stones and metal were taken by the Spanish, who then built the Santa Domingo Church on the temple site.
Walk away from the main plaza toward San Blas and you will see the 12-sided stone, this is said to be the only stone found with this many angles. Continue past the stone up a steep hill and you will arrive at the small hamlet of San Blas, also featuring a lovely little church with an ornate gold altar, the church is worth the entry fee. San Blas has many great restaurants to try the local cuisine.
On a Cusco City tour, you will travel out of Cusco city to the Inca site of Sacsayhuaman, this rather large site sits overlooking Cusco city, still today the exact purpose of the ruin is unknown but it is believed to have had a great religious and military importance. According to historians, Sacsayhuaman was the site where a fierce battle between the Incas and the Spanish took place, many Inca lives were lost at the site. The Inca fortress has a zigzag form that is said to be representative of the teeth of a puma.
There are also many amazing museums to discover, see the Museo Arqueologico Q´orikancha, this is a small museum located near the Santo Domingo Church, featuring many displays from both Inca and Pre Inca cultures. In addition, the Museo de Historia Regional, this museum is in the colonial house, Casa Garcilaso de la Vega, this museum also features artifacts from Inca and pre Inca cultures.
Starting at the Plaza Rococijo, two blocks from the main square, at 10:20 am, is a free walking tour Cusco Peru. You may make reservations online but most show up and look for the people with the green jackets and flags to take them on the Cusco city tour.
The tour starts as you head for San Pedro market, from the market, you will head back to the main square and see the beautiful churches and the guide will explain to you about the history of the plaza. From the plaza, you will then head up a very steep set of stairs to San Blas.
From San Blas, you will then head back to the plaza and down the main commercial street in Cusco, called Avenida Sol. Here, you will find banks and money changes. The Justice Palace is located also on Avenida Sol and is an imposing white building that stands on nearly a whole block, further down the avenue to Corichanca.
Cusco Peru tourism has much to offer to all sorts of travellers. The city is filled with wonderful examples of the Inca culture. Cusco also has all you need to pass your vacation in comfort and style. From five-star luxury hotels in stunning colonial houses to affordable accommodation, there is no shortage of accommodation to suit all sorts of holiday budgets. The city is all known for its great restaurants, catering for every taste. Try the local food in some of the top class restaurants or if you prefer, eat international food, there is no shortage of both.
For the young and the young at heart, there is no shortage of nightlife in the city of Cusco. Dance the night away in one of the many clubs that offer local music, salsa or international music.
Visit the city of Cusco on your next vacation to Peru and South America. We are waiting for you!