7 Best Cusco things to do and see
Best Cusco things to do and see: Cusco is the archeological capital of Americas, the city is between (3240 – 3400 m, 10629.92 – 11154.86” above sea level, it is tourist main destination in south America, an incredible cosmopolitan city, where visitor are engaged by its beauty, and want to stay longer. So in order to stay longer and plan a better stay, here is a list of the top places to see.
1: Cusco Colonial Center: the old part of the city is as well the nicer part where there are located the most incredible streets, archeological monuments, and attractions such as: The plaza de Armas, where you can see the catholic church “Cusco Cathedral”, that holds nice canvases from the 17th century, the Maria Angola bell, the coir, silver chapel, etc.
The main plaza is as well nice, big and a nice spot to seat in one of the seats and have sunshine, or stay at night for few minutes, enjoying the lights, and surrounding mountains.
If you take the Cusco city walking tour you can see most of the mentioned places. The entry to the sun temple is 25 soles = us$7.
2: 12 angles stone, and San Blas neighborhood. the 12 angles stone streets is at the hatunrumiyoc “with big-stone” in honor to the nice stone, which is part of the incredible wall build with stone , that was part of an Inca palace. Following the street you can reach the San Blas “neighborhood of artisans”, where you can see sever mini art-galleries, the streets are nice, the little plaza as well is a great location to walk around, then return to the city center.
3: Kusicancha and Qoricancha: From the city center towards south there is located Kusicancha, a magnificent archeological open museum, where you can have idea of the beauty of the old Cusco, you can walk in the streets, ad see the urban design, the archaeological excavation ended on 2004, since then, the colonial houses at the site, are used as office for the Cusco ministry of culture.
From here, following a well preserved Inca street, you will reach the famous sun temple “Qoricancha”, the Incas main temple named as well as: “Qoricancha” here you can see the best of pre-Colonial architecture, superior quality to the buildings up to know.
Here you will also find an art gallery where you can admire canvases from the 17th century, those were painted by the Cusco school members, mostly anonymous. The entry to the Kusicancha is free, while for the sun temple costs us$5 = s/15 in Peruvian currency
4: San Pedro Market: Another worth place to see is the Cusco central market known as “Mercado de San Pedro”, located at west form the main square, it takes 10 minutes’ walk, at the streets on the way you can see the house of the most reach person during the colonial times “Marquez Lorenzo de Valle Umbroso”, this building from the 17th century is know the Cusco art school, the balconies are impressive.
Further on, there is la Plaza San Francisco, a nice square that holds, a botanical garden of native trees, close bay is the colegio ciencias, and the San Francisco Church, if you have time, it is advised to visit the Convent of San Francisco, Then passing by arco de santa clara you will reach the street that holds a large wall from inca times, built with stones.
At few meters, you finally can reach the Plazoleta de san Pedro, right in front of the church where there is as well the Mercado de San Pedro, once inside you can find several section, localt get their supply here, you can find vegetables, meat, fruits, bread, restaurants, souvenirs, etc, then if you are with a local guide, ask him or her to take you to the Ccascaparo market, another typical market, where you can find all greens and supply for locals.
5: Plazoleta de San Cristobal: A great view point to the main square, taking the streets t the north form the plaza de armas, at only 15 minutes, uphill walk there is located the plazoleta de san Cristobal, right in front of the 1st inca palace named Qolcanpata.
The building has many niches, and couple terraces, that has special shape, the little square offer a magnificent view to the old part of the city, from here you can see all the bee towers, and lanterns of the colonial churches, there is not many people so you will enjoy staying here for a while.
6: Museums: If you like art and enjoy visiting museums, then you should also plan to spend your time visiting museums.
The city of Cusco has as well several museums.
- At few meters from the plaza de armas, over the plaza Regocijos “kusipata”, there is located the Museo Historico Regional “Casa Garcilazo”, it used to be house of the 1st Americas, writer and Historian, this house holds house stuff of garcilazo, and eventually shows art and objects from new archeological excavations. Fee, included in the, Boleto Turistico del Cusco.
- Museo Casa Concha “Machu Picchu Museum”, this is a new museum that was adequate at an old colonial house, most of the things returned-back from Yale University in United States are here, located at south east of the center square, at only two blocks walking; you will find here nice ceramics and some objects from recent archeological excavations. Fee us$2.00
- Museo Inka: In my personal Opinion, this is by far the best Museum, where you can find objects from pre-inca, inca, and colonial ties, at a block walking distance, following the streets next to the cathedral, there is la Casa del Almirante Alderete Maldonado, that still keeps walls of the last Inca house “Huascar”, In the 1st floor you can see all objects, from pre Inca periods, in two rooms, and a room to see old and modern textiles. On the second floor according time-period, you can see objects from pre-historic times of the region, then pass to the local pre-inca cultures (from 1000 BC, up to 1200 AC), then thee many artifacts in creamy, stones, wood, textiles and metals form inca times, at the end, you also can find canvases from colonial times and some furniture’s from colonial times.
- Don’t get confused with: Pisco Museum (you can learn to make pisco and drink a lot of drinks), Chocolate Museum (here you can buy many flavors chocolate, and learn how to make some), and other museums, these are fun places, but there are shops where can spend a nice moment as well.
7: Food and Restaurants: Cusco is reach in culture, as legacy also we have a wide variety of dishes, a mixture of old and contemporary cuisine, there are many opportunities to find exquisite meals, where you can find from: Early afternoon and evening at the street corners (anticuchos, picarones, arroz con leche, mazamorra morada, yuca rebozada), the small food-points, also offers (churros, papa rellena, sandwiches, etc.
The traditional picanterias; also offers a great amount of food (lengua atomatada, costillar frito, rocoto relleno, cuy al horno, Kapchi de habas, Soltero de habas, etc). Then modern tourist restaurants with fusion modern cuisine. (Lomo saltado, salpicón de pollo, trucha frita, alpaca a la parrilla, aji de gallina, vegetarian option, etc).
Where to eat?
Cusco is reach, in wide amount of restaurants and food, here are some names, where you can find some of the mentioned dishes, always check at the reviews on network about their reputation: Mercado de san pedro, el moqueguano, picanteria la chomba, picanteria 3 marias, picanteria la chola, picanteria la cusqueñita, Picanteria el Muro, Restaurant la chicha, Nuna Raymi, Ima sumac, la feria, cicciolina, la divina comedia, etc.
Things to do and see outside of cusco city.
In Cusco Region, and peru wide; with such a huge legacy of culture, archeological remains, and history, cusco and peru has so much to discover, amongst day hikes, sightseeing, and trekking tours, here are some names:
At City outskirts: sacsayhuaman, qenqo, tambomachay, amaru marka wasi, puca pucara, tambomachay, devils balcony, inca trail to antisuyu, etc.
In Cusco region: Tipon, pikillacta, Huasao wetlands, andahuaylillas chapel, rainbow mountain tour, queswachaca inca bridge tour, palcoyo colors mountain, waqra pucara, pisaq inca site, pisaq market, ollantaytambo, chinchero, maras, moray, horseback riding, mountain biking, atv tours, zip lining, inca stones quarry, hummingbird terraces hike,anta stones forest.
condor soar watching at apurimac canyon, humantay lake, ancascocha trekking, machu picchu tours, lares trek, Salkantay Trek, Choquequirao trek, vilcabamba trek, ausangate mountain hike, vilcabamba trek to machu picchu, etc.
Peru Wide: Titicaca lake tours, amazon jungle, colca canyon, misti volcano climb, nazca lines, paracas reserve, huacachina oasis, sand boarding, ballestas island, lima archaeological tour, caral, mancora, cajamarka, kuelap, amazon boiling river, peruvian central andes, huaraz mountains, festivals in each region according calendars, and a wide culinary option at every region, etc.
Is there not you trip not included in our Cusco things to do list? yes, there are more sites and activities that should be here, Cusco and Peru has too many wonderful sites and it is even hard to make a list.