Cusco is one of the most important tourist destinations in Peru, and in Latin America. It offers its visitors, in both a unique and spectacular way, a rich historical and monumental legacy. Located in a territory of mountains and multicolored valleys of jungles and lush forests, of beautiful lagoons and torrents rivers. The department of Cusco is considered part of the Cultural Heritage of Humanity and its main attraction The Natural Sanctuary and Citadel of Machu Picchu, declared one of the new seven wonders of the world.
Cusco offers travelers the opportunity to enjoy the excitement of outdoor tourism, in a setting of beautiful landscapes, dazzling testimonies to Incan architecture you can admire the artistic richness of the colonial churches, be overwhelmed with the penetrating sound of the sacred pututes or shells. Enjoy the most beautiful dawn in the world at the heights of three crosses, feel and live the culture, alive in the communities of Cusco, or experience the flavor and aroma of a tasty pachamanca or a delicious baked pork.
Location of Cusco
Cusco is located in a fertile valley, bathed by the waters of the rivers Huatanay (tributary of Vilcanota) and Tullumayo. It’s in the southeastern Andes of Peru at a height of 3,360 m.s.n.m. The department of Cusco is divided into 13 provinces: Acomayo, Anta, Calca, Canas, Canchis, Chumbivilcas, Cusco, Espinar, La Convención, Paruro, Paucartambo, Quispicanchi, and Urubamba. The city of Cusco is divided into 8 districts: Ccorca, Cusco, Poroy, San Jerónimo, San Sebastián, Santiago, Saylla, and Wanchaq.
Attractions of Cusco and its surroundings
Since 1911, the year in which the American archaeologist Hiram Bingham discovered the citadel of Machu Picchu, Cusco has provoked the imagination of thousands of travelers. They venture to Cusco every year on the ancient Inca Trail seeking to crown at the top of this archaeological monument, one of the most impressive in the world.
The city of Cusco offers in its urban archeological circuit, surprising attractions and unforgettable locations: The Plaza de Armas, called Huacaypata by the Incas, the San Blas artisan district, the Santo Domingo Convent, built on the Temple of the Sun or Koricancha. The palaces of the Incas and their courts, and a very long list of archeological and historical wonders. Close to the city of Cusco you can visit the imposing ruins of Sacsayhuaman, Qenko, Puca Pucara and Tambomachay or Inca baths.
Cusco is surrounded by impressive archaeological remains, such as the citadel of Machu Picchu, the fortress of Sacsayhuaman, the complex of Ollantaytambo, Complex of Pisac, the enigmatic platforms of Moray and villages with living culture located in the Sacred Valley: Pisac, Calca, Yucay, Ollantaytambo, Urubamba, Chinchero and Maras Moray where their traditions and ancestral customs are kept alive.
The city of Cusco offers a cosmopolitan and plentiful nightlife; it’s a magical, dizzying and exciting city. This together with its archaeological wealth, makes the sacred city of the Incas one of the most spectacular destinations on the tourist circuit of the Americas. We recommend a stay of no less than 4 or 5 days to enjoy the city and its surroundings.
Cusco’s traditional corners and neighborhoods Plaza de armas, San Blas, Hatun Rumiyoc Street, Plazuela de las Nazarenas, Calle Loreto, Pukamarca and Kolcapampa.
Churches and convents of Cusco
The Cathedral, Church of Triumph, La Merced, Santo Domingo, Santa Catalina, San Francisco, San Pedro and San Cristobal.
Museums and historic houses in Cusco
Archbishop’s Palace or Museum of Religious Art, Garcilaso de la Vega House or Regional Historical Museum, Santa Catalina Museum, Casa Cabrera, Admiral Palace or Inca Museum, House of Snakes, Casa del Marqués de Valleumbroso, Casa Concha.
Typical Cusco dishes
Meals are part of an ancient legacy that over time has been perfected and enriched with ingredients from all over the world. Among the best known dishes of the Cuzco cuisine are: Cachun chuño, Chancho baked, Chicharrón a la cuzqueña, Churi uchú, Chuño cola, Olluquito with charqui, Pepián de Cuy, Cheese with Khachi, Quinoa atamalada, Timpu or puchero.
Popular Festivities in Cusco
The most important Cuzco festivities are: Holy Week, with the processions of Holy Monday Holy Friday between the months of March and April, the veil of the cross or Cruzvelakuy, on the night of May 2. Corpus Christi the most beloved holiday by The Cuzqueños celebrated between May and June. The Inti Raymi celebrations are among the most impressive of their kind in the world.
Further from Cuzco, but with equal originality and beauty The feast of the Lord of Q’oyllur Ritti, which is celebrated in the months of May or June in the foothills of the snowy Sinakara, in the Cordillera del Ausangate. There is also the Feast of the Virgen del Carmen Which takes place in Paucartambo on July 16. Other parties in the department of Cusco are: Fiesta de Choquequilca in Ollantaytambo, Yawar Party in Combapata, Tiobamba Fair, San Bernardo and Huarachicuy Ceremony, Pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of the Lord of Huanca, La Virgen of the Rosary, the Immaculate Conception, Santuranticuy and Feast of the Child.