Explore the Best that Cusco Has to Offer
Welcome to Cusco, the navel of the world! Join us on this spectacular half-day tour of all the most important historical sites in the city. You’ll feel inspired as you walk through ancestral streets and the pretty plazas of Qosqo.
You’ll go back in time as you walk through each era in the royal city’s past—it’s the oldest continuously inhabited city in the Americas! We can trace time through history from Native Americans to Incas and Spaniards and finally to modern-day citizens of Cusco.
Besides the historical importance of this grand city, Cusco is breathtaking with a buzzing culture and a cuisine highly-acclaimed on the world stage! We’re sure this majestic city will go above and beyond any expectations you have.
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As you touch down in the imperial city of Cusco, you’ll be greeted by our friendly team who’ll help you get settled in. Whether you’re visiting by yourself, as a couple, or as part of a larger group, you can join us any day of the week to explore the magical city’s magnificent past.
The half-day city tour is a perfect way to spend your first day in Cusco. It’s a relaxing trip consisting of visits to nearby archaeological sites and admiring the surrounding landscape. There’s only light walking involved, and you don’t need to worry about the logistics as we’ve got it all covered.
Cusco holds amazing cultural richness. This tour is highly recommended for those who would like to know more about our culture and the city’s past—which made it what it is today. You’ll enjoy a visit to the Main Plaza (Plaza de Armas), where you’ll find the Cusco Cathedral. We’ll also stop at Qoricancha (Temple of the Sun) & Santo Domingo Convent. Later on, we‘ll head out of the center and drive to the archaeological sites of Sacsayhuaman, Qenqo, Puca Pucara, and Tambomachay.
Cusco maintains its customs, traditions, mysteries, and tales of its legendary past as a city. So make your first day in the imperial capital of the Inca empire one to remember.
- Soak up the rich culture and traditions as you touch down in the city of Cusco.
- Cusco holds various titles, including UNESCO World Heritage Site, Archaeological Capital of America, Historical Capital of Peru, and Navel of the World. Come and see why for yourself.
- Take a tour of the most historically important sites in the whole city to welcome you in the best way possible.
- During the Viceroyalty in Cusco, houses, colonial churches, and convents with magnificent art pieces were built on top of Incan walls and foundations. You’ll get to witness this and more.
- As you head out of the center, you’ll be blown away by the incredible views of the surrounding mountains as well as the expansive city below, right in the middle.
- Sit back and relax as every last detail of your trip is taken care of by our friendly team.
Cusco | Cathedral - Qoricancha - Sacsayhuaman - Q'enqo - Puca Pucara - Tambomachay
Highlight of the day: Learning all about the ancient Inca culture and observing their incredible craftsmanship.
Touch Down in Cusco City and Explore the Sites
We’ll pick you up from your accommodation to start the half-day city tour. The first stop is the Cusco Cathedral in the main square before we head on to Qoricancha. You’ll see some incredible artwork at the first and then astounding Inca constructions at the second.
After, it’s time to head out of the city center and visit four historically important Inca archaeological sites—Sacsayhuaman, Q’enqo, Puca Pucara, and Tambomachay. At each, you’ll learn something different about the incredible ancient culture. You’ll then be taken back to Cusco and dropped off at your accommodation for the evening.
Your exciting day out begins when we pick you up between 13:20 and 13:50 to begin the city tour. First off, we’ll visit the Cathedral in the Plaza de Armas—the main square of Cusco. Inside, you’ll enjoy a wide range of incredible paintings from Cusco’s School of Art—famous in all of South America—and gold leaf and embossed silver works.
Our next stop will be at Qoricancha, or Temple of the Sun, to appreciate its architecture and perfect stone constructions only seen in Inca temples of high importance.
We’ll then board our transport and head out of the city center to visit four highly significant Inca archaeological sites: Sacsayhuaman, Q’enqo, Puca Pucara, and Tambomachay.
At Sacsayhuaman, you’ll see the gigantic stones that have been perfectly carved. Q’enqo boasts areas of high religious importance. At Puca Pucara, you’ll observe an ancient military construction, part of Cusco’s ancient defense system. The final stop is dedicated to a water cult and has working fountains where water still runs to this day.
At the end of your city tour, we’ll take you back to your accommodation in the city at around 18:30. You’ll then have the evening free to spend as you please.
Below is a little more info about each site you’ll visit.
Qoricancha Sun Temple and Santo Domingo Convent
This hundreds of years old religious center was built to worship the sun, the most revered deity during the Inca Empire and what most of their culture was based around.
Inside the temple, you’ll find smaller temples dedicated to the sun, moon, stars, etc. To construct the site, the Incas used ashlar masonry, constructing upon the placement of similarly sized cuboid stones that they’d cut and shaped for this very purpose.
Outside the building are beautiful, regal gardens and fountains on the grounds of the monumental temple. You’ll find many pretty flowers as you walk along the paths. Here, the combination of the outstanding Inca architecture and the Spanish colonial architecture is what stands out the most.
Located in Cusco’s Main Square, the cathedral is a colonial monument of astounding artistic value. It was built on top of the Wiracocha Inca Palace and houses. Once inside, you’ll be able to observe works of carved wood such as the choir, pulpit and altars, beautiful paintings from the Cusquenian School of Art (including a Last Supper painting in which Christ and his disciples eat cuy—guinea pig!), and works of embossed silver and gold leaf.
Among all the 13 churches located in Cusco Historical Center, the Cathedral is one of the most important because it represents the mix of the Andean and colonial civilizations. The grand cathedral sits at the head of the Plaza de Armas—the historical and cultural heart of Cusco.
Located 2 km from Cusco center, this archeological site was built using enormous carved rocks joined with compelling precision—it’s almost unbelievable how they were able to engineer such incredible feats hundreds of years ago. From here, you can also enjoy a spectacular view of Cusco city along with the beautiful landscape formed by the surrounding mountains.
The site itself is composed of three overlapping platforms that stretch roughly 360 meters. In the construction, you can see stones as big as 9 meters tall. The most well-known part of Sacsayhuaman is its grand plaza and the adjacent three massive terrace walls. The stones used in the construction of these terraces are among the largest used in any building in pre-Hispanic America.
Another 1.5 km from Sacsayhuaman is Q’enqo. This archaeological complex was an Inca ceremonial cult center. The name may have derived after the small yet intricate network of underground passageways that make up the site. It’s fascinating making your way through them all.
The most prominent feature of this site is an open space called the amphitheater. Hundreds of years ago, you would have found Inca mummies in the 19 trapezoidal niches found here. Today, the amphitheater is only half of its original height.
This site is known as the red fortress due to the reddish tints resulting from the vast amounts of iron in its rocks. Many experts believe that this fortress was perhaps an old Tambo that served both as a resting and guarding spot to protect Tambomachay. Here you can see some excellent examples of architecture, fountains, aqueducts, and several Inca enclosures.
The final complex on your tour is made up of a combination of finely carved stones, waterfalls, and aqueducts that were constructed to carry water coming from nearby springs. Tambomachay is associated with the water cult for this reason. In front of this construction, there’s a tower that’s believed to have served as a guarding post and communication tower.
Why Travel with us
At Salkantay Trekking, we specify the included and non-included services under all the tour itineraries listed on our website. We take care of all the logistics, but please pay attention to the details to avoid missing anything. Some items may be different for specific programs, so please read carefully before booking with us.
What Is Included?
High Quality Service & Safety
You’ll meet your trekking guide and group in our office for an orientation before your trek. The meeting will be at 5:00 pm the evening before the trip begins.
Experienced Tour Guide
English and spanish speaking official tour guide. All our guides are graduates of the professional career of Tourism of the National University San Antonio Abad of Cusco. We choose them for their professionalism, experience, responsibility, seriousness, unbridled passion for exploring, and sincere desire to proudly share in our culture and history. He or she will keep you safe, sound, and comfortable on your trek so that you can enjoy your time worry-free!
Medical Kit or First AID Kit
All Salkantay Trekking guides have received specialized training in first aid. We hold mandatory training sessions with our guides every February. Your guide will always carry a first aid kit to face basic emergencies (altitude sickness, travelers' diarrhea, cuts, scrapes, etc.) as well as oxygen. If necessary, we’ll evacuate you from the path as quickly as possible and ensure that you arrive at a clinic for treatment.
24/7 Customer Service
We have telephone service available 24 hours/day for ease of communication with Salkantay Trekking leading up to your trek.
All your transportation is included in this package. We will pick you up from your hotel to explore the city of Cusco. Once you complete the tour, we will take you back to the door of your hotel.
What Is Not Included?
Cusco Tourist Ticket
This ticket is necessary and allows you admission to many of the most popular attractions in Cusco and the Sacred Valley, including archaeological sites and museums.
From PEN 70.00 (US$ 20.00) to PEN 130.00 (US$ 40.00) per person.
Cusco’s Cathedral Entrance Ticket
- Adult: PEN 40.00 (US$ 12.00)
- Students and Children (11-17): PEN 20.00 (US$ 6.00)
- Children (under 10): Free
Qoricancha Entrance Ticket
- Adult: PEN 15.00 (US$ 4.00)
- Students and Children (11-17): PEN 8.00 (US$ 2.00)
- Children (under 10): Free
Tips for our staff
Tipping is the norm on any excursion in Peru. Although we pay good salaries to our entire team, something extra is always welcome.
Additional costs or delays beyond our control
Landslides, bad weather conditions, itinerary modifications due to a safety concern, illness, pandemia, government policy changes, political instability, strikes, act of God, etc.
Here we leave you with a brief list of extras that you can enjoy during this package.
Huayna Picchu Mountain
Huayna Picchu is the mountain behind Machu Picchu and which can be climbed in 45 minutes. Although this excursion is up to you, our guide will take you to the place of entry. This walk requires an entrance ticket which we can assure for you if we have enough time in advance.
Your entry ticket will be purchased to coincide with the dates of your excursion on the Inca Trail. The entry can be done in two shifts: from 7:00 am to 8:00 am or from 10:00 am to 11:00 am. We buy the tickets in the second shift so that our clients can fully enjoy their guided tour of Machu Picchu. Remember, the shifts only indicate the time of entry. You can go up and down Huayna Picchu without haste.
The ticket for Huayna Picchu costs US$ 75.00 per person.
Machu Picchu Mountain
Machu Picchu Mountain is another of the mountains that surround the archaeological site of Machu Picchu. It offers even more incredible views than Huayna Picchu, but it takes 1.5 hours to reach the top. This walk requires an entrance ticket which we can assure for you if we have time in advance.
The excursion entrance to Machu Picchu Mountain is open in two shifts as well, the first from 7:00 am to 8:00 am, and the second from 9:00 am to 10:00 am.
The ticket for Machu Picchu Mountain costs US$ 75.00 per person.
All our tours include the PeruRail Expedition train. This train leaves Aguas Calientes at 4:22 pm. The Vistadome train is a higher category service that offers more comfortable seats, a panoramic design that will allow you to see through the roof, as well as an entertainment show on board. The Vistadome train leaves Aguas Calientes at 4:43 pm and goes to Ollantaytambo train station. From there, we’ll take you on our transport to your hotel in Cusco.
You can access this service for an additional payment of US$ 45.00 per person.
We want to make your trip to Peru as memorable and as carefree as possible. In this section, you’ll find the answers to all the questions you have about traveling with Salkantay Trekking in one place. Please read the following information carefully – it will help you with any questions about our services.
Have another question that we haven’t answered here? Drop us a line and we will get back to you asap!
Can I store my luggage at your office?
Of course! During the trip, your main luggage can be stored at our office (you can organize it with us on the briefing day or by email) or at your hotel, both free of charge.
Any equipment that you won’t need on the trek can be stored safely in your hotel. Nearly every hotel will provide this service. Don’t leave items of value with your bags; put them in the hotel safe and obtain an itemized receipt (in the unlikely case of theft, many insurance companies require that you have a copy of the receipt itemizing everything). It’s best to put items such as credit cards inside a sealed, signed envelope for extra peace of mind.
Pick up of guests
Salkantay Trekking can pick you up from your hotel, as long as it’s in the Historical Center of Cusco. Your guide will coordinate the pickup time in the briefing session, but please keep in mind that the time may vary between 30 and 45 minutes due to traffic.
Cusco is an old city, meaning it has many narrow cobbled streets. Some hotels and Airbnbs may be located on streets without access to cars or on long, steep slopes, making it difficult to transport luggage. We strongly recommend that you book accommodation with good access.
Group tours are made up of different types of people, then physical conditions and ages can vary. By agreeing to be part of a group tour, you also accept that some people may be faster or slower than you. Therefore, each person can go at their own pace on the route.
It may be the case that a group wishes to modify the tour; however, the guide will be the one who decides, after consulting with all the participants, if such modifications are possible.
Strikes and demonstrations
Strikes and demonstrations are common in Peru, and this may interrupt some of our tours. Roads can be blocked, and train tracks can be taken over. However, we will try to keep your trip as originally planned, even if it means leaving the night before the scheduled date.
Under these circumstances, tours may also be canceled. In case of changes or cancellations, everything will be coordinated with you by our operations department. Your safety is our highest priority, and our decisions will be made to protect it.
Please pay attention to where you leave your things and remember to take everything once you leave our transport, tents or restaurants. You’re the only one responsible for your objects during the tour.
The "City Tour Cusco" can leave any day of the week, the whole year.
2022 Land Cost
Group Price: US$ 30.00 per person
This small-group journey is guaranteed to operate with just two guests.
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Thank you for your interest in having an adventure travel experience in Peru curated by Salkantay Trekking. Please take a moment to complete our short form, so one our friendly Adventure Consultants could provide you all the information for your trip of a lifetime in Peru.
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Remember | One of our Travel Experts will contact you soon to confirm the availability of the trip you chose, give you more information, and/or provide you alternative options. Once availability is established, we will ask for a deposit and a completed online registration to confirm your spot on the trek. Please call us at (+51) 958 191 179 with any questions or to confirm availability over the phone.
Note | Due to the rainy season and trail maintenance, we don't offer this trek during the whole month of february. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you, we are working to provide you a better service!