Cusco is a beautiful little city that’s home to a beguiling blend of cobblestone streets, colonial architecture and Peruvian street spirit. It also serves as a gateway to the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu.
You can start by checking out the incredible Sacsayhuaman, a massive Inca walled fortress that is worth the short walk uphill to see. It offers an excellent view of the city and the surrounding mountain peaks.
If you’re planning a trip to Cusco, you’ll want to check out the ruins of Sacsayhuaman. Located just outside the city, this site is worth visiting for both its impressive stonework and awe-inspiring views over Cusco.
The site was built during Inca times and its mighty walls and towers were made of huge stones, which are carved and fitted together with surgical precision. Despite being dismantled by the Spanish, much remains to marvel at and it’s definitely worth checking out.
2. San Blas
The neighborhood of San Blas is a cool place to hang out and relax. You can walk through the streets, visit art galleries and eat in one of the best restaurants in Cusco.
It is a neighborhood of colonial architecture and it is located on top of a former Inca Huaca dedicated to the lightning god Illapa. It is a small district that you can reach on foot from Plaza de Armas.
3. Inca Museum
Located in one of Cusco’s finest colonial mansions, this museum is the place to go if you want to get a better understanding of the Inca culture. Its extensive collection includes ceramics, textiles, mummies and gold.
It also has a fascinating exhibition of “Cusco School” paintings. These were painted by the famous Cusco painters Diego Quispe Titto, Pablo Chillitupa and Bernardo Bitti.
4. Planetarium Cusco
If you’re looking to learn more about the skies above Cusco, head to this unique planetarium. Located in a private ecological reserve near Sacsayhuaman, this family-run facility is one of the coolest things to do in Cusco.
The planetarium packs an ancient twist as you tumble deep inside the astronomical minds of the Incas, learning about how they used stars to draw their cities and make weather predictions. The museum also features mummified bodies and a courtyard where indigenous artisans weave textiles.
5. Iglesia de la Compania de Jesus
Located in the Plaza de Armas, one of Cusco’s most iconic squares, the Iglesia de la Compania de Jesus is an impressive example of baroque architecture. Built on the remains of an Incan palace, it is one of the most imposing churches in town.
Its facade with ornamental decoration, its main altar, paintings by the 'Cusco school' and silver and gold objects stand out. It also has one of the largest altars in Peru, crowned by a soaring dome.
6. Museo Palacio Arzobispal
Cusco is a city that has a lot to offer, both culturally and experientially. It’s a popular tourist destination, rich with Inca and Spanish culture, and is also the starting point for many travelers who want to conquer Machu Picchu.
One of the most intriguing museums in the city is the Museo Arzobispal. This museum has a great collection of artifacts that trace Peruvian history from pre-Inca civilizations to the impact of the Conquest and colonial times on native cultures.
7. Cristo Blanco
Cristo Blanco, also known as the Inca pyramid on top of the Pukamoqo hill, is a sight to behold. The 8-meter-high monument, made of granite covered in marble and plaster, shows Jesus Christ with open arms towards the city.
A trip to Cusco is not complete without a stop at this impressive structure. The statue is also a great place to take in the panoramic views of the city and surrounding hills. There are many selfie opportunities at this iconic site.
8. San Pedro Market
If you’re looking for a whirlwind of color and flavor, the San Pedro Market is your place. It’s a bustling covered market with stalls for produce, meat, clothing, souvenirs, snacks and fresh juices.
Here, you can see and smell the daily life of Cusco, while shopping for souvenirs and chatting with local artisans. You can also find a variety of local foods, including delicious chicken broth and freshly squeezed fruit juices.