This list of the Cusco Top Destinations will help you prepare a route through one of the most historic and most beautiful cities in Latin America, which we are sure will not disappoint you.
Located on a slope of the Andes mountain range, Cuzco was the capital of the Inca Empire and one of the most important cities in Spanish colonial times. Declared a World Heritage Site, it still preserves remains of Inca temples and constructions in the foundations of numerous colonial buildings in which this mixture of two cultures can be observed while you walk through its cobbled streets and squares, visit the most important temples and churches as well as when try its delicious cuisine accompanied with a pisco sour.
Cusco is famous for a lot of Tourist Attractions, such as Sacsayhuaman, Coricancha, Ollantaytambo and, above all, Machu Picchu. Of course, there are also many other tourist attractions. Among them Pisac, Chinchero, Choquequirao, Maras, Moray and the Mountain of the 7 Colors. But had you heard of Piquillacta, Tres Cruces de Oro or Putucusi Mountain?
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Based on the experience of the days we spent in the city during our Cusco Perú vacation packages on our own, we have made this list of what we believe are the 5 Cusco Top Destinations. We started!
The Red Valley of Pitumarca
The Vilcanota mountain range, south of Cusco, is the scene of incredible natural attractions. The best known of all is the Mountain of the 7 Colors (5,200 m.a.s.l.). However, very few visitors know the so-called ‘Red Valley of Pitumarca’, a natural landscape located near there.
The slopes and summits of this site are stained red due to a mineralization process millions of years ago. Although the ‘Red Valley’ is a new attraction, it is estimated that it already receives 500 visitors a day.
How to get? – From the city of Cusco, it is reached through a 3-hour trip to the town of Pitumarca. From there it is a walk for 2 or 3 hours to the Red Valley.
How much? – The tours to the Red Valley include a visit to the Mountain of 7 Colors. The approximate cost is $ 60.
The Mountain of the 7 Colors of Palcoyo
The Mountain of the 7 Colors of Palccoyo (4,900 m.a.s.l.) is a summit dyed in various colors in a very similar way to Vinicunca. It is located a short distance from the snowy Ausangate. It is one of the new attractions of the Vilcanota mountain range.
In Palcoyo, you can also see a stone forest formed naturally. Llamas, alpacas, vizcachas, condors and other animals abound there. Despite its beauty, there are still not many tourists who dare to visit it.
How to get? – From Cusco, you arrive with a 3-hour bus trip to the town of Checacupe. From there a walk of only 1 hour begins.
How much? – The tours have an approximate price of 60 dollars. It is also possible to get there and pay an entrance ticket (10 foreign soles and 5 Peruvian soles).
The Humantay lagoon (5,473 m.a.s.l.) is, without a doubt, one of the most incredible landscapes in Cusco. This natural tourist attraction is located at the foot of the mountain of the same name, on the way to the snowy Salkantay. It is a very visited tourist attraction.
Getting there is an adventure. You walk through high Andean landscapes where llamas, alpacas, vizcachas among other animals can be seen. The lagoon is surrounded by snow-capped peaks. Visitors who arrive there leave ‘apachetas’, offerings to the Pachamama (Mother Earth).
How to get? – From the city of Cusco, you reach the Humantay lagoon with a bus trip to the town of Soray Pampa. There begins a 3-hour walk to the lagoon.
How much? – The 1-day tours have an approximate cost of 40 dollars. It is also possible to get there on your own.
Cocalmayo hot springs
Visitors who arrive at Machu Picchu through the alternate route by Hydroelectric have the option of relaxing in the thermal baths of Cocalmayo. This natural attraction is located in the town of Santa Teresa, approximately 20 kilometers from Machu Picchu.
The thermal waters of Cocalmayo have up to 3 pools with temperatures from 38ºC. up to 44ºC. Its waters are clear and have healing and relaxing properties. Many tourists arrive there on their way to Machu Picchu in order to relax.
How to get? – There are several ways to get to the hot springs of Cocalmayo. The most usual is with a bus trip from Cusco to Santa Teresa (5 hours).
How much? – Foreign tourists pay 10 soles (3 dollars). Peruvian tourists, 5 soles (1.5 dollars).
The Inca city rises imposing between the Andes Mountains and the jungle, showing itself to the world as one of the greatest works of man and can be enjoyed intact even today.
Despite its difficult location, getting to Machu Picchu is relatively easy and can be done in many ways, whether you like comfort or adventure.
There is no excuse not to visit the masterpiece of the Incas, a must for everyone who comes to Cusco.
How to get? – You take the train from Poroy (Cusco) or Ollantaytambo, to Aguas Calientes. Here you board a bus that directly goes up to Machu Picchu. It should be taken into account that there are 8 hours of transport (4 roundtrip).
How much? – The 1-day tours have an approximate cost of 339 dollars.
Other tourist attractions in Cusco
Tres Cruces de Oro: the most beautiful sunrise in the world
The most beautiful sunrise in the world can be seen from the Tres Cruces de Oro viewpoint, in Paucartambo (Cusco). The place is called ‘Akhanacu’, also known as the ‘Balcón del Oriente’ because in the distance you can see Manu, in the jungle of Peru.
This natural spectacle occurs every morning, starting at 4.30 a.m. The sky is stained with red, orange and their hues. Every winter solstice (late June), the so-called “White Ray” happens at Tres Cruces de Oro, an optical illusion that simulates three suns in the distance.
How to get? – From Cusco you travel south by bus for 4 hours to the town of Paucartambo. From there you take a private transport to the viewpoint.
How much? – Tours are 2 days, cost $ 100 and include visits to other tourist sites in the region. If you go on your own, the entrance ticket costs 10 soles (3 dollars).
Huasao Wetland: Groot and the Lord of the Rings in Cusco
A few kilometers from Cusco there is a theme park where the characters of ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings’ were designed in wood. The Huasao wetlands is a natural environment where one can be away from the city and enjoy nature.
This attraction is located in the Oropesa district. A short distance from there, there is an ideal Jurassic park to visit with the little ones. You can also enjoy the famous ‘Pan chuta’ and ‘Baked pork’.
How to get? – From the city of Cusco buses are boarded in the direction of Oropesa on Avenida De la Cultura. The trip takes approximately 30 minutes.
How much? – The entrance to the Huasao Wetland is 1.50 soles (0.5 dollars) adult and 1 sol (0.3 dollars) children.
Thermo-medicinal baths of Lares
Lares (3,150 m.a.s.l.) is famous for being an obligatory route of the ‘Lares Trek’, which leads to Machu Picchu after 4 days of walking. However, this district is also popular for hosting the Lares thermo-medicinal baths, a place of relaxation in the mountains.
The thermo-medicinal baths of Lares have up to 4 pools with natural hot waters that vary from 36ºC. up to 44ºC. Its waters have relief and healing properties in diseases such as osteoporosis, arthritis and muscle problems.
How to get? – Lares is 149 kilometers by road from the city of Cusco. You get there with a trip to the town of Calca and from there another to Lares.
How much? – The visit is part of the Lares Trek. If you want to enter on your own, the entrance costs 5 soles (1.5 dollars).
Piquillacta: the pre-Inca city in Cusco
Piquillacta (3,250 m.a.s.l.) is an archaeological complex built by the Wari culture was approximately in the year 500 of our era. The 50 hectare site contains up to 700 buildings in addition to other constructions.
It is estimated that 10 thousand people lived there (a maximum of a thousand lived in Machu Picchu). Despite its majesty and historical importance, it is still not very crowded by tourists. Piquillacta is the most important pre-Inca discovery in Cusco.
How to get? – On your own, you take a bus that runs through the south of Cusco to Piquillacta. Tours include roundtrip transportation.
How much? – Piquillacta is an attraction included in the tour to the South Valley of Cusco which includes Tipón and Andahuaylillas. The approximate cost of the tour is 40 dollars.
The Inca Bridge of Q’eswachaka
3 hours from the city of Cusco, in the town of Qhehue, survives the last Inca bridge called Q’eswachaka and declared Intangible Cultural Heritage by Unesco. This bridge made of ichu (andean grass) is approximately 500 years old.
Every second week in June, the residents of the surrounding communities rebuild the bridge just as their Inca ancestors did hundreds of years ago. Thus, after a 4-day ceremony, the old bridge is replaced by a new one.
How to get? – From the city of Cusco you take a bus to the town of Combapata. Then other successive trips to the towns of Yanaoca and Quehue, where the bridge is.
How much? – The 1-day tours have an approximate cost of 80 dollars. It is also possible to visit this site on your own.