Cuzco or Cusco, considered “the navel of the world” or “the Rome of the Incas”, for being for centuries the capital of the largest empire that has ever existed in Latin America. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1983 and Archaeological Capital of South America in 1933, it is a city that will take your breath away.
And not only the beauty that the city emanates from all four sides is to blame, but its steep slopes that at an altitude of about 3,400 meters make the oxygen not reach our lungs well.
The imperial city of Cuzco is the gateway to visit Macchu Picchu, but whoever thinks they can see it in passing is totally wrong. Besides being a city that oozes history from every corner, its beauty and atmosphere will completely capture you.
While you are traveling to Peru you may need to keep communication or a translation app. That’s why you may need to use one of our mobile phone plans for tourists to have a tourist sim card. In order to make a nice trip here in PeruSIM. Here we show 10 places you must visit in Cusco.
1. Plaza de Armas, a must-see place in Cuzco
A few meters from our hotel was the Plaza de Armas of Cuzco, considered the most beautiful in South America.
It is one of the most important symbols of the Inca culture, a place full of history where important sacred ceremonies and political events took place.
Inca palaces were built here, on top of which the Spaniards erected their main buildings during the conquest. Today, the Plaza de Armas is surrounded by beautiful colonial arcades, with colorful wooden balconies.
2. Cathedral, one of the main buildings to see in Cuzco
In the same Plaza de Armas is the imposing Cathedral of Cuzco, built between 1560 and 1664, with huge blocks of stone brought from Sacsayhuaman, on the ancient Inca Quishuarqancha Palace.
Inside it houses a huge collection of paintings by artists of the Cusquenian school, although we decided not to visit it due to lack of time. You can visit the Cuzco Cathedral from Monday to Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm. The entrance fee is 25 soles.
3. San Pedro Market, the most important market in the imperial city.
We walked a few blocks until we reached the San Pedro Market, undoubtedly one of the most picturesque places to visit in Cuzco. Probably the place that best reflects the daily life of the city, where the smells of flowers, fruits, meats and spices mingle in the atmosphere.
The San Pedro Market is an explosion of colors, because in addition to flowers, fruits and vegetables, many of its vendors wear their colorful traditional clothes.
You will find very varied stalls, as there are stores selling alpaca meat, handicrafts, handmade clothes that are being woven at the time, souvenirs and striking masks with the devil’s face, among many other things.
4. Temple of Qorikancha or Temple of the Sun
Leaving the San Pedro market we head towards the Convent of Santo Domingo, built over the ancient Inca temple of Qorikancha, known as the temple of the sun or the golden temple.
During the conquest the Spaniards decided to build a church over the ruins of the Inca temple, so what we see today is a mixture of the temple with a classical church.
Inside it houses a museum where you can see canvases, clothes, works of art… Currently Qorikancha is a multicultural space where masses, art exhibitions and even concerts are held.
5. San Blas neighborhood, the most bohemian neighborhood in Cuzco
It is located in the upper part of the city and if you manage to climb to the top of the Cuesta de San Blas you can enjoy beautiful panoramic views of Cuzco.
6. Cristo Blanco, the best viewpoint of the imperial city
Near the stone of the 12 angles walk about 10 minutes more along the same street uphill to visit the White Christ, a figure of 8 meters high.
7. Fortress of Saqsaywaman, the most imposing fortress to see in Cuzco.
You can take a cab from the neighborhood of San Blas to Saqsaywaman, an ancient fortress whose walls were built with huge stones perfectly fitted together.
8. Salt mines of Maras
The salt mines of Maras are salt quarries that date back to Inca times. To see them you will have to pay about 7 soles entrance fee, as it is not included in the tourist ticket of Cuzco. You will need almost a whole day to visit them but they are definitely worth it.
9. Bancales de Moray, a must-see in Cuzco
A half hour drive from Maras are the terraces of Moray, concentric terraces at different heights built by the Incas to obtain different microclimates, in order to achieve optimal conditions for each crop.
10. Mountain of the 7 colors, Vinicunca or Rainbow Mountain
The Rainbow Mountain is located about 100 km from Cusco and about 5200 meters above sea level. The excursion to Vinicunca is practically all day including about 2 and a half hours of trekking so you have to be in good physical shape. There is also the option of going on horseback, but we are totally AGAINST the use of animals and ask you please not to do it.
In 2016 Vinicunca became known for the melting of the mountain giving the world its multicolored hues that have made it irresistible for many travelers to visit.
Finally, we know that you have to keep communication with your relatives and friends, that you need to be able to orient yourself in new cities, that you might need help with translation and that you might need to search for restaurants or hotels. That’s why with PeruSIM you can buy a SIM card including the data plan of your need without having to worry about high roaming costs.