Peru Travel – Cusco Sights

October 10, 2018 11:48 pm88 commentsViews: 209

Many tourists use Cusco as a base from which to visit the amazing ancient city of Machu Picchu. However, Cusco’s rich history, indigenous people, and abundance of sights make it an important travel destination all on its own.

Cusco Tours

There are numerous tour companies in Cusco offering city tours, tours of the Sacred Valley, as well as hiking tours to Machu Picchu. It is a good idea to book all tours at one time from the same company to negotiate a discount. SAS and Llama Path seem to have positive customer satisfaction, although their prices may be higher for some things.

Cusco City Center

Cusco’s main plaza, the Plaza de Armas, is incredibly beautiful. A nice way to enjoy this spot is to relax with a cup of coffee at one of the restaurants surrounding the square. It is worth a look around inside the impressive Church of La Compania as well as the Cathedral on the opposite side of the square. Coricancha, the Sun Temple, is just a short walk from the main plaza. The Cusco tourist ticket only covers the entrance fee to the underground museum.

The Incan ruins of Sacsayhuaman, Qenqo, and Tambomachay can be visited as part of the Cusco city tour or independently. These sights can be easily reached by taxi or on foot from the city center. The sights are uphill from the city, so the best option may be to take a taxi up and walk back.

The Sacred Valley

Numerous companies offer daily tours of the Sacred Valley. The first stop is usually the Pisac market, where visitors have a little time to shop for souvenirs. Those who want more time, as it is quite limited, are encouraged to come to the market independently. Sunday is the best day to explore this large market, easily reached by local bus.

After exploring the nearby ruins, tours often stop in Urubamba for lunch on the way to the interesting ruins at Ollantaytambo. It is said that Ollantaytambo was built using stones from a nearby mountain, and the Incas are thought to have used a system using round stones as wheels to bring the other stones across. The terraces, when viewed from the opposing mountain, are believed to form the shape of a llama.

The last stop on the Sacred Valley tour is usually in the town of Chinchero. Not only is there interesting history in the old church, but the locals still engage in traditional barter markets. There are many hand-made goods for sale, such as wool blankets.

Moray Terraces and Salineras Salt Pans

The circular terraces of Moray and the unique salt pans of Salineras make a great day trip from Cusco. It is possible to take the local bus part of the way. Taxis are usually available at the turn-off for Moray , and a round-trip to visit both sights can be arranged.

The concentric circle terraces at Moray are fascinating, and it is said that each terrace offered the Incas a different climate to grow different crops. It is possible to walk around all the terraces.

The drive from Moray to the Salineras salt pans is breath-taking, and it is worth asking the driver to stop for a photo. The salt pans are a unique and beautiful sight to see, white patches gleaming in the sunlight. Families own small plots in order to farm the salt.

Historic Sights of Cusco

While the primary reason most tourists come to Cusco is to see Machu Picchu, Cusco has much to offer. One could easily spend two weeks exploring this historic city and all of the surrounding sights.

Travelers interested in exploring more of Peru should consider heading south to the unique floating reed islands of Lake Titicaca.


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