An unrivalled highland town dripping with Inca and colonial jewels, thriving cultures and endless activities.
Stroll through a maze of cobblestone lanes and plazas, browse kaleidoscopic market stalls laden with intricately-made handicrafts, and dip into ornate churches to admire gold-leafed altars. Walk beneath ancient arches, try your hand at the traditional backstrap loom and deepen your knowledge of the Inca legacy at excellent museums dotted across town. Cusco is timeless, vibrant and unforgettable; a true South American gem.
Timeless Cusco is simply an unmatched South American destination, thanks to its blend of fascinating Inca and colonial heritage, exquisite highland setting, and colourful cultures that thrive as much today as they did during the great empire. For the Inca, Cusco was the centre of the world, reflected in the many temples, fortresses and palaces peppered across the valley. Take Sacsayhuaman for instance: an elevated fort whose crumbling walls echo the majesty of a great and sophisticated civilisation. Even the Spanish sensed the enchantment of Cusco, building onto Inca foundations to create an extraordinary architectural confection.
Cusco is home to many boutique hotels, some of which are encased in colonial buildings that were once used by the Spanish elite; even monks! It’s easy to navigate the cobbled streets of Cusco, thriving with markets, restaurants, cafes, shops and more; there’s even a chocolate museum where you can learn how to make the sweet stuff. Then, should the lure of the great outdoors beckon, you’ll find that there is no end of superb trekking, horse riding and biking trails lacing their way around the countryside outside of Cusco, and beyond that – the one and only Machu Picchu.
Plaza de Armas
At the very heart of Cusco lies the Plaza de Armas, a vast square carpeted in landscaped gardens and lined with beautiful colonial buildings. Not only is this where you can find the grand cathedral and churches too, it’s also a fantastic spot for people-watching.
Gold-clad Temple of Qurikancha
The name ‘Qurikancha’ translates from the local Quechua language as ‘Golden Courtyard’, and this former beacon of Inca artistry is just as enticing today as it was then, despite a notable lack of gold-clad walls and pillars! Built in the mid-15th century, Qurikancha was once the richest and most ornate temple in the entire empire, cementing its place in time and history
The Inca stronghold of Sacsayhuaman
Perched above Cusco, with giant stone blocks too large to comprehend is the site of Sacsayhuaman. Known as much for its inconceivable construction of enormous solid slabs as for its historical significance, Sacsayhuaman is a fantastically well-preserved site which enjoys commanding views across the valley