17 Exciting Things to Do in Cusco, Peru

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Cusco is a city bursting with life. There’s both a large presence of foreigners (mostly on their way to Machu Picchu) and locals going about their daily life. It’s a city with such a rich history that is worth more time than just a stop before the Inca Trail; there are so many things to do in Cusco, Peru.

Things to Do in Cusco Peru

As the ancient capital of the Inca Empire, every traveler in Peru is bound to find themselves passing through Cusco. It’s a city with such a rich history and there are so many things to do in Cusco that are worth more time than just a stop before the Inca Trail.

Where do I start with this city? It’s bursting with life. There’s both a large presence of foreigners (mostly on their way to Machu Picchu) and locals going about their daily life.

Our first glance of Cusco from the bus window as we were winding down bumpy mountain roads was indescribable. I think the fact that we took a 16-hour, bumpy, sandy, overnight bus from Huacachina made this sight even more spectacular.

Nevertheless, the large cluster of stucco-roofed buildings surrounded on all sides by mountains is a beautiful sight.

Cusco is truly a fascinating place, and whether you have 3 days in Cusco or 3 months, you’ll find reasons to love it! 

In total, we spent eight days in Cusco before and after our trek. We were able to explore the city, relax and meet other travelers, and when it came time to leave it was hard to say goodbye.

Psst! If you’ll be traveling more throughout the country, be sure to check out our bucket list of can’t-miss things to do in Peru!

Cusco Travel Guide

For more tips and advice for planning your trip to Cusco, jump to the following sections (or just keep scrolling to see it all!).

Top things to do in Cusco

This small mountain city is packed full of culture, history and adventure. There are so many things to do in Cusco, you could easily spend a month exploring the city’s nooks and crannies.

No matter how much time you have to spend, here is a list of our top things to do in Cusco you won’t want to miss. 

  1. Take a free walking tour
  2. Shop at the San Pedro Market
  3. Hike to Sacsayhuman ruins
  4. Explore the Sacred Valley 
  5. Visit Machu Picchu
  6. Hike Rainbow Mountain

Keep reading for more detailed information on each of these things and more ideas of fun things to do in Cusco, Peru.

1. Take a free walking tour

Cusco Peru

One of the best ways to get your bearings in a new city is to take a walking tour, and Free Walking Tour Cusco offers exactly that. Their tour focuses on history, architecture, art, and local lifestyle. The best part is, it’s entirely tips-based. So you can decide how much you are willing to pay for the tour based on your experience. 

The local guides will take you through the city on a two-hour walking tour, explaining the history and stopping at important sites such as the Sun temple and beautiful Incan ruins and ancient palaces. Stopping for the occasional llama selfie, the tour concludes with a bus ride to Sacsayhuaman and Cristo Blanco to get the best ​panoramic views of the city. 

How to do it yourself: 

Free Walking Tour Cusco offers 4 tours daily for groups of up to 16 persons. It is best to reserve your spot ahead of time by sending a WhatsApp message to: +51 931093123 

Tour times: 9:50 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m., and 6:00 p.m. (by request only)

Meeting point:  They meet at the Plaza de Armas in front of the KFC next to the Cathedral. You will recognize your guide wearing a red t-shirt with “Free Walking Tour Cusco” printed on it.

2. Shop at the San Pedro Market

San Pedro Market Cusco Peru

If you’re looking for an authentic glimpse into Peruvian life, this is the place to be. Where else can you buy a beautifully woven alpaca sweater and a whole pig head in the same place!?

Want to mingle with the locals? Simple. Just sit down at one of the many almuerzo stands and order lunch for 5 soles (about $1.75 USD). You will be sure to make friends with the woman serving your food and the many locals packed on the bench beside you.

3. Admire the Plaza de Armas

Things to Do in Cusco Peru

It seems as if every city in South America has a “Plaza de Armas”. But the one in Cusco is famous – ranking as one of the top plazas in the world, and for a good reason. It’s stunning.

One of the best ways to experience the plaza is from above. Grab a coffee or a drink on one of the second floor balconies surrounding the plaza, sit back and watch the people passing through. Your drink may be a bit pricey, but the people-watching is definitely worth the inflated tourist prices.  

We were in Cusco the week before Easter, known as Semana Santa, or Saint’s Week. During this time, the plazas were filled with carnival games and stands selling exotic looking sweets.

4. Explore the San Blas neighborhood

San Blas Cusco Peru

If you walk a bit further uphill from the San Pedro Market, you’ll run into the San Blas district. This cute little neighborhood is a nice change from the tourist-centric city center of Cusco. Here you’ll find a handful of cute restaurants and coffee shops as well as boutique clothing and jewelry stores.  

You can buy all kinds of crafts directly from the artists themselves, post up in a cafe or wander the streets. You could also get your hair wrapped by one of the street artists like I did!

5. Hike to Sacsayhuman ruins

Sacsaywaman ruins above Cusco

One of our most memorable days in Cusco was our last full day in the city. We decided to venture out to find the Sacsaywaman ruins (also spelled Sacsayhuamán).

Located atop a steep hill overlooking the city and the valley to the southeast, the complex that makes up the Sacsaywaman ruins was built by the Inca in the 15th century. The remaining structures are made up of larger-than-human-sized boulders, carefully cut to fit together in precision without any mortar (a signature of the Inca construction).  

Photos do not do these ruins justice. Standing there in person besides these giant boulders is really quite something, and the views over the city are spectacular. 

Sacsaywaman ruins above Cusco
Sacsaywaman ruins above Cusco

How to do it yourself: 

If you want to hike to the Sacsaywaman ruins without all the mishaps we ran into, it’s actually quite an easy 45-60 minute walk from the center of town.

Hint: if you’re standing in the Plaza, look upwards towards the white Jesus statue (gifted to Cusco by the Palestinians) and that’s the direction you’ll head to get to Sacsaywaman. 

Beginning at the Plaza de Armas, walk northwest on Calle Suecia, then take a right on Don Bosco which curves around. Once you reach Cafe Sapantiana, you’ll see the trailhead. Follow the signs all the way up to Sacsaywaman. 

You can also take a taxi to the top if the hike sounds daunting. Any driver in Cusco will know how to get you there if you tell them you want to go to Sacsaywaman. 

Entrance Fee: 70 soles (~$18 USD) for a single day ticket or free with your Boleto Touristico.

6. Experience all things chocolate

Chocolate beans

Chocolate is a corner-stone of Peruvian culture and has been a part of Peruvian cuisine for centuries. In fact, Peru is said to produce some of the best chocolate in the world! So it should come as no surprise that there are plenty of different ways to experience chocolate in Cusco.

Pay a visit to one of Cusco’s many chocolate factories for a tasting experience that will satisfy your sweet tooth. You can also try your hand at chocolate-making by taking a class or interactive tour. This Bean to Bar workshop at ChocoMuseo is highly rated as one of the best chocolate experiences in Cusco.   

Other notable chocolate factories to check out in Cusco are:

7. Take a Peruvian cooking class

Peruvian cooking class

If you’re been following along with our adventures for a while, by now you know why we love taking cooking classes on our travels. It’s one of the best ways to get to know a new culture and it’s a great way to meet people as well. 

We’ve had a love for Peruvian food for quite a while, so we were excited to plan a cooking class on our travels. We found a cooking school in Arequipa that we fell in love with and were taught by a local chef how to make 2 of our favorite Peruvian dishes – Llomo Saltado (made with alpaca meat) and Ceviche.

There are some great options for cooking classes in Cusco as well. We’d recommend finding a class that brings you to the market to pick out fresh ingredients you will then use during your class. 

Psst! Check out our guide to Peruvian food to find out all the delicious dishes you must try!

8. Get yourself some custom kicks

Customs shoes and boots in Cusco Peru
Customs shoes in Cusco Peru

While exploring the narrow streets and alleys of Cusco, we happened upon this little shop tucked away on a stairwell alley. The owner is a talented shoemaker and creates custom shoes and boots mixing traditional textiles with modern looks. 

The best part… you can get your custom footwear made to order in just a few days, for an absolute steal! The high top sneakers my friend purchased were just 80 soles ($25 USD).

This place doesn’t even have a listing on Google Maps, so here are the coordinates. Walk about halfway up (or down) this stairwell and you’ll see the shop.

9. Find your center at Healing House Cusco

Cusco Peru

If you like to find unique ways to stay active on your travels, then this one is for you! 

Healing House was established as a community for creatives who come together to heal, create and inspire. They offer “creative healing” in the forms of yoga, reiki, meditation and dance. Show up for a yoga class (drop in price is only 25 soles), or participate in one of their sacred dance workshops. All the while reconnecting with your center and finding your wholeness. 

10. Emerge yourself in the café culture 

Cusco is full of quirky, Instagrammable, and hipster-filled coffee shops. Here are some noteworthy spots to check out on your visit:

  • Qura Bowl Bar: With a menu of poke and acai bowls, this hipster hangout makes a great place to hunker down for a day of work. 
  • Organika Bakery & Coffee: The cafe in a family of Cusco restaurants built around the farm-to-table concept. 
  • L’atelier Café Concept: A cute French cafe and boutique located in the trendy San Blas area. 
  • Three Monkeys Coffee Cart: Ok this is not exactly a cafe, but this little coffee cart comes highly recommended.
  • Cafeteria Siete & Siete: Well worth the uphill walk for the delicious coffee and accompanying views.
  • Qucharitas: A modern ice cream parlor, creperie, and cafe. Don’t miss their made-to-order ice cream.

11. Take in the views around the city

Cusco Peru

Set in a valley and surrounded by mountains, there is no shortage of epic views around the city of Cusco. 

There are lots of official lookouts or “miradors” in the surrounding foothills. Some of our favorites are Mirador de San Blas, Mirador de Plaza San Cristobal, and Mirador El Camino del Inca

Another unique way to get some great views is to head to the Planetarium. Visitors can tour the facilities, learn about the cultural significance of Inca astronomy, and view the night sky through professional telescopes. 

One of our favorite ways to take in the views around a city is to find a good rooftop or cliffside bar for sunset drinks.

  • Limbus Restobar has a nice outdoor seating area and floor-to-ceiling glass windows for excellent city views. It is quite the popular spot at sunset though, so get there early to snag a spot or risk waiting in a long line. 
  • ViewHouse Restobar is just a bit further up the hill. It has more of a chill/backpacker vibe on the rooftop, but the good news is, you won’t have to wait long for a seat at sunset. 

12. Discover La Morada de los Dioses

La Morada de los Dioses Cusco Peru

About a 30 minute ride outside of Cusco is a new tourist attraction to the Cusco scene: La Morada de los Dioses (The Dwelling of the Gods) or Apukunaq Tianan in Quechua. 

This sculpture garden-type attraction pays homage to the Inca Gods of the Andes with dozens of larger-than-life sculptures carved into the cliff sides. The magnificent art pieces were constructed by the Cusco artist and sculptor Michael Monteagudo, together with the help of locals. 

A visit here will have you surrounded by good energy as you learn more about the Inca ideology and pose for photographs with the giant sculptures. 

La Morada de los Dioses Cusco Peru
La Morada de los Dioses Cusco Peru

How to get there: You can take a taxi from Cusco to Morada De Los Dioses for about 40 soles ($10 USD). Just ask your driver if he is willing to wait and take you back to Cusco when you’re finished. Our driver charged us 80 soles for the entire trip and had no problem waiting about 45 minutes for us to explore. 

Entrance fee: 5 soles ($1.25 USD)

13. Visit the Q’enqo ruins

Q'enqo ruins Cusco Peru

The site of Sacsaywaman isn’t the only archeological complex near Cusco. The ruins of Q’enqo (also spelled Qenko) are another site left behind from the Incas. This is said to be one of the largest huacas, or holy places, in the Cusco area. 

Huacas were created around naturally occurring rock formations and are believed to be places where sacrifices and mummification took place. 

While not quite as extensive as Sacsaywaman, the Q’enqo ruins are still pretty cool to behold, and just like the former, you can walk there from the Cusco city center if you’re willing to climb uphill.  

How to do it yourself: 

If you want to walk to the Q’enqo ruins, it’s just a 45-60 minute walk from the center of town. Just follow the directions on Google Maps to the Q’enqo Archeological Complex

You can also take a taxi to the ruins as well. Any driver in Cusco will know how to get you there if you tell them you want to go to Q’enqo. 

Entrance Fee: 70 soles (~$18 USD) for a single day ticket or free with your Boleto Touristico.

14. Enjoy the nightlife in Cusco

Cusco Peru

Cusco is known throughout the country as having some of the best nightlife in Peru. No matter what night of the week, there is always a place near the city center with music going to have a few drinks and dance all night long. 

Here are some of the most popular bars for nightlife in Cusco:

  • KM 0: Located in San Blas, this place has nightly live music and a lengthy happy hour menu. Reviews would have us believe that the food isn’t the greatest, but the atmosphere makes it a fun place to get drinks. 
  • Paddy’s Irish Pub: Every city in the world has an Irish pub and Paddy’s is the place in Cusco to hang out and meet travelers from all over the world. 
  • Loki Hostel: If you’ve traveled in South America as a backpacker, you’ve probably heard of Loki Hostels. Cusco’s location opens its bar to anyone who wants to come and party. 

Also, the pedestrian streets between Waynapata and the Plaza de Armas come alive at night with nightlife and bars every few steps, so head in that direction and you’re sure to find a party. 

Bonus: Day trips from Cusco

There are plenty of things to do in Cusco without leaving the city center, but while you’re in the area, there are a handful of other amazing things to explore on day trips from the city.

15. Explore the Sacred Valley 

Sacred Valley Peru

The region of the Peruvian Andes known as the Sacred Valley is just north of Cusco, stretching from the town of Pisac in the East all the way to Ollantaytambo in the West. 

Centuries ago the Sacred Valley served as an important route for the Incas from Cusco to Machu Picchu. The combined area of all three was considered to be the heart of the Incan Empire. 

Nowadays it’s a world-renowned destination due to the preservation of cultural histories and impressive natural scenery. Highlights of the valley include a handful of cute towns, each with their own colorful markets and personalities, a spotting of ancient ruins, some unique salt mines and a network of hiking trails leading to some pretty epic landscapes. 

You can easily spend days exploring the Sacred Valley and it’s a can’t-miss when visiting Cusco.

We put together a complete guide to visiting the Sacred Valley Peru including transportation options and all the fun things to see and do there.

16. Check out Rainbow Mountain

Palccoyo Rainbow mountain

Since it’s discovery in 2015, the stratified sandstone layers of Rainbow Mountain have captivated traveler’s attention and shot to the top of many-a-Peru bucket lists. In fact, Rainbow Mountain was named one of the “Top 100 Places To Visit Before You Die” by National Geographic due to its unique array of colors that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. 

While many believe that there is only one rainbow mountain in Peru, there are actually a few different Rainbow Mountains that are able to be toured in the Cusco region.

To help you decide which Rainbow Mountain you want to visit, plus sorting out the logistics of how to get there and what to expect, we put together a complete guide to visiting Rainbow Mountain Peru.

17. Visit Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu Peru

And now last, but certainly not least, the real reason most travelers make their way through Cusco: to visit the famous Machu Picchu Inca ruins. As one of the Seven New Wonders of the World, travelers from all over the globe come to marvel at the ancient wonder.

The most adventurous way to visit Machu Picchu is be following in the footsteps of the Incas on their pilgrimage route: the Ince Trail. If trekking the famous trail is on your bucket list, you’ll want to check out our detailed guide to hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

If you’re not up for a 4-day trek, not to worry. There are plenty of other methods for reaching the 15th century citadel.

How to get to Cusco

Lima to Cusco by plane

No matter where you’re coming here, below is a summary of your options for traveling to Cusco. 

By Air

International flights arriving in Peru will go through the city of Lima (LIM). From there you can board a plane and about an hour later you will touch down at the Cusco Airport (CUZ). A one-way flight will set you back anywhere from $40 – $100 USD and there are plenty of options throughout the day. 

Check flight schedules and find the best prices on Skyscanner

By Bus

We already mentioned we took an overnight bus to Cusco from Huacachina. You can actually find buses to Cusco from near and far destinations around Peru, and even from La Paz, Bolivia. Most of the longer bus trips (from Lima, Huacachina, Arequipa, La Paz, etc.) will be overnight trips. 

Tip: If you choose to cross the border on an overnight bus, be prepared with extra cash and all of your visa paperwork in order. 

The safest and fastest way to travel by bus in Peru is on PeruHop, a hop-on-hop-off bus that gives travelers the option to choose how long they stay in each place. Another option is to book with Book-a-Way, a reliable booking site that allows you to compare prices and schedules of different bus companies. 

By Train

Train enthusiasts visiting South America will be excited to hear that despite the lack of railways in the region, there is in fact an option to travel to Cusco by train. The only train line currently in operation to Cusco is from Puno, near Lake Titikaka and the Bolivia border. 

The Andean Explorer is a luxury train transporting tourists on a 10-hour scenic day trip. A one-way trip will set you back at least $220, but it is a seriously luxurious experience.

Will you be traveling from Lima? There are several options for transportation between the two cities, and we have a detailed guide on how to travel from Lima to Cusco which outlines all of your options.

Getting around Cusco

llamas in Cusco Peru
Llamas llamas everywhere!
llamas in Cusco Peru

Cusco is a very walkable city, if you can adjust to the altitude and don’t mind walking up steep hills to reach certain areas. If you are staying near the city center, you’re never more than a 15-20 minute walk from any of the major sites, restaurants, etc. 

There are, however, plenty of taxis available to hail if the shortness of breath starts to catch up to you. Uber also works in Cusco, but comes with its drawbacks as there aren’t nearly as many Ubers as taxi drivers. You can sometimes find you’ll have to wait for quite a while to find an available driver. 

Colectivos (shared taxi buses) are also common around Cusco and this is the best way to get to destinations outside of the city center. Colectivos heading to different destinations will queue up in different parts of the city. The best way to find the colectivo you need is to ask a local taxi driver to take you to the colectivo stand for the destination you are heading to. 

Tips for visiting Cusco

Cusco Peru

Given its location in the Andes, its proximity to Machu Picchu, and its cultural and historical significance, it’s no wonder that Cusco is the most visited place in Peru for tourists. However, there are some things you should know before you visit. 

  • The altitude is not to be underestimated: Cusco sits at approximately 3,400 meters above sea level (that’s over 11,000 feet!). This means that travelers who are not used to such high altitudes may have trouble adjusting on their first few days in town. Altitude sickness can happen to anyone and it will put a real damper on your trip, so it’s best to be prepared. Drink lots of water and take it easy on your first day or two. Give yourself a few days to acclimate before attempting any hiking, especially if you plan to do the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu or Rainbow Mountain
  • Don’t drink the water: Despite what some locals may tell you, the tap water is not suitable for drinking in Cusco. Before you go, invest in a filtered water bottle, or better yet, a Steripen to sterilize water from any source. 
  • Bring warm layers: Remember that Cusco is situated in the mountains and it can get quite chilly after the sun goes down. Even if you are planning your visit in the middle of summertime (December – February), be prepared with warmer layers for the evenings. 

Planning a trip to Peru? Find out the best time to visit Peru based on regional weather patterns and your personal travel style.

The Boleto Touristico 

Boleto Touristico Cusco Peru

Chances are you may have heard of this “tourist ticket” while researching things to do in Cusco. The Peruvian government implemented this system for visitors to enter popular tourist sites (think ruins, museums, monuments, etc.) by purchasing this single ticket ahead of time. 

There are a few different types of tickets you can purchase.

Comprehensive Ticket

The Comprehensive ticket is the full ticket offering entrance to 16 tourist attractions in and around Cusco. The ticket is valid for 10 days and costs 130 soles for foreigners (~$45 USD) and 70 soles for Peruvians. 

  • Sacsaywamán
  • Q’enqo
  • Puka Pukara
  • Tambomachay
  • Pisac
  • Ollantaytambo
  • Moray
  • Chinchero
  • Tipón
  • Pikillaqta
  • Monument to the Inca Pachacutec
  • Qosqo Center of Native Art
  • Qorikancha Site Museum
  • Popular Art Museum
  • Contemporary Art Museum
  • Regional Historical Museum

Partial Ticket

You can purchase a cheaper “partial” ticket for just 70 soles for foreigners (~$18 USD) and 40 soles for Peruvians, according to the sites you want to visit. 

Circuit I:

This ticket is valid for 1 day and grants you access to the sites within the Sacsaywaman Archeological Site:

  • Sacsaywamán
  • Q’enqo
  • Tambomachay
  • Puka Pukara

Circuit II: 

This ticket is valid for 2 days and grants you access to sites within the historical center of Cusco and southern valley.

  • Regional Historical Museum
  • Contemporary Art Museum
  • Popular Art Museum
  • Qorikancha Site Museum
  • Qosqo Center of Native Art
  • Monument to the Inca Pachacutec

Circuit III: 

This ticket is valid for 2 days and grants you access to archeological sites within the Sacred Valley. 

  • Pisac
  • Ollantaytambo
  • Chinchero
  • Moray

You can purchase your ticket in person at the COSITUC office on 103 Avenida del Sol. 

Note the tickets are personal and non-transferable. You will only be allowed access once to the sites on your ticket based on the time frame you purchased. 

Where to Eat in Cusco

Peruvian food: Anticuchos

One of my favorite parts of travel is keeping a list of all the good restaurants I get to try in a new city and sharing those with friends. Whether you’re looking to try some traditional Peruvian food or just want a cozy cafe with smoothie bowls, here are some of my favorites from Cusco…

  • KUSYKAY: Some fellow travelers told us about this place before we arrived in Cusco and labeled it a “must go”. It did not disappoint. This is a great place to try some upscale traditional Peruvian food.  
  • Green Point Restaurants: This popular vegan spot has a beautiful greenhouse-like atmosphere and is laptop friendly! The food is so good here, you’ll forget you’re eating vegan. 
  • MULLU: This tiny place with just two tables is run by a single women who cooks all of the delicious Thai-Peruvian fusion food to order. I cannot recommend this place more highly, we absolutely became regulars!
  • Rucula: Another good Peruvian restaurant I returned to more than one. Rucula is part of a family of four restaurants in Cusco that source all their ingredients from a local farm. Yaku is part of this as well as the two below. 
  • Organika Bakery & Coffee: My favorite brunch spot in Cusco with delicious options. Part of the aforementioned farm-to-table family, their sister restaurant is Organika Restaurant
  • La Cusqueñita: This place was recommended by our walking tour guide. It’s a pretty local spot, about a 15-minute walk outside of the tourist center serving up cheap local eats for lunchtime only (11-5). 
  • Qura Bowl Bar: With a menu of poke and acai bowls, this hipster hangout makes a great place to hunker down for a day of work. 
  • Morena Peruvian Kitchen: This was one of the more high end restaurants I tried in Cusco with fancy appetizers and expensive cocktails, but great for splurge dinner. 
  • Limbus Restobar: Arguably a bit kitschy, with touristy cocktails and over-the-top presentations, this place has a nice outdoor seating area and floor-to-ceiling glass windows for excellent city views. It is quite the popular spot at sunset though, so get there early to snag a spot or risk waiting in a long line.

Where to Stay in Cusco

As the tourist hub of Peru, there’s no shortage of places to stay in Cusco. Below are some of our top choices, including a few places we’ve personally stayed and loved. 

Budget Option/Hostels:

Pariwana Hostel Cusco Peru

Pariwana Hostel

Location: Historic City Center

Aside from being woken up nearly every night in the large dorms by other travelers, our stay here was excellent. The hostel always had something going on each night, whether it be a ping pong tournament (which Ben almost won!), live music, or a toga party, we were never bored. 

(We loved Pariwana Hostel so much that we actually listed it as the “Best All-Around Hostel” in all of our travels in South America. Read more here!) 

Selina Plaza de Armas Cusco Peru

Selina Plaza de Armas

Location: Plaza de Armas

You may recognize the Selina name as they have hundreds of hostels throughout Central and South America. The Selina in Cusco is relatively new on the scene as it was just opened in early 2019. Comfortable common areas, high-speed internet and lots of private rooms make it feel a bit more like a boutique hotel than a hostel. 

Mid-range/couples stay: 

Rumi Punku Hotel Cusco Peru

Rumi Punku Hotel

Location: Historic City Center

This adorable boutique property is in a great location in the city center, just a 5-10 minute walk from the Plaza de Armas. The property features a private garden and sun terraces with beautiful views. Your stay here includes complimentary breakfast as well. 
I stayed here a few nights before and after my Inca Trail trek, and it was lovely!

Tariq Hotel Boutique Cusco Peru

Tariq Boutique Hotel

Location: Historic City Center

The beautiful boutique property is located in the Historic City Center, just down the street from San Blas Church. The property features an onsite restaurant, bar and private garden with stunning views overlooking the city. And all at a very affordable price. 

Antigua Casona San Blas Cusco Peru Hotel

Antigua Casona San Blas

Location: San Blas neighborhood

Stay just outside of the city center in the popular and historic San Blas neighborhood. You’ll still be able to walk to everything important, but the bohemian feel of this neighborhood is a bit different than the tourist-filled historic center. The breakfast buffet here is one of the best buffets in town and the fire pit in the courtyard is the perfect place to curl up in front of on those chilly evenings. 

Splurge stay: 

Palacio del Inka Hotel Cusco Peru

Palacio del Inka, a Luxury Collection Hotel by Mariott

Location: Historic City Center

Located in front of the Koricancha, in the historical center of Cusco, this boutique property features stylish and modern suites. The real draw is the gorgeous onsite spa with a fitness center and indoor pool. Post up with a cocktail from the bar and take in the views of the city. 

Casa Catagena Hotel Cusco Peru

Casa Cartagena Boutique Hotel & Spa

Location: Historic City Center

Spend the night in the elegantly decorated Casa Cartagena and overlook the luxurious pool garden from your private suite balcony. The luxury property is located in the city center, just 2 blocks from the Plaza de Armas. If you’re feeling in the mood for pampering, treat yourself at the onsite restaurant or luxurious spa.

Round up of the best things to do in Cusco

Here’s a recap of all the best things to do in Cusco so you can see everything in one place.

  1. Free walking tour
  2. San Pedro Market
  3. Plaza de Armas
  4. San Blas neighborhood
  5. Sacsayhuman ruins
  6. Chocolate workshop
  7. Peruvian cooking class
  8. Custom shoes
  9. Healing House Cusco
  10. Cafe culture
  11. Views around the city
  12. La Morada de los Dioses
  13. Q’enqo ruins
  14. Nightlife
  15. Sacred Valley 
  16. Rainbow Mountain
  17. Machu Picchu

Are you planning a trip to Peru?

We have lots of resources on travel in Peru and destinations throughout the country. Check out our Complete Peru Travel Guide for all the answers to your most burning questions, or read some of our favorite articles below.

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Things to Do in Cusco Peru | Two Wandering Soles
Things to Do in Cusco Peru | Two Wandering Soles

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Comments (11) on “17 Exciting Things to Do in Cusco, Peru

  1. marcuschoellter@gmail.com says:

    Amazing post Katie & Ben, thank you! The San Pedro market is a shock haha, can’t wait to see it in real this June. I just saw this post from Oliver and was also searching for similar information. There are not too many blogs that talk about the Rainbow Mountain but I found this article here on tripadvisor https://www.exploorperu.com/blogs/exploor-peru-travel-blog/discover-the-best-route-to-the-famous-rainbow-mountains-of-peru. Quite interesting with the two trek possibilities. About the Pariwana hostel, would you highly recommend to go there? I also heard some recommendations about Loki but looks more entertaining, the place where you’ve been.

    • bwzweber@gmail.com says:

      Hey Marcus, the Rainbow Mountains do sound really neat. We loved our stay at Pariwana Hostel! It was one of our favorite hostels in all of South America. We even wrote an article about it, haha. Have a great time in June!

  2. eberlein.oliver@gmail.com says:

    Totally agree that it’s worth more time than just a stop before the Inca Trail/trip to Machu Picchu. I’d also recommend visiting the Humantay Lake and the Rainbow Mountains in Cusco, two proofs of Peru’s beautiful and rich nature.

    • bwzweber@gmail.com says:

      Thanks Oliver for the additional travel tips! We never made it to the Humantay Lake or the Rainbow Mountains, but they sounds wonderful!

  3. tasteandexperienceperu@gmai.com says:

    Hello Katie and Ben,
    Thank you for sharing your adventures in Cusco city. I realize thay you visited the local market and you enjoyed it like a local turist. I’d would like to share with you and your followers my trip to Cusco and the seven color mountain. If you come to Cusco, you must go to the seven color mountain! It is amazing and you just need a full day to do the trip, but you should be prepared for an intense hike. I invite you to check this link with my trip to Cusco and the seven color mountain. Enjoy it! https://tasteandexperience.wixsite.com/peru/single-post/2017/09/20/The-city-of-Incas-and-its-rainbow-colors

    • ktdieder@gmail.com says:

      Hey Jess, there are lots of bus companies in Peru. We usually just went to the bus station and booked whatever was available on the day we wanted to travel. Cruz del Sur was very comfortable, and I’d recommend it for overnight trips. They even had a game of BINGO with prizes and handed out snacks, which was nice. But it’s a bit more expensive than some other companies. Worth it for night rides in my opinion though!

    • glennlb@me.com says:

      Hi Jess, best companies (and most expensive as well) are Cruz del Sur as Katie saids and TEPSA 😉

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