Essential places to visit in Cusco

Essential places to visit in Cusco

This list of the best ruins to visit in Cusco 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 the Spanish colonial era. 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.

Based on the experience of the days we spent in the city during our trip to Peru on our own, we have made this list of what we believe are the 10 essential places to see in Cusco. We started!

Sacsayhuamán, one of the places to visit in Cusco

Located about 40 minutes walk north of the historic center, are the ruins of the fortress of Sacsayhuamán, another of the essential places to visit in Cusco. Construction of this complex began in the 15th century by order of Pachacutec, one of the most important Incas that the Empire had. And although currently only a part of the old Sacsayhuamán is preserved, you can still see the incredible walls of large stone blocks forming 3 superimposed platforms.

Keep in mind that in the complex you can walk through the different platforms using the stairs and doors made of stone such as the fantastic Puerta del Sol and in various stones of the walls, which reach 400 meters in length, see several images made by the Incas.

If you have time, we recommend doing a route that can take you one morning, first visiting the Inca ruins of Tambomachay, Pukapukara, Qenqo and ending with Sacsayhuamán. To do this route you can take a van in the Plaza de Armas until you reach the last site and make the descent on foot visiting the rest of the temples.

If you want to know better the history of the city and the Incas, the most interesting option to visit this area is to book this guided tour with a guide that includes the 4 Inca ruins.

Tambomachay, Pukapukara, Qenqo and the White Christ

In addition to Sacsayhuamán, there are three other Inca archaeological sites that deserve to be among the essential places to visit in Cusco. The first is Tambomachay, dedicated to the cult of water and located 8 kilometers from Cusco in which a beautiful natural environment stands out where there was an Inca hydraulic system formed by fountains, canals and aqueducts.

A 5-minute walk from Tambomachay is Pukapukara, known as the Red Fortress. In these ruins you can see the different rooms and walls of the old fortress, which could be used as a hunting refuge, a guard post or a halt for the royal procession.

Following the road in the direction of Sacsayhuamán, you will arrive, in an hour’s walk, at Qenqo, a religious complex where you can see the remains of several Inca constructions such as an amphitheater, two columns with astronomical functions, a canal and an underground room.

Qenqo is located one kilometer from Sacsayhuamán and also very close to the Cristo Blanco, an 8-meter statue from which you can take the path down to the city, with fantastic views of the city of Cusco.

To save money we advise you to book the specific tourist ticket for the Cusco area that includes all these ruins and the tourist attractions of the city.

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