Greetings, fellow travelers! Journeying Jack here, back with another exciting edition of Suitcase Stories. Today, we’re going to explore the magical city of Cusco, nestled high in the Andes Mountains of Peru. With its rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning landscapes, there’s no shortage of things to do Cusco. So, strap on your hiking boots, grab your camera, and join me as we uncover the top things to do Cusco, from ancient ruins to bustling markets and everything in between. Trust me, you won’t want to miss out on these incredible experiences that await you in this enchanting city.
Exploring the Historic City Center
If you’re looking for things to do in Cusco, exploring the historic city center should be at the top of your list. The city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to some of the most impressive architecture and history in South America.
Visit the Plaza de Armas
The Plaza de Armas is the heart of Cusco’s historic city center and is a must-visit for anyone exploring the area. This beautiful square is surrounded by colonial buildings and is home to the stunning Cusco Cathedral. Take a stroll around the plaza, soak up the atmosphere, and enjoy the street performers and vendors.
Explore the Inca Museum
The Inca Museum is located just a few blocks from the Plaza de Armas and is a great place to learn more about the history of Cusco and the Inca Empire. The museum has a large collection of artifacts, including pottery, textiles, and mummies, and is a fascinating insight into the culture and traditions of the Inca people.
Wander the Streets
One of the best things to do in Cusco is simply to wander the streets of the historic city center. The narrow, cobbled streets are lined with beautiful colonial buildings, churches, and plazas, and there’s always something new to discover around every corner. Don’t forget to look up – many of the buildings have intricate balconies and carvings that are worth admiring.
Visit the San Pedro Market
The San Pedro Market is a bustling, colorful market located just a few blocks from the Plaza de Armas. Here you’ll find everything from fresh produce and spices to souvenirs and handicrafts. It’s a great place to soak up the local atmosphere and pick up some unique souvenirs to take home.
Exploring the historic city center is one of the top things to do in Cusco, and with so much to see and do, you could easily spend a whole day (or more) wandering the streets and soaking up the atmosphere.
Uncovering the Sacred Valley’s Gems
If you’re looking for things to do in Cusco, the Sacred Valley is a must-visit destination. Here are some of the hidden gems you shouldn’t miss:
Explore the Maras Salt Mines
One of the most unique things to do in Cusco is to visit the Maras Salt Mines. These salt pools have been used since Inca times and are still in use today. The salt is harvested by hand and sold in local markets. The view of the pools against the Andean mountains is breathtaking.
Visit the Moray Terraces
The Moray Terraces are another fascinating Inca site in the Sacred Valley. These circular terraces were used for agricultural experiments and are believed to have been used to test different crops at varying altitudes. The terraces are a beautiful sight to behold and offer a glimpse into the ingenuity of the Inca people.
Hike to the Huchuy Qosqo Ruins
For a more adventurous experience, consider hiking to the Huchuy Qosqo ruins. This lesser-known Inca site is located on a hilltop overlooking the Sacred Valley. The hike is challenging but rewarding, with stunning views of the valley and the ruins at the end.
Shop at the Pisac Market
The Pisac Market is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. Here, you can find everything from handmade textiles to traditional Peruvian souvenirs. The market is open every day, but the best time to visit is on Sundays when it expands to include a food market.
Relax in the Ollantaytambo Hot Springs
After a long day of exploring, unwind in the Ollantaytambo Hot Springs. These natural hot springs are located in the town of Ollantaytambo and offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains. The water is believed to have healing properties and is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike.
The Sacred Valley is full of hidden gems waiting to be uncovered. These are just a few of the many things to do in Cusco’s surrounding area. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to explore this beautiful region.
Adventure Activities in Cusco’s Outdoors
Cusco is a city that offers a wide range of outdoor activities for adventure seekers. From hiking to mountain biking, there are plenty of things to do in Cusco’s outdoors. Here are some of the best adventure activities to try during your visit:
Cusco is surrounded by stunning mountains and valleys, making it a perfect destination for hiking enthusiasts. The most popular hike in Cusco is the Inca Trail, which takes you through the Andes Mountains and ends at the famous Machu Picchu. However, there are many other hiking trails in the area that offer breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. Some of the best hikes include the Salkantay Trek, the Choquequirao Trek, and the Ausangate Trek.
If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, mountain biking in Cusco is a must-do activity. There are many trails in the area that cater to all skill levels, from beginners to advanced riders. Some of the most popular trails include the Maras-Moray Loop, the Sacred Valley Trail, and the Lares Adventure Trail.
White Water Rafting
The Urubamba River, which runs through the Sacred Valley, offers some of the best white water rafting in Peru. The river has rapids ranging from Class II to Class IV, making it suitable for both beginners and experienced rafters. This is a great way to experience the natural beauty of the area while getting your adrenaline pumping.
For a unique perspective of the Cusco landscape, try ziplining through the Sacred Valley. There are several zipline courses in the area that offer breathtaking views of the mountains and valleys. This is a great activity for families and groups of friends.
Cusco is also a great destination for rock climbing enthusiasts. There are several climbing areas in the area, including the Cusco Climbing Gym and the Sacred Valley Climbing School. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced climber, there are plenty of routes to challenge you.
In conclusion, Cusco is a paradise for adventure seekers. With so many things to do in Cusco’s outdoors, you’ll never run out of activities to try. Whether you’re hiking, mountain biking, white water rafting, ziplining, or rock climbing, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience. So pack your bags and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime!
Delving into Cusco’s Culinary Scene
Cusco is not only known for its rich history and stunning landscapes but also for its diverse and delicious cuisine. From traditional Peruvian dishes to international cuisine, Cusco has something to offer for every foodie. Here are some of the best things to do in Cusco to explore its culinary scene:
1. Take a Food Tour
One of the best ways to explore Cusco’s culinary scene is by taking a food tour. There are several food tours available that will take you to the best restaurants, markets, and street food vendors in the city. You can taste traditional Peruvian dishes like ceviche, lomo saltado, and causa, as well as exotic fruits and local drinks like chicha morada and pisco sour. A food tour is a great way to learn about the history and culture of Cusco through its food.
2. Visit San Pedro Market
San Pedro Market is a must-visit for any food lover in Cusco. This bustling market is filled with vendors selling fresh produce, meats, cheeses, and spices. You can also find street food stalls serving up traditional Peruvian dishes like anticuchos (grilled beef heart skewers) and empanadas. The market is a great place to immerse yourself in the local culture and try some of the best food in Cusco.
3. Learn to Cook Peruvian Cuisine
If you want to take your culinary experience in Cusco to the next level, why not learn to cook some traditional Peruvian dishes? There are several cooking classes available in Cusco that will teach you how to make dishes like ceviche, ají de gallina, and quinoa soup. You’ll learn about the ingredients and techniques used in Peruvian cuisine and get to enjoy the fruits of your labor at the end of the class.
4. Try Fusion Cuisine
Cusco is also home to several restaurants that offer fusion cuisine, blending traditional Peruvian dishes with international flavors. You can try dishes like alpaca steak with Asian spices or quinoa risotto with Parmesan cheese. These restaurants offer a unique culinary experience that combines the best of both worlds.
In conclusion, exploring Cusco’s culinary scene is one of the best things to do in Cusco. From food tours to cooking classes, there are plenty of ways to immerse yourself in the local culture and try some of the best food in Peru. Don’t miss out on this delicious aspect of Cusco!
Cultural Experiences and Local Traditions
Cusco is a city rich in history and culture, with many opportunities to immerse yourself in local traditions. Here are some of the top things to do in Cusco to experience the city’s unique culture:
Visit the Inca Museum
The Inca Museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in the history and culture of the Inca Empire. The museum houses a collection of artifacts and exhibits that showcase the Inca’s way of life, including their art, architecture, and religious practices. It’s a great way to learn more about the history of Cusco and the surrounding area.
Attend a Traditional Andean Ceremony
One of the most unique things to do in Cusco is to attend a traditional Andean ceremony. These ceremonies are held by local communities and are a great way to experience the local culture and traditions. You can witness traditional dances, music, and rituals that have been passed down through generations.
Explore the San Pedro Market
The San Pedro Market is a bustling market in the heart of Cusco where you can find everything from fresh produce to handmade crafts. It’s a great place to experience the local culture and try some traditional Peruvian food. You can also find souvenirs to take home with you.
Visit the Qorikancha Temple
The Qorikancha Temple was once the most important temple in the Inca Empire and is now a museum. It’s a great place to learn about the Inca’s religious practices and see some of the incredible architecture that they were known for. The temple is located in the heart of Cusco and is easily accessible.
Take a Cooking Class
Peruvian cuisine is known for its unique flavors and ingredients, and taking a cooking class is a great way to learn more about it. You can learn how to make traditional dishes like ceviche and lomo saltado, and even try your hand at making your own pisco sour. It’s a fun and interactive way to experience the local culture.
These are just a few of the many cultural experiences and local traditions that you can enjoy in Cusco. Whether you’re interested in history, food, or art, there’s something for everyone in this vibrant city. Don’t miss out on these things to do in Cusco!
Day Trips and Excursions from Cusco
Cusco is a city that offers a lot of things to do, but if you have more time to spare, there are also many day trips and excursions that you can take to explore the surrounding areas. Here are some of the best things to do in Cusco and its surroundings:
No trip to Cusco is complete without a visit to Machu Picchu. This ancient Incan city is one of the most famous landmarks in the world and is a must-see for anyone visiting Peru. You can take a train from Cusco to Aguas Calientes and then a bus up to the site. Alternatively, you can hike the Inca Trail, which takes four days and three nights, but is an unforgettable experience.
Rainbow Mountain, also known as Vinicunca, is a stunning natural wonder located about three hours from Cusco. The mountain is famous for its colorful stripes, which are caused by the mineral deposits in the rock. The hike to the top of the mountain is challenging, but the views are worth it.
The Sacred Valley is a beautiful region located just outside of Cusco. It is home to many Incan ruins, including Pisac and Ollantaytambo. You can take a guided tour of the valley or explore on your own. The valley is also known for its traditional markets, where you can buy handmade crafts and textiles.
Maras and Moray
Maras and Moray are two unique sites located in the Sacred Valley. Maras is a series of salt mines that have been in use since Incan times. Moray is a set of circular terraces that were used for agricultural experiments by the Incas. Both sites are fascinating and offer a glimpse into the ingenuity of the Incan people.
Tipon is an Incan archaeological site located about 30 minutes from Cusco. It is known for its impressive terracing and irrigation systems, which are still in use today. The site is also home to a beautiful garden and several fountains.
These are just a few of the many day trips and excursions that you can take from Cusco. Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or adventure, there is something for everyone. Don’t miss out on these amazing things to do in Cusco and its surroundings.
And so, fellow travelers, our journey through the magical city of Cusco comes to an end. As we’ve explored the many things to do Cusco has to offer, it’s clear that this enchanting destination is a treasure trove of history, culture, and adventure. From the awe-inspiring ruins of Machu Picchu to the vibrant streets of San Blas, there’s no shortage of things to do Cusco presents to those who venture here.
As Journeying Jack, I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing many of these things to do Cusco boasts, and I can confidently say that each one has left an indelible mark on my heart. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or an adrenaline junkie, Cusco has something for everyone. So, pack your bags, lace up your hiking boots, and get ready to create your own Suitcase Stories as you embark on the adventure of a lifetime.
In conclusion, the things to do Cusco offers are as diverse as they are unforgettable. I hope this blog post has inspired you to explore this incredible city and create your own memories that will last a lifetime. Until our next adventure, happy travels, and may your Suitcase Stories be filled with wonder and excitement.