things to do in cusco

From cultural and artistic places to nature and high mountains. Passing by Andean constellations until landing on delicious local dishes. These 20 things to do in Cusco will ensure you a complete experience in the “Rome of America”. Therefore, together with the Cusco local people of Machu Travel Peru, we bring you a small list of unmissable points! What better way to get to know Cusco than by the hand of its own residents? You will be able to know its Inca and the colonial period, its nature, and gastronomy. By the way, in case you were wondering, 5 days at least will be enough to get to know the best of Cusco and do the most important activities on this list.

20 great things to do in Cusco region during your next vacation

1. Machu Picchu

best things to do in cusco and machu picchu

One of the new seven wonders of the world. The icing on the cake in any South American tour package. We are talking about visiting Machu Picchu. Being able to visit the amazing Inca Citadel is a unique experience in life. Precisely, Cusco is popular worldwide for hosting Machu Picchu and for being the capital of the Inca Empire. The conquerors Spanish never could reach it, and the Inca citadel remained intact to this day. To get there, you can walk the pilgrimage route that the ancient Incas used to do, called the Inca Trail. Moreover, if you prefer commodity, you can take a day tour on the many scenic trains to Machu Picchu. Whatever your decision, both options will take you to enjoy the magical Inca citadel.

  • Level of demand: Moderate.
  • Location: 75 km northwest of Cusco / 2438 m.a.s.l. / At the jungle area.
  • How to get there?: By train, or doing the famous Inca Trail trekking of 4D/3N.
  • Entrance ticket: $40 general ticket / $53 ticket + a mountain climb / There are options for underages and students.
  • Schedule of visit: From 06:00 am to 17:00 pm, all days.
  • Tips: Always carry your original passports and repellent, if you want to visit it.

2. San Blas neighborhood

san blas neighborhood cusco

This unique place is located on a hill behind Cusco Cathedral. It is a popular tourist hub for locals and newcomers, where one can relax, eat and have fresh beer. Known as the local artists’ neighborhood, the area has a small square surrounded by restaurants and bars. Consequently, non-locals frequent it to know the local life of Cusco inhabitants. There, you will find many vegetarian restaurants, art workshops, souvenir shops, bars, and much more. Without mentioning its viewpoint, which offers great views of the Historic Center of Cusco.

Of course, what stands out the most in Plaza San Blas is the Church. It is quite simple from the outside. But inside, you will see one of Cusco’s main attractions: an intricately designed wooden pulpit, Baroque. There are many myths about its creation, and there is an audio guide available that will tell you a few of them. If you are looking for unmissable points in Cusco, San Blas is an obligatory stop, undoubtedly!

  • Level of demand: Laid-back.
  • Location: Northeast of Cusco main square.
  • How to get there?: 3 Blocks from the Cusco Main Square / Take Triunfo Street and go ahead / After passing Hatunrumiyoc Street climb the Cuesta de San Blas, and well done!
  • Entrance ticket: Public area.
  • Schedule of visit: Public area.
  • Tips: Visit the San Blas Viewpoint. You will get amazing views of the ancient Inca capital.

3. The Coricancha temple

coricancha things to do in cusco

From the Plaza, walk along Av. Sol in a north-to-south direction and you will arrive at the Coricancha complex. It is also known as the Convent of Santo Domingo. This was the most important temple of the Inca Empire: La Casa del Sol (The Sun house). It is believed that all the walls were once covered with a fine sheet of solid gold. While the courtyards and niches featured heavy gold statues. When the Spaniards arrived in Cusco in 1533, the gold that covered the walls of the temple amazed them. Of course, they dismantled it and used its stones to build the current Santo Domingo convent (over its foundation) and the city’s Cathedral. As proof of the imposition of the Catholic religion on pagan temples.

Happily, nowadays, you will find the Inca foundations remain unchanged. Even, some inca enclosures are 90% complete inside it. Without mentioning the Inca altar in honor of the Sun deity. Amazing!

  • Level of demand: Laid-back.
  • Location: Southeast of Cusco main square.
  • How to get there?: 2 and a half blocks from the main square / Eastward, take Loreto Street and go ahead / Then, continue through Pampa del Castillo Street / Finally, cross Arraniyoc Street and Well done!
  • Entrance ticket: $6 Adult ticket / $3 Underage ticket.
  • Schedule of visit: 08:00 am – 17:00 pm.
  • Tips: The site has a lot of iconographic and architectural history. It would be a mistake if you visited it on your own and not in the company of a tour guide.

4. The Rainbow Mountain

rainbow mountain

If you knew that China has the only rainbow mountain in the world, you are mistaken, Cusco Peru has its own one, too! Due to climate change and global warming, the snow that covered this mountain melted, discovering amazing colorful slopes in front of Pitumarca town. Precisely, the rainbow mountain is a mineralized mountain of different tones, similar to a zebra, that goes from orange to green color, over 2500 meters above sea level, in the district of Pitumarca, Canchis province, department of Cusco (Yes, the department which contains Machu Picchu, too)

At 100 km southeast of Cusco. To get there, you need to take bus transportation from Cusco to Pitumarca (03 hours trip). Once arrive there, begin to walk (trekking) for around 3 hours, and finally, get to the amazing rainbow mountain. We recommend you do this tour through a travel agency, you will not regret it!

  • Level of demand: Demanding.
  • Location: 139 km southeast Cusco / 5200 m.a.s.l.
  • How to get there?: Interprovincial bus from Cusco to the town of Cusipata (4 hours of travel). Then a taxi from Cusipata to the community of Phulawasipata (1-hour trip), from where you begin the ascent on foot to the same colorful mountain (2-hour walk)
  • Entrance ticket: The local community of Phulawasipata, where the rainbow mountain is located, charges an entrance ticket of $7 for foreign tourists and $4 per national visitor.
  • Schedule of entrance: From 06:00 am to 16:00 pm.
  • Tips: Wear a windbreaker, trekking shoes, comfortable pants, and a hat. In the heights, the sun burns and the gusts of wind are icy.

5. Siete Borreguitos Street

things to do in cusco and siete borreguitos

Undoubtedly, this quaint alley is the most instagrammable street in Cusco. It is located 5 blocks north of Cusco main square and is super walkable. Adorable flower pots hung on over white walls decorate the street on each side. This charming view is completed by well-lacquered balconies and gates. The street descends from the end of Pumacurco Street to the final of Choquechaca Street (Sapantiana aqueduct), connecting them. Therefore, a day trip from Cusco should include a visit to this charming alley.

History says that, in colonial times, many women went down from Pumacurco Street to the Sapantiana aqueduct (Choquechaca stream) to wash rags and baskets, accompanied by their sheep, which they would go to graze later. Over time, the people of Cusco identified this alley as “Borreguitos” (lambs), and years later they renamed it “Siete Borreguitos” (seven lambs) because of the proximity of the street to other roads with the nickname “Seven”. Not to mention, the great hotels in Cusco, like Marriott, Hilton, Monasterio, or Nazarena`s Palace that are close to it. This street should be a mandatory stop in your Cusco Journey.

  • Level of demand: Laid-back.
  • Location: 5 blocks north of Cusco Center.
  • How to get there?: Northbound, take Cuesta del Almirante Street (It is on one side of the Cathedral) / Then, take Cordoba de Tucumán Street and go ahead up to get to Nazarenas Square/ After, crossing the square and take Pumacurco Street and go ahead for two blocks more and, Well done!
  • Entrance ticket: Public area.
  • Schedule of entrance: Public area.
  • Tips: We recommend you visit it taking advantage of the natural light during the day to take the best photos.

6. The Sacsayhuaman complex

things to do in cusco and sacsayhuaman

On the outskirts of the city are four archaeological sites of Cusco that you should take the time to visit. These are Sacsayhuaman, PukaPukara, Tambo Machay, and Qenko. Of course, all of them gathered in only one Archaeological park called Sacsayhuaman. Each one was of significant importance to the Incas until the Spanish arrived. The Europeans destroyed these Inca sites to take their stones to build the Catholic churches in the new city of Cusco. If you choose to take the popular “City Tour”, these ruins will always be included as part of the itinerary. Definitely, these ruins are worth an exclusive visit, so take some time to discover them.

To get to the well-known complex, you have a 45-minute walk from the city center heading north, taking Suecia Street, then continuing Don Bosco Street until the end of the road. Or, much less time if you go by car.

  • Level of demand: Laid-back.
  • Location: 5 blocks north of Cusco Center.
  • How to get there?: Departing from Cusco main square / Take Cuesta del Almirante Street (It is on one side of the Cathedral), go ahead 1 block, and after turn left / Next, take Ataud Street and go ahead 1 block more / Following, turn right, go ahead 10 meters and after turn left and take the Arco Iris Street and go ahead 2 blocks more / Then, turn right, go ahead 10 meters and after turn left, take Cuesta Don Bosco and go head up to get to Sapantiana Checkpoint, entrance to Sacsayhuaman.
  • Entrance ticket: $20 the Cusco Partial Tourist Ticket (City ticket) / $35 the Cusco General Tourist Ticket.
  • Schedule of entrance: From 07:00 am to 17:00 pm.
  • Tips: We recommend visiting before noon, with a suitable hat, sunscreen, and windbreaker.

a. Sacsayhuaman


Firstly, according to historians, Sacsayhuaman had a religious and military function, serving as a fortress, a place of surveillance, a barracks, and a center of worship for the god Lightning (Illapa). The construction process of its giant walls is a great mystery to this day, with stone blocks weighing up to 300 tons each. Being able to visit the place is an incredible experience because of the varied and beautiful views that you will be able to observe. One of the best things to do in Cusco is don’t miss it for anything.

b. Qenqo

things to do in cusco and qenqo

Indeed, this was an Inca center of worship to the Sun and Pacha (Earth) gods. Qenqo means labyrinth in the Quechua language. And its name is due to the large carved stone with small grooves in the form of a labyrinth. This is located in the center of the place. In addition to a large table for preparing animal sacrifices for the gods.

c. Puka Pukara

things to do in cusco and puca pucara

Specifically, it was an Inca military headquarters with large walls, terraces, and big stairs among others. Puka means red in the Quechua language and was due to the color red reflected by its stones in the sunsets during the Dry season. The building was used as a surveillance center for threats emerging from north of Cusco like the Chankas (a rebellious town in the Abancay area).

d. Tambo Machay


Its name means place of rest, and this was its function. The Inca sovereign spent a large time there with his entourage, haunting or taking walks. The place is the farthest from the same Sacsayhuaman. It has complicated systems of small aqueducts that end in two small waterfalls of pure water. Therefore, it could also serve as a worship center for water.

7. The Cathedral of Cusco

things to do in cusco and cathedral

The main church of Cusco took more than 100 years to be completed (from 1559 to 1669). Spanish built it over an ancient Inca temple belonging to Wiracocha Inca, to impose the Catholic religion over their pagan one. With a Renaissance style inside, 14 giant pillars, 24 vaults, and a Baroque facade, the Cathedral represents a real palace for the Catholic religion in southern Peru. The main art museum (Museo de Arte) of an artistic trend that achieved worldwide fame between the 16th and 17th centuries, the “Cusco school” (Escuela cusqueña)

The “Cuzco School” artistic trend was a conjunction of mannerism style, imitation of the high European Renaissance, and tenebrism, the initial phase of Western baroque over local paintings with Catholic themes. In this form, Jesuit, and Dominican friars among others taught European painting techniques to the Inca descendants, in a way of instilling in them the Christian faith. However, they painted virgins, saints, and angels with some Andean traits, such as virgins with Andean hill forms, brown saints, and inter alia. In this way, the “Cusco school” was born.

  • Level of demand: Laid-back.
  • Location: North side of the same Cusco historic center.
  • How to get there?: Departing from the same central fountain in the main square, walk in the north direction 30 meters up to get to Cusco Cathedral.
  • Entrance ticket: $11 general adult ticket / $7 underage ticket / The ticket is useful for visiting Triunfo and La Sagrada Familia, too.
  • Schedule of entrance: From 10:00 am to 17:00 pm.
  • Tips: Please take into account that photographs of paintings and sculptures are not allowed inside the Cathedral of Cusco.

a. El Triunfo and La Sagrada Familia

la sagrada familia

Secondly, we have to mention the Triunfo (Triumph), a church situated on the left side of the Cathedral.  History says that the Triunfo is situated inside old churches in Cusco list, if not the oldest. In 1536, after the siege of the Incas against the Spaniards, the Europeans took refuge in this church, asking the Blessed Virgin for help and witnessing her appearance in the church, to later win the battle against the Incas. In this form, Triunfo Church was used as a Cathedral until the construction of the new one in 1669.

Another important mention is the La Sagrada Familia (The Sacred Family) chapel. Located on the right side of the Cathedral, it hosts Catholic weddings and minor masses. But, rest assured, both attractions are included in the Cathedral of Cusco tour, the entrances cost 40.00 Soles ($11 per person)

8. Sapantiana aqueduct

sapantiana acueduct

Specifically, if you want to take a perfect photo of your Cusco journey, the Sapantiana Aqueduct is your place. This aqueduct was built in 1565 (Peruvian colonial period). Also, it was promoted by the Jesuit order with the council of Cusco to provide water to the city downtown, where the wealthy Spanish class lived. 4 levels of arches formed this colonial wall. Which contain carved stones brought from the Sapantiana quarry. Until 1950, the water still flowed by the canal above. However, today, you can still see a slight flow of water running down over its stone steps. This quaint site is located at the end of Choquechaca Street, 2 blocks from the main square.

  • Level of demand: Laid-back.
  • Location: 7 blocks north of Cusco main square.
  • How to get there?: Northbound, departing from the main square, take Cuesta del Almirante Street (It is on one side of the Cathedral) / Then, take Cordoba de Tucumán Street and go ahead up to get to Nazarenas Square/ After, crossing the square and take Siete Culebras street and go ahead 1 block more / Next, turn left and take the Choquechaca street, and go northbound ahead by 2 blocks / Finally, go ahead through a narrow alley and well done!
  • Entrance ticket: Public area.
  • Schedule of entrance: Public area.
  • Tips: We recommend visiting it during the sunlight hours.

9. Traditional San Pedro Market

things to do in san pedro market

If you walk from Plaza de Armas heading to the southwest, you can enjoy one of the most principal and busy markets in Cusco, the San Pedro market. This place is a carnival for the senses, and you will see everything from tourist souvenirs. They will be going through stalls selling meat, fruit, vegetables, rose shops, exotic food like toads, to medicinal herbs. Also, the Mercado de San Pedro is a perfect opportunity to meet the tastes of the locals and marvel at everything they offer. When you first enter, there are a variety of beautiful souvenirs on offer for sale. Walk further down the market, and you’ll find stalls selling fresh juices of any variety you choose.

Following, you’ll see the people who sell all kinds of fruits and vegetables and even meat and chicken. For an inexpensive meal, you can try a menu that includes an inexpensive soup, entrée, and drink. These food stalls will be packed with locals having lunch, so look for the most popular ones. Among all the famous places in Peru, this market occupies an important position, so you cannot miss it.

  • Level of demand: Laid-back.
  • Location: 7 blocks southwest of Cusco main square.
  • How to get there?: Heading southwest, take Mantas Street, and go ahead by 2 blocks (crossing Espinar small square) / Then, take Marques Street and go ahead 1 block up to get to San Francisco Square / Pass one side of San Francisco Square, go under Santa Clara Arch and take the street of Santa Clara, walking ahead by 1 block more / Finally, you will get to San Pedro market!
  • Entrance ticket: Public area. You don’t need an entrance ticket.
  • Schedule of entrance: 06:00 am – 17:00 pm.
  • Tips: We recommend paying attention to your personal issues. The market is a popular place and not an exclusive tourist place if you understand what I mean.

10. The Cristo Blanco statue

things to do in cusco and cristo blanco

If Rio de Janeiro in Brazil has its Christ the Redeemer statue, Cusco has its own. The Cristo Blanco or white Christ of open arms is a giant statue of 8 meters large. Also, it is covered with marble and plaster. It was a gift from the Palestinian Arab community to the city in 1945, due to its hospitality during the Second World War. It is located in the surroundings of Cusco (the North part) and you can get amazing views of the City from there. Also, to get there, you can hire a taxi from Apps. The cost of service is around 80 Soles ($22) including 30 minutes of wait at the place to get the best photos of the Inca Empire city.

  • Level of demand: Moderate.
  • Location: The White Christ (Cristo Blanco) is located 14 large and not well-signed blocks north of Cusco main square.
  • How to get there?: For this reason, we recommend taking a taxi (Always through the App) to go to White Christ, wait 30 minutes there, and return you to the city center. The taxi cost can go around S/.80 or $22. Here are InDriver, Cabify, and DiDi safe apps.
  • Entrance ticket: Public area.
  • Schedule of entrance: Public area.
  • Tips: Of course, it is recommended to visit it during sunny hours and never at night, since the site is far from tourist sites and does not have security.

11. The Inti Raymi Festivity

things to do in cusco and inti raymi

Even more, if you want to see a staging throughout all of Cusco City, outdoors, with more than 300 local dancers and actors, dressed in Inca clothes, fabrics, and jewels, you will have to see the Inti Raymi. A group of Cusco scholars recovered from this Inca festivity in 1944. The festivity was the most important for the Incas and was dedicated to the Sun god. In this form, each June 24, in the Winter Solstice, when the sun is located farthest to the earth, the Incas called it through dances, music, and even human sacrifices, to feel its warmth again.

Of course, three important Inca places in Cusco (that are still standing) host the Inti Raymi: The Qoricancha or Sun Temple (Current Santo Domingo church), the Main Square, and the Sacsayhuaman fortress. The two first places are free to enter, however, the last place has a cost ticket of around $100, and the same municipality sells these. Therefore, if you want to appreciate this great show, we suggest you contact a local travel agency. They will bring you the entrance in advance because these usually are sold out.

  • Level of demand: Laid-back.
  • Location: Qoricancha / Cusco Main Square / Sacsayhuaman.
  • How to get there?: Qoricancha and Main Square are located in the same city / Sacsayhuaman outside Cusco (Review the Sacsayhuaman section of this article).
  • Entrance ticket: A Special Inti Raymi ticket is around $100 per person.
  • Schedule of entrance: June 24 / Ceremony in Qoricancha 08:00 am – 09:30 am / Ceremony in Main Square 10:00 am – 11:00 am / Ceremony in Sacsayhuaman 12:00 pm – 15:00 pm.
  • Tips: The ceremony in Qoricancha and Main Square is free / The Sacsayhuaman ceremony has a special entrance ticket of $100 per person.

12. The viewpoint of San Cristobal

things to do in cusco and san cristobal

Another great thing to do in Cusco is to be able to enjoy the breathtaking views of Cusco, among them, San Cristobal’s viewpoint is the most remarkable. You’ll find it walking 15 minutes from the main square, taking the “Suecia” street and continuing the “Don Bosco” street. This is a little plaza located on one side of San Cristobal Catholic Church, where you’ll find people watching the great beauty of Cusco city, besides stone benches and 11 giant Inca niches located behind the complex. You can even see the Cusco airport from this viewpoint! These belonged to an ancient Inca Palace, the Qolqampata. According to the imperial bloodline, many scholars suggest that Qolqampata was the palace of the first Inca (called Manco Capac). Therefore, later, the palace was used as a royal cemetery for the Inca nobility.

  • Level of demand: Moderate.
  • Location: 3 blocks north of Cusco Center.
  • How to get there?: Departing from Cusco main square / Northbound, take Suecia Street and go ahead 2 blocks up to get to Don Bosco Street / After, turn right and follow the direction of Don Bosco Street by 50 meters more Well Done!
  • Entrance ticket: Public area.
  • Schedule of entrance: Public area.
  • Tips: If the temple of the same name is open, we recommend you take the opportunity to visit it.

a. San Cristobal church

san cristobal church

The San Cristobal church is a modest building that does not have the beauty and decoration of its peers in the city. Also, a high altar decorated with embossed silver, a gigantic sculpture of San Cristobal, and a Ushnu Inca (a place where the Incas made payments to Mother Earth) are the most highlighted points in it. Its architect was a relative of the last Incas Huascar and Atahualpa and the son of Huyana Capac Inca, Paullo Inca Yupanqui. Who, once converted to Christianity, decided to adopt the name of its Spanish godfather, Cristobal Vaca de Castro, beginning the San Cristobal church construction.

Nowadays, its bell tower of the XVII century offers another great view of the city besides the viewpoint. The entrances cost $3 per person and are worth it.

13. The Sacred Valley of the Incas

things to do in cusco and sacred valley

If we talk about gastronomy, excellent restaurants and beautiful beaches, Lima is better to visit than Cusco. However, Cusco is best to visit if you are interested in culture, history, customs, art and the acclaimed Machu Picchu. But why not visit both cities? Therefore, if you are coming from Lima to Cusco for the first time, the Sacred Valley should be an inevitable point in your vacations. This zone is located outside the city, 73 kilometers of distance. The Incas called it Sacred because they found fertile lands on the river banks. In addition to an excellent warm climate and a crystal clear river like El Vilcanota. Therefore, 5 important Inca attractions form the Sacred Valley zone:

  • Level of demand: Moderate.
  • Location: Northeast of Cusco (45 km distance), in the Sacred Valley zone. Taking reference to Urubamba, the modern town of Sacred Valley.
  • How to get there?: You can take a collective car from Pavitos Street heading to Pisac, Calca, Urubamba, or Ollantaytambo. The car trip lasts 01:30 hrs.
  • Entrance ticket: $20 for the Sacred Valley Partial Tourist Ticket / $35 for the Cusco General Tourist Ticket that includes entrances to Pisac, and Ollantaytambo among others.
  • Schedule of entrance: All Sacred Valley attractions from 07:00 am – 17:00 pm.
  • Tips: Ollantaytambo is the best place to spend a night in the Sacred Valley before traveling to Machu Picchu.

a. Pisac

pisac cusco

Firstly Pisac was an ancient Inca settlement with Andean terraces, temples, plazas, fortresses, watchtowers, and even a cemetery. All of them are over a hill called Pisac (the name of a native bird that abounds in the place) Pisac is located at the beginning of the Valley, over the south part, at 33 km from Cusco. Over its slopes, a little town with a quaint handicraft market is located today. Both, the handicraft market of Pisac and the archaeological park should be obligatory stops on your Sacred Valley tour.

b. Ollantaytambo


In contrast, Ollantaytambo is located on the opposite side of Pisac, in the north zone of the valley, 90 km from Cusco. It was the last refuge of the Incas in the Andes, during their escape from the Spanish invaders heading Jungle deep. The fortress received the name of its regent, the famous General Ollanta (protagonist of the colonial theatrical play of love, and betrayal called Ollantay). Nowadays, the local town is located on the feet of the Ollantaytambo fortress and maintains its Inca buildings and squares, without changes or modification, being considered a living Inca village. Therefore, if you travel to Ollantaytambo, you will travel back in time, undoubtedly.

c. Chinchero


The local town of Chinchero is located over an alternative route to get to Sacred Valley, on the west side of it. 28 km from Cusco. Chinchero stands out more for being a colonial town than for an Inca one. Its colonial church is a synonym of a picture museum with invaluable pieces of art belongings of “Cusco school”. In its main square, each Sunday, people of surrounding towns come to interchange their products like potatoes, corn, and even animals, in a practice that dates back to the Inca period, called the barter. Without mentioning its textile demonstration centers where visitors can see the process of extracting wool from the llamas, alpacas, and vicuñas, its dyeing process, and the production of clothes. With the possibility of buying these products!

d. Maras


The salt mines of Maras are more than 3000 salt wells located over the slopes of Qaqawiñay mountain, 50 km from Cusco, near Chinchero. These mines have producing salt since the Inca times. And today, the local people of the close town of Maras work them. Walking between the Maras welles and enjoying their whiteness is a unique experience in Scared Valley. Also, we recommend you visit Cusco and include this great place in your itinerary. Just in case, recognized Peruvian chefs recommend the salt of Maras to season the beef for perfect grills, and you can buy them, there.

e. Moray


If you were wondering, how the Incas were able to obtain a high level of agricultural knowledge to cultivate in the wildlands of the Andes, Moray can be the answer. Moray (38 km northwest of Cusco) is a series of circles that go into the earth, a spectacle for the view! Each circle represented a level of altitude in the Andes, to scale. Consequently, they planted one type of corn and potato in each circle, from the outermost to the innermost. To see the type of planting and product they obtained, choosing only the best beans. Therefore, Moray is considered an Inca Agricultural Research Center. Another inevitable point inside your list of interesting points to visit in Cusco.

14. The twelve-angled stone

things to do in cusco and twelve angled stone

Hidden among the narrow streets of Cusco historic center is the stone of the twelve angles. This sculptural marvel has 12 perfectly carved angles that fit seamlessly into the Inca wall of Hatunrumioc Street and is located one block from the southeast of Main Square. The stone itself is relatively large and forms part of the wall of the current Archbishop’s Palace. Also, you will be able to see an actor dressed as an Inca sovereign located on the side of the stone and a large crowd that, generally, surrounds the area, trying to take a photo with him and the popular stone. Please note, that touching the walls and the stone is strictly forbidden for a preservation issue.

  • Level of demand: Laid-back.
  • Location: The twelve-angled stone is located on Hatunrumioc Street / 2 and a half blocks east of Cusco Main Square.
  • How to get there?: Departing City Main Square / Take Triunfo Street (It is on one side of the Triunfo Church) and go ahead 2 blocks up to the end / Next, take the Hatunrumioc Street and well done! The twelve-angled is located in the middle of the street.
  • Entrance ticket: Public area.
  • Schedule of entrance: Public area.
  • Tips: There is an actor dressed as an Inca who offers to take a photo with you but be careful, he charges for this service.

15. The Qosqo Center of Native Art

see traditional dances in cusco

In 1924, a local cultural group wanted to recall the importance of the Cusco in the Inca times, rescuing native dances, typical costumes, traditions, and festivals in Cusco from oblivion. The oldest cultural group in Peru was born, the Qosqo Center of Native Art.

Nowadays, they have a continuous work of research and rescue of dances, and typical costumes among others that the Incas left to towns surrounding the city and in the Andes highlands. The cultural group offers a theatrical proposal of 20 native dances of Cusco and the Andes every night. From 7 pm, the spectacle begins and lasts 1 hour and 30 minutes in its own theater, and the visitor will have the possibility to appreciate the music, dance, and costumes of the dancers. The Cusco General Tourism Ticket includes the entrance to Qosqo Center Native Art. Which, by the way, costs $37, is worth 10 days and you can buy it at the offices of the Municipality of Cusco, located at Avenida el Sol Nº 103.

  • Level of demand: Laid-back.
  • Location: 5 and a half blocks south of Cusco Main Square.
  • How to get there?: From the Cusco main square in a southerly direction, take Mantas Street and go ahead half a block / After, turn left and go ahead 5 blocks through El Sol Avenue up to Qosqo Center of Native Art.
  • Entrance ticket: The entrance ticket is included in the Cusco Partial Tourist Ticket (City ticket) which costs $20 / $35 the Cusco General Tourist Ticket is useful for visiting the Sacred Valley, too.
  • Schedule of entrance: From 07:00 pm to 09:00 pm.
  • Tips: This is a theatrical play so try to attend without minors or with people who can’t stand silence.

16. The Cusco planetarium

things to do in cusco and the planterium

Undeniably, for the Incas, astronomy played a very important role in their everyday life. So much so that it influenced the planting and harvesting of crops, religious ceremonies, and architecture. And all of this can be fully explored at the Cusco Planetarium. Where visitors will learn about Inca astronomy, in addition to stargazing and the constellations. The family-owned and operated planetarium is located on the main surrounding highway of Cusco, called “Circunvalación”. From here, you can enjoy breathtaking views of the stars from the top of Cusco always with the accompaniment of an expert who will assist you to identify constellations and reveal their meaning. In our Cusco travel tips, we recommend that you visit this fascinating place. Among all the things to do in Cusco, this is one of the best.

  • Level of demand: Laid-back.
  • Location: 3 km northwest of Cusco center / It is located on the edge of the city center.
  • How to get there?: Take a taxi or a private car is the most recommendable tip / From the Cusco main square you can take a taxi (through Taxi apps) to the Planetarium. The cost will be around 10 soles.
  • Entrance ticket: $20 General Entrance Ticket / $ 200 for a Private Group.
  • Schedule of entrance: from 18:00 pm up to 22:00 pm.
  • Tips: The Cusco Planetarium service can organize round-trip transfers to your hotel in the historic center of Cusco.

17. The Humantay lake

humantay lake

At 4200 m.a.s.l. The Humantay Lake is another nature jewelry that climate change and global warming unveiled to the world. In the ’80s the lagoon was totally frozen but little by little, the ice cap melted until obtaining today’s lagoon. Crystal-clear water reflects the natural beauty of the snow from which it was born. It is located over the slopes of Humantay, a small snow-capped mountain at the foot of the famous snow-capped Salkantay. Be sure to acclimatize your body before doing this activity to prevent altitude sickness; drink some coca tea, and rest a day before the climb.

This lagoon is close to the first camp zone of Soraypampa (the beginnings of the Salkantay trek) In the district of Mollepata, Anta province, department of Cusco. Precisely at 122 km from the ancient Inca capital. To get there, you’ll have to take transportation from Cusco to Mollepata (03 hours), after that, take transportation again to Soraypampa (45 min), and finally, begin the trekking to Humantay (01 hours). Again, we recommend you enjoy this experience through a travel agency.

  • Level of demand: Demand.
  • Location: 120 km northwest of Cusco center / 4,200 m.a.s.l.
  • How to get there?: You will have to take a public bus from Arcopata Street heading to Mollepata town. $5 Bus ticket. 3-hour bus trip / In Mollepata, you will have to take a private taxi or collective car heading to Soraypampa campsite. $15 taxi price or 3$ collective car price. In both cases, there is a 30-minute car trip / Finally a 01 hour of the hike up to the same lagoon.
  • Entrance ticket: $3 General Entrance Ticket charged by a representative of Mollepata municipality.
  • Schedule of entrance: From 06:00 am – 17:00 pm.
  • Tips: The visit to the Humantay lagoon is also included on the first day of the famous 5-day – 4-night trek to the snow-capped Salkantay.

18. The Inca museum

things to do in cusco and inca museum

This museum represents a complete, illustrative, and exact of all periods of Cusco, from the Stone Age until these days. It is almost a complete Cusco tourist map to see before beginning your activities in the ancient Incas capital. The National University of Cusco, called San Antonio Abad del Cusco, manages it. This university is the fourth oldest in Peru (with more than 300 years of existence) and the fifth in all of America. Undoubtedly, a museum with a great backrest.

The colonial home of a Spanish admiral hosts the museum and its huge collection of artifacts and ceramics. You will be able to tour twenty-four exhibition rooms that are filled with information dating. From pre-Inca societies to the height of the Inca Empire and the Spanish conquest. One of the things that stands out the most is the mummified bodies in the museum, as well as the courtyard where Andean women weaved textiles. Fortunately, there are English and Spanish languages informative captions. But it is also advisable to hire a guide for a small fee, as it makes visiting the huge museum easier. If you buy a tourist ticket to Cusco, the entrance to one of the best museums in Cusco is completely included!

  • Level of demand: Laid-back.
  • Location: 160 meters northwest of Cusco Center.
  • How to get there?: From Cusco main square, northbound, take Cuesta del Almirante Street (It is on one side of the Cathedral) and go ahead up to the street end, and well done. You will get to the Inca museum.
  • Entrance ticket: $6 General Entrance Ticket / $3 National Tourist Entrance Ticket.
  • Schedule of entrance: 09:15 am – 16:00 pm / From Monday to Saturday.
  • Tips: A place with a lot of history needs to be visited in the company of a tour guide. Make sure you have one.

19. The Picanterias

picanterias cusco

Peruvian cuisine is represented in Cusco by the Picanterias. These Picanterias (places where spicy food is served) are formed by one big local with long tables and benches, where totally unknown people could share a single table while enjoying different delighting local dishes like the Chiriuchu (Cold dish based on pieces of chicken, beef, and pork. All of them boiled and accompanied by a fried corn cake, toasted corn, and edible seaweed), Cuy al Horno (Guinea pig roasted accompanied by boiled potatoes) or a Capchi de Zetas (Stew of local mushrooms called Zetas). All of them are accompanied by the Chicha (a species of local beer on a base of fermented corn) and the famous Picante (Stew of Andean legumes mixed with boiled potato pieces and red chili). We can mention the Campanario Picanteria in Choquechaca Street.

Even more, the kitchen is a wood-burning stove in the same dining room, located at the depth of the premises. If you’re worried about your stomach, don’t worry, as Cusco municipality does sanitary condition supervision, regularly. Moreover, a separate note deserves the Chocomuseo (Chocolate museum), the most important Chocolate factory in Cusco, where you will taste the cacao beans cultivated in the Jungle areas of Cusco and recognized as one of the most delights around the world. We encourage you to try it.

  • Level of demand: Laid-back.
  • Location: Picanterias are located on the main streets of the Cusco historic center.
  • How to get there?: Just walk a few meters from the main square to find the main Picanterias. In the case of El Campanario, you will have to walk 4 and a half blocks taking the Cuesta del Almirante Street (It is on one side of the Cathedral) and go ahead up to the street end.
  • Entrance ticket: You just have to consume inside.
  • Schedule of entrance: Usually the Picanterias are open from 12:00 pm up to 16:00 pm.
  • Tips: The Picanterias usually serve regional Cusco dishes, don’t expect gourmet or touristy dishes. Likewise, they have a long table with stools for several diners, do not expect exclusive tables for you and your companion.

20. Nightlife in Cusco

cusco nightlife

The main difference between Cusco and Machu Picchu is that the former combines history, customs, archaeological sites, and modern life. While Machu Picchu is clearly the best preserved Inca archaeological site in the middle of the jungle.

If Las Vegas is the city that never sleeps. Cusco is likewise the tourist city that never sleeps, in Peru. The city has a very active nightlife. If you stay in Cusco, you know, not everything is guided tours and museums. You can enjoy the many bars and clubs in Cusco, with different thematics. In this form, you can find an English bar (The Cross Keys) located on Triunfo Street, on the southeast side of the main square. The Paddys Pub (Irish bar) is situated at the beginning of Triunfo Street, as the most representatives.  Regarding discos, you will find many and for all types of public, discos are an excellent opportunity to relax with friends and drink or dance for a while, and maybe, find love.

By the way, if you are wondering if Cusco is safe to travel to, the answer is yes. Even at night, you don’t have to worry as you keep an eye on your belongings. Without mentioning that there are many police officers on every corner of the Historic Center of Cusco. Also, if you were wondering, what are fun things to do in the Imperial City? Well, this is definitely one of them.

  • Level of demand: Laid-back.
  • Location: The discos, pubs, and bars are in the same main square and adjoining streets like Procuradores, Tecsecocha, Plateros, Triunfo, and Tigre Streets.
  • How to get there?: You just have to walk through the continuous streets of the main square.
  • Schedule of entrance: Usually, the bars and Pubs open from 19:00 pm to 02:00 am the next day. The discos usually work the longest hours up to 06:00 am.
  • Tips: The Republic of Pisco, The Cross Keys, The Irish Bar, and the Changos are the best representatives of discos, pubs, and bars in Cusco!


As you will see, there are a lot of things to do in Cusco, and many of them cost absolutely nothing. So there are no excuses for enjoying this magical city full of history and culture. We hope we have been of help to Machu Travel Peru. Remember that you can do much more in the beautiful Imperial City. These are just a few examples that are very popular with tourists and newcomers. If you want to know more about the different tours around the city, you can consult with our qualified advisers. Our team of qualified advisers will be happy to help you with everything.

Peru has so much to offer, it can be hard to know where to start. With many years of experience in the tourism sector, Machu Travel Peru is happy to help with anything regarding your trip to Machu Picchu and any tours around it. Make your Machu Picchu experience an unforgettable one!