Cusco is probably the most beautiful city in Peru. Most people stay in this city before they visit Machu Picchu, but there’s so much more to do in and around Cusco! In this article, I’ll share my top 5 favorite things to do in Cusco.
This article is also available in Dutch.
Relax at Plaza De Armas
Every city in Peru has a Plaza De Armas, a central square with a cathedral where the locals hang out. The Plaza de Armas in Cusco is probably one of the most beautiful in Peru. No cars are allowed, so there’s plenty of space for you to stroll around and enjoy the beauty of the square. It has a lot of benches, which are perfect for people-watching or just reading a book. A perfect place to relax and get used to the altitude.
Visit the ruïns of Sacsayhuamán
On a hill on the north side of Cusco, you’ll find the ruïns of Sacsayhuamán (which you pronounce as sexy woman). It’s a 20-minute walk from Plaza De Armas and you should be prepared for a steep climb. At Sacsayhuamán you’ll see the ruins of old Inca structures and walls with huge stones. It’s not clear what the purpose of this building used to be (it might have been something religious or a fort), but it sure is impressive. From the top of the hill, you’ll also have a great view of the city of Cusco.
Go shopping at the San Pedro Market
Do you still have to buy some souvenirs? Wait until you reach Cusco because you’ll find a great selection for cheap at the San Pedro Market. This huge market hall was designed by Gustav Eiffel (the same guy that designed the Eiffel tower in Paris) and is filled with stalls with souvenirs, food, drinks and all other sorts of things. There are also some women with sewing machines, so if you ripped something during your trip, they will fix it for you. I had a big tear in my sweater and they fixed it for €0.80 (and that included a big tip).
Explore the San Blas neighborhood
San Blas is a neighborhood on the east side of Cusco. Here you’ll find lots of narrow streets, steps and beautiful squares. It’s a great place to get lost, go shopping in the small stores and have lunch or dinner.
Join a free city tour
Would you like to learn something about the city during your stay in Cusco? Then I would recommend joining a free city tour. There are plenty to choose from in Cusco and the guide will show you all the great spots in Cusco and tell you about the history of this gorgeous city. I found it to be very informative and you’ll discover some places you wouldn’t have found on your own. It’s also a great way to meet people.
Would you like to read more about Peru? Check out this post: Travel tips Peru: everything you need to know before you go.
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