Cusco is a beautiful city in the Peruvian Andes, full of charm, Inca ruins, great restaurants, and so many thing to do around. You can easily fall in love with this city and stay here for weeks. Here are my top things to do in Cusco and around:
1. Exploring Cusco’s old streets and Plaza de Armas
Cusco used to be the historic capital of Inca Empire, and you can find there archaeological remains of Inca stonework. There are lots of interesting sights in the city, including Plaza de Armas (the beautiful main square), Convento de Santo Domingo (Inca temple) impressive cathedrals, amazing museums, San Blas district and more. Take your time to wonder around the beautiful streets of old Cusco, admiring the city’s unique architecture. Go to one of Cusco’s viewpoints to enjoy the great views of the surrounding Andes. It is recommended to buy Buleto Turistico (Cusco’s tourist ticket) which will allow you to enter to the most interesting Inca sights and museums.
2. Sacred Valley and Inca remains sights
There are many daydrips to do around the Sacred Valley and near Cusco, allowing you to learn more about the Incas, their lives, their history, and their unique architectures. It is recommended to book guided tours in Cusco, so you can enjoy the ruins while understanding more about the Incas.
Among the most impressive and popular sights: Saqsaywaman, Qenqo, Tambomachay, Pukapukara, Moray, Salinas de Maras, Pisac village, and more.
3. Chocolate workshop- Tasty and fun!
Don’t miss the chance to visit ChocoMuseo in Cusco and learn about the history of chocolate. In the Choco museum you can find a few displays explaining the chocolate making process and try some delicious samples. Visiting the museum is free, but I recommend participating in chocolate making class. This ‘bean-to-bar’ class takes around 2 hours, it’s super fun and very informative, and of course you get to make your own chocolate pieces by the end of the class.
4. ATV tours around the Sacred Valley
If you want to enjoy adrenaline activity while touring some sights in the beautiful mountains around Cusco, you should take an ATV tour! The landscape of the surrounding mountains is incredible. Instead of going just for the usual guided tours, go for a fun ride by quads to Moray and Salinas de Maras.
5. Horse riding in Ausangate mountain
If you wish to find a non touristy spot around Cusco, while traveling along breathtaking and outstanding scenery, Ausangate mountain is the right place for you. There are many ways to explore this amazing area: you can go for horse riding as a long daytrip from Cusco, or even hike the full challenging 5 days circuit, either way, you’ll enjoy this peaceful and beautiful hidden jam.
6. A trek to Machu Picchu
There are many ways to get to Machu Picchu, and most of them start in Cusco. Around the city you can find tour agencies offering guided tours and train tickets to Machu Picchu. Among the popular tours to Machu Picchu: Inca trail, Salkantay Trek, Inca Jungle trek, and more. I recommend the Inca Jungle Trek, check it out here.