Cusco City, The Historical Capital of Peru

Cusco (sometimes spelled Cuzco) is one of Peru's most renowned cities and should be on any traveler's must-see list for history, culture, and natural beauty fans. Here is a comprehensive travel guide to Cusco:

An Overview of Cusco

  • Location: Southeastern Peru, within the Peruvian Andes.
  • Elevation:  3,400 meters (11,200 feet). 
  • Languages spoken: Spanish is the official language, but many residents, especially in rural regions, speak Quechua instead.)
  • Best way to arrive: Flight from Lima.
  • Currency: PEN (Peruvian New Sol, however, you can exchange any currency in Cusco.

Historical Importance

Cusco was the Inca Empire's capital and has an illustrious past that can be seen in its architecture, archeological sites, and local traditions.

Things to Do and See Historic Center:

  • For some wonderful sightseeing opportunities, visit the Plaza de Armas, Cusco Cathedral, and Church of the Society of Jesus.
  • Coricancha was once a lavish Inca temple adorned with gold leaf, but it has since been changed into a mix of Inca ruins and the colonial Convent of Santo Domingo.
  • Sacsayhuaman: Located just above Cusco, Sacsayhuaman is a spectacular Inca citadel with impressive stone architecture. 
  • San Pedro Market: San Pedro Market sells locally created crafts, snacks, and souvenirs from merchants. 
  • Don't miss Tambomachay, Puka Pukara, and Qenqo, which are all located close to Cusco.

Altitude Sickness

Travelers may encounter altitude sickness at such high altitudes; symptoms include headaches, dizziness, and nausea. To lessen or mitigate these effects:

Take it easy and give yourself time to acclimate as soon as you arrive. Stay hydrated; Coca tea may help with altitude-related symptoms; visit your doctor if medication to relieve altitude sickness symptoms is required.

Culinary Delights

  • Cuy (guinea pig) is a delectable Andean specialty.
  • Lomo Saltado: A classic Colombian stir-fry with beef, tomatoes, and onions.
  • Chicha Morada is a unique purple corn beverage. 
  • Pisco Sour: The national cocktail of Peru, created with pisco, lime, egg whites, and sugar. 

Local celebrations

  • Inti Raymi: A celebration in June honoring the Inca sun god. 
  • Cusco Carnival is held every year between February and March and features music, dancing, and water balloon fights!


Domestic flights are available at Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport. There are no direct international flights into Cusco; most travelers must transit through Lima. Buses and taxis are ubiquitous around Cusco; however, before agreeing on pricing with any taxi drivers, ensure that they are official.

Destinations Nearby

The Sacred Valley is home to towns and archeological sites including as Ollantaytambo, Pisac, and Urubamba, as well as Machu Picchu, which may be reached by train from Cusco or Ollantaytambo; as well as lodging.
Cusco has a wide range of accommodations, from hostels to luxury hotels. Booking ahead of time is strongly encouraged, especially during peak tourist seasons.


Cusco is typically safe, however, standard precautions should be taken. Pickpockets in crowded settings should be avoided because they may present possibilities.

Travel Suggestions

  • Wear layers; temperatures may be scorching during the day, but they drop considerably at night. 
  • When visiting religious sites, observe local customs and traditions; for hiking adventures, bring enough gear, water, and snacks.

Cusco is an ancient city that effortlessly blends tradition and modernity, possessing an illustrious past, vibrant culture, and proximity to some of Peru's most recognizable landmarks, all of which will provide travelers with remarkable experiences.