The Cusco (Cuzco) Rundown
As the heart of the great Inca Empire many years ago, Cusco is a majestic city that tops the list on many a traveller’s journey. Today, Cusco is listed as the archaeological capital of the Americas that hosts the oldest continuously inhabited city on the continent. The historical centre of Cusco is beautiful, including a walk around the ‘Plaza de Armas’ with many of the local churches, shops and restaurants backing on to it. A visit to the Cusco Planetarium is a great way to see how the Inca’s saw the world. The Incas seriously studied astronomy and even aligned some of the city’s main streets to line up with the stars at certain times of the year.
A must see are the Qorikancha ruins, one of richest temples of the Inca empire and today stands as the base of the colonial church of Santo Domingo. The construction of La Catedral started in 1559 and took nearly 100 years to build. Built on the site of the Inca Viracocha’s palace, it was built using blocks taken from a nearby Inca site. The ‘Museo Irq’i Yachay’ (Irq’i Yachay Museum) is a bit more an art and craft exhibition.
When To Go
Cusco’s climate is relatively fresh. Average temperatures are between 10° and 11° Celsius (50° to 52° Fahrenheit). The temperature is fairly stable throughout the year. In general, it is cold at night and during the first hours of the morning the temperature rises considerably until about noon. On sunny days the temperature can go up to 20°C (68°F). In June, the temperature frequently decreases below zero to -5° and -7°C (23° and 19°F).
The change of the seasons during the year is not very noticeable; but it is generally divided into two seasons:
- The dry season runs from April to October, with plenty of sunshine, and occasional nighttime freezes.
- The wet season goes from November through March, during which time night frost is less common.
- While frost and hail are common, the only snowfall was recorded in June of 1911.
Coming into Cusco by air, the airport is at the edge of the city. There are daily flights into Cusco from Lima. A traveller’s tip is to book one of the earlier flights in the day to avoid possible weather delays or overbooking. When leaving the Cusco airport be prepared to pay a small airport tax; some tickets included this fee in their price.
The trip from the airport into town is a short ride with one of the many taxis available. Getting an ‘official’ airport taxi may run you up to 30 or more soles. While taxis are common and inexpensive, most don’t use meters. Be ready for a short haggle as you agree on your price before getting in.
- Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport is in Cusco.
- Taxis are readily available at different price points.
- For the best deal, haggle with the taxi driver prior.
The venerable historic capital of the Inca Empire is a supreme destination point for international pilgrims on the way to Machu Picchu. Unlike many indispensable stopovers however, Cusco is a place where you want to linger. The UNESCO World Heritage city is a sensorial banquet, with a location in the high Andes that will take your breath away, literally and figuratively.
Cusco is a veritable permanent excavation site for scientists and archaeologists alike, with remains of the lost Inca civilization in and around the city. The Plaza de Armas is the foremost symbol of colonial Cusco, with all of the requisite architectural landmarks of 16th century Spanish conquest. Cathedrals, convents and palaces radiate from the plaza, which serves as the de facto pulsepoint of the city. Authentic Cusco life can be found in the innumerable city markets, small restaurants, coffee bars and mad atmosphere of Estadio Garcilaso de la Vega.
Attractions & Activities
Restaurants & Nightlife
Cusco's high altitude brings even and predictable weather throughout the year, with temperatures between -1°C and 22°C.
48 hotels in Cuzco, PE
Casa San Blas Boutique Hotel Cusco is a charming property close to the historic centre of Cusco. From the hotel, guests can easily explore Incan vestiges like the Monument of Inca Pachacuteq and... More
Perched on a hill in a charming neighbourhood in Cuzco, Hotel Casa De Campo Cusco gives leisure travellers beautiful views of the charming city from their comfortable accommodations. Tourists can... More
Built around an early 16th century, Novotel Hotel Cusco presents an exceptional style of colonial architecture and comfortable accommodation to its guests. General The hotel also features a... More
Andean Wings Boutique Hotel offers a relaxing stay at a renovated historical manor house with contemporary decor and modern furnishings for holidaymakers exploring Southern Sierras. Centrally... More
JW Marriott Hotel Cusco invites business and leisure travellers to contemporary rooms and latest facilities in Cusco. While in this part of Peru, tourists can view notable collections at Cusco... More
Discerning travellers find ideal base in the stylish units and top-notch facilities of Palacio del Inka, a Luxury Collection Hotel, strategically located in the historic and heritage-rich Cuzco.... More
Built in a colonial large house of 16th century, Casa Andina Private Collection - Cusco makes you to enjoy a warm atmosphere and a friendly service. GeneralCasa Andina Private Collection - Cusco... More
Offering superb service along with a friendly and professional staff, the Terra Andina Hotel ensures you a delightful stay in the city of Cusco. GeneralThe Terra Andina Hotel also offers... More
Belmond Hotel Monasterio Cusco is the ideal base for those who want to discover Cuzco and the ancient ruins at Machu Picchu. GeneralBelmond Hotel Monasterio Cusco also provides conference... More