WHAT TO DO IN CUSCO:
If you are planning a trip to Peru you must travel to Cusco! Here is a complete 5 day-itinerary with the best things to do in Cusco and its surroundings, that will help you plan the perfect visit to this magical city.
For the first day of your stay, we recommend that you have a light breakfast at La Valeriana. As Cusco is located at an altitude of 3,400 metres above sea level, altitude sickness can be an issue. That is why we suggest that you drink coca leaf tea to prevent it. After that, start walking around the city and let its magic captivate you. Wander around Cusco’s streets and visit San Blas, one of the most picturesque areas of the city with the best views of Cusco. Afterwards, visit the Main Square and the Cathedral.
For lunch, we recommend that you eat something light since this is your first day in the city. After, you should go tour the nearby ruins that are located high above the city of Cusco. You can choose between going to Sacsayhuaman, Q’enqo, Puka Pukara or Tambomachay. Moreover, if you are not tired of the trip you can go to more than one of them! All of these ruins are full of history and they will give you an overview of the vibrant Inca culture, which is still alive in the city and its people.
Finally, have dinner at Baco. There, you will taste Cusco’s best stir-fried beef. Totally recommended!
Puka Pukara Ruins
Your first day trip from Cusco! Get ready to visit the Sacred Valley and its magnificent sites: Maras, Moray, Pisac and Chincheros. First, head towards Maras and Moray. In Maras, you must go to the Salt Mines, a hidden beauty of salt flats. Then, head off to Moray, an incredible set of terraced platforms, where you can admire the outstanding Incan architecture. If you are a fan of adventure, you can visit these two sites in an ATV or quad bike tour.
Maras Salt Mines
Moray Inca Ruins
For lunch, we recommend that you eat at El Huacatay restaurant in Urubamba. Later on, visit Pisac and Chinchero, two beautiful villages. In Pisac, you must visit the ruins and marketplace. The Pisac market takes up the whole Main Square of the town, and there you can find a huge variety of alpaca’s wool products and all kinds of handicrafts and souvenirs. Next, make a stop at Chinchero and visit its Main Square and church. Its views overlooking the Sacred Valley will totally amaze you. If you happen to visit Chinchero on a Sunday, you won’t want to miss its colorful authentic and traditional market.
Finally, return to Cusco and have dinner at La Bodega 138. Here you will find the best pizza in Cusco! Ask for the garlic sauce, you will love its flavor.
La Bodega 138
It’s time for one of the highlights of your trip: Machu Picchu! Wake up very early in the morning so that you can get to Ollantaytambo at 6:00 AM to catch the first train that departs to Aguas Calientes. This town is the access point to Machu Picchu. Train tickets can be purchased with Peru Rail or Inca Rail. The journey by train takes less than 2 hours. As soon as you get there, get in line to take the shuttle bus that will drop you off at the entrance of Machu Picchu. The bus journey takes only 35-40 minutes. You are ready to start exploring this amazing heritage site!
After you finish the hike, we recommend that you have lunch at Mapacho in Aguas Calientes and head back to Cusco city. Once there, and if you are hungry, go to Pachapapa for dinner. Here you will find traditional Peruvian food and excellent service.
Then, you can take a walk in San Blas square and have a drink at Limbus Restobar, where you will find the best panoramic view of the city.
Some advice for your Machu Picchu trip:
• Buy your Machu Picchu entrance tickets a few months early, especially during peak season (from May to October)
• If you want to hike the Huayna Picchu mountain (highly recommended), tickets must be purchased in advance. There are limited spaces per day and they usually sell out very fast.
• You can also stay in the town of Aguas Calientes the day before the hike. That way, the next morning you can take the earliest shuttle to Machu Picchu and enjoy it at sunrise. We suggest you stay at Tierra Viva Machu Picchu Hotel: beautiful and comfortable rooms facing the Urubamba River.
Hope you slept well, because today you will need to be energized! You will have a full Kunigo experience day ahead of you. You will be visiting two Andean communities: one in the morning and the other in the afternoon.
Kunigo offers hands-on activities in rural communities located in the Sacred Valley. In these activities, you will get involved and understand the traditions and culture of local people. One of the best things about these experiences is that with each activity, you will be directly supporting the communities’ sustainable development.
You can choose your prefered activities for your day trip. For example, try being a chef, an artisan for a day, an expert in pottery or choose whichever plan best suits you! You will have fun and create meaningful memories that will last forever!
Once you return to Cusco, go to Cicciolina and order the ossobuco. You won’t regret it!
Your last day! After these amazing 4 days in Cusco, to say goodbye to this city we recommend that you visit Humantay Lake, one of our favorite’s landscapes!
To visit this turquoise paradise, we recommend that you book a full-day tour that covers round trip transportation, breakfast and a tour guide. To get to the lagoon, you will need to hike to the top of the Humantay Mountain which will take approximately 1h 30 minutes . During the hike, you will enjoy the beautiful scenery of the valley and the Salkantay. Once you get to the top, the views are breathtaking!
* Horses are available in this trek. If you need assistance to get to the top, you can rent one and a local will lead you to the top of the mountain.
Once you get to Cusco, the best way to end your trip is to have dinner at Chicha restaurant, owned by the famous chef Gaston Acurio. Here you will enjoy traditional Peruvian food.
Hope you have a great time in this magical city!