15 Things to Do in Cusco, Peru

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Written by Kali Todd

Budget Travel Guides & Tips

December 22, 2022


Cusco is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the Americas and is considered the historical capital of Peru. The city is located in the southeastern portion of Peru and sits at over 11,000 ft (3,399 m)! Cusco’s foundation is the ruins of an Incan city, which paved the way for the Spanish architecture that is now present.

Here are the top 15 things to do in the city of Cusco! 

Sacsayhuamán, also known as Saqsaywaman, a citadel on the outskirts of Cusco

Saqsaywaman (Sacsayhuamán)
Saqsaywaman is a citadel on the north side of Cusco. It is the historic capital of the Incas and was built in the 15th century under Pachacuti. The Incas built walls out of large stones, cutting them to fit together tightly without any mortar.

Cost: To enter the site, you will need a Tourist Ticket (Boleto Turistico) which costs 130 soles or about USD 33 and gives entry to 16 sites in and around Cusco.
Address: Cusco 08002, Peru
Need to know: You can only purchase the Tourist Ticket (Boleto Turistico) in person at one of the participating sites. The ticket is not available online. 

The Cristo Blanco (Mirador desde el Cristo Blanco) 
Cristo Blanco is a 26-foot Christ statue overlooking the city of Cusco. The statue is located next to Sacsayhuamán and is considered sacred by the Incas. The sculpture was gifted in 1945 by an Arab-Palenstinian colony. The open arms of the sculpture represent Catholic protection over the city.

Cost: Free
Address:  Cristo Blanco, Cusco 08003, Peru

Basilica Menor de la Merced
The Convent of La Merced is a Roman Catholic church located in Plaza de Armas. The church was founded by Sebastián de Trujillo Castañeda in 1535 but was destroyed by an earthquake in 1650. The current church was built between 1651 and 1670 and the tower was later built from 1692 to 1696. 

Cost: 10 soles (USD 2.50)
Address: Mantas 121, Cusco 08002, Peru
Need to know: Photography is not allowed in the rooms. 

Cusco Main Square (Plaza de Armas)

Plaza de Armas is Cusco’s main square, a busy space that contains old stone pathways and vibrant gardens. The square is home to the Cusco Cathedral and Iglesia de la Companía de Jesús. This area was once the Great Inca Square but now showcases Spanish architecture.

Cost: Free
Address: Del Medio 123, Cusco 08000, Per

View of Iglesia de la Companía de Jesús from Plaza de Armas

Church of the Society of Jesus (Iglesia de la Companía de Jesús)

Iglesia de la Companía de Jesús is a church located in Plaza de Armas and is built on an Inca palace, Amarucancha. Construction began on this church in 1576 but was severely damaged in the earthquake of 1650. The church was rebuilt by a Flemish Jesuit architect, Jean-Baptiste Gilles, and re-inaugurated in 1668.

Cost: 10 soles (About USD 2.50)
Address: Plaza de Armas Cusco S/N, Cusco 08001, Peru
Need to know: Tickets are also available for 15 soles (About USD 3.75) that include three temple visits or for 25 soles (About USD 6.25) for four temple visits. Tickets are good for 7 days.

Cusco Cathedral (Cathedral Basilica)
Cusco Cathedral, located in Cusco’s Plaza de Armas, is on an ancient Inca temple, Kiswarkancha. Construction began in 1559 but took nearly 100 years to complete. The cathedral contains archeological artifacts and colonial paintings, one of the most famous being, “The Last Supper” (1753) with Jesus and his disciples dining on traditional Peruvian dishes.

Cost: Included In Cusco City Pass
Address: Cusco 08002, Peru
Need to know: No photography is allowed inside.

Church of Santo Domingo (Iglesia De Santo Domingo)

Iglesia De Santo Domingo is a Catholic Temple that was built in 1534 on the Inca Temple of the Sun and Qoricancha. This is a sacred place for Inti, the Inca Sun God.

Cost: 10 soles (About USD 2.50)
Address: Ahuacpinta 659-A, Cusco 08002, Peru

Twelve Angled Stone

Twelve Angled Stone

The Twelve-Angled Stone was part of a stone wall of an Inca palace and is an archeological artifact. The stone is part of a wall known as the Hatun Rumiyoc that makes up part of the Archbishop’s palace. This stone shows just how knowledgeable the Incas were about construction.

Cost: Free
Address: C. Hatunrumiyoc 480, Cusco 08002, Peru

San Blas Temple (Templo del San Blas)
Iglesia del San Blas is a small but exquisite church with a golf-leaf altar and intricately carved pulpit made from one tree trunk. It is considered the finest colonial wood carving in the Americas. According to legend, an indigenous man survived a deadly disease and dedicated his life to carving a pulpit for the church. It is rumored that his skull is nestled at the top of the carving.

Cost: 15 soles (About USD 3.75) 
Address: 08000, Cusco 08000, Peru

Qorikancha Temple

Qorikancha was the most important Inca temple, considered the center of the Inca world. It was the religious center where appreciation was shown for Inti, the Inca Sun God. The name Qorikancha means “Walls of Gold,” roughly translated, and when the Spanish invaded, it was written that every wall was covered in gold. Gold figures in the gardens were sent to the King of Spain as a thank-you for allowing the exploration of South America.

Cost: 15 soles (About USD 3.75)
Address:  Santo Domingo s/n, Cusco 08000, Peru

Tambomachay and Puca Pucara
Tambomachay, also known as El Baño del Inca (the bath of the Inca), is an archaeological site that contains aqueducts, canals, and waterfalls. It is unknown what exactly the site was used for during Inca times but thoughts are a military outpost that would have guarded Cusco or a religious site centered around the water features.

Puca Pucara is only a few steps away from Tambomachay and is the site of military ruins. The name Puca Pucara means “red fortress” because of how the walls look at sunset. The Spanish did not damage any of the structures on this site during their invasion.

Cost: Included In Cusco City Pass
Address: Cusco 08000, Peru

Q’enco Archaeological Complex 
Q’enco Archaeological Complex is one of the largest holy places in the Cusco Region. In Inca culture, several holy places center around naturally occurring rock formations. This site is believed to be used for sacrifices and mummification.  

Cost: Included in Cusco City Pass 
Address: F2RH+CPX, Cusco 08003, Peru

View of Cusco

Tipon Archaeological Site
Tipon Archaeological Site is a 15th-century site that contains several ruins enclosed by a defense wall. The site showcases the Inca’s ability to create irrigation systems by channeling water from natural springs. This site also contains residential areas and rock carvings.

Experts believe the park was an estate for the elite and was used for ceremonial activities or agriculture because of the reliable water supply.

Cost: Included in the Cusco City Pass
Address:  08205, Peru 

Devil’s Balcony (Balcón del Diablo)
Devil’s Balcony is a hidden gem in Cusco. The 3-mile trail brings you to a rock formation, cave, and river with fantastic views of Cusco. The trail takes approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete.

Cost: Free
Address: Sacsayhuaman, Cusco 08003, Peru

On the slopes of Cusco is another highly rated trail that brings you to the ruins of Rumi Wasi and Kallachaka. The route is 3.5 miles and takes about 1 hour 45 minutes to complete.

Cost: Free
Address: Cusco, 08004, Peru

Where to Stay
Amaru Inca is a beautiful Bed & Breakfast in the heart of Cusco that cost me USD 27 a night (for two people, including breakfast). The B&B has stunning terraces filled with gardens, cocoa tea available at all hours to help visitors acclimate to the city’s elevation, and spacious rooms with hot water. 

Map of All Locations

The Cusco City Ticket has 4 tiers – Full Ticket, Circuit 1 Ticket, Circuit 2 Ticket, and Circuit 3 Ticket. The Full Ticket has 10 days of validity, whereas Circuit 1 Ticket has 1 day and Circuit 2 & 3 Tickets have 2 days of validity.

  •  Sacsayhuaman
  •  Qenqo
  •  Puca Pucara
  •  Tambomachay
  •  Museum of Contemporary Art
  •  Regional Historical Museum
  •  Museum of Popular Art
  •  Qoricancha Site Museum
  •  Qosqo Center for Native Art
  •  Monument to the Inca Pachacuteq
  •  Pikillaqta
  •  Tipón
  •  Pisac
  •  Ollantaytambo
  •  Chinchero
  •  Moray

All sites above are included in the Full Ticket. In blue is the Circuit 1 Ticket, in green is the Circuit 2 Ticket, and in orange is the Circuit 3 Ticket. Full and Circuit Tickets are available for purchase only at each site. They are not available online.

Have you been to Cusco? Comment your favorite place in the city!

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  1. Kathleen Sojor Champlin

    Great article. Cusco is such a beautiful place to visit


    Cusco Peru sounds like a spiritual place to visit. Like the few church/temple landmarks you referenced in your blog. The devil’s balcony looks like a fun adventure. Thanks for sharing your travel experiences.

  3. Hanna

    This is definitely a page to save! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Ben

    Great article and thanks for the tips 🙂

  5. Tina

    I went to Cusco almost 10 years ago and reading your article makes me want to go back. The city and its surroundings were absolutely amazing!

  6. Sue

    Cusco is definitely on my list. I didn’t realize just how much there is to see there.

  7. simplyjolayne

    I would definitely love to explore this area. It is on my bucket list!

  8. Mary Grace Floresca

    Great information – I have been wanting to visit so I’ll have to bookmark this for when we finally decide to go!

  9. Travelbloggingacademy

    I got horrible high-altitude sickness in Cusco for 5 days. But it was totally worth the experience!

  10. Sara Brand

    My favorite place in Cusco was the San Pedro Market!

  11. Deni

    I’m traveling to Peru in 10 days and Cusco is one of the place where I’m going! Thanks for informations!


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