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Top 10 points of interest & tourist attractions in Cusco, Cusco area

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Cusco travel guide
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Cusco Review

Located in southern Peru, Cusco is the tourist capital of the South American country, thanks mostly to its rich heritage and stunning ancient landmarks. International visitors planning a trip to Cusco should fly to Lima and catch a connecting flight, or train, to the city.

Cusco’s rich Inca heritage is on view across the city. Many of the buildings, including those constructed during colonial times, were built on the foundations of Inca structures. Stone walls constructed during Pre-Colombian times can still be seen today. In fact, many of these faired a lot better than their more modern counterparts when an earthquake struck in 1650.

As with its Inca heritage, the effect Spanish conquistadors had on the city can still be seen clearly today. Both La Cathedral and the Iglesia de la Compania feature European architecture and décor. Each of these religious sites portrays a very Catholic feel, although the more keen-eyed visitor will notice more than a few local nuances on display in the paintings that adorn the walls.

The city is home to a host of museums dedicated to the history of the region. The Museo de Arte Religioso, which is housed in a former palace, displays religious paintings and other works from the 17th and 18th centuries. The Museo de Arte Precolombino houses 450 relics dating back to Inca times, and while this may not be the biggest collection of its kind, it’s certainly one of the best. Similarly, the Museo Inka is a treasure trove of Inca textiles, ceramics, jewelry, precious metals, and mummies.

Other popular places of interest in the city include the Santa Catalina convent, the San Blas District, and Plaza de Armas. The latter is the perfect place to spend a relaxing afternoon.

The real beauty of Cusco as a tourist destination lies in the excursions that can be enjoyed beyond the city streets. Trips to the likes of Tambomachay, Salapunco, Quenko and Tipon all offer the chance to see magnificent Inca ruins, as well as the region’s stunning and varied landscapes.

Of course, the most famous of all of these stunning historic sites, and one attraction that should be on any Cusco trip plan is Machu Picchu. Rediscovered by Hiram Bingham III in 1911, Machu Picchu (or ‘Old Mountain’) is a mountaintop Inca settlement that went untouched by the Spanish conquest. Its original purpose remains unknown but today it provides one of the World’s truly stunning attractions to visit.


Cusco Trips

From Trip: South America (Nov 8 - Dec 15)
By: mykron19

Fly to Cuzco on 11/30 by plane ($172pp round trip with

Day 1: 11/30: Arrive in Cuzco (10AM or later) and settle in.
Day 2: 12/01: Visit Cuzco!
From Trip: South America (Nov 8 - Dec 15)
By: mykron19

Day 1: 12/07: Relax in Cuzco. Next day comes the plane trip to Lima.
From Trip: South American Tour
By: Cel_Santos

Machu Picchu

From Trip: Trip Galapagos - Peru - Bolivia
By: RobertoJurubehba

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From Trip: My South America Journey
By: GraemeBarrow

Day 46-48;
Cusco attracts thousands of travellers who come to experience an age-old culture and to delve into its tragic and noble past. It is the perfect base for optional explorations of the city and area as well as a range of outdoor activities. We spend the next few days relaxing and exploring this fascinating city, while taking time to acclimatize to the higher altitude before our trek.

Cusco is the hub of the South American travel network. The city attracts thousands of travellers who come not just to visit a unique destination but also to experience an age-old culture very different from their 20th century way of life; one could easily spend a week just in and around the area. Cusco is the continent’s oldest continuously inhabited city. Inca-built stone walls line most of the central streets and you don't have to go far to see other Inca ruins. It is a city steeped in history, tradition and legend.

Cusco’s numerous colonial churches are one of the most common sights. The Cathedral was started in 1559 and took 100 years to build. It is also one of the city’s greatest repositories of colonial art. Immediately in front of the entrance is a vault containing the remains of the famous Inca historian, Garcilaso de la Vega. Also worth visiting are the churches of La Compañía, La Merced and San Francisco.

While most ruins are just outside of the city, the main ruin within is that of the Coricancha, once the Inca Empire's richest temple. This ruin forms the base of the colonial church of Santo Domingo. During Inca times this temple was literally covered with gold, but within months of the arrival of the first conquistadors this incredible wealth had all been melted down. It is left to the individual imagination to envision
the magnificence of the original structure.

There are several good museums in Cusco, including the Archaeological Museum, which also houses a small art museum, the Regional History Museum and the Religious Art Museum. The best advice in exploring Cusco is to wear a comfortable
pair of shoes, arm yourself with a city map and set off to explore!

Enroute to Ollantaytambo, travel through the stunning Sacred Valley of the Incas. Opt to take a tour of the Sacred Valley and visit a Planeterra-supported women's weaving co-op. The impressive Pisac ruins,the colourful artisan market (market days only) and the large ruin site of Ollantaytambo that lies adjacent to the town of the same name where we catch our breath and prepare for the hike ahead.

Planeterra has been working with the Ccaccaccollo community since 2005 to develop a
viable economic alternative for women by creating a weaving cooperative to sell traditional textiles to travellers. Donations by travelers have helped build a community centre supplied with looms and sewing machines for the women to use to expand their production. This project allows the women of the Ccaccaccollo community to maintain their cultural heritage and benefit from the tourism industry.

Ollantaytambo is a major Inca ruin site and your first taste of what lies ahead on the
Inca Trail. This major ruin site is known as the best surviving example of Inca urban planning and engineering. It is admired for its huge steep terraces guarding the Inca Fortress and for being one of the few places where the Spanish lost a major battle during the conquest. We spend the night in this small town before heading out for the start of the hike the next morning. For those craving more before they head out on the
Trail you can take a Sacred Valley tour which includes not only Ollantaytambo but also the ruin site of Pisac.

Enjoy Planeterra-supported handmade biodegradable soap products for use on the
Inca Trail. The purpose of this Planeterra project was to empower local Cusqueña women to start their own business while lessening the environmental impact of Inca Trail travel. Planeterra provided $10000 of seed funding for two young entrepreneurs to register their biodegradable products in order to sell to the tourism industry. Esencia
Andina is now a successful business that produces biodegradable soaps, detergents, and natural products for use by travelers, porters, and cooks on the Inca Trail. G Adventures is their biggest client, purchasing hundreds of their products per month for Inca Trail travellers!

From Trip: My South America Journey
By: GraemeBarrow

Day 53;





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