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Why visit Cusco?

This beautiful, cosmopolitan city was founded by the Incas in 1100 AD. It is the gateway to some of the best archaeological sites in the world; but it’s more than simply a gateway ”“ there is much to explore and enjoy in this exciting and magical place. 
Reasons to visit Cusco include:

  • Enjoy the rich blend of ancient Inca architecture, grand colonial buildings and courtyards.
  • Visit the Cathedral ”“ the second largest in South America and home to a 25kg, solid gold crucifix ”“ and the nearby baroque 17th Century church La Compania de Jesus.
  • Watch the world go by in the Plaza de Armas, or eat in one of its many restaurants or shop for textiles, jewellery and paintings.
  • Explore the art galleries, workshops bars and restaurants in the cobbled streets of the San Blas District.
  • Discover more of the history of the area in the Inca Museum, the Santa Catalina Convent and Museum (on the site of the Incan ”˜House of the Chosen Women’) and the museum of pre-Hispanic objects in Korikancha ”“ the Golden Enclosure ”“ an area which was once covered in gold. 
  • Take a day trip into the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
  • The city is within easy reach of Inca sites such as the temple and amphitheatre of Qenko, the red fort ruins at Pucapucara, the water shrine of Tambomachay and the Sacsayhuaman temple complex. 

When to go to Cusco

Most people tend to avoid the worst of the rainy season from about December to March.  
For more information about when to travel in Peru, see our When to visit Peru page.

How to do it

Many visitors use Cusco as a base from which to explore the Sacred Valley and see Machu Picchu, though you can also stay within the Sacred Valley too.  You probably want to leave yourself at least one full day to explore Cusco and its immediate surroundings. 

You can easily reach Cusco from most other areas of Peru by flight (mostly via Lima).  You can also link Cusco with Ecuador on the same day (also via Lima). 
In addition you can go to/from Cusco to Puno (Lake Titicaca) by train.
You could decide to get from Cusco to the rainforest overland (by road and river) if you fancy an adventure. 

Accommodation in Cusco

There is a huge choice of hotels in Cusco, from good value, simple places to luxurious places such as La Casona or Monasterio

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Cusco accommodation

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facts and information

Time: GMT-5hrs

Flight time:

Both KLM and Iberia have flights to Lima via Europe, leaving the UK early in the morning to arrive in Lima in the evening. The flight time is about 14 hours. It is also possible to fly to Lima via America.

Language: Spanish and Quechua are the official languages.


Not required for British travellers (up to 90 days). EC nationals can ask us for further advice.


There are no compulsory vaccinations, except yellow fever if visiting the rainforest. Malaria prophylactics are also recommended in the rainforest.

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