Also known as the Imperial Capital, Cusco is one of the most amazing tourist epicenters in all of Peru, as the majestic citadel of Machu Picchu stands nearby.
Added to this is a range of attractive archaeological and natural spaces, exquisite cuisine and the warmth of a people willing to make you feel at home.
Here are some reasons why you cannot miss visiting Cusco
World Wonder. As mentioned above, Cusco is the obligatory stop to reach the citadel of Machu Picchu, an Inca building that is included in the list of the 7 New Wonders of the Modern World. It is a gigantic sanctuary built with large stone blocks, which rests on the top of a mountain, between the Andes and the Amazon. According to investigations, its construction was carried out in 1435, and would have had the purpose of being a scientific research center, since it was frequented by priests, engineers and specialists.
It is currently considered a symbol of national tourism, and after closing its doors due to the pandemic, today it is operating again thanks to the fact that it has the Save Travels seal, endorsed by the World Health Organization. Said seal certifies that Machu Picchu can be visited with full guarantee, since it has all the necessary health protocols.
The cult of the sun: The Inca ancestors set aside a date on the calendar to pay tribute to the God Inti (which in Spanish means sun). This celebration, known as Inti Raymi, continues today and is considered Cultural Heritage of the Nation. It is celebrated every June 24, the day that marks the end of the harvest and the beginning of the winter equinox in the Andes of Peru.
The celebration takes place in various points of the Imperial Capital, including the Qorikancha temple, the Hawqaypata square (in the center of Cusco) and the Sacsayhuamán esplanade. The tribute is recreated as it was done in the past and brings together dozens of actors who play the acllas (beautiful women servants of the Inca or Sun God) and the pichaq (who were in charge of scaring away evil spirits with brooms). Likewise, the Inca and his kumillo appear on the scene (the hunchbacked dwarf who carried the achiwa, this was a kind of umbrella made of feathers).
A wide gastronomy: Cusco is a must if what you are looking for is to delight yourself with the Inca gastronomy. The cooking techniques and the ancestral seasoning are still valid. For example, you can try the Chuño cola, an ancient stew that consists of a concentrate based on chickpeas, potatoes and chuño. Currently, it also brings sausage and rice.
Kapche cheese also stands out (served mainly during November and December), made of green beans, eggs, cheese, milk, potatoes and chili. It is seasoned with an exquisite dressing made with butter, garlic and onion.
Adventure sport. The unique geography of Cusco also allows you to enjoy various activities full of adrenaline and adventure. For example, trekking along the Inca Trail, considered one of the five most attractive hiking trails in the world. This tour allows you to follow the route where the ancient Incas traveled to reach the citadel of Machu Picchu. During the days of hiking, you will come across beautiful valleys, impressive landscapes and archaeological sites.
Cradle of vestiges: Apart from knowing Machu Picchu, being in Cusco will allow you to visit other important archaeological sites that will dazzle you with their beauty and uniqueness. For example, you have the fortress of Sacsayhuamán, Vinicunca, Ausangate, Humantay, Waqrapukara, Tambomachay, Maras and much more. Cheer up when it’s time to pack.