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Immensely rich with the physical reminders of the Incan Empire, Cusco Valley’s sacred land is widely considered important to the archaeology of the Americas. The valley was first carved centuries ago by the Urubamba River. This historical capital in Peru was the heart of civilization from the 13th to the 16th centuries and because it houses so many ancient churches, plazas, and Renaissance structures, the city was deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site. To visit this meaningful region is to step back in time. Now you can experience it all within the comfort and luxury of our award-winning accommodation options with Belmond Hotels.
Spend a leisurely afternoon taking your time to explore this walkable historical plaza. Designed by Incas, cobblestones lead to cathedrals, quaint shops, restaurants, and local markets.
Cusco was the historical capital of the Incan empire and north of the city is a sacred collection of stonework and walls that reflect the ancient ruins of an Incan fortress. Take a bus or hike the five-mile hill to the top.
This central square is comprised of colonial arcades and located near the San Blas district. Striking churches within the plaza that are worth a visit include La Compania de Jesus, Jesus Maria, and El Triunfo.
With such an abundance of historical sites and so little time in which to see it all, a sightseeing tour is a good way to spend a full day. Tell your hotel concierge what you’d most like to see and he or she can recommend a tour.
Known by its full name as the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption of the Virgin, this Gothic-Renaissance structure was constructed in 1654. An intricate interior and prime location near the Plaza de Armas make this a must-see.
Rarely do opportunities to see the night sky from such a southern vantage point come along. Travelers to Cusco rave about the local planetarium’s 360-degree virtual screening dome and telescopes.
For more information about vacationing in this destination, contact your Care team.
If your plans for Cusco include visiting most of the historical sites, purchase a Boleto Turistico at the information booth, located at Avenida El Sol 103. The pass is good for 10 days and offers access to 16 different places.
For those whose appetite errs on the adventurous side, quench your thirst like a true local and order a chicha, a corn beer derived from purple maize. In Peru, strawberries are often added to concoct a drink called frutillada.
When you’re visiting from the U.S. or anywhere near sea level, allow yourself a day or two to avoid getting altitude sickness. At 11,152 feet above sea level, it’s wise to begin your trip by drinking lots of water and avoiding alcohol for the first few days.
Because of the Cusco Valley’s wealth of outdoor opportunities, local retailers tend to price gouge for trekking gear such as hiking boots, backpacks, water bottles, and layers. For Machu Picchu and other trips, plan to pack everything you need from home.
For most of the year, it’s safe to say that the temperatures in Cusco stay in the mid- to upper 60s. Because of the city and surrounding valley’s high elevation above sea level, packing a variety of clothing layers for the evenings is important as temperatures can dip dramatically. Rainy season typically ranges from late November through April and May through August are known as the drier months.