Start Day: 7 Duration:1 Day(s)
Cusco, the heart of the Inca Empire, is now the modern-day starting point for visits to Peru’s most famous site, Machu Picchu. With huge numbers of travellers flocking to the site every year, it’s led to the development of loads of awesome attractions, so there’s plenty of cool ways to spend your time.
First up we’ll help you get your bearings on a walking tour of the city including a visit to the neighborhood of San Blas, and a stop on Calle Hatunrumiyoc, not far from Plaza de Armas. It is a narrow pedestrian street, famous for its Inca walls where huge stones are precisely carved to fit together without mud or concrete. Hatunrumiyoc is a great place to have a closer look at the engineering skills of the Incas. The 12 sided stone, and the wall it is found on, is a perfect example of the stonework that was reserved for the ‘elite’ of Incan society who lived in houses of perfect stonework, cut and shaped with not a gap to be seen. The walls were so well built that the Spanish used them for the foundations of their buildings after the conquest.
From here we’ll head to the Koricancha or Santa Domingo Church. Originally an Inca temple devoted to the worship of the sun god, in its glory days it was covered in gold leaf with a field filled with gold statues surrounding it. The site was later converted into a Dominican church during the Spanish conquest. We’ll take a guided tour so you can really get into the history as we learn about the differences in architecture and cultural beliefs.
Our next stop is Cusco Cathedral. Built over a period of more than 100 years, the cathedral is a true testament to the place of the church in both the heart of the Spanish conquistadors and their desire to convert the religious beliefs of the locals to coincide with their own. It is filled with beautiful examples of the ‘Cusco School’ style of paintings, gold and religious icons.
Take a break for lunch before visiting the famous San Pedro market. As you cruise from aisle to aisle you will be amazed by the variety of foods on offer here. From delicious jungle fruits, whole animals to ‘cacao buds’ (one of the new ‘it’ super foods) there is little that you can’t find. A must-do is trying a tasty and refreshing freshly squeezed juice.
If getting an adrenalin fix or getting back to nature is what you’re looking for, then Cusco is perfect for getting amongst it. With a free afternoon, there are tons of options – from biking, rafting and horseback riding and best of all, your Trip Manager can arrange these for you.
Or, for those wanting to explore town, simply take a stroll through the city’s cobble-stone streets for a load of examples of Inca constructions and the intricately-carved, wooden colonial doors and balconies.
For the shopaholics in the group, this is the perfect spot to pick up some gifts for friends and family (or for yourself), there are loads of artists selling items like woolen and alpaca goods, gorgeous jewellery to artwork. These can be purchased from low-priced market stalls to expensive boutiques that line the streets near the main square, so there’s something to suit all tastes and budgets.
For the foodies on the trip, you are in for a treat in Cusco. Peru’s cuisine is exquisite and can be tried in lots of places dotted throughout the town. If you’re feeling like a taste of home, there’s also a number of cosmopolitan restaurants here too, it’s perfect for finding something for everyone.
Tonight we’ll check out the nightlife that is sure to keep you hopping into the wee hours of the night.