Things to do in
Cusco

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Our most recommended things to do in Cusco

Machu Picchu: Full-Day Tour from Cusco with Optional Lunch

1. Machu Picchu: Full-Day Tour from Cusco with Optional Lunch

Start with pickup from your hotel in Cusco and travel to Ollantaytambo Station to board the train to Aguas Calientes. This is the nearest town to Machu Picchu. Enjoy a scenic train journey through dramatic Andean landscapes. The train has ample seats with large windows allowing for grand views of the surrounding jungle and mountains.  Board a coach for a 25-minute ride to Machu Picchu. The city of Machu Pichu is believed to have been built in the 1450s by the Inca emperor Pachacuti as a holiday retreat. Within a century the city would be abandoned following the Spanish conquest. The Spaniards never found it, so it was spared the destruction they brought on other Inca sites. Instead, it was slowly swallowed up by the jungle and hidden from harm. Take a guided tour of the site which explains the origins behind this awe-inspiring citadel and its most prominent landmarks such as the monumental Main Square, the Royal Quarters, the Temple of the Three Windows, the Circular Towers, the Sacred Sun Dial, and the Burial Grounds. After the tour, be returned to Aguas Calientes where you can take some free time to explore the city, or enjoy an optional lunch.  After some time in the town, return to Aguas Calientes station to take the train back to the Ollantaytambo Station, from there you will be taken back to your hotel.

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Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu Entrance Ticket

2. Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu Entrance Ticket

Discover the landmarks of Machu Picchu Lost Citadel and be one of the 400 people allowed to climb the Huayna Picchu per day. Explore the attraction at your own pace, such as the Temple of the Sun, the terraced fields of the agricultural sector, the Intihuatana stone, and take the famous picture from the observatory with the lost citadel behind. The climb of Huayna Picchu is available in 2 groups: 7:00 am or 10:00 am. Be sure to get there on time for your given time slot for your hike up the mountain. Take in the stunning views at Huayna Picchu, be amazed as you see this infamous, historical city in real life.

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Machu Picchu Ruins + Machu Picchu Mountain Official Tickets

3. Machu Picchu Ruins + Machu Picchu Mountain Official Tickets

Explore the magical Lost City of the Incas high up in the Andes. This official ticket will allow you to walk among the ruins of Machu Picchu and hike through Machu Picchu Mountain at your own pace.  Be one of the 800 people allowed to enter the Machu Picchu Mountain per day, divided into 2 groups. The first group can access the Mountain from 07:00 am to 08:00 am and the second group from 09:00 am to 10:00 am.  The ascent time depends on the physical condition of the individual and can range from 2-3 hours. From the top of Machu Picchu Mountain, you will be able to enjoy impressive views of the surrounding peaks, valleys, and winding Urubamba River.

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Cusco: Full-Day Tour to Rainbow Mountain

4. Cusco: Full-Day Tour to Rainbow Mountain

Your full-day tour begins in Cusco city, where you will be picked up between 4:15 AM and 4:45 AM. You will then drive in a comfortable van for 3 hours to the town of Cusipata, where you will have breakfast in a local family house. Following breakfast, you will head to the starting point of your hike. There are approximately 3 kilometers of flat land uphill, leading to the majestic "Mountain of Colors". The hike will take about 1.5 hours, depending on your level of fitness. Throughout your hike, enjoy panoramic views of the valleys, wild llamas, alpacas, and vicuñas, as well as of the Andes and the nearby glaciers.  Once here, if weather is good, you will be able to receive your first views of Rainbow Mountain. At the top, you will take a well-deserved break, which will also be your chance to catch your breath and enjoy the breathtaking views. After taking beautiful photos, you will begin your descent back, where you will enjoy a delicious lunch upon your return. You will then take private transportation back to Cusco, where you will arrive at approximately 5:00PM.

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Inca Trail to Machu Picchu: Classic 4-Day Trek

5. Inca Trail to Machu Picchu: Classic 4-Day Trek

Hike the unforgettable Inca Trail, and enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Participate in one of the world’s oldest pilgrimages on this 4-day program that is consistently ranked among the ten best hikes on the planet. Pass through a number of different ecological zones home to a wide diversity of flora and fauna. Spot a variety of orchids and bromeliads, as well as hummingbirds, foxes, and deer. Strike lucky and you may even catch a glimpse of the magnificent South American Bear. Explore archaeological sites and farming terraces that were left behind by the Incas and remained undiscovered for over 400 years. Finish the hike in Machu Picchu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of the most spectacular historical sites on earth. Day 1: Training day! Cusco – Km 82 – LLactapata – Ayapata (14km, 6hrs).- Depart from your hotel around 4:30 am and drive to Km 82 to start the 6-hour hiking on the first day of the Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu. The first campsite is located at 3300m (10826ft); we spend the night in comfortable tents. Day 2: The Challenge! Ayapata – Warmiwañuska – Chaquicocha (16km, 10 hrs).- The most challenging and longest day of the 4 days Machu Picchu Trek, passing two mountains in 10hrs of hiking: The first mountain is Dead Woman’s Pass, the highest point of the Inca Trail with 4215m (13829ft). The second mountain is Runqurakay Pass, with 4000m (13123ft). Day 3: The easy day! Chaquiccocha – Phuyupatamarca – Wiñaywayna (10km, 6hrs). The most beautiful and relaxing day, hiking is only 6-hours passing through different ecological zones. Today, you will also visit several beautiful archaeological sites, including Wiñaywayna, located at 2600m (8530ft); we camp only 2 hours from Machu Picchu. Day 4: Machu Picchu! Wiñaywayna – Machu Picchu – Cusco (6km, 2 hrs), Wake up early and hike for 2 hours to Machu Picchu through the Sungate from where we will have a unique view of Machu Picchu. After exploring Machu Picchu, you will take the Panoramic train back to Cusco. Drop off back at your hotel around 7:30 pm.

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Machu Picchu Lost Citadel Official Ticket

6. Machu Picchu Lost Citadel Official Ticket

Explore the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu at your own pace with a standard entrance ticket to the magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Site. Discover landmark attractions at your own pace, such as the Temple of the Sun, the terraced fields of the agricultural sector, the Intihuatana stone, and take the famous picture from the observatory with the lost citadel behind. This is the best option for those who would like to organize your own transportation and tour guide for the visit.  Very important: for entering the Lost Citadel of Machu Picchu, it is mandatory that you are accompanied by an accredited guide. You are able to hire the tour guide directly at the entrance of the ruins. Please make sure to carefully read all provided details sent by the local partner and those written in the Know Before You Go section of the tour.

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From Cusco: Moray and Salt Mines Quad Bike Tour

7. From Cusco: Moray and Salt Mines Quad Bike Tour

Get back to nature in the dramatic landscapes of the Andes Mountains and experience the amazing scenery of the Sacred Valley by Quad Bike. Benefit from pick-up at your hotel in Cusco, and then journey through typical villages to reach the colonial town of Maras. Admire the pretty church and rustic buildings of the pretty town center and watch the locals going about their everyday lives farming the surroundings. Visit the archaeological site of Moray to see the incredible terraced holes that form an amphitheater-like depression on the surface of the land. Learn how the holes were used by the Incas in ancient times to acclimatize seeds from the Andes Mountains. Next, visit the salt ponds that the locals continue to work to obtain salt at the mines, just as their ancestors did in the days of the Inca Empire.

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Cusco: Machu Picchu Small Group Tour with Tickets

8. Cusco: Machu Picchu Small Group Tour with Tickets

On this 1-day excursion, visit Peru’s most important archaeological and cultural treasure. The day begins with pick-up at your hotel, and transfer to the train station in Ollantaytambo. An early 5:05 AM departure means you’ll have ample time to explore Machu Picchu. Take in the beauty of the valleys on the train journey to Aguas Calientes. From this point, there’s just a 30-minute bus trip to the sanctuary of Machu Picchu. Explore the Inca complex with a knowledgeable guide. See the Temple of the Sun, the Intihuatana, the Temple of the 3 Windows, the mausoleum, and more. Have free time to take photos and walk around on your own. Visit the Plaza de Armas in town and see what handicrafts are on offer.  Return to Ollantaytambo by train, and then you’ll be taken back to Cusco.

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From Aguas Calientes: Round-Trip Bus Ticket to Machu Picchu

9. From Aguas Calientes: Round-Trip Bus Ticket to Machu Picchu

Enjoy the peace and quiet whilst riding the bus and checking out the scenery along the way. The buses are comfortable and equipped with air-conditioning.  Your professional driver will make sure your transfers are safe and relaxed. Benefit from a flexible schedule and reasonable prices, and enjoy a wonderful trip.  

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Cusco: Full-Day Trip to Machu Picchu with Optional Hiking

10. Cusco: Full-Day Trip to Machu Picchu with Optional Hiking

Experience a tour ideal for those who have little time, but do not want to miss Machu Picchu, one of the most magical places in the world. Get a guided tour of the archeological site and you choose optional hikes to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain. Start your journey with a pick up at 4:00 AM from hotels and hostels in the center of Cusco and head to Ollantaytambo to board the train to the city of Machu Picchu. The 2-hour train ride is without a guide. Upon arrival, the guide with the names of each traveler will be waiting. Follow your guide to the bus station to board the bus to the citadel. The trip will last approximately 25 minutes.  Begin a 2-hour guided tour of the historic sanctuary of Machu Picchu. After your tour, you will have free time to explore the site yourself. There are areas available that are not included in the tour, such as the Inca bridge, and you can always ask your guide for suggestions to explore more in your free time.  If you choose one of the hiking options, get the chance to climb the famous mountains that surround Machu Picchu to see stunning views of the Inca citadel.  Later in the afternoon,l take the bus back to Aguas Calientes, where you will catch the train back to Ollantaytambo to finally take your last bus trip to Cusco, lasting about 4 hours in total. The estimated arrival in Cusco is around 10:30 PM.

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Frequently asked questions about Cusco

What top attractions are a must-see in Cusco?

Planning Your Visit

  • How many days to visit Cusco?

    Give yourself at least five days for a trip to Cusco—the first couple to adjust to the elevation and navigate the city, the last few to make it to the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu.

  • When to visit?

    The summer is the best time to visit for the climate, which also makes it peak tourist season. To avoid the crowds, early fall could be nice. Anytime after November and before April, however, is not recommended—Cusco’s rainy season could ruin your sightseeing.

  • How to get there?

    Fly into Cusco’s Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport, located on the edge of the city.

  • Should I worry about elevation?

    It is advised to spend at least 3 days in Cusco to acclimate to the high elevation before heading out on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, especially if arriving from sea-level.

Good to know

  • Language
    Spanish, Quechua and Aymara
  • Currency
    PEN (S/.)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (-05:00)
  • Country Code
    +51
  • Best time to visit
    To avoid the rainy winter and the tourist-packed summer, try to visit in early fall, when the sightseeing is still incredible!

Other Sightseeing Options in Cusco

Want to discover all there is to do in Cusco? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Cusco

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 3,592 reviews

To see our full experience, check out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcRS6TQPVxI We truly loved our experience to Rainbow Mountain! The first thing I want to share is a shout out and a thank you to our guide! Although there were about 14 people on our tour, he intentionally stayed with and encouraged my 60-year old mother to keep hiking and make it to the top. Without his support, I am not sure she would have made it. As many have said, the hardest part of this hike is the altitude, other than that, general physical fitness should provide enough. I would not recommend heading straight there after arriving in Cusco. I think it is important to consider what your expectations are for the experience. If you expect a private photo session with instagram results, think again. It is crowded! That being said, I think the hike through the Andes is worth it alone and the view at the top is a nice bonus. Overall, would recommend!

The Alternative Rainbow Mountain Tour is an excellent way to view three rainbow mountains with only about an hour of hiking. Our guide Darwin was wonderful and very knowledgeable. Our tour also included a delicious breakfast and lunch and stops at the small but very interesting village museum and the market. We live at 6,000 feet altitude in New Mexico, so the 17,000 feet didn’t bother us at all. The panoramic views are absolutely stunning! We highly recommend this tour!

Very well organized tour with great guides. And, of course, the hike to Machu Picchu and Machu Picchu itself is magical.

Great tour!! An absolutely must see. Guidance was super helpful and informative!!

Terrific experience. Very knowledgeable Guide and a safe driver!