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Daylesford, Victoria


How long would you stay in Cusco -Peru?

I am flying into Cusco from Lima on the 18th on June with some friends. Plan to take the train to machu picchu on the 19th, check out cusco on the 20th then they are flying out on the 21st. I am wondering whether to stay in cusco and use it as a base to go and see something else until the 25/26th or head back to Lima? 

Can anyone recommend something amazing to do by myself? 

7 Answers

top answer by
Amy from Florida

Well, let me put it this way: I originally planned on visiting Cusco for 10 days back in April--and ended up staying for 5 months. There is lots to see, and I highly recommend using it as a base (don't go back to Lima!). I could go on for pages about what you could do there! The previous answers provide a lot. I'm just going to go and list my favorite spots in Cusco as I think of them:

1) Templo de la Luna - mysterious, ancient ruins a 45-minute walk up the hills of Cusco. Perfect place to go to get away from the noise and crowds--and it's free (a rarity for ruins in Peru).
2) Green Point restaurant in San Blas - my favorite restaurant. I was there nearly every day.
3) The Meeting Place cafe - Good place to meet other travelers, especially if you're feeling homesick
4) Stay in Urubamba one night at Las Chullpas Eco-Lodge. It's the most serene, hidden gem I've ever found. There is an alpaca named Chloe who runs right up to you when you call her!

Plus, there are verdant gardens, a cat, two dogs, lots of hammocks...just paradise.  

Urubamba itself doesn't have much (it's a big town, but no tourist sights), but lots of people use it as a jumping off point to Moray (Inca agricultural site) and Salineras (salt pools). Salineras was my favorite part of the Sacred Valley tour. It's so visually stunning, and each pool is owned by a family that harvests the salt to make money.

5) Qorikancha is a must-see in Cusco. It was the Inca Empire's most important temple, dedicated to the sun god. It used to be literally covered in gold, until the Spanish conquered the city and pried gold bars off of its walls. Today part of it is a convent, and you can tour the inside. 

6) Stop by Pantástico Bakery in San Blas and order the Queque de Maracuya. In fact, eat EVERYTHING maracuya you can find in Cusco because it's the most amazing flavor (basically it's a type of passionfruit) unique to Peru. 

Most importantly, try not to brush off Cusco as just a place you have to pass through on your way to Machu Picchu. It is chock full of history that many people (including myself) overlook. For example: There is a Starbucks right in the Plaza de Armas that a lot of tourists frequent--but RIGHT outside of it is a huge wall that is an original Inca construction from the 15th century! I passed by it every day and never truly stopped to think about that. 

Phew. Sorry for the rambling. I'm really passionate about Cusco. If you have any further questions, please let me know! I'm happy to help. You can also check out my blog for more detailed Cusco posts.

Buen viaje!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Templo de la Luna (attraction)
  2. Las Chullpas Eco-Lodge (hotel)
  3. Urubamba (city)
  4. Qorikancha (attraction)
  5. Pantástico Bakery (restaurant)
5 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Renzo from London

Cusco deserves at least 3 days if not more. There are plenty of fabulous sites nearby. Sacsayhuaman, Sacred Valley of the Incas, Ollantaytambo, Andahuaylillas, the Maras salt pools, etc. The city itself oozes charm and its many hip bars and cafes will help you recover after a long day of sightseeing. Some good restaurants include Limo, Inka Grill, Cicciolina restaurant and bar (better in the evenings). And head to Fallen Angel for late drinks. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Cusco (attraction)
  2. Sacsayhuaman (attraction)
  3. Sacred Valley of the Incas (attraction)
  4. Ollantaytambo (attraction)
  5. Andahuaylillas (attraction)
  6. Maras (city)
  7. Limo (restaurant)
  8. Inka Grill (attraction)
  9. Cicciolina (restaurant)
  10. Fallen Angel (restaurant)
5 thanks

answered by

Make sure you buy a Boleto Touristico-it will get you into sacred sites at a much cheaper rate-also ticket includes admission to a folkloric Andean dance performance-a costume museum attached.The Valle Sagrado is really worth seeing. Pisac has markets Tues, Thurs and Sun and little handicraft shops and restaurants. Also Inca ruins-quite steep to walk up and need about 2 hours to do it. Chinchero has adobe houses, and people tend to still dress traditionally-there is a Sunday market, Also an C17 church built on Inca foundations. Great views of valley here. Ollantaytambo has interesting terraced Inca ruins and town is built on Inca foundations and still has original intact chanchas (blocks) Don't miss Sacsayhuaman, Puca Pucara, Quenqo. A village homestay is a great experience- look up Andean Homestay project and see if it is for you. We had a taxi driver who was retired history teacher to drive us round the valley-he was great. Check with your hotel or hostel-they may know somebody reliable to use. There are often fiestas in the plaza. You'll find plenty to do-enjoy!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Valle Sagrado (attraction)
  2. Pisac (city)
  3. Chinchero (attraction)
  4. Sacsayhuaman (attraction)
  5. Puca Pucara (attraction)
  6. Quenqo (attraction)
4 thanks

answered first by
Maddie from Sydney

I personally haven't been, but have researched for my own trip - a lot of people have recommended staying for at least a few days to a week to acclimatise to the high altitude + see some of the other sites (Sacred Valley of the IncasPisac etc). 

Good Luck! 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Sacred Valley of the Incas (attraction)
  2. Pisac (city)
2 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Joe from Houston

We spent 2+ weeks in Peru in October. Only managed to spend 3 days there (Cusco) and the immediate area. We could have easily spent a few more days.

Cusco takes a full day to do the sights. We did see some of the Sacred Valley as Ollantaytombo, Sacsayhauman, and Pisac - but there is a lot more to see as Moray, Chincero, etc. These are all within a few hour drive from Cusco.

We flew back through Lima and only had one day there. We easily could have spent more time in Lima.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Cusco (attraction)
  2. Sacred Valley (attraction)
  3. Pisac (city)
  4. Moray (attraction)
  5. Lima (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Rosa from Lima, Peru

You can do one day tours to Maras Moray or Pisco and Ollantaytambo , you can see inca buildings and also shop in Pisco.

Nightlife there is good in Cusco, there are lot of places you can go that are near the main town ( Plaza de Armas)

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Pisco (city)
  2. Ollantaytambo (attraction)
  3. Cusco (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Kim from New York City

I was in Cusco this past June. We stayed in Cusco for three days to acclimate to the altitude before going on the Salkantay Trek Machu Picchu, which was totally necessary (we also took the anti-altitude sickness medicine, acetazolamide). Just make sure you kind of take it slow and easy because that altitude is no joke in Cusco!

I agree with others who say that the Sacred Valley is worth exploring. We booked a one-day tour through the hotel (we got it way cheaper than some other people who I think booked it through travel agents before arriving in Peru) and saw Pisac, Ollantaytambo and Chinchero. I wished we had had time to go to the salt pools area as well. 

Cusco itself is also a great, cute little city. Visit Sacsayhuaman and be sure to go to the Mercado Central de San Pedro! We also could've spent another day just exploring sites with the boleto turistico, but just didn't have enough time to do it all. So I would definitely recommend adding on a couple of days if you can swing it!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Salkantay Trek Machu Picchu (attraction)
  2. Sacred Valley (attraction)
  3. Pisac (city)
  4. Ollantaytambo (attraction)
  5. Chinchero (attraction)
  6. Sacsayhuaman (attraction)
  7. Mercado Central de San Pedro (attraction)
1 thanks

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