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Cusco (Machu Picchu)

Location


Cusco is located in the the southeastern region of Peru.

Área

72 104 km2

Altura

11,100 feet (3,380 meters).

Temperature

Max 63 F (17º C) and 28 F minimum (-2º C). Rainy season runs from November through March.


By land

The most recommended way is the Lima-Arequipa-Cusco route (1 650 km). The trip takes about 24 hours by bus. There is also another route from Lima-Nasca-Puquio-Avabcnay-Cusco (1 131 km). This trip takes about 26 hours by bus.

By railroad

There is a train service linking Cusco from Puno. The train leaves on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, and journey takes 10 hours.

By air

There are daily flights from Lima to Cusco (1 hour).

Plaza de Armas

known in Inca times as Huacaypata or the Warrior’s Square, this was the scene for many key events in Cusco’s history. It was here that the Inty Raymi or Sun Feast was hosted every year; and it was also here that Francisco Pizarro declared the conquest of Cusco. The square is surrounded by beautiful colonial arcades.

The Cathedral

it was originally built on the site of the old temple of Sunturwasi (House of God), later on the top of the Palace of Inca Wiracocha. Its façade and interior were both built in Renaissance style. The interior is decorated with cedar and alder wood carvings. Of particular value are the choir, the pulpit, the engravings in the altars and furniture. Other highlights include the paintings by important artists and embossed silver work.
Location
Main Square.
Visits
Monday to Saturday 8:00-12:00 and 14:00-17:00.

San Blas

it is one of the most picturesque neighborhoods in Cusco, known as the Craftmen´s District; it houses the city’s most important popular artists. Colonial constructions of great charm are built along its narrow, steep streets. Location 4 blocks from the Main Square.

Koricancha Temple

it was the main religious building of the Incas dedicated to the worship of the Sun; according to the chroniclers its walls were plated with sheets of gold. Magnificent blocks of finely carved stone were used in its construction.
Location
Corner of Av. El Sol and calle Santo Domingo.
Visits
Monday to Saturday 8:00-17:00.

Sacsayhuaman

this huge Inca fortress is built on three overlapping platforms, each of them over 360 metres long. These platforms are connected by stone stairways and access doors, one of which is 9 meters high and 5 meters wide. Location
2 km from Cusco

Qenko

it is believed it was a worship site. There is a huge 6 meter high stone block that looks like a puma. There are also passages, canals and stairways with stone engravings representing animals. Location
3 km from Cusco.

Puca Pucará

it was an administrative and military center formed by terraces, stairways, passages, turrets and vaulted niches. Location
6 km from Cusco.

Tambomachay

known as the Inca Baths, this site was meant for the cult of water. Location
7 km from Cusco.

Pisaq

this Andean village is much known because of its famous Indian Market. Location
32 km from Cusco.

Urubamba

this village is located in the heart of the Sacred Valley; it was another pre-Hispanic agriculture center. Location
78 km from Cusco following the Pisaq route.

Ollantaytambo

it is another village located in the Incas’ sacred Valley, its main attraction is Ollantaytambo Fortress. Location
97 km from Cusco.

Chincheros

Located 28 km from Cusco at 3 772 masl, this Inca archaeological complex has also a Colonial church with paintings from the Cusqueña School. Barter is a common activity in Its typical Sunday market.

Machu Picchu

This stone citadel located 112 km from Cusco, was discovered by Hiram Bingham in 1,911. The citadel was built on a very special spot covered in vegetation between two mountains: the Machu Picchu (old mountain) and Huayna Picchu (young mountain), at the foot of which meanders the Urubamba or Vilcanota river (lower jungle featuring abundant flora and fauna).
The site comprises military constructions, plazas, temples and agricultural terraces. The citadel can be reached by train (3-4 hours) or by walking along the Inca Trail, one of the most famous trekking routes in Peru, starting from km 82 of the railway up to the citadel.


Food forms part of the friendly atmosphere found by tourists. Chicherías and picanterías are no longer private sites for Cusqueños and, as everything in the city; they are now centers of attraction. The typical dishes include:

• Kapchi (lima bean or mushroom casserole or soup with potatoes, milk, eggs and cheese.)
• Chicharrón con mote (pork cracklings served with separated mature corn or maize kernels.)
• Humitas (steamed sweet corn dough stuffed with cinnamon and raisins, wrapped in maize leaves).
• Tamales (steamed corn dough stuffed with meat, wrapped in banana leaves).
• Chuño cola (a soup based on meat, rice, chickpeas and chuño or potato flour).
• Lawa (soup based on fresh corn, lima beans, dry chili peper and a variety of mint known as huacatay.)
• Adobo (pork marinated with chicha and species, cooked in a covered saucepan).
• Olluco con carne (casserole based on ollucos and cured llama meat).