Cuzco

Machu Picchu © Brian Snelson
Cuzco is the sacred capital of the Inca Empire. Known to the early Incas as the 'navel of the world', it is the oldest continuously inhabited city in South America, and the gateway to the ancient citadel of Machu Picchu.

Visitors will see the city's legacy in its straight, cobbled streets, and the remains of exquisite, Inca-built stone walls. They will also pass ancient stonework incorporated into colonial buildings, all while the Inca's Quechua-speaking descendants fill the streets with their bright dress and colourful handicrafts. The Inca Trail, the Inca fortress of Sacsayhuaman, and the nearby Sacred Valley's archaeological ruins are Cuzco's chief attractions.

The destination is relatively unspoiled, too, despite its popularity. Indeed, its beautiful setting in the Andean Mountains is guaranteed to leave visitors spellbound. The stately Plaza de Armas is the heart of the city. Visitors touring the area will see Peru's national flag and the Inca Empire's rainbow-coloured flag. The display emphasises Cuzco's unique blend of the ancient, colonial and modern.














Attractions

Coricancha Inca Ruins, Peru © Håkan Svensson

Coricancha Inca Ruins

The sacred complex of Coricancha was considered the centre of the Inca world. Its name means something like 'Golden Enclosure', though Inca stonework is all that remains of the ancient Temple of the Sun. The walls and floors were once covered in sheets...  see full details



Church of la Compañía de Jesus, Cusco, Peru © D. Gordon E. Robertson

Plaza de Armas

The Plaza de Armas is Cuzco's graceful main square, and is lined with colonial-style covered walkways, and houses that contain souvenir shops. Visitors will also find bars, restaurants and travel agencies. A large cathedral is the most prominent structure overlooking the square. Its elaborately...  see full details



Sacsayhuaman, Peru © Leon Petrosyan

Sacsayhuamán

Of the four ruins near Cuzco, Sacsayhuamán is the closest and most remarkable. Spanish conquistadors used it as a quarry during their day, given its proximity to Cuzco and the dimensions of its stones. Indeed, the site provided many of the materials for the...  see full details



Excursions


Ayacucho

Located in Peru's central highlands and crossed by two mountain ranges, Ayacucho has much to delight history lovers. Indeed, the region is home to some of the country's most significant archaeological attractions, as well as gorgeous, pastel-coloured colonial buildings. An ancient capital city, some...  see full details

Machu Picchu

The ancient Inca citadel of Machu Picchu is regarded as the most significant archaeological site in South America, and one of the finest examples of landscape architecture in the world. It is the most enthralling of the region's citadels, and lies high in...  see full details

The Sacred Valley (Urubamba River Valley)

Known as the Sacred Valley of the Incas, this breathtakingly beautiful and fertile valley stretches between the villages of Pisac and Ollantaytambo. Travellers will navigate it on the winding Urubamba River, with ancient Inca ruins watching from the hilltops above. The river's course also...  see full details