17 Best Things To Do In Cusco Peru 

The Certified Guide

Humantay Lake Day Trip From Cusco

17 Best Things To Do In Cusco Peru

There is a reason the city of Cusco is one of the most popular destinations for travelers in Peru.

With an assortment of adventures and life changing experiences, the question of what to do in Cusco is never an issue.

From Sacred Valley hikes along the famous Inca Trail to sampling the delicious Peruvian delicacy known as Cui, Cusco is a city that is home to endless possibilities of exploration and new experiences.

Therefore, continue reading to discover all the Best Things To Do In Cusco Peru.


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Visit Machu Picchu

There’s really no need for an introduction seeing as this is probably the very reason you are planning to visit Cusco in the first place. However, it wouldn’t be a proper “best things to do in Cusco” blog if I didn’t at least mention it… so here we go.

Cusco is known as the gateway city to Machu Picchu, given that Cusco is in fact the closest major city with an airport.

Although visiting Machu Picchu requires a bit more than a simple day trip from Cusco considering they are located around 6-8 hours apart by minivan, it still remains the most popular trip from Cusco.

However, as one of the “New Seven Wonders of The World”, The Lost City of the Incas is definitely worth the journey.

Perched in the clouds atop the Andes Mountains, around 7,972 feet above sea level to be exact, a visit to Machu Picchu might just be the coolest thing you’ve ever done.

Machu Picchu Content Guide

Machu Picchu Weather {Best Time To Visit Machu Picchu}

Where To Buy Machu Picchu Tickets {The Complete Guide}

How To Get To Machu Picchu From Cusco {The Complete Guide}

where to buy machu picchu tickets

machu picchu sunshine

machu picchu peru

Rainbow Mountain

Only discovered in recent years attributed to all the effects of global warming, Rainbow Mountain has quickly become one of top things to see while in Cusco.

Located around 4 hours away from Cusco by minivan, Rainbow Mountain’s distinctive kaleidoscopic color patterns have taken social media by storm.

Travelers from all over the world have placed this atop their Peru bucket lists, making this a must-see attraction.

However, be aware Rainbow Mountain is one of those places better seen sooner rather than later, because with tourism only expected to increase over the next few years, it’s hard to predict what kind of effect this will have on its environment.

Not to mention if this place gets any more crowded, people might literally start falling off the mountain.

To learn more be sure to read our full Rainbow Mountain Guide.

Rainbow Mountain Tour From Cusco

Rainbow Mountain Tour From Cusco

Rainbow Mountain Tour From Cusco

Humantay Lake

Straight out of your wildest childhood fairy tale, the beauty of Humantay Lake is difficult to put into words.

Splitting at the seams with natural splendor, the shimmering emerald blue lake topped off with the snowcapped mountains looming just behind it is absolutely mystifying.

Though it may be ripe with beauty, Humantay Lake is still one of the lesser known Cusco day trips, making it the perfect hidden gem for you to go and explore without being bothered by too many other tourists.

Located just 4 hours away, this is certainly one of the best things to see in Cusco.

To learn more be sure to read our full Humantay Lake Guide.

humantay lake tour

Humantay Lake Day Trip From Cusco

Humantay lake peru

Sacred Valley 

Sacred valley is a region in the Andes Mountains that spreads about 60 acres.

The verdant green valley is located along the popular Machu Picchu Inca hiking trail famous for its agricultural purposes among the Inca’s.

There are plenty of cool things to do and see here including paragliding and white water rafting along with a plethora of other sightseeing activities.

However, if you’re courageous enough, you could even stay for a few nights at the famous Skylodge, where the hotel rooms literally hang from the side of a massive cliff!

If you actually work up enough courage to stay in what is quite possibly one of the coolest hotels in the world, then you can book your Skylodge reservation here.


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best things to see in cusco

Salinas de Maras

Conveniently located deep within the Sacred Valley, Salinas De Maras is a remote valley filled with thousands of individual salt pools that were created by the Incas approximately 2000 years ago.

However, today these surreal photogenic Salt Pools have a become one of the most popular things to do in Cusco and is a huge draw amongst photographers.

salinas de maras | best day trips from cusco

Inca Trail

 It’s not about the destination, but the journey that matters the most.

Hiking to Machu Picchu is by far the most rewarding method of traveling to Peru’s most sought-after destination.

Camino de Inca is the original Inca trail, which is why it remains one of the most popular out of the bunch as you trek through the picturesque Sacred Valley.

This 4 day/3 night rugged hike will have your head in the clouds with a maximum elevation of 13,700 feet as you travel along the 19.4 mile trail towards Machu Picchu.

To learn more be sure to read our full How To Get To Machu Picchu Guide.

Best Things To Do In Cusco City

Alpaca Burger at Beer & Burgers Restaurant

Remember those adorable little alpacas that you’ve seen hopping around all over the internet?

Well as it turns out, they are actually as delicious as they are adorable.

Sounds pretty mean of me to even suggest eating one of these little guys but it just so happens to be that Alpaca is an insanely popular dish in Cusco.

Though it might take some of you a little while to wrap your head around the concept of actually eating an Alpaca, once you finally do, there is an absolutely mouthwatering Alpaca Burger waiting for you.

At the Beer and Burgers restaurant located just a few blocks away from Plaza de Armas in Cusco, you can enjoy some of the best burgers you will find in South America.

Although the entire menu is downright delicious, the 200-gram Alpaca Burger is considered their specialty, so be sure to give it a taste.

best things to do in cusco

Try Cui (Cooked Guinea Pig)

If you thought eating Alpaca was completely absurd, wait until you try the popular Peruvian dish Cui, or in other words, Guinea Pig.

Yup that’s right, I said Guinea Pig! Shocking right!?

I thought I was hearing things too when this dish was first suggested to me. However, after having the waiter repeat it several more times to me constantly reasserting how delicious it was, I finally decided to give it a try.

And thank god I did because it was out of this world delicious!

Though by most western standards, Guinea Pig is considered a common household pet, in Peru, no matter whether it is fried or roasted, it is considered an outright delicacy.

Whichever style you decide to try, this is hands down one of the most unique things to do in Cusco.

cui roasted guinee pig alive

cui roasted guinee pig

Get A Photo With An Alpaca

Did you even visit Peru if you didn’t take the standard photo with one of those adorable Alpacas?

Except this time he’s not on your dinner plate… at least not yet.

Scattered throughout the city of Cusco and countryside, an Alpaca sighting is always a guaranteed way to brighten up your day.

Unlike those little sketchy Llamas who tend to spit on tourists if they get too close, Alpacas are little bundles of joy every time you see them.

Keep in mind, Alpacas are not just randomly wandering around the city of Cusco, but are usually accompanied by a local Incan owner.

Therefore, if you take pictures of Alpacas in Cusco, it is customary to tip the owners with a few coins each time.

alpaca kiss cusco peru

Plaza De Armas

Known as one of the most beautiful spots in the city, Plaza De Armas is a hive of activity at all hours of the day.

The impressive colonial architecture, church, park, and central water fountain make it an absolute pleasure to stroll through.

This is where you will find the majority of restaurants, shops, tourist agencies, bars, and nightclubs here in Cusco.

plaza de armas cusco

Stay At Wild Rover Hostel In Cusco 

It goes without saying in Cusco, if you are looking to party then you’d best stay at the Wild Rover Hostel.

Infamously known as one of the craziest hostel chains in all of South America, Wild Rover hostels can be summed up as a paradise for the young and restless.

On top of the out of control parties thrown each night of the week, Wild Rover in Cusco successfully manages to infuse a wild party atmosphere with modern and cleanly accommodation.  Something that is not typical for the average party hostel, which is why many consider this to be one of the best party hostels in Cusco.

Click Here To Check Prices On Hostelworld.com

wild rover cusco party hostel

Party At Loki Hostel In Cusco

Why have just one crazy party hostel in town when you can have two!

Conveniently located right down the street from Wild Rover is the hopelessly hedonistic party hostel of Loki.

Similar to Wild Rover, Loki Hostel is another massive party hostel chain located throughout Peru.

While it is hard to definitively say which one parties harder, the one thing about Loki Cusco is that their bar stays open a bit later than Wild Rover’s.

Therefore, if you’re looking for some fun things to do in Cusco at night you will want to stop by and have a drink… or 5  at Loki’s Party Hostel.

However, chances are when you party here, your night out often times turns into a morning walk of shame.

Click Here To Check Prices On Hostelworld.com

loki cusco party hostel

Cusco Nightlife

 In addition to the two-party hostels mentioned above, Cusco has plenty of other nightlife options scattered around the city.

Look to party at the famous Mama Africa nightclub located in Plaza de Armas on the second floor, above where the Inca Rail booking center is located.

Mama Africa is a staple amongst the Cusco nightlife scene and is a place where both tourists and locals come to get loose.

While Mama Africa tends to close early, if you’re not quite yet done with your night then head straight over to Chango Club which is pretty much located just around the corner from Mama Africa.

It doesn’t matter the day of the week, cause to Chango every day is the weekend regularly partying until 7 a.m!

This is hands down one of the best things to do in Cusco at night.


best party hostels in cusco peru

Cristo Blanco

Towering high above the city of Cusco, Cristo Blanco is a large statue of Jesus Christ that can be seen from miles away.

Aside from its important cultural and historical significance, a visit to Cristo Blanco offers a spectacular birds eye view above the entire city.

Simply put, a visit to the city of Cusco would not be complete without paying a visit to this iconic monument.

cristo blanco cusco

12 Angled Stone

If you’re not already aware and searching for it, the 12 Angled Stone is an easy attraction to miss.

In fact, located along the walk to the mouthwatering Alpaca Burger located at the Beer and Burgers restaurant, I unknowingly walked past this famous Cusco sight several times before finally realizing its significance.

Though it might not seem like much at first, this ancient archeological artefact is one of the top things to see in Cusco.

On a different note, I’m not going to act like this is worth going out of your way to visit despite how profound everyone makes it out to be.

However, if you are already on your way to Beer and Burgers you might as well just acknowledge it and maybe take a photo if you are feeling extra touristy.

12 angled stone cusco

Explore The San Pedro Market

Situated just around a 10-minute walk from the Plaza de Armas, The San Pedro Market in Cusco is quite unique to say the least.

Expect the unexpected as you never know what you will come across as you explore through this wonderland of surprises.

However, make sure to bring cash because chances are you will do a bulk of your souvenir shopping here.

best things to do in cusco

Visit San Blas

Anyone looking for what to do in Cusco should not miss this part of town.

San Blas is a delightful little neighborhood located just a few short minutes away from Plaza de Armas.

This is where the popular 12 Angled Stone and The Beers and Burgers restaurant is located that we mentioned above.

In addition to this, there are some quaint little shops and restaurants scattered throughout here that you will most definitely enjoy exploring.


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