Cheap Tours and Activities in Cusco, Peru
A visit to Cuzco, a city in the Peruvian Andes, tumbles you back into the cosmic realm of ancient Andean culture - knocked down and fused with the colonial splendors of Spanish conquest, only to be repackaged as a thriving tourist mecca. It was once capital of the Inca Empire, and is now known for its archaeological remains and Spanish colonial architecture. Plaza de Armas is the central square in the old city, with arcades, carved wooden balconies and Incan wall ruins. The baroque Santo Domingo Convent was built on top of the Incan Temple of the Sun, and has archaeological remains of Inca stonework. Incas deemed this spot the belly button of the world. Yet Cuzco is only the gateway. Beyond lies the Sacred Valley, Andean countryside dotted with villages, high altitude hamlets and ruins linked by trail and railway tracks to the continent's biggest draw - Machu Picchu. A stunning landscape careens from Andean peaks to orchid-rich cloud forests and Amazon lowlands. Explore it on foot or by fat tire, rafting wild rivers or simply taking the local buses to the remote and dust-worn corners of this far-reaching, culturally rich department. With so much to see, do, and taste, Cusco is a great place to experience, and there are several options for exciting activities and tours in or near the area to help you make the most of your time here.
Begin your cultural adventure in the ambient Plaza Regocoijo; greet your group and experienced guide then head to the bustling San Pedro market. Awaken your senses to the exciting smells, sights, and sounds of the commercial hub, browsing stalls of colorful fabrics, fresh flowers, and exotic fruits. You'll also get to sample some local delicacies from the food vendors. Next, continue to Plaza de Armas and depart via public transport to the Temple of the Moon, which is located on Huayna Picchu near Machu Picchu. Venture inside the temple's two caves to see the mysterious carvings and the cracks that let in the moonlight that illuminates the caves' altars on certain nights. When the time comes, break for a delicious picnic lunch before strolling back to Cusco along Inca trails. On route, hear legends of the Inca Empire from your guide and wander through the bohemian district of San Blas. Your half-day tour then concludes outside the Santo Domingo Convent and Qorikancha temple, where an optional visit is possible.
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Depart from your Cusco hotel and begin your tour at the ambient San Cristobal main square; absorb panoramic views of the architecturally rich city before visiting the vibrant San Pedro Market. Browse artisan treasures and vibrant stalls, perhaps purchasing a special souvenir to take home. Next, venture to the sacred Temple of the Sun; it is reputed that when conquerors arrived in Cusco, the temple was covered in solid gold. Admire the architectural precision of the interior before touring the consecrated confines of the Convent of San Domingo while listening to captivating commentary from your guide. See, too, the Artisan's Quarters of San Blas, a picturesque area over which an impressive church reigns supreme. Admire the intricate woodwork within before marveling at the renowned angular stones of Hatun Rumiyoc as you follow your guide to one of the city's most impressive monuments, its Cathedral. Gaze up at the filigreed ceiling and admire the impressive altarpiece, perusing the classic colonial paintings that adorn the Cathedral's walls. When your tour concludes, return to your Cusco hotel with newfound cultural knowledge.
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After hotel pickup in Cusco, begin your journey into the heart of the mountains in an air-conditioned minivan. Enjoy a brief stop at Tambomachav, the sacred source of a natural spring formerly worshipped by Incas. Next, venture to the atmospheric ruins of Qengo, a perplexing labyrinth with a sacrificial altar in its center. Marvel at the spiraling staircases and secret channels of a site reputed to have been home to Incan rituals. Continue to the world-renowned park of Sacsayhuaman to uncover the archaeological mysteries of the ancient site; appreciate the panoramic vistas of Cusco before you embark upon an enriching exploration. Observe the intricate carvings of colossal stones, searching the solid 9-meter blocks for depictions of pumas, snakes and condors, images that represent the three Incan worlds. Conclude your tour at the majestic Tower of Pucca Pucara, a foreboding fortress whose aqueducts, springs and waterways are sure to impress. Relax during the journey back to your Cusco hotel, where the tour concludes.
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Greet your knowledgeable guide at Plaza de Armas, a square hailed as the city's social center, to begin your journey to the historical heart of Cusco. Marvel at the intricate facade of the Renaissance-style Cathedral and admire the baroque beauty of the 16th century La Compania church. Gain insight into the origins and cultural significance of these prominent structures from your expert guide. Navigate the serpentine streets as you explore a rich tapestry of ancient Incan walls, colossal granite blocks, and quaint colonial edifices. Catch a glimpse of a rare example of Incan masonry at the palace of Inca Rosa before ascending the gentle incline of a hill to San Blas, an atmospheric square with bohemian flair. Browse boutiques for artisan treasures, perusing handcrafted souvenirs while absorbing panoramic vistas of the city lights at night. After cultural enrichment, pleasure your palate with the sweet spirit of pisco in an ambient local bar. Gain insight into the social significance and the complex production processes of the drink as your guide explains pisco's pivotal place in Peruvian history. Sample a selection of pisco flavors then indulge your creative side by mixing your own personalized cocktail; sip your cosmopolitan creation as your tour concludes at the bar in central Cusco.
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