Located in the heart of Cusco, Plaza de Armas is the nerve center of the former Incan capital. Surrounded by colonial arcades, many restaurants, and shops the Plaza is the central place for tourists and locals. In the north-eastern side, the impressive cathedral is located and flanked by the churches of Compania de Jesus and El Triunfo as well as the Cusco Cathedral.
Also known as Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption of the Virgin, the Cathedral was built in the Plaza de Armas around 1560 and is one of the main attractions in the city. In addition to its official status as a place of worship, the UNESCO world heritage site has become a major repository of Cusco's colonial art and also holds many archaeological artifacts and relics.
the colonial church, and convent of Santo Domingo, were constructed by the Spanish on the ruins of the richest temple in the Inca Empire: Qorikancha. Today the masterful stonework that remains in Qorikancha (in Quechua: golden temple) can be best experienced with the guidance and information from a tour guide. The Boleto Turistico is required to visit Qorikancha.
Av. De la Cultura, No. 733, Cusco. This museum is the best in town for those who are interested in Incan culture. The museum is packed with large collections of metal and gold work, jewelry, pottery, mummies, along with the world´s largest collection of Incan drinking vessels (queros). In the courtyard of the Museum, Andean weavers demonstrate their handiwork. Traditional textiles are also for sale here.
Calle Garcilaso 210, Cusco. Only two blocks away from Plaza de Armas, the chocolate museum is a great place to stop to try the many cacao variations on the charming balcony of the museum´s café. This museum is also famous for its chocolate workshops.
About 10 minutes walking distance from the main square, Plaza de Armas, the famous San Pedro market is the biggest and most diverse market in Cusco. Fresh fruits, juices, vegetables, meat, clothes, etc. are offered in the market hall. It is a must-see for everyone visiting Cusco. Also, close to the market are other various commercial shopping places like the "Paraiso” (technical devices and clothes) and “Mercado Cascaparo Chico” (groceries, food stands, etc.).This area is the best and biggest for shopping local products – however, please watch out for pickpockets.
San Blas "the neighborhood of the craftsmen, " is a district up to the hill on the north from Plaza de Armas. In this charming neighborhood you will find the Plaza San Blas, a small church, and many other restaurants and bars are located in this famous area for tourists. If you head further uphill from Plaza San Blas, you will get to the Mirador with amazing views over the city. Also, don´t miss the Mercado San Blas. The market takes place at the central plaza of San Blas on the weekends.
This statue reminds visitors of the large Christ statue in Rio de Janeiro. The Cristo Blanco in Cusco is located on top of the North side of the city, close to Sacsayhuamán with an astonishing view over the historic center. Once you have adapted to the high altitude in Cusco, a walk from Plaza de Armas to Cristo Blanco through the city can be a nice way to spend the afternoon or a beautiful place to hike to in the early morning to view the sunrise.
Located up on the outskirts of the former Incan capital, the remains of the Inca fortress Sacsayhuaman rest on the mountaintop overlooking Cusco. In Quechua, “Sacsayhuaman” means “satisfied falcon.” Every year, the ancient sun festival “Inti Raymi” is celebrated here.
The sanctuary not far away from Sacsayhuaman is an archaeological site and a Cultural Heritage site as well. It also is one of the largest holy places in the region of Cusco and is based on naturally occurring rock formations, much like many other holy places in Peru. It is said that Qenqo was used for sacrifices and mummifications.
The large Incan fortress is located about 8 km from Cusco and it gets its name, Puca meaning red in Quechua and Pucara meaning fortress, from the red granite that was used in its construction. It is believed that it was used as a guard post that would protect the Incan capital from marauding tribes from the Amazonas. Irregularly shaped stones are the trademark of this site as it was untypical for the Incas to build this way.
It’s unclear until today what purpose this archaeological site had. Some say it was an Inca shrine to water while others say it was a military outpost. One thing is sure; you should not miss the cascades and terraces on their way through the upper part of Cusco.