Explore the highlights of Cusco city on a half-day tour. Visit the Plaza de Armas, the most important streets, temples, palaces, and Sacsayhuaman area, and learn about the Inca Capital’s history.
Cusco City Tour half-day overview
This is a perfect half-day tour that will take you exploring the best of Cusco city, visiting the most beautiful and important neighborhoods, streets, plazas, temples, and archeological sites: Amaze yourself with the magnificent architecture of the Colonial buildings lying over the Inca foundations, visit the temples and palaces of the city center. To finish later, visit Sacsayhuaman, Qenqo, PukaPukara, and Tambomachay.
- Location: Cusco city
- Duration: Half day (4-5 hours)
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Type: Cultural
- Season: Year round
- Book with Confidence and Flexibility
- Discover the hidden secret of Cusco City
- Explore the most remarkable streets and neighborhoods
- Visit Coricancha, Sacsayhuaman, Quenqo, PukaPukara, and Tambomachay.
Cusco City tour at a Glance!
The Cusco City Tour is a half-day tour that takes visitors through the historical center of Cusco and the nearby Inca sites of Coricancha temple and Sacsayhuaman fortress. The tour includes private transportation, a professional guide, and entrance fees to all places we visit. The tour takes around 4 hours to visit the following places:
- Plaza de Armas of Cusco
- 12 Angled Stone Street
- Loreto Street
- Coricancha (The Golden Temple)
- Puka Pukara
- Cristo Blanco
- Pick up and drop off from the hotel
- Entrance fees
- Transportation (round trip)
- Professional Tour Guide
- All taxes and booking fees
- Travel Insurance
Full Itinerary of Cusco City Tour
Departure every day at 1:00 pm (Can be scheduled in the morning at 9:am)
We will pick you up from your hotel in Cusco city at 1:00 pm and transfer you to the Plaza de Armas, the main square of Cusco, located in the heart of the town and is surrounded by many historical buildings, including the Cathedral and the Church of the Society of Jesus. The square is a popular gathering place for locals and tourists, often used for public events and festivals. You will start a walking tour, exploring Cusco's top attractions, restaurants, and shops.
After the main square, you will walk into the most important streets and neighborhoods, including the 12-angled Stone street, San Blas, and Loreto Street. Exploring these streets and neighborhoods will give you a great sense of the history and culture of Cusco.
Next, you will visit Coricancha, the Temple of the Sun, a must-visit attraction in Cusco. It was one of the most important temples of the Inca Empire and was dedicated to worshipping the sun god Inti. The temple was covered in gold and decorated with precious stones, making it one of the most impressive structures of the Inca Empire. After the Spanish conquered Cusco, they built the Church of Santo Domingo on top of the temple, using some of the Inca stonework as the foundation for the church.
The second part of the tour starts with a 15-minute drive to Sacsayhuaman, a massive Inca fortress located just outside of Cusco. It is one of the most impressive examples of Inca stonework and engineering, and a visit to this site is a must for anyone interested in the history and culture of the Inca Empire. The fortress is made up of massive stone walls that were built without the use of mortar. The enormous stones weigh over 300 tons and are fitted together with incredible precision. Each year, on June 24th, The Inti Raymi is celebrated at this place to worship the Sun.
Continue driving to Qenqo, known for its underground chambers and passageways. Puka Pukara, a reddish color military fortress, and finally, Tambomachay, known for its series of aqueducts, canals, and waterfalls.
On the way back, you will stop at Cristo Blanco (Statue of Jesus) to enjoy the panoramic views of Cusco and the Andean landscape. The statue of Jesus was a gift from the Palestinian community in Cusco and was installed in 1945. It is made of white stone and stands over 8 meters tall, making it one of the largest statues in the city. The site is famous for tourists and locals, especially at sunset, with stunning views.
Places we visit during the Cusco City Tour.
Plaza de Armas of Cusco:
The Plaza de Armas of Cusco, also known as the Main Square or Plaza Mayor, is the historic center of Cusco, Peru. It is located in the heart of the city and is surrounded by important landmarks, such as the Cusco Cathedral and the Church of La Compañía de Jesús.
The Plaza de Armas has been an important gathering place for the people of Cusco for centuries. During the time of the Incas, the square was known as Huacaypata, which means "place of weeping." It was here that the Incas held ceremonies and rituals, as well as political and military gatherings.
After the Spanish conquest of Peru, the Plaza de Armas became the center of Spanish colonial power in the region. The Spanish built important buildings around the square, such as the Cusco Cathedral, which was constructed on the site of an Inca palace.
Today, the Plaza de Armas is a bustling public square filled with tourists, street performers, and vendors selling local handicrafts. It is also the site of many important festivals and events throughout the year, including the Inti Raymi festival in June, which celebrates the winter solstice and the Inca New Year.
12 Angled Stone Street:
12 Angled Stone Street, also known as Calle Hatunrumiyoc, is a narrow street in the city's historic center. It is famous for its remarkable Inca stonework, which features a wall made of irregularly shaped stones that fit together perfectly without using mortar.
The street is believed to have been built during the reign of the Inca ruler Pachacuti in the 15th century. The Inca stonework is a testament to the engineering and architectural skill of the Inca civilization. The stones used in the street construction are of varying shapes and sizes, yet they are fitted together so precisely that not even a blade of grass can fit between them.
The 12 Angled Stone Street gets its name from the way the stones are angled to create a distinctive zigzag pattern. The precision of the stonework is such that it is said that you can't even slide a piece of paper between the stones.
Loreto Street, also known as Intikijllu, which means "Street of the Sun" in the Quechua language, is a narrow street that leads from the Plaza de Armas to the Coricanbcha and is known for its impressive Inca masonry.
One of the highlights of Loreto Street is a true masterpiece of Inca masonry, a wall made of irregularly shaped stones that fit together perfectly without using mortar.
Coricancha (The Golden Temple):
Coricancha is an ancient Inca temple considered one of the most important religious sites in the Inca Empire and was dedicated to the sun god Inti.
The name "Coricancha" means "golden courtyard" in Quechua, the language of the Inca civilization. The temple was covered in gold leaf and filled with golden artifacts, making it one of the most valuable and impressive buildings in the Inca Empire.
When the Spanish conquistadors arrived in Peru in the 16th century, they plundered the gold from Coricancha and built a church, the Santo Domingo Convent, on top of the ruins of the temple. Today, visitors can explore the church and see the remaining walls and structures of the ancient Inca temple.
Despite the destruction caused by the Spanish, the Inca stonework in Coricancha is still impressive, with perfectly fitted stones that have withstood centuries of earthquakes and other natural disasters. The temple also features a system of underground canals and aqueducts that were used to irrigate the surrounding crops.
Sacsayhuaman (also spelled Saqsaywaman) is a fortress complex located on the outskirts of Cusco, Peru. It is one of the most impressive Inca ruins in the area and is believed to have been built during the reign of the Inca Emperor Pachacuti in the 15th century.
The complex is made up of several large, interconnected stone walls, some of which are up to 18 meters (60 feet) tall and weigh over 300 tons. The walls are made up of large blocks of limestone and granite, fitted with incredible precision without using mortar.
Sacsayhuaman is believed to have served as a fortress and a ceremonial center. It played an important role in the Inca Empire's defense against the Spanish during the Conquest of Peru in the 16th century.
Quenqo (also spelled Kenko or Q'enqo) consists of a large limestone outcropping carved into a series of tunnels, canals, and chambers. The main feature of Quenqo is a large amphitheater, which is believed to have been used for religious ceremonies and sacrifices.
The site also contains a series of channels and carvings, including a stone table that is thought to have been used for ceremonial sacrifices. The carvings at Quenqo are believed to have had astronomical and astrological significance for the Inca people.
Situated on a hill overlooking the Cusco Valley and is believed to have been an important military outpost and administrative center for the Inca Empire.
The site consists of a series of walls, terraces, and buildings made of stone. The walls are made of red limestone, which gives the site its name, which means "Red Fortress" in the Quechua language. The buildings at Puka Pukara are believed to have been used for military barracks, administrative offices, and storage.
The site also features a large central plaza surrounded by smaller buildings and structures. Some of these structures have been reconstructed, allowing visitors to see what they may have looked like during the Inca Empire.
Tambomachay is an Inca archaeological site located about 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) from Cusco. It is situated on a hidden valley and is believed to have been an important site for worshiping water and fertility.
The site consists of a series of aqueducts, canals, and cascades that lead to a series of small pools. These structures were used to channel water from nearby springs and provide it to the Inca elite for bathing and ritual purification.
The site also features several buildings, including platforms, niches, and chambers. These structures are made of stone and are believed to have been used for ceremonial purposes. Some buildings also feature carvings and decorations depicting water-related themes, such as waves and fish.
Cristo Blanco is a giant statue of Jesus Christ located in the upper part of Cusco. The statue stands on a hill overlooking the city, visible from many parts of Cusco.
The statue was a gift from Arab Palestinian residents in 1945 to commemorate the end of World War II. The statue is made of concrete and covered in white plaster, standing over 26 feet tall.
The statue is a popular tourist attraction in Cusco, and many visitors hike up to the hill to see the statue and enjoy the panoramic views of the city. The statue is also lit at night, making it a beautiful sight.
Cusco City Tour Packing List
When going on a Cusco City Tour, it's important to pack accordingly to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience. Here is a suggested packing list:
- Backpack or daypack: A small backpack or daypack can come in handy to carry all your essentials, such as sunscreen, water, snacks, and a camera.
- Comfortable walking shoes: Cusco City is full of steep hills, cobblestone streets, and uneven terrain. A good pair of walking shoes are required to participate in this tour.
- Lightweight clothing: The weather can be unpredictable, but it's usually warm during the day and chilly at night. Bring lightweight, breathable clothing that can be layered for warmth.
- Sunscreen and hat: The sun can be strong in Cusco City, so it's important to protect your skin with sunscreen and a hat.
- Water bottle: Staying hydrated is important, especially at high altitudes. Bring a refillable water bottle and drink plenty of water throughout the day.
- Snacks: It's a good idea to bring some snacks with you, such as energy bars or fruit, to keep you fueled throughout the day.
- Camera: Cusco is a beautiful city full of history and architecture, so bring a camera to capture all the sights and memories.
- Cash: Although credit cards are accepted in many places in Cusco City, carrying some cash with you for small purchases and tipping is always a good idea.
- Personal medication: If you take any medication, be sure to pack enough for the duration of your trip.
- Rain gear: Cusco City experiences rain showers throughout the year, so it's a good idea to pack a rain jacket or umbrella just in case.
It's important to keep in mind that the altitude in Cusco can affect some people, so be sure to rest and hydrate often and be aware of any symptoms of altitude sickness.
Cusco city tour Frequently Asked Questions!
What is the Cusco City Tour?
The Cusco City Tour is a half-day tour that takes visitors through the historical center of Cusco and the nearby Inca sites of Coricancha temple and Sacsayhuaman fortress.
How long is the City Tour?
The Cusco city tour is a half-day tour lasting approximately 4 hours.
What is included in the tour?
Our half-day tour includes private transportation, a professional guide, and entrance fees to all the places we visit.
What are the highlights of the Cusco City Tour?
The highlights of the Cusco City Tour include the historical center of Cusco, Coricancha temple, Sacsayhuaman fortress, and other Inca sites.
What should I bring on the Cusco City Tour?
You should bring warm clothes, rain gear, comfortable walking shoes, a hat, sunscreen, a camera, and a water bottle.
Is the Cusco City Tour suitable for children?
Yes, the tour is suitable for children, but keep in mind that there is some walking involved.
Is the tour wheelchair accessible?
Unfortunately, the tour is not wheelchair accessible due to the terrain and walking involved. However, with assistance, it is possible to visit the Inca sites.
What is the best time of year to do the City Tour?
The tour can be done year-round. However, the best time to visit is the dry season, from April to October.
How do I book the Cusco City Tour?
The tour is available every day with a min of 2 participants. Solo travelers, contact us to verify group availability.