Things to Do in Cusco Peru – Cusco Tours, Day Trips from Cusco & More

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Let’s talk Cusco tours, Cusco ruins, and day trip from Cusco to some of the main Cusco attractions. When most people think about what to do in Cusco, it’s Inca Ruins they think of first. But there are more things to do in Cusco Peru than Machu Picchu. Read on for tips on museums, Cusco tours and other fun things to do in Cusco Peru. But don’t skip over the section on Cusco altitude sickness.

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Things to Do in Cusco Peru – More Than Machu Picchu

For many, Cusco is the gateway to the Incan Empire. It was for us, and visiting Inca ruins should be part of your Cusco itinerary. On the other hand, don’t leave the city without finding more of what to do in Cusco than visiting Machu Picchu. The city has a fascinating history, and loads of historic, commercial and culinary experiences to share. There are Cusco tours and activities for every type of traveler. 

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Why Visit Cusco?

What to do in Cusco? Inca ruins of course, but there are more things to do in Cusco Peru than Machu Picchu. Read here for tips and recommendations on day trips from Cusco, Cusco tours and more. Cusco Peru weather | cusco flights | cusco altitude sickness | cusco ruins | cusco with kids | Cusco Peru travel tips | lima to cusco | cusco airport | cusco elevation | cusco peru what to wear | cusco peru travel guide |Peru family travel | Machu Picchu | Inca Ruins

This vibrant part of the Andean plateau has beautiful rivers, glaciers, and mountains. But the Incan culture and history are the main draw to the area. If you’re interested in Machu Picchu or anything related to the Inca civilization, then you need to visit Cusco. In fact, most of the best things to do in Cusco are related to Incan ruins and Incan history. The area is visually stunning. Then when you think about a civilization close to 10 million living in such difficult high-altitude conditions? And thriving? Everything becomes even more fascinating.

The Incans followed the stars in ways we’re still beginning to understand. And yes, the Incan ruins in the Sacred Valley and beyond are just as impressive as you imagine them to be. Even for kids uninterested in history, there are ways to draw them in — especially with good Cusco tours and Cusco tour guides. Or just study yourself beforehand.

Best Time to Visit Cusco & Cusco Peru Weather

Before you start booking Cusco tours, be mindful of the Peru’s location. For all of you in the Northern Hemisphere, remember that seasons in Peru will be reversed. For example, summer in London is winter in Cusco, Spring in New York is Fall is Lima, and so on. Also, remember that Cusco altitude plays a major role in the weather: we’re talking over 3,300 meters/ 11,000 feet above sea level. Cusco’s elevation means cooler temperatures in the shade and after dark. Bring a decent jacket even if visiting Cusco in its warmest months.

Read More: How to Choose the Best Jacket for Travel

Cusco Weather

You can book Cusco tours year-round, but when it comes to Cusco weather, there are two main seasons. The wet season is usually November through April, and the dry season is usually May to October. Of course, Cusco weather fluctuates, so the seasons may start a little earlier or later. During the wet season, Cusco weather can see rain for drizzle for a few hours or all day.

Either way, it’s best for you to bring some rain gear before you get there. This is purely anecdotal, but I personally didn’t see any good quality rain jackets there. I’m sure they’re somewhere, but I didn’t find them. You don’t want to spend half a day of your Cusco travel time looking for a jacket. Come prepared. And keep in mind that umbrellas are (technically) not allowed at Machu Picchu. More on that later. 

Buy Now: Rain Jacket on Amazon

The high season for tourists is usually from April to September, while low season is October to March. Crowds increase around the Christmas/New Year’s season, but aside from this time, numbers are lower in the low season.

Having said this, our last Cusco visit was during the Christmas holidays. This is one of the most challenging times: both the wet season and larger crowds. But we had a great time! We were not hiking the Inca trail, however. If you’re thinking of long days hiking and camping, then consider the months of May, September, and October.

Cusco Low Season

Prices can be significantly cheaper during the low season in Cusco. I know most people prefer to travel during the (northern hemisphere) summer months. On the other hand, you could spend nearly double what a low-season trip would cost.

Be prepared for Cusco weather and the Cusco altitude. The sun is harsh here. Always carry sunscreen, a floppy hat, and rain protection. The UV radiation is much stronger at high altitudes, so protect your skin. For us, rain protection was an umbrella and a rain jacket. Also, an emergency poncho that I ended up using when I forgot my jacket one day.

Read More: Our Peru Packing List – What to Pack for Lima, Cusco and Puno

Altitude Sickness in Cusco

Sure, we want to tell you all about some of the great Cusco tours, day trips and other things to do in Cusco Peru. But first, we need to address an important issue: Altitude sickness in Cusco. Most people recommend to spend your first day in Cusco resting. If your Peru itinerary allows, we also suggest taking it slow: start your trip in Lima (ie. sea level) and gradually travel to higher elevations. We didn’t do this. We hit Cusco elevation straight from Lima and we paid for it. Hello Cusco altitude sickness…we hoped we wouldn’t meet you.

Remember, you’re 3,300+ meters/11,000 feet above sea level at Cusco’s elevation. The air is thin. Altitude sickness in Cusco can affect anyone: old or young, male or female, sick or healthy. And it can change over time. For example, maybe someone went to Bolivia or Nepal years ago and had no problem. They could still get altitude sickness in Cusco or wherever the next time they visit. It hits you hardest when the elevation change is sudden: not a gradual journey going higher above seas level, but a straight flight from Lima to Cusco. That’s what we did. It was a mistake.

Our Cusco Altitude Sickness Story

We were traveling with ten people: my parents, brother, sister and their spouses. Out of ten people, seven of us had some altitude sickness issues. Four of us were severe enough that they missed some of the Cusco tours we booked. Keiko and I had mild problems: dull headaches and just feeling hazy like I’d drank half a bottle of cough syrup. But my parents, daughter, and brother in law? They were in bad shape, and very sick several days.

Most hotels and many Cusco tours have an oxygen tank. Use it. Seriously. If you don’t feel good, then ask for 5 minutes of oxygen. At our Cusco hotels, the first five minutes were free. Then it was around a dollar a minute. Once I started taking ten minutes of oxygen after breakfast, it changed my trip.

Cusco Tours & Other Things to Do in Cusco

One of the easiest ways to get the most out of the area is to book some Cusco tours. Of course, you can explore all the things to do in Cusco Peru on your own, but booking a few Cusco tours has some significant advantages. For one, you can see more in less time — especially important if your Peru itinerary is tight.

Secondly, you get the insight of an expert guide. Believe me. Unless you’re an archaeologist or anthropologist yourself, hearing the history and context of each Inca site becomes much more fascinating.

Finally, it’s also great to book a Cusco tour or two for the convenience. Let someone else handle tickets, buses, and trains for you. Here are some Cusco tours and other things to do in Cusco.

Take a Tour of Cusco City

There are a number of Cusco walking tours that are worth your time. The city has a very interesting history as the center of the Incan empire. Yet the years after Spanish conquest are also fascinating, as well. 

Guided Tour of Cusco City

Inca Ruins in Cusco & the Sacred Valley

What to do in Cusco? Inca ruins of course, but there are more things to do in Cusco Peru than Machu Picchu. Read here for tips and recommendations on day trips from Cusco, Cusco tours and more. Cusco Peru weather | cusco flights | cusco altitude sickness | cusco ruins | cusco with kids | Cusco Peru travel tips | lima to cusco | cusco airport | cusco elevation | cusco peru what to wear | cusco peru travel guide |Peru family travel | Machu Picchu | Inca Ruins

Let’s start with the most popular things to do in Cusco Peru: the Inca ruins of the Sacred Valley and beyond. Cusco city itself was once the capital of the Incan Empire, and there are many archaeological remnants right in town. It’s fascinating just to see how beautiful the stonework is…with the layers or sloppy Spanish bricks on top. These walls are so precisely laid. In fact, when occasional earthquakes hit Cusco, the Incan stonework shows almost zero damage. Sometimes entire Spanish churches built atop these ruins crumble to the ground. But the Incan walls? Not a scratch.

I should mention that Cusco Incan ruins and most Inca Ruins in the Sacred Valley have multiple spellings. The pronunciations aren’t always what you’d suspect them to be. I have tried to use the most common phonetic spellings.


The Incan ruins here form the foundation of a small charming village. Here you’ll find craft stall, a beautiful church interior and some of the best views of the countryside. One of the most scenic day trips from Cusco.


These are some of the closest Inca ruins to Cusco, and some of the most photogenic as well. The amazingly precise stonework is on full display here, but of course, all the kids wanted was pictures of the llamas.


Less than 20 minutes on foot from Sacsaywamen, the Inca ruins of Q’enqo. This maze-like space has pathways, waterways and tables carved right into the stone. One reason is that this was a place where blood was spilled: but for religious and medical purposes. There were human and llama sacrifices here, and t’s believed that some of the earliest brain surgery was performed here, as well as mummification rituals.

Cusco Tours including Sacsaywamen:

Private Half-Day Historical Cusco Tour with Sacsayhuaman

Cusco 4-Hour Private Cusco Tour Including Sacsayhuaman and Qenqo


These are certainly some of the most imposing-looking Inca ruins in the Sacred Valley. In fact, they’re meant to be imposing. The Incas made one of their best stands against the Spanish here, and the fortress is built up a steep hill. We recommend taking the steps to the top, but be wary of altitude sickness in Cusco and take your time to climb to the top. ONe of my favorite day trips from Cusco. 

Cusco Tours visiting Ollantaytambo:

Sacred Valley, Pisac and Ollantaytambo Full-Day Tour from Cusco


Certainly some of the most beautiful and mysterious of the Cusco ruins. This bowl-like terraced circle resembles an amphitheater (or a UFO landing port), but it was really an agricultural hub. It was here that the Incas cultivated the best crops to feed their growing numbers. Part of an essential day trip from Cusco. 


Not exactly the same kind of Incan ruins at the others mentioned here but definitely one of the best things to do in Cusco Peru. This is an ancient salt farm that’s still very much in use today. Warm, salt-rich water has been pouring out of the mountain here for centuries (this was all once under the ocean). Once people figure out how to extract the salt, this area filled with individual plots. How they irrigate the area is mind-boggling.

Visiting Moray and Maras are one of our most recommended things to do in Cusco Peru, and certainly one of the best day trips from Cusco.

Take Cusco Tours that visit both Maras and Moray:

Maras, Moray and Chinchero Private Day Trip from Cusco

Day Trips from Cusco to Sacred Valley: Chinchero, Maras, Moray & Ollantaytambo

Moray, Maras & Salt Mines Half-Day Tour – Day Trips from Cusco

Sacred Valley: Maras & Moray by Quad Bike Tour from Cusco

Machu Picchu

And now for the one you’ve all been waiting for: Machu Picchu, the biggest and most famous Incan ruin in Peru…and an essential day trip from Cusco. Yes, it’s crowded: this is king of all Cusco tours. And yes, it’s an effort to reach, but man-o-man is it worth it. The Peruvian government is right to start capping the number of daily tourists. And I hope they continue to be good stewards of their this incredible cultural treasure.

We took the train to Aguas Calientes (which I recommend elsewhere in this post). However you get there, make sure you have enough time and that you have an experienced guide to show you around. You’ll get so much more out of it. If not, at least read up before you go. I read a book, Turn Right at Machu Picchu, before I arrived and it helped give me a deeper understanding of what the guides on all our Cusco tours were talking about. 

Machu Picchu Tours, Tickets and Day Trips from Cusco:

Machu Picchu & Huayna Picchu Entrance Ticket

Machu Picchu Day Trip from Cusco

Official Ticket: Machu Picchu Lost Citadel

The Train to Machu Picchu

What to do in Cusco? Inca ruins of course, but there are more things to do in Cusco Peru than Machu Picchu. Read here for tips and recommendations on day trips from Cusco, Cusco tours and more. Cusco Peru weather | cusco flights | cusco altitude sickness | cusco ruins | cusco with kids | Cusco Peru travel tips | lima to cusco | cusco airport | cusco elevation | cusco peru what to wear | cusco peru travel guide |Peru family travel | Machu Picchu | Inca Ruins

There are many ways to visit Machu Picchu: some hike, some arrive by tour bus, and others take a train to Machu Picchu. Well, actually, you take a train to the town of Aguas Calientes, which is a tourist town set up near the foot of the hills leading to Machu Picchu. From here, you take a quick bus. We took the train to Machu Picchu and can recommend it highly. There are a number of different trains to Machu Picchu, mostly run by Inca Rail.

We took the Voyager Train and can highly recommend the experience. It’s often advertised as “360 Degrees,” but don’t expect a full glass dome. The windows are large, and there are windows in the roof, but you do not have a fully unobstructed view of the sky above you. Having said that, the views were spectacular, the seats were comfy and the service was great. There are fancier trains, such as the Hiram Bingham Luxury Train, but the Voyager was plenty for us. After all, the trip is only about three hours.

Hiram Bingham Luxury Train to Machu Picchu

2-Day Tour: Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu by Train

Machu Picchu: Full Day Tour by Vistadome Train From Cusco

Boleto Turistico del Cusco – Cusco Tourist Ticket

One of the most common things to do in Cusco is to purchase the Boleto Turistico del Cusco, or the Cusco Tourist Ticket. There are several options for these tickets, each a different price offering different access. The most popular option is valid for 10 days and covers lots of the main Incan sites as well as other great things to do in Cusco Peru. It covers:

Inca Ruins in the Sacred Valley:

  • Ollantaytambo
  • Moray
  • Chinchero
  • Pisac

Inca Ruins Near Cusco:

  • Sacsaywamen
  • Q’enqo
  • Puka Pukara
  • Tambomachay

Other Cusco Attractions and Things to Do in Cusco Peru:

  • Qorikancha
  • The Contemporary Art Museum
  • The Cusco Cathedral
  • and more

Regular tickets cost 130 Soles (approx. USD $40-45) at the time of writing. There are other tickets prices for kids and for shorter stays as well. Find more info at Boleto Turistico del Cusco official site.

Things to Do in Cusco City

What to do in Cusco? Inca ruins of course, but there are more things to do in Cusco Peru than Machu Picchu. Read here for tips and recommendations on day trips from Cusco, Cusco tours and more. Cusco Peru weather | cusco flights | cusco altitude sickness | cusco ruins | cusco with kids | Cusco Peru travel tips | lima to cusco | cusco airport | cusco elevation | cusco peru what to wear | cusco peru travel guide |Peru family travel | Machu Picchu | Inca Ruins

So you’ve been to the Inca ruins. Now what? Here are some recommended things to do in Cusco city, which is a tourist attraction in its own right.

Plaza de Armas & Cusco Cathedral

This is the historic center of the city and a beautiful town square. The cathedral is one of the most impressive and interesting I’ve seen anywhere in the world. And I’ve seen a lot of cathedrals! What makes the Cusco Cathedral interesting is just how ornate it is inside…and the context for some of the ornamentation.

Sure, it has the gold-plated altars you’ll find in Spain and Mexico, as well as the intricately carved wood. But what makes this the most interesting are the hundreds of paintings in Cusco cathedral. The religious imagery here has been modified to indigenous Peruvian tastes. The most famous (and obvious) example is the cathedral’s painting of the last supper. Instead of bread and wine on the table, there’s a roasted guinea pig. There are many other examples throughout the massive structure. Most Cusco tours of the city make a stop here, and good guides will point out details and cultural insights that you might miss.

Almudena Cemetery

cemetery Cusco tours

Am I suggesting a graveyard as one of the best things to do in Cusco Peru? Yes, I am. The Almudena Cemetery is beautiful and interesting for a number of reasons. First of all, the graves themselves are stacked five high. But what we liked was the story each of them tells. Families decorate their loved ones’ graves with elements of the person there and his/her personality.

There may be fresh flowers, snack or bottles of their favorite drinks. There may be multiple pictures or plastic figurines to represent the special interests of the deceased. For example, one may have horse figurines, while another has musical notes. Far from gloomy, it’s a beautiful spot and one of my favorite places to visit in Cusco.

Qorikancha, Church and Convent of Santo Domingo

When Cusco was the capital of the Incan Empire, its most important temple was located here. Now a convent sits atop the Incan foundation. The walls here were once covered in gold. It’s still a very striking building, but to imagine what it once was…wow. Most Cusco tours involve a stop here. If you don’t take any Cusco tours, then make a stop on your own. 

The San Blas Neighborhood

The streets here are some of the most picturesque in Cusco. In addition, the neighborhood shops are quite nice. They sell more authentic and artisanal gifts than you’ll find in the tchotchke stalls around the Plaza de Armas. This is one of the best things to do in Cusco Peru if you simply like walking around and soaking up the atmosphere. But keep in mind some of the streets are steep. 

Cooking Classes and Local Market Tour in Cusco

We say it all the time: food is a window into culture. Try a Peruvian cooking class in Cusco and see if you learn about the people and history of the area. And possibly discover a few new foods you like, as well.

Peruvian Cooking Class and Local Market in Cusco

Peruvian Cooking Class in Cusco

Make Chocolates

One of the great things to do in Cusco and many other Latin American destinations take a chocolate making workshop. Cacao plays a special role in the region, and this is a great way to learn more about it….all while getting to eat more chocolate! Need I say more?

Cusco ChocoMuseo: From Bean to Bar Chocolate Workshop

Museums – Things to Do in Cusco City

With all the fascinating history surrounding this city, it’s no wonder that one of the best things to do in Cusco Peru is to visit some museums. Here are a few we recommend.

Inka Museum

This is a fantastic primer for the Inca civilization, with exhibits and artifacts covering most aspects of life in the ancient empire. A great thing to do in Cusco before or after a visit to the ruins.

Quechua Museum

The Quechua people and language are an anchor of South American culture. There are over four million Quechua people in Peru alone, with another million more in neighboring countries. This museum highlights the 3000+-year-old culture, which includes the Incas as well as their ancestors and descendants.

The Cusco Planetarium

Astronomy played such a large role in Incan civilization. Get to understand how the Incans looked at the galaxy by spending an evening at the local planetarium.

Cusco by Night: Planetarium Cusco, Dinner, and Pisco Sour

Planetarium Cusco Admission Ticket

Other Things to Do in Cusco Peru photos vinicunca-rainbow-mountain-2702788

Cusco tours to Incan ruins may be the most popular things to do in Cusco and the Sacred Valley, but that’s not the only activities worth exploring here. 

Go Whitewater Rafting

We love hitting the rapids wherever we travel, and the rivers near Cusco are great to paddle down. 

Cusco Rafting and Zipline Adventure

Ride a Four-Wheeler

If you’re up for a little off-road adventure, then consider this Cusco tour. My kids love riding ATV’s whenever we get the chance, but we didn’t have time for this one.

Quad Bike Tour to Moray and Salt Mines From Cusco

See Rainbow Mountain

Like many day trips from Cusco, this is an early start. But seeing this with your own eyes might just be worth it. 

Cusco: Full-Day Tour to Rainbow Mountain

Trek to Humtay Lake

This glacier lake is one of the most beautiful sights in Peru and one of the best day trips from Cusco for hikers. Just keep Cusco altitude sickness in consideration, but they also offer horseback in some cases (check beforehand). 

Humantay Lake Tour from Cusco

Cusco – Humantay Lake 1-Day Trek

Take a Photo with a Baby Llama

It’s bound to happen: an old Peruvian lady with a baby llama or lamb approaches you and tries to hand it to you. Of course, she’s not just being generous. Once you get your selfie, she’s going to ask for a tip. At some point, it might be worth it. 

Play Sapo

This old game involves trying to throw a coin into the mouth of a brass frog in a table. You’ll find this game at bars and other open areas. 

What to Eat in Cusco

Lomo saltado Cusco tours

We had great experiences with Peruvian food, and here are a few tips on what to eat in Cusco. Peru is famous for its ceviche, but remember that you’re far from the coast here. We ate our body weight in ceviche in Lima but stuck to more regional dishes in the Andean highlands.

Lomo Saltado

This is one of the most famous Peruvian dishes, but it actually has roots in…China. That’s right, Lomo Saltado was co-opted from Chinese immigrants and given a Peruvian twist. Imagine a succulent beef stir-fry with potatoes and South American spices added. That’s lomo saltado.


This is old-school Peruvian food here: Cuy is a guinea pig. You’ll see them scurrying around some houses and other areas of Cusco. You can get cuy in many different forms, but the most common is roasted like a chicken. The cuy we had was quite salty, but I’d try it again.


I know what you’re thinking: “potatoes? haven’t I eaten enough potatoes in my life?” Perhaps, but then you discover that Peru has over 4,000 varieties of potatoes and that they’re all sorts of shapes, sizes, and colors.


Yes, they’re adorable. And yes they’re also a source of protein for Peruvians. You’ll find Alpaca on the menu as steak, in stews and even on pizza. We had it in several forms and I can’t say I could tell the differences between it and pork, beef or lamb, but we liked it.


You may be familiar with chicharrones in Mexico, which are essentially pork rinds. In Peru, however, they tend to be meatier. Peruvian chicharrones are usually succulent chunks of beef or pork that are deep fried.

What to Drink in Cusco

In addition to signature Peruvian food, there are certain drinks that symbolize Peru as well. Here’s what to drink in Cusco. 

Coca Tea

Yes, it’s made from the same plant that cocaine is made from, but I assure you it’s not the same. With effects similar to a cup of coffee, it’s a pick-me-up to be sure. It’s also great for nausea and the effects of altitude sickness. Most hotels offer it complimentary in the lobby or dining area. Just drink in moderation, and maybe skip over if you have high or low blood pressure. Not for kids, either. 

Inka Cola

Aside from coca tea, this neon-yellow soda is the unofficial drink of Peru. It tastes like bubblegum, and according to many Peruvians, is a good accompaniment with just about any food. I would disagree, but having a bottle of the stuff is definitely one of the things to do in Cusco Peru.

Pisco Sour

Another adult beverage here. Pisco is the local brandy made from Peruvian white grapes. Mix in some sugar, lemon juice and an egg white, and you’ve got the basis for Peru’s cocktail of choice. I liked them. Don’t think I’ll make them at home (would rather avoid dealing with eggs, really) but I enjoyed them when I had them. 

Chicha Morada

This non-alcoholic drink is made by boiling purple corn and adding lemon and sugar. It’s served all over Peru and is a nice and unique drink to try in Cusco. 

Getting to Cusco / Destinations Near Cusco

Most people arrive in town by the Cusco airport via Lima. There are direct flights from Cusco to La Paz, Bolivia and back, but almost all other Cusco flights arrive via Lima.  Another way to get from Lima to Cusco is overland, although it takes 20 hours if you do it all in one shot. A Cusco to Lima flight takes 90 minutes. If you’re taking some of the multi-day Cusco tours on offer, then transportations may already be arranged. 

Many people agree that in order to avoid potential altitude sickness, it’s probably best to go overland, and slow. If possible, break your trip up into segments, stopping at various Peru attractions as you reach higher elevations. We didn’t do this. Instead, we flew straight from Lima to Cusco and hit the ground running. Some of us had difficult altitude sickness as a result. Like I said before: you may not have any real problems with Cusco altitude sickness. Most people don’t. But be prepared either way. 

Peru Destinations & Distances

That that we’ve discussed Cusco tours and other things to do in Cusco Peru, here is a quick reference guide to the (average) time it takes to get to these Cusco attractions. Use this when planning your day trips from Cusco as well. 

Lima to Cusco / Cusco to Lima: Flights between Lima and Cusco take about an hour and 15 minutes while arriving by car or bus is between 18-20 hours. 

Cusco to Sacred Valley / Sacred Valley to Cusco: This drive can take between 50 and 75 minutes. Bus, taxi, and Uber are all options

Cusco to Ollantaytambo / Ollantaytambo to Cusco: Buses, taxis, and other cars take just over an hour. A train takes 2 hours. 

Puno to Cusco / Cusco to Puno: Going from Cusco to Puno by air takes about an hour, while cars and buses take 6-7 hours.

Cusco to Aguas Calientes / Aguas Calientes to Cusco: By train, it takes about 4 hours, but there are a number of variations involved, including cars, taxis, and Uber.

Lake Titicaca to Cusco / Cusco to Lake Titicaca: Buses take about 8 hours, or you can flu to Juliaca (JUL) in an hour and then find transport onto the lake from there. 

Cusco to La Paz (Bolivia) / La Paz to Cusco: Buses from Cusco to La Paz take around 12 hours. Flights between the two cities take about an hour. 

Getting Around Cusco

We recommend staying near the Plaza de Armas or otherwise in the city. That way the best way to get around Cusco City is just to walk. Just keep in mind that the altitude may make you run out of breath earlier than usual. Another way of getting around Cusco is by taxi. If you do, make sure it’s a legitimate taxi by looking for their license in the front window. Rides in the city should be around 3-5 soles during the day, and slightly more after 8 or 9 pm. You can also hire taxis to take you to Inca ruins in the Sacred Valley. Ask your hotel about calling you one of these. Uber is also an option in Cusco. Just like in Lima, we had a good experience using Uber in Cusco. 

As for getting to Machu Picchu, you can go by car or bus, but we recommend taking the train to Aguas Calientes. There are a number of options: from champagne on the Hiram Bingham Train to less luxurious options. We took the Vistadome train and would recommend it. More in the Machu Picchu section earlier in this piece. 

More Cusco Travel Tips

chinchero peru

Now that you know about things to do in Cusco, and how to navigate the city and the Cusco attractions, here are a few final Cusco travel tips. 

Beware of Pickpockets

No need to panic or be overly cautious, but use common sense. Keep money stored away and bags and pockets zipped whenever possible. Even when you’re on some of the best Cusco tours, your guide can’t watch everyone at once — especially at night. Use common sense. 

Related Read: Best Sling Bag for Travel

Altitude Sickness is No Joke

Ok, I know I’ve mentioned this twice already but in case you skipped over those sections, here me one last time. Take it easy the day you arrive in Cusco. And if you feel bad in any shape or form, rest and/or get some oxygen. Most Cusco hotels and many Cusco tours come equipped. 

Don’t Mess with Llamas 

Everyone wants their selfie with a llama, but you really need to be careful around them. They can be aggressive when threatened. They could charge you, or spit at you.

Bring a Reusable Water Bottle – or Buy One There

You can’t drink the water in Peru, which means you’re going to be drinking all bottled water. Lots of hotels and supermarkets have huge jugs of drinkable water, and it saves a lot of plastic is you just refill your own. Besides, plastic bottles are no longer allowed at Machu Picchu (fine by us), so you’ll need something for your day there anyway. Always take water on your day trips from Cusco, as you may not encounter a store as frequently as you like.

Buy Now: Packable Reusable Water Bottle on Amazon

Keep Tissue with You

Lots of bathrooms don’t have toilet paper. Have some for your own use, and the use of anyone with you. This goes double during day trips from Cusco as some of the toilets at shops and Incan Ruins may need a wipe before you sit down. 

Buy Now: Kleenex Tissues, On-The-Go Small Packs, Travel Size on Amazon

Keep Small Change Handy

Lots of taxi drivers, fruit stands, and bodegas usually won’t small change…and other time they may just say they don’t. Make sure to keep coins and small bills around for these type of exchanges. 

Do You Know What to Do in Cusco Peru?

Family portrait Machu Picchu Cusco tours

Of course, this list of things to do in Cusco is not complete. We couldn’t do everything we wanted and would love your insight. Do you know of more things to do in Cusco Peru? What’s missing from our Cusco attractions list? Are there other day trips from Cusco we should mention? Let us know in the comment below, as we’ll update this post regularly — especially after we visit again. 

Further Reading:


Things to Do in Cusco Peru PIN 2

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This costs you nothing, but we might receive a small commission if you book some Cusco tours or buy something for your Peru travel using these links. My opinions are my own and I only recommend places/services that I believe will genuinely help you find the best things to do in Cusco Peru. 


  1. Irene M Hawkins says

    What a fantastic, descriptive and helpful post. Thank you. My sister and I are leaving to Peru in 5 days and we are just starting to plan most of our trip this week.