Cuzco is a historic Peruvian city that draws millions of tourists each year due to its unique location, colonial architecture and ancient monuments. Nestled in the Andes Mountains at a height of 11,200 ft (3,400 m), it's a picturesque city that was once the capital of the Inca Empire. At its center is the Plaza de Armas, the main square dominated by Spanish colonial buildings and great cathedrals that provide a beautiful backdrop for the bustling restaurants, bars and markets. This small city can be explored on foot and is full of shops selling colorful handicrafts and souvenirs. Here visitors can sample local delicacies like alpaca and guinea pig or purchase bright woven goods in the traditional Peruvian style. Cuzco's close proximity to major Inca sights is one of the reasons why so many visitors stay here. By far the most famous of these is Machu Picchu, a lost Inca city atop a mountain peak that was only rediscovered in 1911. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is in a challenging location, but you can access the ruins by booking with a tour company, traveling by train or attempting the Inca Trail on foot. Other significant Inca sites within the area include Ollantaytambo, the ruins of a religious centre and fortress, and Saksaywaman, a walled complex on the edge of the city. For the curious traveler, Cuzco offers the unique experience of becoming immersed in traditional Peruvian life, both ancient and modern and the opportunity to see some of the most isolated ancient monuments in the world.
Best Time to Fly to Cuzco
Temperatures in this area remain moderate all throughout the year, with the dry season lasting from April to October. The warm sunny days make this the perfect time to visit the city.
The rainy season lasts from November to March and temperatures tend to drop during these months. If you want a cheaper deal on flights and accommodations, then this season is the best time to visit.
Getting around Cuzco
The small size of Cuzco makes walking the best way of exploring the city, however there are a variety of transportation options. Trams run from Plaza de Armas and offer a 90-minute tour of the city and its attractions. Alternatively you can jump on one of the city's colectivos, which are buses that provide short journeys within the city. Taxis are available to rent, but should be booked with an official taxi company that displays a black and gold sticker. To venture further afield you can rent your own car or take the four hour train to visit Machu Picchu.
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This is useful information about Cuzco
More useful information about Cuzco
- Tourists booking flights to Peru will arrive in either Lima or Bolivia.
- Heavily rooted in Amerindian and Spanish traditions, Peru is South America’s fourth most populous country.
- One of South America’s best-preserved Inca cities, Choquequirao is a lesser known jewel.
- If you are taking a last minute flight to Peru, visit the city of Puno which is on the edge of Lake Titicaca.
- The national food of Peru is called cuy, which is roasted guinea pig.
- Direct flights to Peru will allow you to see the Andes mountain range.
- People on one way flights to Peru should know that the coast is generally sunny and receives little rain.
- Machu Picchu is a popular destination that remains one of the great mysteries of South America.
- In Lima, the San Francisco Monastery and Church (Iglesia de San Francisco) is an interesting place to visit.
- The country is the largest producer of gold and zinc in Latin America.