Cusco is located at 3,399 masl. It is one of the highest cities in elevation in the world.
Visitors are advised a day or two of rest upon arriving in order to get acclimatized.
During these days, getting enough sleep, eating small portions, drinking liquids (coca
tea is recommended), and avoiding strenuous activities are said to be effective for
feeling great despite the change in elevation.
This magnificent city is full of life and endless options. For those who like to feel
closer to nature, horse back riding is an excellent and unique way to visit the ruins
around the city. These generally include Sacsayhuaman, Qenqo, Tambomachay, and
Puca Pucara. There is no need t o know how to ride a horse. A guide or horse master
goes along and leads your horse if you want him or her to. For those interested in
extreme sports, hang gliding over the Andes Mountains, canoeing, and kayaking are
available. And if you prefer land, you can mountain bike. If you are a night owl, you
might enjoy dancing the night away or a conversation with friends in a pub. This is
easy to do in Cusco, which offers something for everyone, from a variety of dance
clubs, quiet bars, bohemian pubs and discos.
If any of these activities sound appealing to you, be sure to ask your TravelAndes
representative for further information.
Historical Insight on Cusco
Cusco was once the capital of the
Inca Empire and contains incredible
remains of ancient pre Inca and Inca
civilizations. In the 1500s, Spain
colonized Peru and now mixtures of
colonial and Inca architecture make
up a great part of the city. A great
example of this is Inca Garcilaso´s
home (on the right), which shows an
Inca wall as a foundation for a
characteristic colonial home built on
When people think of Cusco, they
WHY TRAVEL TO CUSCO?
Its History: Cusco probably has the richest history of all cities
in South America. It was once called Tawantinsuyo and it was
the capital of the Inca Empire, which included parts of Ecuador,
Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile. In the 1500s, the Spaniards used a
variety of tactics to destroy the Inca Empire.
Today, Cusco is mix of both Incan and colonial cultures. This
mix can be viewed in people’s believes, amongst others. For
instance, it’s common for people to ask the Apus (mountains) to
protect them or to thank the Mama Pacha (mother earth) for its
crops. At the same time, some of these people attend the
Catholic Church and acknowledge themselves as Christians.
3,200,000 (1993 census) people in Peru still speak Quechua, the
language of the Incas, and a majority of this population is in the
region of Cusco. It is common to go the marketplace or to small
communities and find people who still speak the language of
their ancestors as well as Spanish. Cusco’s history is truly
amazing and present everywhere. All the buildings with the Inca
wall foundations and colonial architecture will take one back in
Its people: Being open and helpful is a characteristic of people
from Cusco so it is very easy to interact with them. They will try
their hardest to help visitors feel at ease in their new
environment. In general, people have bright and positive
attitudes. Cusquenians like to joke, laugh, dance, spend time
with family and friends, take things easy and work hard.
Its food: Peru is recognized as a country with one of the finest
cuisines in the world. Its food entails a combination of tastes
from different parts of the world like Spain and even Japan and
China. Peru grows some of the healthiest foods that are not
found in other parts of the world and many of these are found in
the Andes Region (Cusco). Some of these crops include quinua,
maca, kiwicha, etc. Peru also has the largest variety of
potatoes, which are mostly grown in the Andes region (Cusco).
Click here to read more on mouth watering Peruvian recipes!
Its geography: Cusco is unique because as you can see from
the picture on the left, it is surrounded by impressively big
The city of Cusco is located in the southeastern part of Peru in
the Andes mountains.
Its culture: Cusco’s homes roofed with picturesque orange tile
roofs and houses with balconies from colonial times remain the
norm in architecture as well as Inca stones that serve as a
foundation for colonial built structures. This architecture is a
representation of Cusco’s culture. Regardless of time passed,
the Inca culture still serves as a foundation for the new acquired
Spanish culture which was instilled in the 1500s with the Spanish
conquest. Evidence of this is seen in all the arts: paintings,
music, dances. It is also evident in the religion and rituals.
Cusco is history in the present.
The capital of the Inka Empire
Before the Incas arrived in Cusco
around 1,200 A.C. Cusco was host
to other civilizations, records show
influences from the Chavin, Huari,
Killke, Lucre, Choquepuqio (or
Qaranqayniyuj) cultures, among
others. On the left you can view the
pre-Inca archeological site of
Pikillaqta (flea city or city of fleas)
located on the southwestern part of
Cusco, which is the main structure
representing the Huari civilization.
According to the Inca tradition, there
usually think of the Inca culture, but did you know that before the Incas there were
other civilizations that lived in the Andes?
The oldest establishments in the department of Cusco have been found in the
communities of Yauri and Chumbivilcas and date back to the year 5,000 B.C. In the
valley of the actual city of Cusco, human presence dates back to 1,000 B.C. time
period in which small communities dedicated to agriculture and animal herding lived in
Marcavalle located on the east side of the present-day city.
|Pre-incan ruins : Pikillaqta
were two brothers called the Ayar Brothers who constantly gained territory in the valley
either by force or through alliances to establish what is now the city of Cusco, then
called Acamama. The Incas were more advanced in knowledge and skills than the
For almost two centuries the Incas established themselves in the tall and central part
of the valley of Cusco and initially their territory grew slowly. Although, historians have
recollected detailed information about the first Inca governors; its hard to give credibility
to these records. For that reason confirmed dates are considered only from Inca
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