Things to do in Cusco, Peru

Cuzco (also “Cusco”, or “Qosqo” in Quechua), located in the Southern Sierras is a fascinating city that was the capital of the Incan Empire.

Cusco is a Unesco World Heritage Site and is one of Peru’s most visited cities as it is the largest and most comfortable city from which tourists can begin visits to Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley of the Incas, and other Incan sites in the region. There are so many incredible things to do in Cusco.

Cusco is a beautiful city with well preserved colonial architecture, evidence of a rich and complex history. The city itself represents the center of indigenous Quechua culture in the Andes, and by merely walking the streets one sees the layers of history. Spanish colonial buildings erected directly atop Inca walls line the square, while the modern tourist nightlife flourishes in their midst.

The city is surrounded by a number of ruins, the most impressive being Sacsayhuaman, the site of the 1536 battle in which dozens of Pizarro’s men charged uphill to battle the forces of the Inca. Nowadays, Cusco is known for its indigenous population, often seen on the streets in traditional clothing, and its substantial tourist-fueled night life. 

Related Read: Where to go in Peru Besides Machu Picchu

Sacsayhuaman in Cuzco, Peru
Sacsayhuaman in Cuzco, Peru

Things to do in Cusco, Peru

Don’t rush through Cusco! 

It is an amazing city and you need more than two days to see the city alone. This is not even mentioning side full day trips to Machu Picchu or to the Sacred Valley.

Things to do in Cusco, Peru
Cusco, Peru

Here are some travel tips for things you might like to see or do.

  • Walk around the Plaza de Armas; the square has churches, shops, restaurants and bars backing on to it and is a great place to spend an afternoon. The historical center of Cusco is beautiful, but you will have to deal with all the street vendors and hawkers of cheap paintings and other souvenirs. They are everywhere in and around the Plaza de Armas. They spoil somewhat the experience.
  • Check out the Plaza de San Francisco, which is a few blocks north of the center, and is a great place to visit one of Cusco’s many great coffee shops.
  • Play Sapo, a traditional bar game played in chicharias all over Peru. The game involves throwing small coins, called fichas, at a table with a bronze sapo (toad) attached. You get points for making it into holes on the table and a ton of points for making it into the sapo’s mouth. Best played while drinking chicha (corn beer, traditionally fermented with saliva) at a local dive. Ask old men to show you the correct throwing form, as it’s difficult to master.
  • Talk to local store owners, curators, waitresses and bartenders. They typically know a little English if your Spanish is not good and are generally happy to share interesting information about the city not found in guidebooks. This is also a great way to find the best places to try cuyalpaca, and chicha.
  • Once you are accustomed to the altitude, go for a jog! This is a very humbling experience, as the hills and thin air prove a challenge to even those in great shape. It’s also a good way to explore. Head east or south of the plaza for the safest places. If you’re a woman out exercising, you may get a few cat calls, as this is common in much of Latin America.
  • Go Whitewater rafting but not in the Sacred Valley of the Incas where the water is very polluted and the rapids are relatively tame. Instead head upstream to Chuqicahuana or Cusipata sections of the Rio Urubamba / Vilcanota where the water is much cleaner and the rapids are excellent fun up to class 5 depending on what time of year you are traveling.
  • Try inflatable canoeing on the Piñi Pampa section of the Rio Urubamba where you get to paddle your own canoe down, fun but not frantic, class 1 and 2 rapids.
  • If you have more time, try and raft the 3 or 4 day Rio Apurimac – the true Source of the Amazon and one of the Top Ten Rafting Rivers in the World. Class 3 – 5 all in the most amazing 3000m deep canyon. Go with the experts as accidents have occurred and in Peru you pay for what you get so saving a few $$$ can seriously reduce the quality and the safety of your trip.
  • Have a Downhill Mountain Bike trip either across the Chincheros plains, past Inca ruins and down through the spectacular Maras Saltpans or the 75km downhill from Abra Malaga to Santa Maria and onto the totally awesome hotsprings of Santa Teresa (easy and cheap access to Machu Picchu from here, too) Again go with the experts – there are a lot of cheap bikes out there, totally not up to the job.

Buying at markets in and around Cusco, Peru

If you want cheap cheap touristy stuff, go to one of the two Saturday and Sunday morning markets in Juliaca (about 5 hours away by bus), Puno (about 6 hours away by bus). They are about 1/3 the price of Cusco.

If you don’t want to go so far away, but still want touristy stuff, go to the Artisan Market at the intersection of la Avenida del Sol and Tullumayo. It’s the big red building near the fountain. The further away you get from the main square, the cheaper things become.

There is a mini-mart next to the big church in the main square. It is the San-Pedro market where bread costs around s/0.10 and a glass of combination juices around s/1.50 and they give you 2-4 refills. Don´t go too far from the main square at night though, it can be dangerous.

There is another market called Centro Comercial El Molino, Urbanizacion Ttio, you have to take a taxi and it costs s/2 to get there. In this market you can buy heaps of illegal merchandise, DVDs, CDs etc. A good quality copy DVD is s/4, or you can by 5 VCDs for s/10.

The indigenous women at El Centro Bartolome de Las Casas have a store in which they sell homemade handicrafts and weavings. You can often watch them work, though they often don’t speak Spanish, and rarely speak a word of English. It’s located a few blocks from the plaza on Avenida Tullumayu.

Also Pisac, a town outside Cusco, has a very big market. It is about 30 minutes from Cusco by bus. The bus station is on Tullumayo street a couple blocks from Limacpampas. The fare is very cheap, and you can see the Incan ruins at Pisac. In Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu prices can be the double of what they are in Cusco.

If you travel to the “Sacred Valley” (Valle Sagrado, including the towns/ruins of Chinchero, Ollantaytambo and Pisac), there is lots of touristy stuff to buy, you can barter, but the prices won´t go down much. Alpaca sweaters are not like they used to be. The only good ones are in upmarket shops.

Shopping in markets in Cusco, Peru
Shopping in markets in Cusco, Peru

Keen to check out Machu Picchu while in Cusco? Check out these posts:


Where to go in Peru Besides Machu Picchu

Wondering about where to go in Peru besides Machu Picchu?

Those of us lucky enough to live in Peru know that Machu Picchu is but one of dozens of destinations that Peru offers those who venture outside our workplace in the capital city of Lima.

Lima has its charms – colonial architecture, archaeological museums and a cuisine that has rightfully taken its place among the world’s finest – but the most enticing attractions in Peru are in the provinces.

where to go in peru besides machu picchu
Lima in Peru

Where to go in Peru besides Machu Picchu

The combination of the long Pacific coastline, the Andes mountains and the Amazon jungle make Peru’s geography among the most dramatic and awe-inspiring on earth. And the archaeology! Machu Picchu is one of thousands of fascinating archeological sites left by the Incas and a wide variety of cultures that preceded them. And native cultures continue to abound throughout the country, making Peru a virtual rainbow of rich living traditions that will be the delight to any visitor.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the best of these attractions in Peru, first to the south, then to the north of Lima. After reading this, you’ll know that Peru is much more than Machu Picchu.

The south of Peru

The city of Cusco, the ancient capital of the Inca Empire, is still open and offers the visitor a wide variety of attractions, including spectacular Incan and Spanish colonial structures, amazing textiles and other handcrafts, museums, fine dining and, on the outskirts, numerous impressive Incan ruins, including the stone fortress of Sacsayhuaman that is now home of the Inti Raymi festival held each year in June.

Things to do in Cusco, Peru
Cusco, Peru

An hour’s drive from Cusco is the beautiful Sacred Valley of the Incas, once the breadbasket of the empire where today people continue to live much as they did before the conquest. The Sacred Valley is a rural paradise containing some of Peru’s most important Incan ruins and some of the country’s newest and most modern hotels.

Further to the south, straddling the border with Bolivia, is the spectacular Lake Titicaca that, at 12,500 feet, is the highest navigable lake in the world. Its shores and numerous islands are populated by Aymara people who welcome sharing their ancient customs and folkways with visitors.

Another delightful attraction in the southern sierra region is Arequipa, called the “white city” for the white volcanic rock that continues to be widely used for construction. Arequipa is a picturesque colonial city and a short drive away from the majestic Colca Canyon, which offers some of the most beautiful scenery in this beautiful country.

Where to go in Peru Besides Machu Picchu
Colca, Peru

The southern coastal region features ParacasIca and Nazca. The best known attraction in the zone is the Nazca line drawings, etched in over 1,000 square kilometers of the sandy plains north of Nazca. Constructed from about 400 BC to 600 AD, the Nazca line drawings are geoglyphs that characterize several species of birds, a fish, a spider, a monkey, and plants within a labyrinth of straight lines, spirals, triangles, and other shapes.

The Nazca line drawings are best appreciated from the air, though they may also be viewed on-site from specially constructed towers. Ica – famous for its warm, dry and sunny climate – is the center of Peru’s wine industry. Other attractions include the Huacachina oasis, with its palm-lined lagoon having medicinal sulfurous waters, and the world-class Las Dunas resort.

The nearby Paracas Bay and adjoining Paracas National Reserve are both teeming with marine and bird life. Be sure to take the boat ride out to the Ballestas Islands, where seals, sea lions, and countless bird species can be viewed in their natural habitat.

The three luxurious bayside Hotels: Libertador Paracas, Doubletree and La Hacienda are now the talk of Lima, so be sure to make reservations early.

Paracas, Ica and Nazca are sunny and warm year-round. Don’t forget to come with your bathing suit and plenty of sun block!

The north of Peru

A short drive north of Lima is Caral, a fascinating archeological site believed to be 5,000 years old and so, is commonly called the oldest city in the Western Hemisphere. A couple of hours to the north, near the prosperous and attractive city of Trujillo, are the ruins of Chan Chan, the largest adobe city in the hemisphere.

Another couple of hours up the coast is Chiclayo, is where the Lord of Sipan was discovered. With the help of the National Geographic Society, a museum – possibly the finest in Peru – was built in the nearby city of Lambayeque to house the impressive golden and jeweled archeological remains.

Perhaps the most impressive archeological site in the north of Peru is the mountaintop fortress of Kuelap in the high jungle region near the picturesque city of Chachapoyas. The countryside around Chachapoyas feature numerous cliffside burial sites, many of which were found with mummies, and two of the world’s tallest waterfalls.

Higher into the northern Andes, the city of Cajamarca holds the so-called Incan baths, still-functioning thermal baths where the Incan king Atahualpa was bathing when he was taken prisoner and eventually killed by the Spanish conquerors lead by Francisco Pizarro. Cajamarca is also home to the Yanacocha gold mine, one of the world’s largest, and a variety of pre-Colombian ruins set in the beautiful mountain scenery of northern Peru.

The tallest mountains in northern Peru surround the Callejón de Hualylas. The snow-peaked Cordillera Blanca that defines the eastern side of this lovely mountain valley is a haven for mountain climbers and anyone seeking unsurpassed scenery of mountain peaks and glacier-fed mountain lakes.

The northern coast also features Peru’s finest beaches. Perhaps the best known is Mancora, a party town that has become a haven for Peru’s budding surfing scene. The rich Pacific fishing waters, once famous as a favorite fishing haunt of Ernest Hemmingway, today provide the raw ingredients for some of the finest cuisine on the planet.

Manorca beach in Southern Peru
Manorca beach in Southern Peru

The Jungle of Peru

The rainy season in the jungle extends through April, but the mornings and early afternoons are normally dry. 

Peru’s jungle is formed by the Amazon River, the longest river in the world, which starts in the mountains of southern Peru, then rambles through Peru’s vast jungle region en route to Brazil. Visitors can begin a tour of the Peruvian Amazon in the jungle cities of Puerto Maldonado or Iquitos.

Peru’s Amazon region features unequalled nature reserves, including the Manu National Park, and the Tambopata Candamo and Pacaya Samiria Nature Reserves.

The Jungle of Peru
The Jungle of Peru

So now you know that Peru is much more than Machu Picchu. Whether you seek a mountain or jungle adventure, unparalleled archaeological riches, or simply want to relax on the beach or at poolside while enjoying a pisco sour along with some of the finest and freshest food you’ve ever tasted, Peru is the place to be. Believe me, I know because I live there. Machu Picchu can wait.

Looking for tips on Peru besides Machu Picchu? Check out these posts:


The Complete Guide to Visiting Machu Picchu in Peru

Any trip to Peru isn’t complete without visiting Machu Picchu. It attracts archaeologists, photographers and adventurers, as well as travellers who are eager to tick it off their bucket list. 

The altitude of Machu Picchu is 2 430 m (7,972 feet) – making it pretty impressive (acute mountain altitude sickness can occur).

If you’re planning on visiting Machu Picchu in Peru – here’s everything that you’ll need to know.

Hiking the Inca Jungle Trail To Machu Picchu
Hiking the Inca Jungle Trail To Machu Picchu

How to get to Machu Picchu in Peru

Visiting Machu Picchu isn’t cheap (though you can do Machu Picchu on a budget). As of 2021,

With the train ticket to Machu Picchu Pueblo, also formerly known as Aguas Calientes at US$98 return and a night’s accommodation it easily adds up to over US$200. Visitors to Machu Picchu typically leave from Cusco.

From there, a visitor has the following options to reach Machu Picchu:

On foot

Hiking the Inca Trail is an alternative to get in and a great way to arrive as you first see the city through the Sun Gate (instead of arriving from beneath on the bus). Both the four-day and two-day hikes are controlled by the government. Travelers should be fit enough to walk for days and sleep in tents.

A hiker can also follow the train tracks all the way to Machu Picchu. There is only one track leading out of the Machu Picchu train station in Cusco, so it’s quite simple. It takes about four days, and you only have to pay the entrance fee. Recent regulations require reservations and the hiring of a professional tour guide to accompany you on the hike.

You can also take the less popular Inca Jungle Trail.

Walking Along the Railroad Tracks

While this route is technically illegal, the law is not enforced except at the Inca Trail checkpoint of Kilometer 82. If you wish to get to Machu Picchu by this route, leave from Ollantaytambo early in the morning, at about 5 – 5:30 AM. You will likely have to make arrangements beforehand for a taxi to bring you to Km. 82, as there are not many taxis in service at this time. Once you get to Kilometer 82, begin walking on the tracks away from Ollantaytambo.

The trip is approximately 30 kilometers, but because the ground is flat it goes fairly quickly. You can count on getting into Aguas Calientes sometime after lunch and before dinner. It is then recommended to get a hostel and see the ruins the following day. This method of travel, it should be stressed, is technically illegal, but for a budget traveller looking for an adventure, this is the best choice.

Train to Machu Picchu

The most common way is to take the PeruRail train to Machu Picchu in the morning, explore the ruins for a few hours and return to Cusco in the afternoon, though it can be a bit rushed. The train terminates at Puente Ruinas station, where buses take tourists up the mountain to Machu Picchu. The Machu Picchu station is located at Aguas Calientes; this is not the station used by tourists on a day trip.

You can book Vistadome Train round-trip ticket here.

Note: PeruRail’s Backpacker train is segregationist in the literal sense. Tourists ride in a posh car, and Peruvians ride in another car farther back, often standing room only.

Bus to Machu Picchu

From Machu Picchu pueblo Aguas Calientes a traveler can take one of the frequent buses to the ruins (US$12 each way). The bus operates from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu and the ride takes about 35 – 40 minutes.

It is also possible to walk the distance, about 2 hours (8 km). This route is mainly stairs, and follows the bus route up. It is a strenuous and long hike but is very rewarding, recommended to start around 4 a.m. to make it to the top before sunrise.

You can also travel the “back way” independently from Cusco by taking a bus to Santa Maria, colectivo to Santa Teresa, and proceeding to the hydroelectric train station by foot or van and on to Aguas Calientes by foot or train. Note that hiking the tracks is technically prohibited. Do your research before choosing this route.

An experience of visiting Machu Picchu by train

Many will take the challenging Inca Trail to reach this New 7 Wonder of the World, but Lisa Rollinson discovered that even those who take the easier route will still be overwhelmed by this legendary site…  

“I had dreamed of visiting the ancient ruins since I could remember. I had heard tales, seen pictures and read books, but finally it was my time to visit this man-made wonder. 

We arrived in Aguas Calientes by train in the early afternoon. This little town is Machu Picchu’s jumping on or off point, for people who have completed their Inca Trail trek or those who are sightseeing by train. A river runs though the village and there are restaurants and souvenir shops lining the main street. You could immediately sense the excitement amongst people who were returning from the sacred ruins, and I couldn’t wait to enjoy the moment myself! 

We joined the queue of locals and visitors who were waiting to board the buses, that 25 minutes later would have us disembarking at one of the most fascinating places on our planet. 

The road snaked its way through the mountains and, as the bus rounded a corner, I had my first glimpse of the ancient Inca ruins. I realised I was holding my breath, taken aback by the size of the site.  

The most astonishing thing is the mountain-side location of the ruins. The amount of work that must have gone into clearing the land is inspiring, but the gradient they are built on is simply unfathomable. 

Our guide explained how the stones used in the construction were both local and brought in from elsewhere. It took around 90 years for the Incas to build the sanctuary and some even say that parts were never finished.  

We had plenty of time to wander at our leisure, take it all in and imagine what it must have been like when the Spanish invaded the region. It was during this time that the Incas were thought to have burned Machu Picchu and hidden themselves deeper in the mountains. 

Machu Picchu was a small community, a place of refuge, built in the most improbable landscape. ‘Incredible’ just doesn’t describe it. Even when you see it for yourself it’s hard to comprehend the scale of Machu Picchu. It will keep you wondering why the Incas decided to build on a mountainside, in the middle of nowhere. There is simply nothing that compares in our modern world!”

Hiking to Machu Picchu in Peru
Hiking to Machu Picchu in Peru

Highlights and things to see at the Machu Picchu, Peru

Take the time to walk around the site; there are many places to see and explore when visiting Machu Picchu. Although it is not necessary, taking a guided tour does provide a deeper insight into the ancient city, its uses, and information on the geography of it.

Also, be sure to wake up early to miss the thousands of people that visit the site each day, or stay till closing time. The first buses start running at 5:40AM, which will give you an hour or two in the pleasant light of dawn but before the full force of the sun begins hammering the mountainside. (If you plan to stay past 10AM, sunblock is requisite.)

Temple of the Sun

Near the summit of the main city, the stonework on the temple is incredible. Look closely and you will see that there are a variety of stone walls throughout the city. Most are rough stones held together with mud, the common stone walls found throughout the world. But many buildings or parts of buildings are done with the more distinctive and impressive closely-fit stonework. The temple is the absolute pinnacle of this technology. Observe it from the side, descending the stone staircase in the main plaza.

Intihuatana – Temple of the Three Windows – Main Temple – Condor

The tour guides will try to tell you that this was a temple, but look closely: between the wings of the condor is a chamber with grooves cut in the stone to secure manacles, a walkway behind where a torturer may walk to whip the prisoner’s backs, and a scary looking pit to let the blood of prisoners drain. Clearly the condor was a symbol of cruel justice, but a santized version is told for the benefit of middle-aged tourists and their children.

The following sights involve some legwork:

Sun Gate

Walk back up the Inca trail away from the site and up the hill to the Sun Gate (or Inti Punku); from here you can see back down each valley offering excellent views. It’s a gentle walk (probably 45 mins tops round trip) and well worth it. If you stay in Aguas Callientes, it is possible to get here early enough to catch the sunrise from here. 

Waynapicchu (Huayna Picchu)

Walk up Waynapicchu (in Spanish Huayna Picchu); this is the “second” hill seen in the many photos. Its a steep but short walk offering very impressive views over the site. Well worth the effort!

Waynapicchu also has ruins atop its peak. As of November 2006, visitors are no longer accepted after 1 p.m. to start the trail, and all visitors must be out by 4:00p.m.

Only 400 visitors are allowed to enter this trail each day. Buses begin leaving for Machu Picchu at 5:30. A line forms early at the checkpoint to the trail. At 7:00 A.M. 400 ticket numbers are issued and the first of batch of 200 hikers is slowly released. The second group of 200 can start any time between 10:00 and 11:00 A.M.. On busy tourist days, the limit will be reached by 7 or 8 A.M..

It is recommended that you go straight here first thing. You will be required to sign in; remember your number (or the time you signed in) so that you can find yourself in the book to sign out again. The climb is steep and at times exposed, and takes about 1 hour each way. Some portions are slippery and steel cables (a via ferrata) provide some support. Decent footwear is important. There is an extremely narrow passage near the summit (a cave).

The view of the city is fantastic as it rises out of the clouds. You can even see all the way to the sun gate. 

At the top is a mini Machu Pichu, with houses, terraces, and some HUGE drop offs where you can get some amazing photos. 

This really is the last epic moment of the Inca Trail and the bit that fewest people get to see. So get past the crowds and hurry towards the mountain, sign the book, pass through the gate and get up to the top.

Take some time to lie on your back and take in the fact that you are on the very top of the Incas world. 

Two cautionary notes: The hike is somewhat strenuous and not advised for visitors who are elderly, pregnant or have heart/lung conditions. Also, the steep stairs and cliffs you must walk along at the summit can be terrifying for those who are afraid of heights.

Waynapicchu (Huayna Picchu)
Waynapicchu (Huayna Picchu)

Moon Temple and Great Cave

If you have some time at hand, or long for a sparkle of solitude, you can also walk to the Moon Temple (Templo de la Luna) and the Great Cave (Gran Caverne). It’s a long walk and adventurous hike involving several ladders. Some may find that the sites aren’t really rewarding, but unexpected wildlife can be seen (wild spectacled bears have been reported).

This hike is also quite interesting because partway through you leave behind the mountain terrain and enter a more conventional forest. The caves can be reached either by hiking down the trail from the peak of Waynapicchu (which includes some semi-harrowing but fun near-vertical descents) or by the split from the main Waynapicchu trail (look for the sign that says Gran Carvern).

Remember that it is much easier to descend from Waynapicchu than to ascend from these temples. Be sure to bring plenty of water and snacks for this long hike. The hike from the summit to the caves and back to the checkpoint takes about two more hours.

Food at Machu Picchu

It’s officially not allowed to bring food into the archeological site. But if you’re planning to stay the whole day, bring some snacks or sandwiches and plenty of water (just be sure not to litter). Your ticket will tell you that you cannot bring food or water bottles into the site, although many people do take them anyway.

Buying them at the site is expensive, and plastic bottles are not offered (glass only). Purchase food and plenty of water and bring it with you. The concession stand near the entrance of the site is pitiful in its offerings and gets very busy at lunchtime. Once in the site, it’s not possible to buy food or drinks. There is a cafeteria near the site, where the locals who work there eat. Ask one of them and if you’re lucky, you’ll be rewarded with a cheap, filling, and unique alternative to the expensive tourist snack-stand.

  • Tinkuy Buffet Restaurant, Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge, +51 84 21 1039/38. 11:30AM-3:00PM. Casual lunch buffet with nice picture windows. Expensive: About $33 for buffet lunch, approximately four times that of area restaurants.
  • Tampu Restaurant Bar (Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge guests only). 5:30AM-9:00AM, Noon-3:00PM, 6:30PM-9:30PM. Expensive, but it’s at the ruins site.

Better food choices can be found by taking one of the regular buses to Aguas Calientes (the small town on the train stop to Cuzco) where there are numerous restaurants. These restaurants are not up to the standards of those in Cuzco or Lima, but are generally satisfactory. They tend to be moderately high priced. Some guidebooks report an unusually high incidence of food poisoning in the area, possibly attributable to the fairly common power outages (with loss of refrigeration). Cooked pizza and bottled beer or soft drinks are safe bets, salads and Pisco sours (made with raw egg whites) are best avoided here. 

Accommodation at Machu Picchu

Rather than returning from the ruins the same day, a traveller can stay overnight near the ruins. There are many hotels at nearby Aguas Calientes, but only one hotel at Machu Picchu itself.

Machu Picchu is not a regular town, but a protected sanctuary where new construction is not allowed. That is why all of the places to sleep, with a single exception, are in nearby Aguas Calientes. This lively town offers a wide assortment of lodging options with choices that range from no-frills hostels for backpackers, to very sophisticated hotels. It is recommended to do a thorough hotel research before committing.

The only hotel in Machu Picchu is the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge. Guests of this hotel can visit the ruins with the same schedule of travellers who spend a night in Aguas Calientes, but can enjoy the magnificent isolation of the sanctuary. The hotel also allows guests to cut out all transfer times from the citadel to their accommodation, allowing for a longer, more relaxing time at Machu Picchu.

How much does visiting Machu Picchu cost?

There are three types of tickets for visiting Machu Picchu. All include admission to the famous Inca archaeological site. However, they also offer access to huge mountains as well as interesting museums to learn more about the Inca City.

  • Machu Picchu Solo (includes access to Inca city of Machu Picchu): $45 USD (152 Soles) for adults and $21 USD (70 Soles) for children (<18 years)
  • Machu Picchu + Huayna Picchu (includes access to Inca city of Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu Mountain): $62 USD (200 Soles) for adults and $35 USD (118 Soles) for children (<18 years)
  • Machu Picchu + Mountain (includes access to Inca city of Machu Picchu and Machhu Picchu Mountain): $62 USD (200 Soles) for adults and $35 USD (118 Soles) for children (<18 years)

NB! Note that tickets are not sold at Machu Picchu itself, you need to get your ticket before arrival. Book your entrance ticket to Machu Picchu Lost Citadel here.

When is the best time to visit Machu Picchu?

The dry winter months of June and July are peak season in Machu Picchu and prices rise accordingly (and Inca Trail reservations are scarce for last-minute planners).

Tourists flock to the sun-soaked coastal regions during the summer months of December and January.

The best bargains can be found during the fringe months of April and May or September and October.

Peru

Your weekly Adventure Agenda: Explore Peru from home

 

As lockdown begins to ease for many of us and we start to think about getting back on the road in 2021, we’re taking you on an armchair adventure with virtual tour of Peru!

Try before you buy with virtual trips to Machu Picchu, Lima street art tours, and 360° museum visits. Plus, because we like to stir things up a bit, a Pisco Sour cocktail making class.

Climb Machu Picchu

Fake it ‘til you make it. All the views without any of the thigh burn or four-day sock stench, explore the ancient city of Machu Picchu with this interactive tour. (We’re joking about the Inca Trail, it’s epic. Make sure you plan ahead and add the real thing to your 2021 escape plan).

Go beyond the icons

When asked about Peru, many people jump straight to Machu Picchu (not literally, it’s quite a long hike). But what about the Amazon Jungle? Or this desert oasis near Ica? Plan your perfect Peru itinerary with this rundown of things to do in Peru that AREN’T Machu Picchu.

Read or watch this

No trip to Latin America (real or virtual) would be complete without reading or watching The Motorcycle Diaries. Documenting Che Guevara’s journey across the continent, it’s his trip through Peru and to Machu Picchu that is a turning point in his path to revolution.

… while drinking this

As you’d expect from a cocktail containing a fermented grape brandy liquor and an egg white, the origins of Peru’s national cocktail are a bit foggy. However, the taste is amazing. Mix things up with this quick Pisco Sour cocktail class from our friends over at Contiki.

Glass of pisco sour in front of scenic plaza in Peru

Do a street art tour

The walls of most South American cities are famous for their color, artistry and storytelling. Lima is no exception. The first Latin American Street Art Festival was held in Lima in 2012, and turned the streets of Miraflores into a canvas for 30 artists from across the continent.

Have a night in

… at the museum. Peru has a fascinating mix of culture, with customs and traditions inherited from their Inca heritage, mixed with Spanish, African and Chinese influences and settlers. Courtesy of Peru’s Ministry of Culture, you can now take 360° trips around 20 major museums.

Watch this video

Bring on the panpipes! Part of National Geographic’s Short Film Showcase, this six-minute film takes you from the heights of the Andes down to the floating islands of Lake Titicaca. Plus, there’s an awesome alpaca floppy-fringe-in-a-wind-machine moment at 2:47 mins.

Group of llamas

Ready for the real thing? Visit our Peru destination guide or call for a chat. We’re WFH and are on call for 2021 trip planning and cyber hugs.

If you’re thinking of traveling in 2020 or 2021, make sure you check out our advice about traveling around COVID-19 here.