There is no doubt, and we have mentioned it many times, that Cusco is a complete travel destination full of adventures, history, and natural wonders. The city alone is considered the Archeological Capital of the Americas because of its many attractions, and the visually striking scenery in its old town.
And though most of these structures have been dismantled during the colonization process, some of them are part of the colonial buildings we have today, whilst others can be as impressive as Machu Picchu.
The prevailing legacy of the Incas is present throughout the region, and how not to since it was the political center of the famous Tahuantinsuyo Empire. Therefore, traveling to the city of Cusco could be taken as a back-in-time journey through the XV and XVII centuries.
With the archeological city tour you’ll get to experience several attractions within the Imperial City of the Incas and its surroundings, including the hybrid Incan-colonial architecture in its historic center as well as archeological sites such as Sacsayhuaman, Tambomachay, and others.
The main attractions in Peru are located in Cusco, therefore, it is the starting point for most adventures in the Andean region.
For that reason, you’ll surely spend some time in the city, which is why we recommend you making the most of this opportunity and hop on to these exclusive adventures we have for you.
We want you to feel at home, and most of all, get familiar with our cultural heritage, which is why we have organized a tour through the most significant attractions in Cusco and its surroundings. Keep reading and find out everything about this experience:
1. The Qoricancha Temple
Also known as the Temple of the Sun, it was a sacred place to the Inca civilization where gold ornaments adorned the whole structure in honor of the Sun God Inti. Unfortunately, the temple was sacked and nearly all of the relics were lost during colonization.
During Inca times, the Qoricancha temple was the principal worship temple of the region. After the Spanish conquest, the site was designated to Juan Pizarro.
After Juan Pizarro's death, the lands were donated to the Dominicans who constructed the Santo Domingo Convent on top of its remains. Learn more about the so-called Golden Temple with this travel guide.
2. The Cathedral of Cusco
It is one of the most famous religious constructions within the Historic Center of Cusco. It took over 100 years and thousands of natives to complete the structure, which was built on top of the Inca Palace, Suntur Wasi.
The Cathedral of Cusco comprehends gothic and renaissance styles perfectly merged with the local baroque design. These styles are significantly represented in the cathedral’s massive carved doors, likewise, its impressive interior is complemented with beautiful altars of the time.
The Cathedral, in addition to its official status as a worship place, has an excellent exhibition of Cusco’s colonial art. It also holds many archeological artifacts and relics, which is why it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 along with the rest of Cusco’s old town.
3. Sacsayhuaman Ceremonial Fortress
The impressive megalithic structure is located in the outskirts of Cusco. It is considered one of the perfect engineering works of the Inca civilization. However, most of its structure was destroyed during the construction of the colonial Cusco, but only the heaviest and largest stones remained.
According to historians, it took 50 years and around 20,000 men to build the enigmatic structure. Some of the remaining stones can reach up to 9 meters of height and weigh over 125 tons.
There are so many mysteries revolving around the Sacsayhuaman complex, to get to know most of them, we encourage you to read this exclusive article we have for you.
4. Q’enqo Archeological Site
It is located three kilometers away from the Imperial City of Cusco and it’s one of the largest Huacas found in the region. The archeological site was a sacred location and is believed to have been a place where the Incas performed sacrifices and mummifications in honor of the Sun God Inti.
The ceremonial center comprehends large carved rocks forming a cave shape, its interior is decorated with three representative figures of the Andean cosmology: The condor, the cougar, and the snake. Learn more about it here.
The monument is considered to be a water cult center that comprehends several aqueducts, canals, and waterfalls. Etymologically, Tambomachay means ‘Resting Place’ in Quechua, which gives us a hint to its secondary purpose as a resting point for the Inca elite.
The archeological site is recognized for its authentic architecture and engineering since its four walls fit perfectly to the base, which is held by three parallel terraces. The pool-shaped water fountain found in this structure is called ‘The Ñusta Bath’ since it is similar to the ones found in Ollantaytambo.
In addition, this location also had a royal garden perfectly irrigated by complex water canals that were made especially for this function. Likewise, Tambomachay served as a control center for the people that came to the Imperial City from the Antisuyo.
6. Puca Pucara
This famous Inca structure sits on the edge of a mountain. Although its purpose was mainly military, it also served as an administrative center. Puca Pucara means Red Fortress in Quechua, a name given due to the red coloration of the stones found in its structure.
The place comprehends four ambients, where two walls support the terraces that surround it. Due to its importance during the Inca era and its strategic location, Puca Pucara was designated as Cusco’s Cultural Heritage by the National Institute of Culture.
On this opportunity, you’ll get to experience the best sites within the Historic Center of Cusco. We want you to feel comfortable, for that reason, we have prepared an authentic itinerary where you’ll get to visit each site calmly so you can fully appreciate everything with no rush:
12:30h - 13:00h | Pick up from the hotel
Our team will pick you up from your accommodation so we can start our adventure through the main archeological sites of the area.
13:00h - 13:45h | Coricancha Temple
Right at the heart of the historic center lies the so-called Temple of the Sun, the principal worship center of the Inca culture. Here, we’ll have some time to explore the site as well as the current catholic church built on top of its settlements.
13:50h - 14:30h | Cathedral of Cusco
The Cathedral of Cusco is the perfect example of colonial baroque architecture. As most of the Spanish buildings found in the city center, its foundations are the ancient structure of an important Inca palace.
14:45h - 15:45h | Sacsayhuaman Archeological Site
Following the itinerary, the Sacsayhuaman fortress is our next stop. The impressive megalithic structure has withstood centuries of earthquakes and if it wasn’t because of the damages caused during the colonization process, the site could have been even more outstanding than what it already is.
15:50h - 16:20h | Qenqo Archeological Site
A few meters away from Sacsayhuaman lies another important ceremonial center to the Incas. The Qenqo archeological site was a ritual-based location where, according to historians, rituals and sacrifices took place.
16:30h - 17:00h | Puca Pucara Archeological Site
Going further up the mountains, we’ll find an archeological site with a fortress-like appearance. It is believed that Puca Pucara served as a military and administrative center.
17:00h - 17:30h | Tambomachay Archeological Site
Tambomachay is one of the perfect examples of Inca hydraulic engineering. It is composed of irrigation channels and three water fountains that continue to provide water until the current date.
17:30h - 18:00h | Return to Cusco
Once we’ve finished with all the activities, we’ll return to Cusco. Drop off will be at your accommodation or Plaza de Armas if requested.
Quick Tip: If you wish to complement your experience through the Historic Center of Cusco, we have an exclusive excursion intended to teach you how to get around the city. Likewise, you’d get to meet colonial neighborhoods, historical monuments, and local markets.
If you wish to experience this tour at its fullest, we have the perfect adventure for you. Keep in mind that you can organize your trip according to your interests, we are here to help you with any inquiry you may have, including assistance during your travel planning process.
To book the Archeological City Tour, you just need to contact your travel agent. Our local expert team will make sure to optimize your time and experience with a tailored-made travel itinerary for you.
Likewise, we care to provide the best experience to each and every one of our passengers, which is why we count with certified drivers, professional guides, and an all-time monitored car fleet with GPS tracking.
- Duration: 5 hours - From 13:00h to 18:00h.
- Entrance: All entrance fees are included in the travel package.
- Included: Transport, entrance fees, english speaking guide, pick up at the hotel.
Viagens Machu Picchu cares to provide everything you need to have an authentic adventure through our country. Get to know all the special offers we have in Peru travel packages and start planning the trip of your life!
Cusco has many adventures for you and we'd love to show you everything about them! If you're planning the perfect itinerary through this magical region, don't miss this blog about the best 10 day trips from Cusco so you can make the most of your experience.