Cuzco, perched high in the Andes Mountains, is the longest continuously inhabited city in South America. It was also the ancient capital of the Incan Empire, which makes it a particularly popular destination for travelers.
Heading to the Peruvian city for the first time? There’s a ton to see, so let this video be your guide to Cuzco’s can’t-miss offerings.
Take time to admire the city’s interwoven histories, best exemplified by the pre-Columbian structures, temples, and convents scattered across the city.
Qorikancha, for example, is a temple built to honor the sun god, Init. It dates back to the 15th century and sits conspicuously in the middle of what is now the city’s downtown. In Cuzco, it is not uncommon to see colonial homes abutting Incan ruins.
Of course, you can’t visit Peru without scaling Machu Picchu, a true bucket list journey. The Lost City of the Incas is considered one of the world’s greatest archaeological settlements.
Travelers can reach the legendary citadel by foot — a strenuous, multi-day hike — by bus or by train. The latter can be a luxurious way to amble along the Urubamba River, canyons, and lush countryside.
Surely your epic journey to the UNESCO World Heritage site will have worked up an appetite. Fortunately, one of the most fun things to do in Cuzco is sample the food. Unique to the Andes region are such specialties as tamales, chairo (a soup made from dehydrated potatoes), and spit-roasted guinea pig. The latter, known as cuy, is served regularly at celebrations and is best eaten with your hands.
Next on your Cuzco trip is the Sacred Valley of the Incas, wedged between bustling Cuzco and Machu Picchu. Here, travelers can enjoy villages, markets, and ample Incan ruins and terraces.
Back in modern Cuzco, seek out other architectural highlights contributed by the Spanish Conquistadors, including La Merced Church and Convent and the Cuzco Cathedral.