View of the historic center of Cusco with the Plaza de Armas and Cusco Cathedral. The Andes mountain loom in the background.

There is a fascinating array of things to do and see when you visit Cusco, Peru. It was once the capital of the Inca Empire and then an important city in the Spanish colony. Today, Cusco is a treasure trove of Incan and colonial architecture, as well as modern culture. With so much to see, it may be hard to decide what to do while in Cusco. To help you plan, we have put together a list of our top ten things to do in Cusco. You are sure to find them to be incredible additions to your journey before visiting Machu Picchu.

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Reading time: 10 min
A view from the balcony at Belmond Palacio Nazarenas, one of the best Cusco luxury hotels.

There is an impressive selection of Cusco luxury hotels amid the city’s Inca ruins and Spanish colonial architecture. Whether you prefer a hotel with an intriguing historical background, or something a bit more contemporary, there is a Cusco hotel that satisfies every style. Choosing any of the luxury hotels in Cusco is a wise investment in your trip and ensures that your visit to the capital of the Inca Empire is a success. Continue reading for help narrowing down your ideal Cusco luxury hotel and for tips on how to make the most out of your stay.

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Peru culinary tours are the best way to quickly tap into the most exciting food in a given destination. In Peru, a thriving gastronomic scene takes the culinary tour experience to another level. Whether you’re in the city or the countryside, visiting restaurants, fresh markets, farms, and more alongside an expert guide gives you privileged access to hidden foodie treasures you might otherwise miss.

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Reading time: 6 min
expert peru guide fabricio with cusco city rooftops behind him

“I think there is a reason that everybody is here. I’ve always considered becoming a tour guide to be my reason,” says Fabricio Ortiz.

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Machu Picchu ruins floating in misty clouds

What’s the best time to visit Machu Picchu? For clear skies, sunny weather, and a chance to take photos of Machu Picchu like the ones you see in the travel magazines, the easy answer is June, July, or August. This is peak season for travel to Machu Picchu. Because of course, everyone has the same idea. But that’s not a drawback as long as you know what to expect.

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On June 24, the city of Cusco celebrates Inti Raymi. In Inca times, this celebration in honor of the sun god, Inti, was the empire’s largest. Today, it coincides with Cusco’s peak tourist season. Thousands of travelers from near and far arrive to relive and experience the greatness of the Inca past.

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In Cusco, the festival of Corpus Christi  begins when the patron saints and virgins from all the city’s parish churches gather on the Plaza de Armas. Loaded with Andean symbolism and accompanied by brass bands and brilliantly costumed dancers, Corpus Christi in Cusco is truly a sight to behold.

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From January to December each year, the historic city of Cusco observes a virtually year round calendar of remarkable festivals. Whether religious, folkloric, or civic in nature, each festival is accompanied by spectacular displays of folkloric music and dance that render homage to the city’s rich history and cultural traditions.

Here are the highlights of the Cusco cultural calendar, with dates for 2018.

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Reading time: 4 min