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Cusco Travel Guide

Cusco Photo info
Wildwood72/Flickr

Cusco, the majestic capital of the ancient Inca Empire, draws throngs of tourists every year. But the narrow streets—punctuated by opulent temples and grand cathedrals—offer only a faint glimpse into the city's storied past. In its nearly 900-year history, Cusco withstood the rise and fall of Incas. And when the Spanish conquistadors invaded the capital in 1533, Cusco reinvented itself as a flourishing Spanish city built on the Inca's foundations. Remnants ... continue»

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When to Visit Cusco

The best time to visit Cusco is from June to mid-September. Though temperatures rest in the mid- to upper 60s throughout the year, the city sees fewer rain showers during its winter months. Still, this is peak tourist season, so expect plenty of fellow trekkers beside you as marvel at iconic sites. To escape swells of tourists and high room rates, visit during May or between late September and early November. Avoid visiting between late November and April, when heavy downpours delay and dampen exploration. Whenever you decide to plan your trip, bring warm clothing to arm yourself from the chilly nighttime temperatures, which dip into the low 30s and 40s.

Best Times to Visit Cusco»

Cusco Temperature (F) Cusco Precipitation (in)

Temperature [+ enlarge]Precipitation [+ enlarge]

Getting Around Cusco

The best way to get around Cusco is on foot. Colorful cobbled pedestrian-only streets extend out of the vibrant Plaza de Armas in the historic center, and many of the city's top attractions are within a 25-minute walk of the plaza. That said, at an altitude of more than 11,000 feet, exploring Cusco requires stamina. Should you need to catch your breath, it's easy to flag down a taxi. Buses, often called colectivos or combis, are an affordable means of getting around, but relying on their time schedules and limited routes can be less convenient than hailing a cab. For longer journeys to the Sacred Valley, you'll want to pick up a rental car; however, driving in Cusco proper is not recommended, as heavy pedestrian traffic clogs the narrow streets. When you're ready to journey to Machu Picchu, you'll want to snag a seat on one of PeruRail's daily trains from Estación Poroy station (15 minutes from downtown Cusco) to Aguas Calientes, a station located at the base of Machu Picchu.

Getting Around Cusco»

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