Are you looking to get ideas for some day trips from Cusco?
Cusco rests at an altitude of roughly 11,000-feet, and once the capital of the Incan empire.
Quick Answer: Day Trips from Cusco
- Peru’s Most Iconic Archeological Site – Tickets for Machu Picchu
- See the Waters of Humantay Lake – Go 4,200 meters above Sea Level
- Marvel at the Maras Salt Mines – A gem in the Andean mountains
- Most Impressive Walls in Peru – Visit the Fortress of Sacsayhuaman
- See the Complete list – Day Trips from Cusco, Peru
Today in all it’s glory, Cusco is now a gateway for many adventurous day trips to travelers from around the world.
Table of Contents
Day Trips from Cusco
So if you’ve made it to Cusco already you’ll probably have a good idea of how to move around Peru.
Let’s get straight into what activities you can get up to whilst you’re here.
Lounge around in Plaza de Armas
The pulse of Cusco, Plaza de Armas, from dawn till dusk provides a neverending flow of people, culture, and enjoyment.
Enjoy a morning coffee and breakfast or an afternoon beer at one of the many second-floor cafes overlooking the plaza square. Paddy’s Irish Pub and Norton’s Rat Tavern are popular spots at night within the Plaza.
Taste Authentic Peruvian Cuisine
Doing a specialty cooking class is recommended whilst here in Cusco.
However, if a 4-hour culinary experience doesn’t tingle your tastebud, check out Mama Seledonia.
Conveniently located 400-meters from Plaza de Armas, facing the Marriot Hotel, Mama Seledonia offers local Peruvian cuisine, vegetarian, and gluten-free options. Perfect for travelers on a budget. Open until 10 pm.
The vibe is light and airy with excellent service. Some of the highlights are the Alpaca and Quinoa burgers.
Explore the San Pedro Market
Nothing exemplifies Cusco culture more than the San Pedro market.
The market is open daily, typically from 9 am – 6 pm, with mornings being the best time to go to avoid large crowds.
You’ll find local cuisine, souvenirs, and other treats indigenous to the region — Head South from Plaza de Armas past Plazoleta Espinar through the archway. San Pedro market is on your left.
Discover the Lost City
Resting on the slopes of the Andean mountain range sits one of the world’s most iconic archeological sites, Machu Picchu.
Sitting at nearly 8,000 feet above sea level, Machu Picchu is an archeological masterpiece built by the Incan empire in the 15th century.
Your day trip from Cusco will have you exploring the Temple of the Sun, the intihuatana stone, and the beautiful terraced fields of the agricultural sector. See this Peru travel guide for more info on nearby trails.
November through March is the rainy season with an average of 70″ falling each year. Machu Picchu encompasses an area of roughly 325 square km, and an accredited tour guide is required to enter the site.
Machu Picchu is one of the most visited attractions in Peru.
Visit the colorful Rainbow Mountains
Hike through the high altitude vibrant Rainbow Mountains and witness sweeping panoramic views.
One of nature’s artistic masterpieces, the Rainbow Mountains, gets its unique colors from the mineral deposits left over centuries.
Not for the faint of heart, this high-altitude adventure will have you ascending to heights of around 5,000-meters. The absolute best time to visit these mountains is during the dry season between April and October.
The rainy season makes everything grey, gloomy, and wet. Although your time spent at the peak may be short, the real adventure is the bus ride to and from the mountain through the Peruvian countryside.
Rainbow mountain is relatively new as of 2015 from glacial and snowmelt, revealing the rainbow below.
Maras Salt Mines Plus Moray
Explore intriguing Incan archeological sites that transcend time.
The Maras Salt Mines, are a series of shallow pools strategically dug into the Andean mountain range to collect runoff saltwater.
There are thousands of individual pools, each owned by a family from the Maras community.
Prohibited from entering the area, tourists can still hire a guide to lead you to magnificent viewpoints within the surrounding mountains.
Moray, equally as impressive, is a series of descending terraced gardens that predate the Incans.
During its time, Moray was an agricultural testing ground for various crops grown throughout the region. Each terraced layer hosts its own microclimate.
Maras salt mines are still in use today, adding to Cusco’s economy.
This high altitude day trip from Cusco to the turquoise waters of Humantay Lake will leave you breathless.
Your high altitude day trip from Cusco adventure begins early in the morning as you board a bus heading to Mollepata.
You’ll begin the hike up to Humantay Lake 4,200 meters above sea level. The mountains, valleys, and lakes were once sacred land to the Incans.
You can even skip the tour and go alone to avoid the crowds.
Things to bring and consider are to wear comfortable shoes, dress in layers, sunscreen with a hat, bring cash, and food and water.
It’s roughly a 3-hour drive from Cusco and another 90-minute hike to the Lake.
Gazing upon the magnificence of Humantay Lake transcends all beauty.
Cusco City Highlights Tour
Immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant history and culture.
You’ll be awe-struck at the impressive Incan and Spanish architecture throughout the city. As you begin your day trip from Cusco Cathedral, which contains many historical paintings, you’ll visit sites in and around the city.
The Fortress of Sacsayhuaman, Temple of the Sun, and the Baths of Tambomachay are just a few of the stops you’ll make.
Your guide will share the history of these monuments and answer any questions you may have.
Cusco was once the capital of the Incan empire but is better known today for its Spanish Colonial architecture and archeological remains.
Once the capital of the Incan empire, Cusco was founded in 1,200 AD.
Cusco Night Tour and Dinner
Experience Cusco’s unique nightlife and culture after dark. Much different than touring the city during the day, Cusco’s vibe after dark is truly remarkable.
You’ll have the opportunity to explore Cusco’s most famous streets, plazas, and neighborhoods as your guide lead you along to spectacular viewpoints throughout the city.
A few of the locations you’ll visit are the Cathedral of Cusco, the San Blas neighborhood, and Hatun Rumiyoc street.
Your tour concludes at a local Peruvian restaurant for authentic cuisine and a Pisco Sour, a type of Peruvian cocktail.
This tour typically lasts for around 6-hours and unlike other tours, is wheelchair accessible. Due to its altitude, Cusco’s temperature drops when the sun goes down.
Cusco, Peru: Day Trips
There’s no shortage of interesting and adventurous day trips from Cusco.
From exploring the city during the day and night to visiting the Rainbow Mountains and Humantay Lake, your spirit will get set free as you marvel at the Incan ruins and wondrous landscapes.
Mix and mingle with the locals at the San Pedro market or relax at an outdoor cafe in one of Cusco’s many plazas.
No day trip from Cusco will is complete until you try a Pisco Sour.
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