Take a Trip to Cuzco

cuzco0415-viewKnown as the archaeological capital of the Americas, Cuzco (also spelled Cusco) is also the oldest continuously inhabited city on the continent. This fascinating and impressive city boasts streets lined with Inca-built stone walls and is home to Quecha-speaking descendants of the Incas. Cuzco is also the jumping-off point for visits to the incredible site of Machu Picchu.

Of course, the main attraction here is the local ruins. Qoricancha-Templo del Sol and Santo Domingo come together as a fascinating site, as the temple of one culture sits atop and encloses the other. Sacsayhuamán is an imposing fortress on a hill overlooking the city. La Catedral is another Inca Viracocha site. Inside, there are more than four hundred impressive paintings that were created between the sixth and eighteenth centuries, along with some stunning woodcarvings.

Museo de Arte Precolombiano is a museum you will not want to miss. It contains a massive collection of pre-Columbian works, as well as gold and silver handicrafts, jewelry, ceramics, and other artifacts from ancient cultures, including the Incas. The Museo de Arqueológia contains jewelry, pottery, textiles and mummies.

The best day excursion of the area is to Machu Picchu, an impressive archaeological site. It’s also possible to see Sacred Valley villages and famed markets, particularly Pisac and Chinchero. Tipon is 23 kilometers south-east of Cuzco and is noted for its well-preserved agricultural terracing, as well as its baths, temple complex, and irrigation canals and aqueducts – all created by the Incas. Pikillacta and Rumicolca are pre-Inca and Inca ruins that lie just 38 kilometers southeast of Cuzco.

Cuzco has a vibrant nightlife contained around the Plaza de Armas and comprised mainly of young backpackers with a good splash of locals. Shoppers will want to head to the barrio of San Blas, the streets right around the Plaza de Armas, and Plaza Regocijo.