Best Day Trips from Cusco
Best Day trips from Cusco
Cusco, a city in the Peruvian Andes, famously known for its Spanish colonial architecture and stunning archaeological remains, is also a gateway to one of the Seven Wonders of the World, Machu Picchu! It’s a mesmerising city with a perfect blend of ingenious style and modern world which have also contributed in Cusco’s rare beauty. Dazzling temples, ancient famed Inca ruins of Cusco enchants its visitors. The glorious Cathedral in Plaza De Armas is a sight to behold and a must visit for everyone visiting this part of America. Old ways are definitely not forgotten and its colourful culture can still be experienced here. The region’s unrivalled beauty and the cobblestoned streets leading to ruins make it one of the most thrilling and magical places to visit in all of the continent! It also a perfect place to visit the nearby hidden gems that let you explore colonial settlements, ancient Incan towns, and their lifestyle, things that have remained unscathed for centuries. Therefore, following is the list of some amazing day trips you can make when you traverse to Cusco:
1. Sacred Valley of Inca
Nestled under the majestic golden hills, the stunning Urubamba Valley, also known as Elle Valle Sagrado (The Sacred Valley), is 56 km away from the ancient city of Cusco. Brimming with Andean history, beauty, and culture, the region used to be a spiritual base of the Incan Empire. In fact, it also used to be a main agricultural hub for the Incans and continues to be so with its agreeable climate and extremely fertile soil. As a matter of fact, even the methods of farming here remain unchanged since the ancient Incan period! These practices coupled with the finest Incan ruins attract a large no. of tourists from around the globe. The valley’s natural setting, rich flora and fauna along with the parallel flowing Vilcanota River makes it a great base for bird watching and fishing. The only thing more beautiful than its landscape is the well integrated modern practices in the ancient culture. It is truly a hidden gem with its natural vibrancy and worth a visit. Well connected with Cusco, the cheapest way to reach here is by buses, taking about 1.5-2 hours to reach. Or you can also hire a taxi or minivan that’s definitwly more comfortable than a bus, but also more expensive. It gets you there in 1h 15m.
A traditional and rustic Andean Village, Pisac is a must visit for anyone who is travelling to Cusco. Famous for its bustling market, it has become one of the most popular regions for tourists who love to haggle and score handmade traditional souvenirs. The indigenous Quechua communities from the surrounding regions come to Pisac to sell their wares. Find many intriguing things to buy such as handcrafted jewellery, hats, ponchos, and a whole range of other gifts which you can take home as a piece of memory. If you want an absolutely authentic experience, then make sure to go on Sundays, the day hyou get to see the local people dressed in colourful attires with their wares spread out. A sunny charm and friendly atmosphere filled with rich culture makes it an absolute must place to visit. Located 28 km from Cusco, it takes 50 minutes to reach Pisac and it is recommended for you to either hire a minivan or a taxi, for buses often meet with accidents on this route.
Situated about 50 km from Cusco is the ancient Incan ruins of Moray. Being one of the most sophisticated Incan sites today, it is believed to have been used as agricultural laboratory by the Incans. In ancient times, Incans were very advanced with their agricultural methods like using aqua ducts for irrigation or terrace farming in the form of concentric circle. The varying climate at different levels allowed them to grow various kinds of crops at the same time like cocoa at the bottom, then moving up grains and then potato. Moray makes one fascinating and enriching experience for anyone who is interested in history and culture of Peru. You can visit the village from Cusco by hiring a taxi that would take almost an hour to reach.
If you wish to be on the road less taken, then Tipon is the place for you! Generally less visited by tourists, Tipon is located 30 minutes away from Cusco high in mountain tops of the Sacred Valley. It is a small but beautiful village of brilliantly design water channels in the ancient Incan era, and boasts a well preserved Inca terracing. The ruins of this village are quite impressive if not that extensive as compared to other sites near Cusco. They are heavily water based and are a fine example of how agriculturally advanced Incans were. Take your time and explore these magnificent ruins of this village and marvel at the brilliance of Incans. Stroll down the narrow streets and you will notice many vendors selling the traditional dish of roasted guinea pig called Cuy. It’s the national delicacy and definitely worth giving a try. To reach there, you can rent a shared minivan and reach this beautiful village in half an hour tops.
Often used as a stopover when travelling to Machu Picchu, Ollantaytamboo is mostly missed by the travellers. This quaint village is the best example today of advanced Inca city planning still intact today. Also known as Ollanta by the visitors and locals, it is the perfect place to wander and lose yourself in the narrow cobblestoned streets, stone buildings and burbling irrigation channels. The whole aura of this region makes you feel like you have stepped back in time! If you are an avid trekker or biker, then this town is a must for you serving great hiking trails and perfect base for biking and exploration. The fortifications that cling to the Cliffside also have an ancient Incan temple at the top which offers a great view of the whole town. Ollanta is a cakewalk to get to from Cusco. All you need to do is hire a shared minivan from Calle Grau, which is a 10 minute walk from Cusco’s Plaza de Armas.