Cusco, the historic capital of the Inca Empire and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a city steeped in rich history and surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty. While it’s impossible to explore all the wonders of Cusco in just one day, you can certainly make the most of your short visit by immersing yourself in its vibrant culture, exploring ancient ruins, and savoring local cuisine. Here are ten amazing things to do in Cusco City if you have just one day to spare:
1. Visit the Main Square (Plaza de Armas)
Start your day in the heart of Cusco by strolling around Plaza de Armas. Admire the stunning architecture, including the Cusco Cathedral and the Church of La Compañía, and soak in the lively atmosphere.
2. Explore the Qorikancha Temple
Head to Qorikancha, also known as the Temple of the Sun. This ancient Inca temple showcases the remarkable blend of Inca and Spanish architecture, with perfectly crafted stone walls and ornate colonial structures.
3. Discover the San Pedro Market
Wander through the bustling San Pedro Market, where you can find a wide array of local products, from colorful textiles to exotic fruits and delicious street food. It’s an excellent place to experience the vibrant daily life of Cusco.
4. Ascend to Sacsayhuaman
Make your way to the impressive Sacsayhuaman archaeological site, located on a hill overlooking the city. Marvel at the massive stone walls and the panoramic views of Cusco. This site offers a glimpse into the architectural prowess of the Inca civilization.
5. Explore the Inca Museum
Head to the Inca Museum to dive deeper into the history and culture of the region. The museum houses an impressive collection of Inca artifacts, textiles, and archaeological finds.
6. Try Cuy (Guinea Pig)
For an authentic culinary experience, savor a traditional Peruvian dish – roasted guinea pig, known as “cuy.” You can find this delicacy in various restaurants in the city.
7. Wander Through the San Blas Neighborhood
Take a leisurely walk to the charming San Blas neighborhood, known for its artisan workshops and narrow cobblestone streets. It’s a great place to pick up souvenirs and appreciate the local art scene.
8. Visit the Twelve-Angle Stone
See the famous Twelve-Angle Stone located in a narrow alleyway. This intricately carved stone is a testament to the extraordinary masonry skills of the Incas.
9. Admire the Street Art
Cusco is adorned with vibrant street art, which adds a modern touch to its historic surroundings. As you explore the city, keep an eye out for murals and graffiti that tell unique stories.
10. Enjoy the Sunset at Cristo Blanco
End your day with a visit to Cristo Blanco, a white statue of Christ that overlooks Cusco. The panoramic view of the city during sunset is a mesmerizing sight, making it the perfect way to wrap up your day in Cusco.
While one day is not nearly enough to fully appreciate all that Cusco has to offer, this whirlwind tour will give you a taste of the city’s rich culture, history, and natural beauty. Remember to savor the local flavors, chat with friendly locals, and embrace the magic of Cusco during your short but memorable visit.