Cusco or Qosqo in quechua was the capital of the Inca empire called Tawantinsuyo. Cusco, with its special beauty and charm is considered the archeological capital of South America and a cultural legacy of Humanity. Without a doubt, Cusco is the most important tourist destination in Peru because of Machu Picchu. The streets of the city are over flowing with the history of Peru. As you tour Cusco the different stages of history from ancient times until the Conquest of the Incas. Cusco has numerous archeological sites, old majestic cathedrals and numerous museums to explore. There are endless things to do and discover in Cusco.
Cusco is also the cradle of Machu Picchu, a secret and magic citadel and recently named; one of the seven new Wonders of the world, showing the more refined work of Inca genius and wisdom. At last Cusco, in addition to the numerous archeological sites to visit, is one of the most auspicious places to do amazing treks, and discover incredible Andean landscapes and more!
In the afternoon, we will pick you up from your hotel proceeding to visit the Imperial City. It is a living example of the mix of andean and spanish culture. We start the tour at the Convent of Santo Domingo built over the Koricancha, which was the Ancient Inca Palace and the main worship center of the Sun God. You are given plenty of time to enjoy these amazing historical sites. From there we visit the archaeological site of Sacsayhuaman, with its impressive Inca architecture which dominates the city. Finally, we explore the archaeological sites of Q’enqo, Pucapucara and Tambomachay, which are located in the north east section of the city. You’ll return to your hotel in Cusco in the early evening.
The convent was built on the spectacular Coricancha ‘enclosure of gold’. This was the most important temple dedicated to the worship of the Sun and the walls of which were lined with solid sheets of gold. All that remains now is the fine stonework, the conquistadors took the rest and destroyed the temple to build the convent. Coricancha was also an observatory, where priests kept track of major celestial events. Today it houses an impressive collection of canvas paintings from the Escuela Cusqueña of art.
Sacsayhuaman (which means ‘satisfied falcon’) is one of the most impressive sites built by the Incas. It is generally referred to as a fortress; however it is not certain what its main function was in reality. Current research suggests that it was more likely used as a temple, as Inca tombs have been discovered in the area.
The site is a marvellous archeological feat; even now after it was destroyed, one can only imagine its greatness when it stood in its full glory. The stones in the wall are incredible and the largest one weighs 128 tons.
The Incas envisioned Cusco as having a puma shape and Sacsayhuaman was the head. The magnificent zigzag walls are the major attraction. The grounds surrounding Sacsayhuaman are still used today for the colourful festival of Inti Raymi which is held to celebrate the winter’s solstice on the 24th of June.
The site of Q’enqo (meaning ‘maze’ in quechua) contains the most impressive carved rocks in the Cusco area. There are carvings everywhere, although some are very indistinct, such as a llama, a condor and snakes have been identified. There are many zigzag channels on top of the natural rock, probably used for pouring sacrificial chicha (a local liquor made from corn). Below the rock, there are a number of caves and passageways , an altar which was used for the sacrifices of lamas, and mummifications of buried people have been discovered.
Puka Pukara is translated to ‘the red fortress’ in quechua. This is a small site and although the name suggests that it was a fortress, it does not appear to have had any defensive purpose. Probably it was used as an administrative center. The interesting point is the way the Incas built the walls over the rocks.
The name means “place of rest” in quechua. It used to be the royal hacienda of the Inca Yupanqui when he went to hunt in the surrounding area. This site was also thought to have been used as a Temple to the Water. There are some interesting aquaducts, canals and cascades sculpted out of stone, designed to channel water flowing from a nearby stream.
Please Note: The Cusco city Tour and price is only for our clients who have booked any 2, 3, 4, 5 days or more tour or trek with SAM Travel.
SAM (initials of Saul Alvarez Montalvo) Travel Peru is a family owned travel agency and direct local tour operator based in Cusco with personal experience over many years of trekking. SAM Travel Peru is a 1oo% Cusquenian Company without any shareholders.
My dream as the owner was to create small personalized tours & treks strictly and only operated by local professional staff catering in PERSONALIZED and HIGH QUALITY SERVICE.
We take pride in having a reputation as being a RESPONSIBLE & SUSTAINABLE tour operator. My staff are my extended family. I ensure they are supported financially by paying them a good wage. I am proud of my team without them I couldn’t give the best service and lifetime experiences to our clients.
In an effort to provide a more personalised service to our passengers, we, in SAM Travel Peru have a policy to keep our groups small. With private tours we do 1 to 6 person and a larger group of 7 to 12 if requested. By keeping our groups small, this sets us apart from other companies that operate departures with much larger groups.
I am very proud of my guides! Highly professional, speaking fluent English, very knowledgeable, passionate for the Inca heritage/ history, dedicated to a steady personal development, learning to ensure that you receive accurate and recognised theories about the Inca Andean culture. Fun loving, great sportsmen and well educated crew as well as having a degree in Archaeology, Botany, History or Anthropology. Some of them are great entertainers and the best “Salsa Dancers” on this side of Machu Picchu.
SAM Travel Peru has always believed that we should “give back” to the communities we pass through when on our treks. Therefore, as part of our commitment to responsible tourism, we always do many social projects and hire locally.
Have a look our recent social work: “We, (the students from Patachancha Community) got to go to Machu Picchu for the first time”
SAM Travel Peru is so proud to be able to support these beautiful people, not only employing them work but also to keep things at grassroots, to share in their homes and with their families. This makes us happy to have this holistic approach with our highland employees and their families!
A beautiful reflection of our attitude in everything we do, is making life richer and more meaningful for all involved.
The partial ticket, or 1 Day ticketcosts70 soles (US $22) and is valid for 1 day. You can visit a many sites as you like in one day with no further charge. There are no discounts with this ticket.
Both tourist tickets, of 1 day or 10 day, allows the access to different archeological sites around Cusco, and Sacred Valley. This is the best way to visit all the archeological sites of the region and the Sacred Valley. Most of the main archeological sites are not accessible for free.
The general ticket allows you over the next 10 days to enter16 archeological and cultural sites in Cusco, the south valley and the Sacred Valley. The price of this ticket is 130 soles (about US $40) and is valid for 10 days. This is the cheapest and most convenient way to plan to see different sites in a few days. The cost for students under 25 (with the presentation of a valid ISIC card) and for teenagers under 18 (with the presentation of an identity card) is 70 soles (US $20). Children under 11 are free.
Here is a list of sites where you can use your Boleto Touristico:
Note : The entrance ticket to the main archeological sites like Sacsaywaman, Pisac, Ollantaytambo,Chinchero,Tipón and Moray cannot be sold individually; you must buy the Boleto turístico to visit them. You can get it in Avenida el Sol nearby Peru office or at the time you enter the first site that you are visiting. YOU MUST PAY IN SOLES, NO CREDIT CARD OR US DOLLARS ARE ACCEPTED.
Important: These entrances are not included in the Boleto Touristico.