Thinking of visiting Peru? Eager to visit Machu Picchu? More and more visitors are drawn each year to visit Peru and everything it has to offer. There are several popular destinations in Peru, such as Trujillo in the north, Arequipa and Lake Titicaca in the south, and the Amazon Rainforest in the east, but the Inca heartland — Cusco, the Sacred Valley, and Machu Picchu — are by far the most visited travel destination in Peru. Many visitors to Peru book Cusco Peru Tours and focus their Peru vacation in this region, which was once the capital of the Inca Empire. Learn about what kind of Cusco Peru Tours to book for your vacation to Peru.
According to Cusco’s Foreign Trade and Tourism, Cusco is expected to see 20% growth in tourism in 2012. Cuzco, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has become the gateway that every traveler to Machu Picchu must go through. A typical vacation to Machu Picchu will include an international flight to Lima, then a short flight to Cusco (it takes about 1 hour and 25 minutes), and then a train ride through the Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu. Trekkers on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu must also begin their journey in Cusco.
At 3,400 m (11,200 ft.) above sea level, Cusco is situated high in the Peruvian Andes. It is highly advisable to take it easy when first arriving in Cuzco in order to get used to the altitude. On your first day in Cusco, don’t plan on doing any rigorous walking or book any Cusco Peru tours. You may want to purchase some altitude-sickness medicine, or drink coca tea. Avoid alcohol, and drink plenty of water.
In Cusco, it is a common site to see men, women, and children dressed in traditional Andean-style clothing, wearing brightly colored hats and sweaters, and carrying children in ponchos around their necks. Each year, the Inti Raymi festival and many other religious processions and celebrations are held, in honor of the religious and cultural heritage of the present-day people of Cusco.
It is easy to spend a week in Cuzco and its surrounding areas, if you have the time. One of the Cuzco Peru Tours not to be missed is a tour of the city as well as the surrounding ruins. You’ll see Korikancha, the ancient Temple of the Sun where the Spanish built the Convent of Santo Domingo, as well as the Cathedral, situated on the Main Square of Cuzco. Every where you look, you’ll see the mingling of ancient Inca architecture and stonework with Spanish colonial architecture as well as modern decor and rennovations. The tour continues to the fortress Sacsayhuaman, as well as Q’enqo, Puca Pucara and Tambomachay, the Bath of the Inca.
Another very popular Cusco Peru tour is to Urubamba Valley, or better known as the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Known for having an excellent climate and fertile lands, the landscape is stunning! During an excursion to the Sacred Valley, visit the archaeological site of Pisac, located high up on a mountain side. Pisac is also knows for its famous indigenous market, with its colorful variety of handicraft and agricultural products. Ollantaytambo impresses with its imposing ruins located on the hillside that overlooks the town. Ollantaytambo is the only town that has been in continuous existence since the time of the Incas, and offers spectacular views of the Urubamba valley.
Active visitors can choose from a variety of activities such as horseback riding, mountain biking, trekking or rafting while in Cuzco. While many visitors choose to visit Machu Picchu by taking a train from Cuzco, many also opt to hike the world-famous Inca Trail which starts in Cuzco! The traditional Inca Trail Hike takes 4 Days/3 Nights, while there is also a “light” version which takes 2 Days/1 Night.
A special treat while in Cuzco is a visit to the Choco Museum. Visitors will have the opportunity to learn the secrets of chocolate, its production process and the history of cacao. The visit will end with you preparing your very own chocolate bar with your selection of ingredients – almonds, nuts, coffee beans, or whatever you desire!
Cuzco Peru Tours have something to offer to everyone. Whether you are visiting for the very first time or have visited Cuzco many times, the city does not disappoint. You will discover and rediscover that it has really earned the title of being the most visited destination in Peru.
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