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Cusco the ancient capital of Incan empire serves as the gateway to Machu Picchu. Nestled at 3,399 metres above the sea level, the city houses many Incan Ruins. Most travellers end up spending more days in Cusco than planned. This mystical city has many things to offer to its visitors. On this half day Cusco City Tour with our local guide, you will discover things that only locals know about.
The city of Cusco saw a rapid development under the leadership of the renowned Incan ruler, Pachacutec . the ninth Sapa of Inca Empire. Almost all Inca Sites of Cusco were built during his reign including Machu Picchu and Choquequirao. You will see his statue in the main square, Plaza De Armas, pointing towards Sacsayhuaman.
The tour will give you a complete overview of the history and inca culture. You will also see a perfect blend of two architectures (Inca and Spanish). This makes Cusco completely different from the rest in Peru. Qorikancha (Temple of the Sun), is a perfect example of this. The Spanish conquistadors demolished this ancient Inca temple and built Santo Domingo Church on its remains.
Cusco half day tour, will also take you to the four renowned Inca ruins on the outskirt of the city. These are Sacsayhuaman Qenqo, Tambomachay and Puka Pukara.
This is one of our signature tours. We have dedicated local guides who are born and raised in Cusco. You can choose to do as a group or private tour. Please let us know your desired option at the time of booking. We recommend doing this tour while you are acclimatising.
Cusco Hotel Transfer
Cusco City Tour starts at Qorikancha. It was one of the most important religious sites of Incas. They covered the walls of the temple with sheets of gold. This ancient temple was built during the reign of Inca Sapa, Pachacutec. The courtyard next to the temple was filled with statues made of Gold.
As the Spanish invaded Peru, they demolished the site and built Santo Domingo Convent. They however used just the base of the Incan construction.
Sacsayhuaman is an emblematic archaeological complex just off the Cusco city. UNESCO recognises Sacsayhuaman as a world heritage site. Sacsayhuaman was built under the leadership of Inca Sapa Pachacutec in the 15th century. It is a massive fortress built using huge stones. Although, it is still a mystery how the Incas transported these massive stone blocks here. It has been calculated that what we see today is only twenty percent of the original structure. When the Spanish arrived they used these stones for constructions.
Q’enqo also spelt as Qenko is an archaeological site. Q’enqo was a site used for sacrifice. Also, it was here they did mummification of corpse.
Tambomachay served as a spa to the political elites of Incas. It houses a series of canals. These canals are fed by water from Timpuc River. Infact, even today you can see the water flowing through these canals.
Puca Pucara is a Quechua term for Red Fort. It served as a watch tower to Incas.
After the Cusco Half Day Tour, we will drive you back to Cusco. We will be dropping you off at Plaza Regocijo, a block away from the main square.
This was the first activity we did in Cusco because it was only a half day and local to the city (we were still acclimatizing to the altitude). Our guide Carlos was amazing! He was incredibly knowledgeable and engaging and took several photos of my husband and I throughout the different places we visited. It was a great mix of archeological sites and churches. The pace was great and though it was only a half day, it had a full day feel with everything packed in. The pick up was smooth and the group size was small. Couldn’t have asked for better!
Sites were very interesting and close by. Seemed to go by very quickly, since we were constantly seeing something new. Very different experience than other day trips from Cusco, which require a lot of driving outside of the city (which are also worthwhile). Many times we hoped on the tour bus for just a few minutes to get to the next site. Very entertaining guide! Highly recommend.
1/2 a day is perfect! Nice way to get used to the altitude while slowly walking through the ruins and learning about the history.
Lots of facts, beautiful views, fresh air. We really enjoyed it!