Cusco City Tour half Day
Description of the excursion.
Be inspired as you walk through the ancestral streets and plazas of Cusco! You can walk through each era of history in this regal city; it is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the Americas! We can trace time from Native Americans to Incans to Spaniards and now to modern-day citizens of Cusco. Besides its historical importance, Cusco is an absolutely breath-taking city with a living culture and a cuisine highly-acclaimed on the world stage!.
For your first day in this majestic city, we recommend visiting all nearby archaeological sites and admiring the surrounding landscape. As a city, Cusco maintains its customs and traditions along with the mysteries and tales about a legendary past.
Departure : Every day, including holidays.
Start : 13:30 hrs. – Cusco city
End : 18:30 hrs. – Cusco city
Included : Transport and guide in one language (Spanish or English)
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 incredible 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 northeast section of the city. You will return to your hotel in Cusco in the early evening.
Places that will be visited:
Cathedral of Cusco.
Located in Cusco´s Main Square, the cathedral is a colonial monument of great artistic value. It was built on top of the Wiracocha Inca Palace and houses works of carved wood such as the choir, pulpit and altars, beautiful paintings from the Cusquenian School of Art (including a Last Supper painting in which Christ and His disciples eat cuy – guinea pig!) and works of embossed silver. This cathedral flanks the grandiose Plaza de Armas – the historical and cultural heart of Cusco.
Sun Temple or Qoriqancha.
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.
Archaeological complex of Sacsayhuamán.
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 marvelous 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 means ‘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 aqueducts, canals and cascades sculpted out of stone, designed to channel water flowing from a nearby stream.
What is Included:
Pick up at your hotel.
Professional English & Spanish speaking guide
Private transportation to visit all Inca places
Entrance to Archeological sites: Purchase the Boleto Turistico (tourist ticket) of 70 soles (about US$22), at the first site you enter. This can be used for 1 day to visit archeological sites in the Cusco region. (See important info, for other options)
Entrance of Qoricancha ( 10 Soles per person).
We recommand to bring:
Bring sun hats, sun glasses and sun block in case of sunny conditions.
Bring a waterproof jacket or rain poncho during rainy season.
snacks and water
Extra money to buy souvenirs, drinks.