Once the capital of the Incan Empire, Cusco is most famous as the jumping off point for treks along the Inca Trail to Macchu Picchu. But Cusco has so much more to offer than that. It's a beautiful city perched high in the Andes. Once you've acclimatised to its dizzying altitude, you can discover the beautiful side streets of San Blas, explore the surrounding Incan ruins on horseback, and pick up hand woven artisinal garms made from alpaca wool at the local market. Not to mention the plethora of rafting, mountain biking, and trekking opportunities in the region!
The wonder that put Cusco on the map, Machu Picchu is what brings most to this part of the world. An engineering miracle perched high out of sight from reality, the city is synonymous with the Incas. A tourist trap? Sure. But one that absolutely lives up to the hype!
These mountains are the newest additions to Perus tourist trail. They're a result of geological forces inflicted on the region when it was covered in ice.
Before 2014 almost nobody visited the mountains due to their inaccessibility. The only way to reach them was via the 5 day Ausangate Trek. Now they're reachable via a 3.5 hour drive from Cusco, followed by a 2 hour hike, which is still extremely strenuous due to the 5,200m altitude. That's only 189m lower than Everest basecamp!
The Inca Empire was the largest ever in the Western Hemisphere and in it's heyday had a population of over 10 million people, which was a lot back in the 1400s!
Cusco was the capital of the Empire and still oozes Inca, from the rainbow flag, to the colourful clothing, and on to the ruins that can be found on the outskirts of the city and beyond.
6 hours by bus from Cusco you'll find Lake Titicaca straddling the Peru - Bolivia border. It's one of the largest lakes in Latin America and is the highest navigable body of water in the world. It's famous for being the birthplace of the sun in Andean folklore and having floating islands. The whole area is a picture of peace and well worth exploring for a couple of days.
Cusqueñans are known for their handwoven textiles and colourful designs, which are some of the finest textiles in South America. Alpaca wool is famous the world over, and there are hundreds of small artisanal shops on every street selling ponchos, sweaters, hats, and a plethora of other items made using it. You'll be able to pick up Alpaca wool garments at a fraction of the price you'd find back home.
Early Fall: September 10th - October 22nd
Late Fall: October 27th - December 8th