What to Do In Cusco, Peru (Part 1)

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What to Do in Cusco, Peru. Recommendations of what to see and how much time you should plan to spend in Cusco during your next trip.

Cusco Peru travel with Cusco native and a Peruvian llama.

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to Do in Cusco, Peru

Location: Cusco

Cost: Free to walk around and get acquainted and see the town. If you want to tour the cathedrals buy a pass that will get you into to all of them at any location. Individual cathedrals cost about $4 per person to enter. 

Time: Plan at least 1 hour per cathedral- any time of day is great to visit except Sunday when they closed for worship.

We woke up early in Aguas Calientes after our day in Machu Picchu rested and ready for our next adventure! The train ride from Aguas Calientes to Cusco is absolutely beautiful, and we were ready for the next adventure.

How Much Time to Spend in Cusco Peru

We’d heard mixed things about Cusco. So many people said it’s amazing and they wish they’d had more time there. But also, equal amounts of people told us it’s a touristy city and really not to waste time there. We still opted for a day and a half, and I have to admit at first I wasn’t super excited to go there.
Cusco Peru skyline views.

I mean The Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu are amazing. The idea of leaving the Incan ruins for a city that have Spanish buildings, namely cathedrals, built on top of the Incan ruins sounded like such a turnoff. I honestly felt like I didn’t care to learn the history of how Spain conquered one of the greatest civilizations, and that I’d feel really sad seeing modified ruins.

view of Cusco Peru

Cusco Peru Culture 

Something happened to me in our first cathedral, which happened to be the original Incan temple. As we walked around inside and saw the modern uses and the great faith of the people, it hit me that this is Peru.
They are a people who are proud to be of Incan heritage, they are proud to be Catholic. They are grateful to have learned of Christianity through the Spaniards, and they are deeply entrenched in both cultures and histories. Cusco is amazing because it is the perfect representation of the people.
Cusco Church Bell.
Maybe we had the upper hand speaking Spanish and having a local tour guide walk around, one who serves significantly in his church and in most of the festivals, but I think it just takes a little time and history, and a view of the locals to fall in love with a place.
Cusco Peru Bell Tower.


View of Cusco Peru.
Cathedral Doors, Cusco Peru.
Incan Temple Cusco Peru.

And oh boy did we fall in love with Cusco!

Cathedral in Cusco Peru.
Cusco Peru travel view.

Even with the tourist traps and the fact that most people stopped to ask me to take their picture, I still love Cusco. Jacob couldn’t resist taking at least one picture of me offering my services. I guess a DSLR around your neck lets people know you’re likely capable.

Cusco Peru Tourism information.


Visiting Cusco Peru: views of the Cusco Cathedral.

We loved touring the Cathedral of Santo Domingo. It’s definitely worth the price, and if you don’t have a local who knows all the happenings, be sure to get a tour guide.

Visiting Cusco, Peru Cathedral.
Just don’t tell on us for snapping a picture, we seriously couldn’t resist!
Cathedral of Santo Domingo Interior.


Streets of Cusco Peru.


Visiting Cusco Peru.

As much as I hated the idea of Incan ruins being converted to modern buildings, when I saw it in practice I was in awe, so beautiful!

Incan buildings Cusco Peru .


Architecture in Cusco, Peru

My other favorite thing was the fact that every single building has a cool door. They are either beat up and what most Americans pay big money for in the shabby chic scene, or completely ornate and elaborate. I started taking pictures of us just in front of the doors.

Historic District Cusco Peru.


Incan Buildings in streets of Cusco Peru.

We also got excited to find the famous 12-point stone in the historic part of town.

12 Point Stone in Cusco Peru.


The doors of Cusco Peru.


Cusco Peru walking tour.


Cusco Cathedral Attire.

Seriously, one day of touring three Cathedrals, walking through town, and talking to the locals, and Cusco had a big piece of my heart.

Viewing Cusco Peru at sunset.


Cusco Peru at Dusk.


Cusco Peru Museum tour.


Art of Cusco Peru.


Cusco Peru at Night.


Cusco Peru Fortress at Night.


Plaza de Armas Cusco Peru.


Historic Buildings in Cusco Peru.


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  1. Alicia Snow says:

    That huge blue door is amazing! I love reading all of your Peru posts!

  2. I loved Cusco! My dad was obsessed with Aguas Calientes and said he wanted to move there. Haha…