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First Impressions of Cusco City

Most people come to Cusco, Peru to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, but exploring the city itself is an equally exciting experience.

Once a stunning Inca capital, Cusco today offers one of the finest mixes of pre-Columbian, colonial and modern mestizo culture of any South American city. Cusco is often referred to as the archeological capital of South America. Many original Inca walls still stand, while the Spanish buildings constructed on top of them crumble, serving as a tribute to the ancient Incan engineering capabilities. Today, the colonial history of the city is not completely untouched, but the central historical area has not undergone an overwhelming number of alterations despite the high concentration of stores, hotels, restaurants, tour operators and other tourist-driven enterprises. A quick walk through the city allows visitors to see the influence of different periods of its history without embellishment. Inca ruins, such as the Temple of the Sun, contrast with Spanish churches and mansions, illustrating Cusco’s various phases of development.

Cusco’s unique mix of the Amerindian and mestizo cultures has been sustained despite the massive influx of tourism. The best example is probably Inti Raymi, an Inca tradition that celebrates the winter solstice and the beginning of the new, according to the ancient Inca sundial. Locals and tourists alike are welcome to participate in the day-long event which symbolizes how Cusco has joined its indigenous history with its recent tourist boom.

When coming to Cusco, Cusi Travel is glad to offer you a variety of personalized tours and hikes so that you can make the most of your time here! For more information, please see our tours listed, and also you may email us at info@cusitravel.com. We hope to see you soon in Cusco!

By Judy Delorme