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15 Best Day Trips from Cusco

The former capital of the mighty Inca Empire, Peru’s city of Cusco is a fabulous base from which to explore fascinating archeological and historical sites, as well as enjoy time in nature.

The UNESCO World Heritage City boasts striking colonial-era architecture, including stunning churches and squares, and it’s common to see the indigenous residents strolling through the streets clad in traditional attire.

A major tourist destination, Cusco has plenty of accommodations to suit varying budgets, restaurants serving traditional cuisine and global favorites, and lively bars to kick back in after dark.

Although the city has much to be proud of, many of the area’s delights can be found beyond the city limits.

Here are some of the best day trips to take from Cusco for a fabulous Peruvian adventure to remember.

1. Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu, Peru

Perhaps Peru’s ultimate destination, a visit to the Lost City of the Incas is a must when exploring the South American nation.

While many people opt to arrive at the mystical site after a multi-day hike along the Inca Trail, a day trip from Cusco is ideal if time is limited or you just don’t want to include hiking in your holiday.

Make your way to Aguas Calientes, the main gateway to the incredible Incan site, before marveling at the expansive ruins and sweeping vistas.

Thought to have been built in the mid-1400s, Machu Picchu is today a UNESCO World Heritage Site and commonly said to be one of the world’s new seven wonders.

Walk along the terraces, peering into reconstructed buildings and captivating nooks; admire the Temple of the Sun and the Temple of the Three Windows; ponder whether the Temple of the Condor was originally used as a torture chamber; and see the Intihuatana stone – an ancient sundial.

You can also walk up to the Sun Gate for terrific views across the ruins.

Recommended tour : Day Trip to Machu Picchu by Train from Cusco

2. Sacsayhuaman

Sacsayhuaman, Peru

Sacsayhuaman is another impressive Incan legacy close to Cusco.

Steeped in history, it is believed that the site was first developed before the arrival of the Incas in the 1100’s and then later expanded and fortified during the Inca Empire.

The UNESCO-listed treasure is perched high on a hilltop, providing great views over the surroundings.

See the sacred spring at Tambomachay and explore the stone labyrinth of Qenqo, both close to Sacsayhuaman archaeological site, before strolling through ancient temple remains, old storage areas, and the ruins of homes.

Suggested tour : Archaeological Park of Sacsayhuaman

3. Huchuy Qosqo

Huchuy Qosqo

Spend a day hiking to the well-preserved Huchuy Qosqo (Little Cusco) to enjoy historic sites, nature, views, and interactions with locals.

Leading through several passes, there are plenty of breathtaking vistas throughout the valley to admire.

The scenic Queullacocha Lake and the grasslands offer even more natural beauty, and there are many species of bird to spot.

The archaeological site of Huchuy Qosqo is thought to date back to the 1420’s, though evidence suggests that the area was inhabited for a long time prior to the development of the remains you see today.

There’s a mixture of stone and adobe structures, with impressive terraces, reconstructed storage buildings, a long great hall, religious buildings, a stretching irrigation channel, and more.

4. Rainbow Mountain

Vinicunca, Cusco, Peru

One of the most unique natural marvels in the wider Cusco area, Rainbow Mountain is truly a sight for sore eyes.

Known locally as Vinicunca, locals revere the mountain, seeing it as sacred.

Spiritual rituals and worship have taken place here since before the Incan era, and people still come to the striking mountain to pray, give thanks, and leave offerings.

Colorful layers, formed by mineral deposits, make for an unusual sight, with hues of red, brown, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.

Soak up the splendid views of the nearby snow-capped peaks, the Ausangate Glacier, and the verdant valley too.

The drive from Cusco to the trailhead takes around three hours, followed by a challenging trek.

Available tour : Rainbow Mountain Trek from Cusco

5. Humantay Lake

Humantay Lake, Peru

A spectacular vision in the Peruvian Andes, a trip to Humantay Lake is not one that you will easily forget.

Formed when glaciers melted many centuries ago, the sparkling, calm, turquoise waters reflect the surrounding snow-capped mountaintops like a mirror.

Look for small, precariously balancing stone towers constructed around the lake to worship the Incan earth god.

You’re also likely to spot an array of interesting flora and fauna.

Horse riding is available around the lake or you can enjoy splendid hiking.

It’s a fabulous destination for fans of photography and the great outdoors.

Amazing tour : From Cusco: Humantay Lake 1-Day Trek

Chonta Canyon

Chonta is a small Andean community to the west of Cusco.

As well as being able to see how local people live in the village and admiring stunning views that encompass Salkantay Mountain, spotting wildlife is a highlight of this trip.

Look out for Andean foxes, deer, cougars, and majestic birds of prey such as hawks and eagles.

Seeing the mighty condor – the world’s largest bird of prey – soaring through the skies is nothing short of remarkable.

Make sure to have your camera at the ready.

7. Southern Valley

San Pedro Apóstol de Andahuaylillas Church

Cusco’s Southern Valley is a mysterious and intriguing place, brimming with ancient Incan (and pre-Incan) ruins, legends of old, and nature.

A major place of interest in the scenic valley is San Pedro Apóstol de Andahuaylillas Church, its simple white-washed façade belying the Baroque beauty that lies inside; the exquisitely painted ceilings, sparkling golden altar, and stunning frescoes have earned the church the nickname of the Sistine Chapel of the Andes.

The gorgeous church combines indigenous, Spanish, and Moorish designs.

The pre-Incan citadel of Piqillacta is another fascinating site, as is the Temple of Timpon with its elaborate irrigation system that was incredibly advanced for its time.

Add a thrill to your day with a rafting adventure along the raging rivers.

8. Anta Valley

Anta Valley, Peru

The attractive Anta Valley can be found just 45 minutes from the heart of Cusco.

There are pretty villages, such as Zurite and Ancachuro, throughout the valley, and you’ll be able to explore huge terraces used for farming and the sacred Incan ruins of Quillarumiyoq.

An ATV adventure through the scenic terrain offers an exhilarating way to sightsee and have fun while admiring the natural beauty all around.

Discover lands that were socially important to the Incas and breathe in the history and fresh air.

9. Salumpunko

Temple of the Moon, Cusco

Situated just on the outskirts of Cusco, Salumpunko (also known as the Temple of the Moon) is easy to reach on a day trip.

Despite its proximity, the Incan site sees fewer visitors than other more well-known sites in the area.

This means that those who do take a trip here can escape the crowds and enjoy the site in relative tranquility, adding another dimension to fascinating explorations.

You can really feel as though you’ve stepped a little away from the beaten track as you wonder at the atmospheric ruins and splendid views.

Two caves lead into the hillside, each with interesting carvings and ritualistic altars.

Cracks in the walls allow the moonlight to hit the altars when the conditions are right, and the overall aura is one of suspense, intrigue, and secrets from the past.

Horse riding is possible in the surroundings for a varied day out.

10. Sacred Valley

Sacred Valley, Cusco

The Sacred Valley is a popular destination in Peru’s Cusco area, and a day trip is sure to be filled with many magical moments.

There are numerous monuments to admire and you’ll pass through a number of towns and villages, each with their own unique flavor.

The verdant Urubamba Valley is given life by the gushing Urubamba River, home to native wildlife.

Another highlight of the valley is Pisac with its bustling traditional market.

Browse an array of handicrafts and souvenirs and have light-hearted fun as you barter with vendors to secure the fairest prices for all.

Various activities are available in the locale, including rafting, hiking, exciting quad biking, and thrilling zip line adventures.

Recommended tour : From Cusco: Sacred Valley and Moray Ruins by Quad Bike

Salt Mine, Maras, Peru

The town of Maras lies around 26 miles outside of Cusco, within the wider Sacred Valley area.

There’s a Catholic church – El Templo Mayor San Francisco de Asis – a local market, and a handful of eateries where you can savor traditional Peruvian cuisine.

The town’s real gem, however, are the stunning salt pools.

Arranged in geometric formations that are terraced down the slopes of a yawning canyon, a stream flows through the shallow pools, evaporating to leave salty deposits behind that sparkle in the sunshine.

The area provided Incans with salt, and still provides locals with the mineral today; harvesting processes are almost exactly the same as they were in times gone by, and you may see local families scraping the ground to gather the salt for sale.

Combo tour : Maras and Moray 6-Hour Tour from Cusco

12. Moray Archaeological Site

Moray Archaeological Site

Situated close to Maras, the archaeological site of Moray sits on a soaring plateau above the town.

The ruins here are rather unlike those found elsewhere in the area, with circular-shaped indentations on the terraces.

Some holes are very deep, reaching down into the earth for up to almost 100 feet.

A mystery remains as to why these holes were created and several theories have been put forward.

The site has irrigation channels and – although the people of today are often baffled by the unique site – it was clearly important for the Incans.

Pisac, Peru

Located in the Sacred Valley, the town of Pisac is worthy of a trip in its own right.

Boasting one of the area’s most vibrant markets, you’ll find fresh produce, household essentials, handicrafts, clothes, souvenirs, and more.

The colonial village sits beneath a hilltop Incan fortress, with an ancient sundial, temple remains, plazas, foundations, and terraces.

There are several places where old and young alike can delight in getting up close and personal with alpacas and other creatures.

Examples include Awana Kancha and the Living Museum of the Andes.

From hiking past pristine mountain lakes to relaxing yoga workshops, there are many activities to try too.

14. Chinchero

Chinchero

Chinchero is a picture-perfect Andean village.

Surrounded by towering mountains, a visit offers insights into rural Peruvian life.

Take a stroll through the local market to view a terrific selection of locally-made handicrafts; woven items are especially abundant.

Visit the Interpretation Center of Andean Textiles to learn more about the weaving processes and its importance here in Chinchero, the heart of the Peruvian weaving industry.

There’s a charming church next to the main square, with a blend of colonial and native designs.

Constructed by the Spanish, the religious building sits on the site of a much older Incan palace.

The village is thought to have once served as a country retreat for Incan rulers, and ruins include stone walls, agricultural terraces, aqueducts, and an ornate stone throne.

Lares Hot Springs

Around a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Cusco, Lares is an ideal place to rest, recharge, and re-energize after long days of hiking and exploring Cusco and its surroundings.

Visitors can soothe their mind, body, and soul with a blissful soak in an ancient natural thermal spa built by the Incans.

The mineral-rich waters aid with a number of conditions, the ambiance is serene, and the views are spectacular.

There are many peaks close to hand too if you fancy even more trekking.

15 Best Day Trips from Cusco:

  • Machu Picchu
  • Sacsayhuaman
  • Huchuy Qosqo
  • Rainbow Mountain
  • Humantay Lake
  • Southern Valley
  • Anta Valley
  • Sacred Valley
  • Moray Archaeological Site
  • Traveler Blogs
  • Social Projects
  • Inca Trail Availability

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Cusco Day Trips Single-Day Tours From Cusco

There are so many iconic must-sees and hidden gems around Cusco that are well worth a trip. If you don’t have multiple days to take in the history and culture of the Incas, we offer full-day and half-day tours from Cusco that cover important cultural sites, historic buildings, and stunning views near Cusco. See the over 3,000 salt pools on the Maras Moray tour, the vivid and sparkling blue hues of the Blue Lagoon on our full-day Humantay Lake Hike, or several historical sights and ruins right in the city on our Cusco City Tour.

There are so many ways to fill your day in and around Cusco – let us take you to the most memorable spots.

Why Choose a Peru Day Tour with Alpaca Expeditions

Learn about the history and culture of cusco, peru.

There is much to learn and experience in Cusco and the surrounding areas. You can better understand the industries that power our economy, the stories of the Incas, and the natural beauty at your fingertips in this stunning area of Peru.

It’s a Great Way To Acclimate to the Altitude

If you plan a trek to Machu Picchu or other high-altitude hikes, we highly recommend spending a few days in Cusco to acclimate to the altitude. Spending 2-3 days exploring Cusco before your trip can prepare your body for your trek and save you from exhaustion, migraines, flu symptoms, and fatigue of altitude sickness. A day tour is the perfect way to fill your days as you prepare for your trek!

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We are a local, indigenous, and sustainable company – 100% Peruvian and the leader in supporting our local communities through social projects and porter welfare.

Humantay Lake Blue Lagoon - Full Day Hike via Salkantay Trail Trek | Alpaca Expeditions

Day Tour Availability

All day trips are available for daily tour departures March – January. Optimal tour season is April – October. No special permits are needed, unlike the Classic Inca Trail.

Explore All Peru Day Trip Options

We offer half-day and full-day tours from Cusco to cultural sites and natural beauty in and around Cusco city. If you have a single day to fill in Cusco, this is the best way to make the most of your experience in our beautiful city! See all of our Cusco day trip options here.

Humantay Lake Blue Lagoon - Full Day Hike via Salkantay Trail Trek | Alpaca Expeditions

Humantay Blue Lagoon Day Hike

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Rainbow Mountain Tour & Red Valley Hike 1-Day Trip

7 Lakes Trek in Ausangate Full-Day Trip

7 Lakes Trek in Ausangate Full-Day Trip

Qoricancha, Cusco City Tour – Half Day

Cusco City Tour – Half Day

Maras Moray Half Day | Alpaca Expeditions

Maras Moray – Half Day

Sacred Valley Tour Full Day

Sacred Valley – Full Day

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Hotel to Hotel service

Regarding the transportation provided by Alpaca Expeditions, we are committed to delivering a quality service. We strive to ensure that passengers feel supported throughout their journey. To achieve this, we coordinate closely with our guides and representatives to ensure timely pick-up at the start of their tours. Additionally, we have representatives responsible for escorting our passengers to their hotels at the conclusion of any tour.

hotel to hotel service

Our drivers are not only trained in customer service but also come properly uniformed, and many are fluent in English.

Typically, all transportation types are included in each of our services. For instance, if you have booked a trekking tour, we will pick you up early, typically between 4 AM and 5 AM. When visiting Cusco, it's important to note that traffic here is generally moderate. However, there are peak traffic times, such as between 7 AM and 8 AM, which coincide with school hours, and in the evening between 6:00 PM and 8:00 PM. Therefore, if you have a flight during these times, it's crucial to be at the airport at least 2 hours in advance. The drivers of Alpaca Expeditions ensure their vehicles are prepared with all necessities before each service. They are acutely aware that delays can lead to missed trains, flights, or other connections. Consequently, they are always more than punctual, arriving at least 10 minutes before the scheduled time for any service, understanding the responsibility they carry in executing these tasks.

Personal Porter of 7KG

Remember that Alpaca Expeditions offers an extra 7 kg allowance for your personal belongings on any of our tours. We include a personal porter who is responsible for carrying your duffel bag without any additional fee. You will not have access to your duffel bag until you reach your evening campsite. The bag should not exceed 7 kg, which includes 4 kg for clothes and 3 kg for your sleeping bag and sleeping mat.

personal porter

Each Alpaca Expeditions porter is paid directly after each trek, allowing them to return home more quickly. They receive better wages than our competitors, health insurance, and all their equipment free of charge, including hiking boots, pants, jerseys, fleeces, jackets, hats, flashlights, sleeping bags, and high-quality food. We ensure each of our porters has a comfortable bed in a pleasant room to sleep in before and after each trek. We also visit the communities they live in, providing toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, and other necessary supplies to their families, along with books for their children.

This is just the beginning for us, and we are always looking for ways to do more. While the government allows each porter to carry up to 25 kg, we limit this to 20 kg to prioritize their health and safety. Each porter carries up to 15 kg of company equipment and 5 kg of personal items. This is why it is crucial to keep your personal duffel bag weight under our 7 kg limit. You might see other companies allowing their porters to carry more than the allotted weight, but at Alpaca Expeditions, we strictly adhere to these limits to ensure our porters' well-being.

Clases de Cocina

Alpaca Expeditions offers its passengers the chance to experience local cooking. We aim to immerse trekkers in Inca life by walking them through the original Inca paths and teaching them about Inca culture. Food is a significant part of Inca life, making it a special element in any tour or trek with Alpaca Expeditions.

cooking classes

In 2022, Alpaca Expeditions introduced a cooking class as part of each of our treks, conducted by our amazing trekking chefs and interpreted by our guides.

We will transform your dining tent into a makeshift kitchen, providing all the necessary supplies to prepare a Peruvian specialty. Your chef will guide you step by step through the process of making a traditional Peruvian meal, such as Lomo Saltado, and share some essential mountain cooking tips.

Peru is recognized as a top culinary destination, largely thanks to the popularity of our renowned beef dish, Lomo Saltado. This is most often the meal you will learn to cook, but there is also the opportunity to learn how to prepare other dishes like traditional Peruvian ceviche or even our signature drink, the pisco sour.

Cooking Class on the Inca Trail: These classes are voluntary and designed to be a fun, educational experience. Our clients consistently marvel at the amazing ability of our chefs to create culinary magic on a mountaintop. As you learn to prepare and cook Peruvian specialties, you will also see firsthand how such elaborate meals can be created on a small campsite stove.

Enjoy a cooking class in the mountains and be sure to take plenty of photos, just in case your friends won't believe your incredible experience.

Satellite Phones

The best way to hike in the mountains of Peru is to completely disconnect from technology, especially the internet and cell phones. The most impressive and exciting aspect is the opportunity to experience the true and wonderful nature that we often miss when we are at home, watching TV or absorbed in our cell phones during our leisure time. The feeling of being disconnected from work and the daily routine left at home is incredible.

satellite phones

However, this remoteness means limited access to emergency resources. That's why Alpaca Expeditions has invested in satellite phones for every trek.

We are prepared to assist you in case of any emergency, particularly health-related issues. For this reason, Alpaca Expeditions has invested in satellite phones, as they are one of the most crucial tools for any operator trekking in remote areas where telephone or television signals are absent. This means that every guide on our treks will be equipped with a fully charged satellite phone as well as radios. While these are primarily for emergencies, we allow our clients to use them at any time.

We ask that you cover the cost, which is $2.50 per minute. This fee can be paid in cash at our office or via PayPal once you have completed the trek.

Being just a phone call away from any doctor, hospital, or friend helps everyone feel assured of their safety. Radios, which all our guides carry, have limited reach, so Alpaca Expeditions includes satellite phones to ensure that we can connect no matter where we are on the mountain.

Portable private toilet

We understand that our clients will need restroom facilities at various times and locations during their journey. Along the Inca Trail, there are restrooms available, particularly those belonging to the communities near the trail. Alpaca Expeditions provides portable toilets to enhance this service, which will be set up at each meal site or campsite.

toilet tent

As with any mountain trip where we are exposed to nature, it is possible to use natural areas as restrooms. However, it is crucial to be mindful of the waste we generate, such as toilet paper or wet wipes used for cleaning. These should be carried with us and not discarded on the ground or left along the trail. Remember, the Inca Trail is a protected area overseen by a government institution. In places where garbage bins are unavailable, particularly at our camps, we provide special plastic bags for waste. Our porter team will be responsible for carrying out our waste.

Please be aware that although there are designated bathrooms for men and women, in practice, both genders often use the same facilities. Functionally, there is no significant difference between men's and women's bathrooms. Therefore, it is common for people of all genders to use whichever bathroom is available.

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Cusco Day Trips

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Day Trips from Cusco – Are you ready to discover the wonders of Cusco, Peru’s historical jewel nestled among the majestic Andes Mountains? Look no further, we present you with the best selection of day tours in Cusco. Our expertly crafted itineraries are designed to immerse you in Cusco’s rich history, you will explore from its ancient Inca ruins to its bustling markets and colonial architecture.

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Day Trips from Cusco

Cusco itself is a charming city with many historical monuments that remind us that the city was once the capital of the mighty Inca Empire. Discover more about Cusco by taking one of our tours on a day tour from Cusco with a local guide. To see more options of Cusco day tours scroll down.

Best Private Cusco Walking Tour (Half Day) A Journey Through History on Foot

Best Private Cusco Walking Tour (Half Day) A Journey Through History on Foot

Cusco Private Tours & Custom Tours Perú By Local Tour Guides

Cusco Private Tours & Custom Tours Perú By Local Tour Guides

Rainbow Mountain Private Tour from Cusco – Perú | Personalized Excursion

Rainbow Mountain Private Tour from Cusco – Perú | Personalized Excursion

Humantay Lake Private Tour –  The Ultimate Adventure from Cusco, Peru

Humantay Lake Private Tour – The Ultimate Adventure from Cusco, Peru

Private Sacred Valley Tour from Cusco in Perú – Customize Your Trip with Local Experts

Private Sacred Valley Tour from Cusco in Perú – Customize Your Trip with Local Experts

Sacsayhuaman + Sacred Valley & Machupicchu Tour 2 Days

Sacsayhuaman + Sacred Valley & Machupicchu Tour 2 Days

Cusco Half Day Tour – Make The Most of Your Time (W/Lunch Included)

Cusco Half Day Tour – Make The Most of Your Time (W/Lunch Included)

Maras Salt Mines and Moray Half-Day Tour from Cusco: Discover the Enigmatic Maras Moray

Maras Salt Mines and Moray Half-Day Tour from Cusco: Discover the Enigmatic Maras Moray

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Discover The Best Tours in Cusco, Peru

Embark on an unforgettable journey through Cusco’s historic past with our best day tours. Delve into the mysteries of Machu Picchu, marvel at the engineering wonders of Ollantaytambo and tour the sacred sites of the Sacred Valley. Whether you are an adventure enthusiast, a history buff or a cultural connoisseur, our diverse range of excursions is tailored to the interests and preferences of every traveler.

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Explore the Best Tours in Cusco, Peru

Cusco

Nestled high in the Peruvian Andes, the city of Cusco is a testament to the rich cultural heritage and fascinating history of the Inca civilization. At the heart of the city is the Plaza de Armas, a bustling plaza surrounded by colonial buildings, churches and the imposing Cathedral of Cusco. From here, narrow cobblestone streets wind through the historic center, leading to hidden courtyards, colorful markets and artisan workshops where traditional crafts are still practiced today.

Cusco is also famous for its archaeological wonders, such as the iconic ruins of Sacsayhuaman, Qenko and Tambomachay, located on the surrounding hillsides. But Cusco is more than just a living museum: it is a vibrant, dynamic city that pulses with energy day and night. Visitors can dive into the local culture by sampling traditional Peruvian dishes in bustling markets, participating in colorful festivals and parades, or simply soaking in the breathtaking panoramic views of the city and surrounding mountains from one of its many lookout points. Either exploring its ancient ruins, savoring its culinary delights or simply strolling through its charming streets, Cusco captivates the hearts and imaginations of everyone visiting it, offering a truly unforgettable experience in the heart of the Andes.

Best Day Trips From Cusco, Perú

One of the major attractions of the Cusco region is the mind-blowing Inca ruins in the area. Machu Picchu is obviously the best known. However, there are a dozen other sites within the city of Cusco itself. You should consider putting it on your list of things to do in Cusco. At Come See Peru we organize your itinerary according to your desire in interest. All of our Cusco 1 day tours start and end at your hotel.

You can plan a full-day trip from Cusco. Our local guides take you off the beaten tourist path and onto alternative Inca trails to amazing destinations. Our Come See Peru team in Cusco will make your experience unique and memorable from start to finish.

Personalized travel to Cusco is not defined by how expensive it may cost you. However, it is about helping you live the experience you want and taking care of all the logistics. You only have to worry about enjoying your trip to Cusco Peru to the fullest. This may mean staying in a 5-star hotel, or in a 3-star hotel. At Come See Peru, we focus more on making you feel the experience that you came looking for. We help you find it and change your life. We create trips and experiences that will make you change the perspective of your life. All this is possible with a local guide who will make you live all the above mentioned.

Cusco

What to See in Day Trips from Cusco?

If you are wondering what places you will visit in our 1-day tours in Cusco this 2022? This video will show you the places you must visit. Such as Rainbow Mountains, the beautiful Humantay Lagoon, the Sacred Valley of the Incas and much more!

Those who spend some time in this vibrant city may find that the archaeological sites, museums, markets, viewpoints, etc., can be difficult to choose from. For this reason, if you scroll up, you will find our 1-day tours from Cusco. These are chosen by our local experts. If you are looking for a place that is not on our list, we can integrate it into your itinerary. Let us help you and make your trip a trip of a lifetime.

Travel to Change the World

At Come See Peru we believe that travelling with a purpose, rather than wandering aimlessly, is truly the best way to travel. Adding meaning can make any trip infinitely. It can be more rewarding and satisfying. You may even turn a simple “vacation” into a truly life-changing experience.

Travel to change the world!

Did you know that travel has the ability to change the world? Whether you consciously choose to be part of the process or not, just imagine how rewarding your travels can be. Especially, when you actively choose to change the world.

Travel destroys racism

Did you know that travel destroys racism? It is difficult to adapt suddenly to a country where everything is different. People speaking other languages, dress differently and practice perhaps quite bizarre customs. At times even if you find it difficult to accept it, you may end up falling in love with the traditions, and food. You may want to dress the same.

Travelling With a Purpose is the Best Way to Travel

Tips & Travel Information About Cusco

If you are in Cusco and you wish to explore the city and its surroundings then this travel guide could help you plan your adventure around the city. Although many believe that the city of Cusco is small enough to get lost. It is really big and its streets are quite narrow. So it is good to know a little bit about the names of the streets. Especially, those where your hotel is located. Keep in mind that the city of Cusco is quite safe. It has security cameras throughout the city. There is a lot of police around which will make you feel even safer.

Explore Cusco from your hotel, the streets, the colorful houses, the typical dances, the traditions, the typical clothing and the people are the reason enough to visit this incredible city. Don’t miss Cusco and its amazing places that we will mention next. The city of Cusco in spite of being colonized in the years of 1533 for many does not stop being the capital of the Incas. We believe that after being destroyed by the Spaniards, it still keeps a historical value that is reflected its the people.

TRAVEL INFORMATION

Three kilometres from the city of Cusco there are enormous and important constructions. Those are from much earlier than the Inca period. In other words, they are monuments that have been there for more than 5000 years. 

One of these places is the archaeological site of Sacsayhuaman. It dates back more than 5000 years. Its walls are still intact since even the Spanish could not destroy them.

Many believe that it was a fortress something like a military sector perhaps due to its enormous walls. Sacsayhuaman and its surrounding ruins of Qenko, Puka Pukara and Tambomachay are the nearest ruins to Cusco. 

They are easily accessible by taxi, bus or even on foot from Cusco’s Plaza de Armas. Sacsayhuamán offers beautiful views of the city from the top of the surrounding mountains. A visit to this site is not something you will quickly forget. We suggest you add it to your list of places to visit in Cusco!

The neighbourhood of San Blas is a very colonial and picturesque place. A unique place that is worth visiting.  A bit climb from the Cusco’s Plaza de Armas with lots of good restaurants, cafes as well small art exhibitions and craft shops.   If you are in San Blas, we suggest you take a look at the attractive square and the oldest parish church in Cusco.  It was built in 1563, without a doubt this place is a must-see..

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Just a few minutes from the main square of Cusco is the street of Hatunrumiyoc. It is also known as the street with the big Stone. On this street there is a green diorite stone wall built long before the Incas and keeps one of the most famous pieces of Cusco. To this day, the twelve angled stone is quite visited by tourists. For local archaeologists, this stone would represent the months of the year according to the Inca calendar, or 12 important days. There is a lot of speculation about it but the truth is if you remove it, the whole wall could fall down. You can also visit it during your walking tour around the city.

The Qoricancha according to the Spanish chroniclers was one of the most impressive buildings in Cusco. It is believed its walls had been fully covered with gold sheets. It was the main temple where the Inca god, the Inti (Sun), was worshipped. The Incas could only enter the place by fasting, barefoot as it was a holy temple of worship. In the year 1950, a huge earthquake shook Cusco causing around 5000 deaths and almost 80% of the buildings built by the Spanish collapsed. The walls (Inca) were able to resist without any problem. Today the place has become quite popular for the kind of architecture that this temple displays making the tourists speechless. To visit this temple you have to buy an entrance ticket that costs 15 soles, you can visit the place from Monday to Saturday from 8 am to 5:30 pm.

Highlights:  Come See Perú Tours Advantages

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  • Enjoy a tour out of the ordinary, with the best views and with a local official tour guide.
  • We offer a 100% refund in case the tour is cancelled. Check our cancellation policy.
  • Our tours start wherever you want to go, from either Ollantaytambo or Urubamba.
  • If you are in Cusco you can book up to 1 day before the tour and pay afterwards.
  • We offer tours to the Sacred Valley with a visit to the alpaca and llama farms.
  • At Come See Peru travel your way, we adapt to your Schedule.

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16 Exciting Day Trips from Cusco Worth Doing

Are you down for some adventure beyond the vibrant city of Cusco? Luckily, there are plenty of exciting day trips from Cusco to take that will allow you to explore the natural beauty and cultural heritage of the region. 

view of sacred valley of the incas

From hiking through snow-capped mountains to discovering ancient Inca ruins, there are tons of activities for every kind of traveler.

Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or a history buff, Cusco’s surroundings won’t disappoint. So pack your bags as we take a look at 16 exciting day trips from Cusco.

Table of Contents

1. Machu Picchu

sunrise in machu picchu

The sacred city of the Incas, perched high on a mountain ridge, is surrounded by breathtaking landscapes, including the Andes Mountains and the Urubamba River. 

Once you arrive, you can explore the ruins on foot, hike to the Sun Gate, or climb to the top of Huayna Picchu for a panoramic view of the entire site.

Consider taking a guided tour to learn more about the history and culture of Machu Picchu. You can also savor local cuisine and shop for handmade items in Aguas Calientes, the closest town to the archaeological site.

Getting there

Take the train from Cusco, Poroy, or Ollantaytambo (two neighboring towns). Alternatively, book one of many Machu Picchu tours from Cusco offered by top-rated agencies.

2. Sacsayhuamán, Puka Pukara, Qenko, and Tambomachay

sacsayhuaman fortress ruins

Sacsayhuamán, Puka Pukara, Qenko, and Tambomachay are four ruins located within a short distance of one another, right outside downtown Cusco. They’ll let you peek into the rich history of the Inca civilization.

At Sacsayhuamán, you’ll marvel at the impressive stone walls and terraces, as well as the panoramic views of the city of Cusco. Puka Pukara, a small fortress and administrative center, offers a glimpse into the military and administrative functions of the Incan empire. 

Qenko, a sacred site, features unique rock carvings and ceremonial spaces. Finally, Tambomachay is a well-preserved complex of aqueducts, canals, and waterfalls that are believed to have been used for ritual purification.

Hop on a taxi or rent a car, as all of these ruins are located a few miles outside Cusco. Plan to spend at least a couple of hours exploring each site.

3. Maras and Moray

salt mines in maras

Maras and Moray are two stunning landmarks in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Maras is a small Andean village that is noted for its salt mines, which have been in use since the Inca era.

The salt pools are a spectacular sight where you can learn about the traditional methods of salt extraction from the locals. 

Moray, on the other hand, is home to a series of circular agricultural terraces that were used by the Incas to experiment with different crops at various elevations. It’s an architectural and engineering marvel, and the views of the surrounding Andes Mountains are jaw-dropping.

Take a guided tour or hire a private car, as the sites are located about an hour’s drive from Cusco. This allows for a hassle-free day trip and an opportunity to experience the beauty and culture of the area.

Also read: 25 Breathtaking Natural Wonders in South America

4. Ollantaytambo

ollantaytambo stone gate close up

Ollantaytambo, an Inca town some 38 miles northwest of Cusco, boasts a rich history and magnificent ruins that will take you back in time. 

The no. 1 attraction is the fortress, a massive stone structure that served as both a citadel and a temple. You’ll be amazed by the intricate stonework and the engineering that allowed water to flow through the terraces. 

The town itself is also worth exploring, with its narrow cobblestone streets, colorful buildings, and bustling market selling handmade goods and fresh produce.

For an even more immersive experience, take a Sacred Valley tour from Cusco to learn about the history and culture of this fascinating place.

Catch a bus from Cusco’s main bus station or rent a car. The journey takes about 1.5 to 2 hours each way.

5. Rainbow Mountain

wide view of Rainbow Mountain

The Rainbow Mountain, or Vinicunca, is a unique geological formation that showcases vibrant colors, ranging from red to yellow and green.

The hike to the top of the mountain takes around three hours, but the gorgeous views of the surrounding Andean landscapes make it well worth the effort. 

If you can afford the time, witness the sunrise over the mountain, which creates a surreal atmosphere with the colorful hues and the morning light. 

Take a tour bus or van that usually leaves very early in the morning. Some tours include breakfast and lunch, as well as a guide who explains the history and geology of the region.

lima cathedral on a sunny day

The hectic Peruvian capital showcases modern-day Peru with its bustling city life and culinary scene. Take a stroll through the Plaza de Armas and admire the colonial architecture of the Government Palace and Lima Cathedral of Lima.

Next, head to the bohemian district of Barranco, known for its street art, trendy bars, and artisanal shops. Don’t miss out on the Miraflores waterfront on your way there.

Foodies will love exploring Lima’s gastronomic offerings, which include some of the best ceviche, seafood, and fusion cuisine in the world. Sample traditional Peruvian dishes at local restaurants like La Mar and Central or go on a food tour to try a host of mouthwatering dishes.

Several airlines offer daily flights between the two cities. Alternatively, you can take a long-distance bus like I did a few years back. The ride takes around 20 hours, but it’s worthwhile for the views if you’re not pressed for time. 

pre columbian terraces in pisac

A visit to this charming town nestled within the Sacred Valley would not be complete without exploring the impressive Písac Ruins, which feature impressive terraces and intricate stonework.

At the nearby Písac Market, you can shop for traditional textiles, jewelry, and handicrafts made by local artisans.

For a more active adventure, hike to the top of the Písac Ruins or explore the surrounding countryside on horseback. 

Hire a cab or join a guided tour. The trip from Cusco will take approximately an hour and a half. Alternatively, you can ride a local bus, but it may take longer and be less comfortable.

8. Chinchero

day tours cusco

Chinchero is a small Andean village located less than 20 miles from Cusco. Its traditional weaving techniques, which have been passed down for generations, are its calling card.

You can swing by local workshops to see the process of turning wool into beautifully woven textiles and even try your hand at it yourself.

Chinchero also has an impressive colonial church and an Inca ruin complex with imposing terraces and views of the surrounding mountains. 

You can easily reach Chinchero by car, cab, or by taking a shared van from Cusco.

9. Santa Teresa

Hot spring of Santa Teresa close to Machu Picchu in Peru

Santa Teresa is one of the coolest and off-the-beaten-path Cusco day trips. The journey there is as thrilling as the destination itself, passing through stunning mountain landscapes and traditional Andean villages.

Once in Santa Teresa, you’ll get to enjoy a range of activities such as lounging in the natural hot springs, exploring the nearby coffee and coca plantations, and trekking to the waterfalls of Mandor. 

Take a bus to Hidroeléctrica, followed by a scenic hike along the train tracks to the town.

10. Humantay Lake

wide view of Humantay Lake and mountains

The turquoise waters of Humantay Lake stand in sharp contrast with the surrounding snow-capped mountains, which creates a mesmerizing landscape. 

The lake is located at an altitude of 2.6 miles above sea level, and the hike to reach it is not easy and can take approximately four hours round trip, but the reward is worth it. 

It’s an excellent opportunity to admire the views and take amazing pictures. Alternatively, you’ll be able to rent a horse if you’d rather not walk. 

Book a tour that includes transportation, a guide, and lunch . The journey usually starts early in the morning and returns in the evening.

11. Huacarpay

Huacarpay lake in the high Andes near Cusco in Peru

Huacarpay is a natural reserve that is home to stunning landscapes and to numerous species of birds, which makes it a paradise for bird watchers. 

Stroll along the trails around the lagoon, taking in the breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and forests as you go. 

The area is also perfect for a picnic or a relaxing day in nature. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can rent a kayak or a paddleboat and explore the lagoon at your own pace. 

Huacarpay is easily accessible by car or cab, and the drive itself is a scenic journey through the Peruvian countryside.

12. Huchuy Qosqo

huchuy qosqo settlement birds eye view

Huacahuy Qosqo, also known as “Little Cusco,” is a maze of stone walls, narrow streets, and plazas that provides a unique glimpse into Inca urban planning.

Exploring the ancient Inca ruins and admire the views of the adjacent mountains. You’ll also get to learn about the history of the site through informative plaques and tour guides.

Ride a private car or cab. The trip takes around 45 minutes and offers great views of the surrounding countryside.

13. Ausangate

snowy landscape ausangate peak

Ausangate is a magnificent snow-capped mountain that is a popular destination for hiking enthusiasts who want to experience the Andes in all their glory.

The area is also known for its vibrant and colorful wildlife, with llamas, alpacas, and vicuñas commonly seen. 

Take a day trip from Cusco to Ausangate and explore the area with a guide or hike the Ausangate Circuit, a challenging trek that usually takes several days.

Hire private transportation or book a shared tour.

The remains of Inca's fountain at Tipon in the Sacred Valley, Cuzco region of Peru

Tipón is an Inca archaeological site located 16 miles southeast of Cusco, where you’ll find impressive terraces, fountains, and irrigation canals.

Stroll around the site at your own pace to take in the suggestive ambiance and appreciate the precision of the Inca stonework. You can also explore the intricate water channels and fountains that the Incas used to irrigate their crops.

Rent a car or hop on a cab. It’ll take around 45 minutes to an hour to reach Tipón.

aerial view of chonta canyon

Chonta is a hidden gem that is perfect for adventurous travelers looking for a bit of exploration. This small community located near the Apurimac Canyon is famous for its dramatic cliffs and spectacular vistas where trekking and bird watching are a must-do.

Here you can hike to the viewpoint of the Apurimac Canyon to spot Andean condors flying overhead, explore the town, and enjoy the natural beauty of the area.

Take a private car or hire a cab from Cusco, which is about a three-hour drive.

16. Killarumiyoq and Zurite

Archaeological Site of Killarumiyoc (Killarumiyoq) of the city of Cusco, where the famous Temple of the Moon is located

Killarumiyoq and Zurite are two of the lesser-known but enchanting Inca archaeological sites located in the Sacred Valley.

Killarumiyoq, also known as the Temple of the Moon, is an impressive site that features a large rock carving of the moon, believed to have been used by the Incas for astronomical purposes.

Zurite, on the other hand, is a well-preserved Inca town that features a series of impressive terraces, fountains, and aqueducts.

Arrange for private transportation through tour operators or on-site in Cusco.

Final thoughts

man holds peruvian flag in apurimac

There you have it: the 16 best day trips from Cusco that will definitely turn your visit to Peru into a magical time. Take your pick and dive into the unique beauty of this unforgettable region.

From exploring ancient ruins to hiking scenic trails, from indulging in local cuisine to experiencing traditional Andean culture, Cusco and its surroundings offer an array of activities to suit any traveler’s taste. 

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9 Best Day Trips from Cusco, Peru

Cusco, Peru is a great base for exploring the Sacred Valley. Whether you want to experience traditional Andean culture by visiting indigenous villages or watching weaving demonstrations, or exploring one of the many Inca sites nearby, Cusco is in the middle of it all. Here’s a list of the best day trips from Cusco to make the most of your adventure exploring Peru.

We visited Cusco as part of four weeks in Peru when our kids were 4 and 7. This was part of our Family Year Out as well as time spent in Mexico , Peru , Brazil , and Colombia .

This article may contain affiliate links, which means we may earn a small commission if a reader clicks through and makes a purchase.   As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you. All our recommendations are our own and are in no way influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative.

At the bottom of this post, download free Mobile Wallpaper images to satisfy your wanderlust!

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Table of Contents

Where is Cusco, Peru?

Cusco is in the southeastern part of Peru, high in the Andes mountains. A one-hour flight from Lima , it is easy to get to, and yet with ancient origins, it feels worlds away, steeped in indigenous culture.

Interested in seeing more of Peru? We spent a month in Peru with our kids are highly recommend stops in Puno and the Peruvian Jungle as well as Lima and the Sacred Valley.

Why Cusco Makes a Good Base in the Sacred Valley

Situated next to the Sacred Valley, with its own airport, Cusco is the perfect base for exploring the surrounding area. With a wealth of Inca ruins, stunning mountain scenery, and traditional Andean villages, the Sacred Valley has there are tons of things to do in Cusco .

Cusco is a large enough base to offer a wide range of hotels, hostels, and restaurants, sure to fit any budget. You’ll find traditional Peruvian food, but also Thai, sushi, Indian, and other international dishes as well.

In just a short drive from the city, you can find some of the most famous Inca sites, such as Ollantaytambo, Morey, and Pisac. And Cusco itself has multiple sites in and around it like Qoricancha, Saqsaywaman, and the Q’enco Archaeological Complex.

In addition, Cusco is home to a vibrant indigenous culture, and there are plenty of opportunities to try traditional foods and experience local life.

We found Cusco to be a safe and friendly city, though we did experience a bus strike while we were there. Strikes are common in South America and are something to be aware of when you travel. We have some travel tips for South America to help you make the most of your family vacation in Peru.

The Best Day Trips from Cusco, Peru

There are many sites in the Sacred Valley you can visit from Cusco that are just an hour or two drive each way. There are so many options, you’ll need to choose a few, as it’s nearly impossible to fit them all into your Peruvian holiday!

Many of these sites can be explored on your own with a car and driver, or via a group tour. If you’d like to arrange transportation around the Sacred Valley but would rather not join an organized tour, we recommend using Taxidatum . You can schedule a driver for a full or half-day, with whichever stops you prefer. They do not provide guide services, only transportation.

Don’t forget to bring your Boleto Turistico to enter many of these sites! We wrote an entire post with everything you need to know about using this crucial tourist pass.

There are two elements to a trip to Pisac- a trip to the Inca Ruins, and a visit to the town and markets of Pisac. Pisac is about a one-hour drive from Cusco.

Ruins of Pisac

The ruins at Pisac are a little different than others we’ve visited in Peru in that there are not truly prescribed paths. From the entrance, head up across the terraced fields then up and to the right. You’ll climb the hill, with the option to head to the right for a mirador, or continue to the top.

The mirador is a bit of a diversion- the path goes up and down a few times before ending at a shaded palapa that overlooks the valley below.

After viewing it, backtrack to where the paths intersect and head up the hill to the top point. From this small top area, you can head down into the residential houses. It’s from here that you can really wander through the ruins on your way down the hill, and back to the car park.

You can also walk from the ruins all the way to the town of Pisac, we didn’t do this, it’s an easy drive and a steep 4 km walk.

To enter the Ruins of Pisac, you’ll need your Boleto Turistico

Town of Pisac

Once in town, check out Ulrike’s Café for lunch- we were drooling over their banana pancakes with real maple syrup but were too late in the day for them. Instead, the kids had oatmeal and yogurt with granola, while the adults chose lentil curry with rice and a Thai noodle salad.

Pisac is known for its market, which is largest on Sunday. From Ulrike’s, head uphill to Plaza Constitution, the main square. At the northeast corner of the square, on Mariscal Castilla, the handicraft market begins. There are tons of stalls with all sorts of garments, souvenirs, jewelry, and artwork.

You’ll also find kids and adults in traditional outfits strolling around with baby alpacas looking to take photos with your family. Pay what you wish, the expectation seems to be around 1 sol per person in the photo with you.

Check Details: Full-Day Tour to Pisac and Ollantaytambo

2. Ollantaytambo

Ollantaytambo is a small town located in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, about an hour and a half from Cusco. The town is perhaps best known as the gateway to Machu Picchu but also has some of the most well-preserved Inca ruins, which sit atop the hills around it.

Visitors can explore the ruins, including an ancient temple and a massive stone staircase, or wander the streets of the town itself, which are lined with traditional stone houses and ancient water systems. The experience of visiting Ollantaytambo is very authentic, as there are fewer tourists in the town itself.

Ollantaytambo is also the launching point for visits to Macchu Picchu, whether by train or hiking the Inca Trail. The train runs from here to the base town of Aguas Calientes.

The ruins in the town itself are worth a visit, whether it’s for a single day or longer. We recommend spending more time here if you can, and wrote a guide to Ollantaytambo .

Day trips to Ollantaytambo are often combined with visits to Pisac, Chinchero, or Urubamba.

Check Details: Day Trip to Ollantaytambo and Pisac Market

3. Chinchero

Chinchero is a small village high in the Andes between Ollantaytambo and Cusco. From the main square, you’ll see snow-capped mountains in the distance. The Inca believed this area was the birthplace of the rainbow. This town may have served as a country resort for the Inca leader Yupanqui.

On the main square is a colonial church that is covered in hand-painted designs. The church is built over the remains of an Inca structure. You can also continue across a field to the archaeological site of Chinchero.

Try to visit on a Sunday, when the main market stalls are full, and the church is open. You’ll need your Boleto General to enter the main square and see the church, as well as the ruins.

Chinchero is also known as a weaving center. Stop by Textil Quechua to see a free demonstration (please tip), of how alpaca wool is processed, spun, dyed, and woven. They also have several alpacas and guinea pigs on-site for the kids to visit. They have a lot of incredible handicrafts you can buy after the presentation.

We recommend having lunch at Merienda Restaurant , just outside the entrance to the main square. They have a small, simple menu of sandwiches, empanadas, and coffees- the food is fresh and good.

We found Chinchero to be a great town to stop in when moving between Ollantaytambo and Cusco. You can arrange this transfer vis Taxidatum , or take a full-day tour that combines a trip to both towns.

Check Details: Day Trip to Chinchero and Ollantaytambo

Moray is a fascinating archaeological site in Peru that is definitely worth a visit, and is often combined with a visit to the town center of Maras and the salt pools of Maras.

The site consists of a series of concentric terraces built by the Inca, within a natural bowl. The terraces are believed to have been used for agricultural experimental stations, as the Inca were able to create microclimates on each level. The Inca also brought in different soils to use at each terrace, so that they could study which crops thrived in the given conditions.

The nature of the rock below the soil also proved ideal for irrigation, as the water drains through, without collecting on the surface and flooding. The terraces are also notable for their circular shape, which is unusual for Inca architecture.

A visit to Moray is a great way to learn more about the Inca and their innovative engineering. You may also visit on a guided tour to help explain the significance of Moray.

5. Salt Pools of Maras

The Maras salt pools are beautiful man-made pools designed to take advantage of the natural minerals in the water. The pools are located in a picturesque spot near the town of Maras, where they continue to be an important part of the local culture.

The pools were first created thousands of years ago, when ancient people realized that the water in the area was rich in minerals. They began to harvest the salt from the water and used it for many different purposes, including cooking, preserving, healing, and later trade. Much of the salt is pink, due to its high concentration of Potassium.

Today, the pools continue to produce salt that is shipped to restaurants and stores all over the world. You may notice the white bags strewn about the site or stacked by the exit, that are used for storing the salt.

Check Details: Day Trip to Maras and Moray

6. Saqsaywaman

Just up the hill from the Plaza de Armas, you can walk to this site, and visit it on your own, or view it as part of a larger guided tour. The walk is a short distance, but (like much in Cusco), uphill. We recommend visiting in the early morning to avoid the crowds.

You’ll need a Boleto Turistico to visit this site. If you come early and enter from below, you will need to already have a ticket as the gates will be open, but the kiosks will likely still be closed. My ticket was not checked until I got up to the main area. There are often alpacas grazing around the site, wandering among the stones and unphased by the visitors.

Originally built as a military stronghold to protect Cusco from attack, Saqsaywaman was the most important military base of the Inca Empire and was also used for religious ceremonies. It was once the largest Inca structure in the area.

After the Spanish invasion and conquest, many of the stones were removed from the site and used to construct buildings in Cusco. The stones that remain are still stunning and give you a sense of their massive scale and function.

Choose between a half-day tour of just Saqsaywaman or a full-day tour that dives deep into the smaller ruins in the area, combining Saqsaywaman, Q’enqo, Puka Pukara, and Tambomachay.

Check Details: Four Ruins Tour from Cusco

7. Humantay Lake

This stunning turquoise lake is named after the nearby snow-capped mountains. To visit the lake, you’ll leave early in the morning, drive two hours to the starting point of your hike, then hike to this sacred Inca lake sitting at 13,700 feet in altitude.

The lake is the site of sacred ceremonies to Pacha Mama (Mother Earth) that have been held here for over 1,000 years.

Due to the altitude, the minimum age for this tour is 8 years old.

Check Details: Day Trip to Humantay Lake

8. Rainbow Mountain

Rainbow Mountain was virtually unknown a few years ago, and now is one of the most popular Cusco day trips. You’ll spend two hours hiking to reach the peak of the mountain to witness this Instagramable marvel.

This trip is not recommended for children or those over 55, due to the altitude, which makes the hike quite strenuous, as well as the long drive to get there. You can easily spend five hours each way driving to and from the base of the hike.

Check Details: Rainbow Mountain Day Trip

9. Machu Picchu

Many travelers come to Peru solely with the goal of visiting the ruins of Machu Picchu. While it makes for a long day trip, it is possible to visit Machu Picchu on a day trip from Cusco. Cusco is also where many treks to Machu Picchu on the Inca Trail depart.

Visitors to Machu Picchu are limited to approximately three hours at the site, so while you’ll spend more time traveling from Cusco than from nearer towns, you won’t miss anything at the actual Inca site.

Whichever way you choose to visit, don’t miss walking around this magnificent site, one of the 7 New Wonders of the World, it should definitely be on your family bucket list !

Check Prices: Machu Picchu Day Trip from Cusco

Many people dream of taking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and arriving at the Sun Gate after a long 4- day trek over the mountains. However, the high altitude and length of this trek make it best for kids 10 and older.

If you have younger kids, or kids who may not be ready for the intensity of a four-day hike, consider the 1-day option! You can do a one-day Inca Trail hike that enters at the Sun Gate and then follows with a tour of the Machu Picchu site. This may be a great family alternative to the more intense, traditional Inca Trail Hike.

Book Now: 1 Day Inca Trail Hike to Machu Picchu

There You Have It: The Best Cusco Day Trips

You have so many options for wonderful day trips from Cusco, that you’ll have to choose how to best spend your days in the Sacred Valley. Cusco is such a family-friendly city, it’s a wonderful base for exploring this area of Peru.

day tours cusco

Cynthia Matthews von Berg is the founder of Sharing the Wander. She is a passionate traveler, mom, and travel coach specializing in long-term travel and family travel. She and her family embarked on a Family Gap Year in 2021, and haven't looked back.

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Our selection of Day Trips from Cusco use only the best operators who use safe and comfortable transport, use the best local English-speaking guides and have no hidden fees or charges like many other tour operators in Cusco.

Cusco to Lake Titicaca Day Trips Here

Operated by Peru Hop (ranked Peru’s #1 Travel Company by Tripadvisor users), a trip to Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world, is a must for anybody visiting Peru.

Our Day Trip to Lake Titicaca allows you to spend a full day on the Lake and visit the incredible floating islands and see how local people live on these manmade islands in the middle of the Lake.

Below you have 2 options:

  • Cusco – Lake Titicaca (full day on Lake) – back to Cusco ($79)
  • Cusco – Lake Titicaca (overnight homestay with a local family on the island) – back to Cusco ($99)

Click More Info on any of the 2 options below to read full itineraries and plan your journey to the highest navigable lake in the world!

Titicaca Experience Full Day

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ALL INCLUSIVE:

Transport, tours and entry fees included

Titicaca Experience 2 Day Homestay

day tours cusco

Machu Picchu Day Trips Here

Below we provide a list of the best Machu Picchu Tour options departing from Cusco. Each option depends on your time and budget.

IMPORTANT: You cannot enter Machu Picchu unless you have a local tour guide. You will also need an entrance ticket, train tickets, buses to and from the train station, and bus up and down Machu Picchu from Aguas Calientes. ALL Tours mentioned below include all of the above.

day tours cusco

Machu Picchu 1 Day Tour

Ideal for those very short on time and want to do it all in 1 day from Cusco. All entrances, train and bus times coordinated to maximize your day.

We have sent over 1,500 people with Yapa Explorers in 2023 and have had excellent feedback so far. They are a relatively new company started up by local Peruvians and offer excellent value for money. View their itinerary below.

day tours cusco

Machu Picchu 2 Day Tour (includes Sacred Valley)

If you have the time, a 2 day tour is the perfect way to discover Machu Picchu combined with the Sacred Valley. An overnight stay in Aguas Calientes means you will be one of the first to go up to Machu Picchu that morning

Rainbow Mountain Day Trips Here

day tours cusco

A 1 day experience from Cusco to Rainbow Mountain, Peru’s fastest growing attraction, may be the highlight of your whole trip to Peru.

Rainbow Mountain was only recently discovered in 2015 and is situated about 3 hours outside of Cusco. It’s a tough but rewarding trek, and given that it’s a once in a lifetime experience, we strongly recommend you are careful when deciding what company to travel with.

We have tried and tested a lot of tour operators, but by far the best value for money as voted by our past customers was Rainbow Mountain Travels.

To read more about this tour, the itinerary, price and more, click HERE.

Tour Leaders Peru Adventure

These are Our Day Tour From Cusco

Popular cusco day trips for acclimatization.

“We welcome you to Cusco and things to do in This Inca City: and “Unveil Endless Horizons with Tour Leaders Peru! “

We have done all of this work for you by outlining our favorite things and some amazing 1-day Cusco tours that can help get those ideas rolling!

Cusco City is a hidden gem, usually only discovered by those who venture beyond the city limits. This means that there are plenty more attractions to explore in this ancient Andean capital Such as The  Inca Trail to Machu Picchu! Make sure you don’t get bored with your Cusco half Day Tours and end up doing nothing but sightseeing all day long while waiting for nightfall (which won’t happen because it gets dark so fast).

We recommend you set aside some time every morning before hitting any museums or walking around historic sites like temples where locals go pray during sunset – which happens about 3 hours earlier than what most travelers expect due to south-southwest

We’ve curated a list of the best day trips from Cusco below to help you decide which is right for you or what to see in Cusco in one day , alongside essential information and inspiration on how to plan it.

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Sacred Valley Tour map

INCA TRAIL MAP

Embark on an exhilarating adventure along the legendary Inca Trail that leads you to the awe-inspiring Machu Picchu. Our beautifully illustrated Inca Trail map provides all the details you need – from daily stats to hidden campsites and more! Join us for a journey of a lifetime.

Inca Trail Hiking Tours

Cusco City Tour Half Day

Cusco City Tour Half Day

Price: 180 usd group of 4 people.

Duration: Half Day Group Size: 8 Max Physical Rating: Good For Aclimatiztion With Cusco being one of the most fascinating destinations in Peru and throughout all of South America, it’s no wonder that there are so many day trips to take from this incredible city. You can’t go wrong with visiting Machu Picchu on your list if only for its proximity to where we live here at The World Tourist Attraction.  We recommend exploring some other areas as well!

We have compiled a few highly suggested itineraries just waiting around to match each other’s companion adventures in nature – whether they be hiking through mountain trails or enjoying views over vast ocean scenery; these locations will leave lasting impressions

sacred valley cusco

Sacred Valley Full Day Tour From Cusco, Pisaq, Ollantaytambo, Chinchero.

Price usd 100 pp.

DURATION: Ful Day Tour All Inclusive GROUP SIZE: We Arrange groups up to 2 PHYSICAL RITE: Recommended for Acclimatization

The Valley of the Incas is an otherworldly, beautiful place that you must see to believe is recommended for the best Cusco Day Tours. It’s carved by a river and filled with stunning mountain views as it flows between two ranges in Cusco Peru – The Vilcanota Mountain Range (where many historic archeological sites can be found) This day trip from Cusco will take your breath away when we arrive at this ridiculously photogenic sacred land of the Incas!

Maras Moray Half Day Tour

Maras and Moray 1-Day Tour From Cusco Includes Inca Laboratory

Price from $180 family of 4 people.

DURATION: Half Day GROUP SIZE: We Arrange groups up to 2  PHYSICAL RITE: Easy recommended for Acclimatization Maras, Moray, and Chinchero are our top recommendations on our Day Trips in Cusco – Did you know that Peru has over 4000 types of potatoes? This is partly due to the agricultural experiments done during the Inca civilization, in what is known as ‘agricultural laboratories.

Moray is the most famous of these ‘laboratories. Perfect concentric circle terraces carved into a natural depression in the earth. Each of these terrace levels simulates a different altitude in the region, with different temperatures at every level.

alpaca_expeditions_tour_leaders

Chinchero Nature Walk with Llamas and Alpacas

Price From USD 99 pp DURATION: Half Day GROUP SIZE: Available Only Tour Packages PHYSICAL RITE: Moderate Chinchero Nature Walk With Llamas And Alpacas. You could just get a Hotel in Cusco on your next trip to Peru, or you could rent an Airbnb in Chinchero’s native Quechua Village and get your Chichero tour package that will give you the experience of a lifetime.

When you usually go on a vacation, you are there to see sights. You want to see the beauty of the place where you have traveled. Unfortunately, that’s sightseeing, not a vacation.

Rainbow Mountain Peru

Colorful Rainbow Mountain Tour From Cusco Full Day ( Vinicunca includes Red Valley )

DURATION: 5 Days / 4 Nights GROUP SIZE: We Arrange groups up to 2 hikers PHYSICAL RITE: Challenging The Vinicunca or Rainbow Mountain is one of the most magnificent attractions in all of Peru and is Part of Cusco Day hikes Tours full day.

Humantay Lake Tour Peru

Umantay Lake Full Day Tour From Cusco 4000 Meter Elevation

DURATION: Full Day Trip From Cusco Hotels GROUP SIZE: We Arrange groups up to 2 hikers PHYSICAL RITE: Moderate – Challenging Humantay Lake, nestled amidst the snow-capped mountains. Marvel at the turquoise waters of the lake and enjoy the spectacular views of the surrounding peaks.

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Horse Back Ridding Cusco

Horse Riding Tours From Cusco Half-Day

DURATION: Half-Day Tour In Cusco From Cusco Hotels GROUP SIZE: We Arrange groups up to 2 Customers PHYSICAL RITE: Easy There are several options for horseback riding excursions from Cusco, to take in the countryside and some of the less-visited Inca sites around Cusco. Popular trail rides usually visit the Temple of the Moon and Temple of the Rainbow or the “Devil’s Balcony”.

Other horse-riding half-day tours from Cusco include visits to the Inca archaeological sites Puca-Pucara, Tambomachay, Qenko, and Saqsayhuaman. Contact Us To include in Your Peru Packages for free.

7 Lagoons Day Tour

7 LAGOONS CIRCUIT AUSANGATE FULL DAY TOUR FROM CUSCO

DURATION: Ful Day Trip From Cusco GROUP SIZE: We Arrange groups up to 2 hikers PHYSICAL RITE: Moderare and deal with Elevation Are you tired of exploring the same attractions in Cusco? Then book with us the tour to the 7 lagoons of Ausangate, a full-day excursion, full of adventure, landscape, mountains, and exotic-colored lagoons (turquoise, blue, green, and even reddish) that will blow your mind away; apart from those attractions you will also learn a little bit about Andean flora and fauna (Alpacas, Vizcachas, and Cóndors).

Palcoyo Rainbow Mountain Tour

Palcoyo Rainbow Mountain Tour 1D

Day Tour From Cusco

Rafting and Ziplining Along Urubamba River Valley CUSCO

DURATION: Full Day Trip From Cusco Hotels GROUP SIZE: We Arrange groups up to 2 Travelers PHYSICAL RITE: Fun If you like more adventurous activities, a rafting and zip-lining trip could be right up your street. Cusco is close to several good rafting rivers, and you can arrange a rafting tour with us from Cusco.

The Urubamba River is one of the most popular spots for rafting, with class II and III rapids about an hour and a half outside of Cusco. During the rainy season, the rivers are higher and rapids can get up to class III or IV after heavy rain.

Tours typically include all rafting and safety equipment, lunch, transport, and a guide. You can also take a separate half-day zip line tour if you prefer to keep dry!

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Machu Picchu by train 2 Day Tours From Cusco

DURATION: 2 days From Cusco Hotels GROUP SIZE: We Arrange groups up to 2 Travelers PHYSICAL RITE: Sightseeing You can’t talk about Cusco and not mention Machu Picchu! If you are not up for hiking the Inca Trail or another trek to Machu Picchu, then it is possible to take a 2-day trip from Cusco to Machu Picchu. We offer Cusco day trips to Machu Picchu from Cusco, which are a great option if you are short on time, but it will be a very long day with an early start at 3 am.

Machu Picchu tours from Cusco typically include all transport (train and bus), Hotel, a bilingual Tour guide, and entrance to Machu Picchu, we can give you details of each tour package carefully. Some include standard train tickets from Cusco to Machu Picchu, and others include a ‘Vistadome’ train which has windows on the ceiling and sides of the train.

Up for an Epic Adventure: Everything You Must Know!

This adventure raises many questions for visitors planning to do this incredible hiking trail. Find out how to do the walk, when is the best time to go, when is the worst time to go, what are its rules, its prohibitions, and much more. Go ahead and take one of the best walks in the world!

From April to October the days are sunnier and with little chance of rain. For many, it is the best time to hike to Machu Picchu. Sunny days favor getting the best photos on the route. May, June, and July are the driest months but with the coldest temperatures at night.

Rainy Season

From November to March, it usually rains more frequently. Some tourists are uncomfortable. Others enjoy the beautiful landscapes that the rain brings. The rains can cause slipping on the road so you must walk carefully. January, February, and March are the rainiest months so the necessary precautions should be taken.

Closed Trails

Trail reservation, your day backpack.

The Inca Trail, carry a backpack weighing max 5 kilos. Pack essentials: sleeping bag (not included), trekking poles (not included), phone batteries, camera, clothes, water, snacks, hat, sunblock, mosquito repellent, personal hygiene items, and medication.

Travel Inspiration

4 day inca trail hike to machu picchu

Machu Picchu – What is the best trail to take and is it worth booking early?

Why You Should Learn How to Hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu? If you decide to embark on the 4-day inca trail hike to machu picchu, it’s crucial to research and choose your tour provider carefully and thoroughly. In

City Tour Cusco Half Day

Treating Altitude Sickness in Cusco, Peru

Cusco, Peru sits at a high altitude (around 11,000 feet or 3400 meters), and visitors arriving from sea level often experience altitude sickness, also known as soroche. Here’s a breakdown of how to deal with it if it strikes: Prevention

1 Day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Guide

This Is Your 1 Day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Hiking Guide

There are few adventures as iconic and awe-inspiring as hiking the ancient pathways of the Incas to discover the enigma of Machu Picchu. For those seeking a condensed yet equally profound experience, the Short Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu

How Long Does It Take to Hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu?

Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu: How Long Does It Take?

How long is the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu?, Have You ever had an Idea or plan to Hike in Peru? Do you crave adventures? Then you must keep your eyes open to find opportunities for feeding those cravings. Hiking

Inca Trail Royal Trek To Machu Picchu 5 Days

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Difficulty

There is a common misconception about the Machu Picchu trek difficulty. How difficult is the Inca Trail Hike? The Machu Picchu trek difficulty depends on your skill level and various other factors. Is the Inca Trail hard? You can learn

Best Time of the Year to Do the Inca Trail

Best Time to Hike The Inca Trail

When is the Best Time to Hike The Inca Trail from Cusco to Machu Picchu? The Classic Inca Trail 4D/3N is one of the most beautiful and picturesque places to visit in South America. This is also one of the

Inca Trail

Discover the Best Time of Year to Do the Inca Trail

Ready to Conquer the Inca Trail? Secure Your Adventure Now! Contact Us Today to Reserve Your Spot and Start Your Epic Journey!” Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is not just a journey through captivating landscapes, but a walk

Distance of the Inca trail

Everything You Need to Know About the Inca Trail Distance

The Distance of the Inca Trail route is 43 km (26 mi) long this classic trail is one of the most thrilling trek routes in the world. It offers its hikers many breathtaking views and is a perfect opportunity to

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How Old do You Have to be to Hike the Inca Trail? Age Limits and More

Are you a family of adventure enthusiasts who love hiking with kids? Curious about the minimum age requirement for hiking the Inca Trail? Good news! There are no government regulations specifying a minimum or maximum age for this Inca Trail.

Machu Picchu best time to visit

When is the best time to do the inca trail

Are you a thrill-seeker looking to embark on an unforgettable adventure? do you want to know when is the best time of year to do the Inca trail? If so, hiking the Inca Trail for 4 days should be at

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Planning a hike on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu? Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about the trek, Such as When Is The Best Time To Visit Machu Pichcu? with answers from our expert Tour Leaders. Whether you’re looking for information on permits, what to pack, or how difficult the trail is, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading to learn more!

How long to be in Cusco?

What to avoid in cusco, can you do machu picchu as a day trip from cusco, how long is sacred valley from cusco, how long does it take to get from cusco to machu picchu, is the rainbow mountain worth it, is cusco safe to walk at night, what should i not eat in peru.

Most people should avoid shellfish, but it’s worth noting that ceviche, one of Peru’s classic dishes, contains raw fish and shellfish that are marinated instead of cooked. However, many travelers enjoy it without any issues. To be on the safe side, it’s recommended to indulge in ceviche at clean and upscale establishments.

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Travel Blog | Travel Inspiration

9 Brilliant Day Trips From Cusco, Peru

mountain coloured in red, yellow and blue stripes

If you’re looking for ideas for exciting and beautiful day trips from Cusco, you have come to the right place!

Cusco itself is a gorgeous city, steeped in history and full of charm. There are plenty of things to do in Cusco , the Capital of the Incas. However, it’s also located close to many attractions in the surrounding area, including ancient wonders and landmarks of stunning natural beauty. This makes Cusco the perfect base from which to explore the best of the region via day trips.  

I teamed up with other travel bloggers who have explored Peru in order to pull together this comprehensive list of Cusco day trips.

So, whether you’re staying in Cusco to acclimatise to the altitude as preparation for the Inca Trail or simply using it as a base to explore the Sacred Valley Of The Incas and other nearby areas, you’ll want to check out these day trips from Cusco.

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. These are links to products or experiences I recommend and if you were to buy something after clicking on them, I might earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Any earnings go towards the upkeep of this blog, which I appreciate.

Feature image by Anwar from Beyond My Door.

Table of Contents

9 Day Trips From Cusco

1. machu picchu.

Contributed by David & Intan from The World Travel Guy

Of course, one of the most popular places to visit near Cusco is the famous Incan citadel of Machu Picchu! This 15th-century ‘lost city’ of the Inca Empire is as fascinating as it is photogenic, and it belongs on any Peru bucket list.

Some people do the 4-day hike along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu , but lots of people visit Machu Picchu an easier way, as a day trip from Cusco. The scenic train ride takes about 3.5 hours each way.

Stone ruins and grassy terraces with a steep mountain and clouds behind it

There are some great things to do in Machu Picchu. You can see the iconic viewpoint and get your picture taken with the citadel in the background; go for a stroll in the ruins, and interact with the friendly llamas, which roam freely around the grounds of Machu Picchu. Believe it or not, Machu Picchu is one of the family-friendly attractions in Peru .

Last, but not least, there are a number of great day hikes at Machu Picchu, including the Huayna Picchu mountain (also known as Wayna Picchu) or a shorter and easier hike with similar views, called Huchuy Picchu. Reservations are required in advance, which you can arrange online.

Any of these activities are possible to do on a Machu Picchu day trip, although you might only have time for one hike at a time (i.e. you can hike Huayna Picchu and then do sightseeing at the Machu Picchu ruins before heading back to Cusco). Whether you go independently or take a group tour to Machu Picchu , it’s definitely well worth the time to visit!

2. Rainbow Mountain (Vinicunca)

Contributed by Anwar from Beyond My Door

One of the more unique day trips from Cusco,  hiking Rainbow Mountain , offers a breath-taking mountain view.

Rainbow Mountain is known for its colourful mountain peak with several different layers of vibrant minerals. These layers are created by the various minerals in the soil including clay, mud, sand, quatorze, sandstone, calcium carbonate, and claystone.

mountain striped with red yellow and blue coloured rock and two llamas in the foreground

As of only a decade ago, Rainbow Mountain was completely unvisited as the peak was covered year-round in snow. Sadly, the peak is only viewable due to climate change that has affected the region.

The hike overall is not difficult with a gradual incline until close to the peak. What makes the trail difficult is the altitude which tops off at 16,000 feet at the highest point. Riding a horse is an option, although you’ll still need to walk the final part as it’s too steep for horses.

The initial viewpoint fills up quickly, so climbing the second hill will allow for smaller crowds and better views. The hill is steep and the additional altitude can be tough on many hikers. 

Some tour operators also offer hikes that take visitors back down through the red valley, which is a blazing red-coloured wonderland just off the main trail. The red colours of the soil are so distinct and feel almost alien.

It is possible to visit the hike either as a group or individually. Either way, it is important to check the weather before going as viewing the peak is very weather-dependent. Rainbow Mountain tours tend to leave Cusco between 3:30 and 4 am and return 12 hrs later and include breakfast and lunch. Going independent is possible by booking your own taxi or car from Cusco. Entrance to Rainbow Mountain is 30 soles per individual and 20 Soles for Red Valley (10 for Red Mountain and an additional 10 for Red Valley). 

3. Moray & Maras

Contributed by Ellie from El On The Move

A brilliant Cusco day trip is to the ruins of Moray, the small town of Maras and the Salt mines of Maras – all in one day.

The first stop of the day is Moray, where you’ll find one of the most famous Inca ruins in the Sacred Valley. The ruin itself is several terraced circles, which are believed to have been used by the Incas to grow food. Astonishingly, the variation of temperature can be up to 5 degrees C between the top and the bottom, leading to the theory that the Incas used them to be able to experiment with how crops grow in different conditions.

circular rings of stone terraces covered in grass

After the ruins, the lovely small town of Maras is a perfect spot for some lunch. From here, visit the Salineras of Maras, a large and photogenic salt production site spanning across the valley.

The easiest way to do this trip in one day is to use the same taxi all day (the destinations are not near main roads so there are not many taxis around them). A daily rate can be negotiated with the taxis in Cusco. If you are looking for more of an active day, take a taxi to Moray in the morning and walk all the way to the bottom of the valley to catch a taxi back to Cusco.

There are also companies in Cusco that provide a Moray & Maras guided tour as a day trip.

4. Humantay Lake

Contributed by Jess from I’m Jess Traveling

Humantay Lake is a turquoise, alpine lake that sits at an elevation of 13,900 feet.  Located about 2 hours outside the city, Humantay Lake is one of the most picturesque day trips from Cusco.

turquoise lake at the foot of a craggy snowy mountain partly covered with moody clouds

The easiest and most popular way to enjoy this activity is on a day tour. It is possible to  hike Humantay Lake independently  which will help you avoid the crowds and add a bit of thrill. However, you can also go on a guided tour .

The hike to Humantay Lake is only 2.6 miles round trip and takes about 2 hours to complete.  Don’t let the short miles fool you: this Cusco hike is tough.  With a 1,200 feet elevation at a high altitude, it will leave you huffing and puffing. 

There isn’t much else to do around the lake as it’s pretty isolated out in the wilderness.  If you have time, are physically fit and thrive on a sense of adventure, one of the best ways to experience this hike is by embarking on the Salkantay Trek.  Lake Humantay is a side trip on the first day of this 46-mile trek to Machu Picchu. 

Whichever way you do it, with the dramatic mountains that backdrop the lake and the sense of accomplishment when you make it to the top, this excursion is not to be missed. 

 5. Pisac

Contributed by Vicki Franz from Vicki Viaja

The Pisac Archaeological Park is definitely one of the best day trips you can take from Cusco. With its impressive ruins from the Inca era and its extraordinary and fascinating landscape formations, this place simply will not leave you unmoved.

The park’s remarkable ruins are one of the main reasons for  a day trip to Pisac . They belong to an ancient Inca fortress whose roots date back to the 15th century. Besides the imposing ruins to explore here, the site’s breathtaking natural beauty is also a focal point. Ancient field terraces, created to cultivate essential food crops, transform the complex into a unique picturesque scene.

stone ruins and terraces on a mountainside

Písac is part of the Sacred Valley of the Incas and, therefore, can only be visited with the Boleto Turístico. You can choose between a two and 10-day ticket that includes additional attractions of the Sacred Valley. The site is located about 22 miles from Cusco, making it one of the closest day trip destinations. You can reach Pisac as part of a guided tour , by public transportation, such as Colectivo or bus, or by taxi.

After visiting the ruins park of Pisac, it is also worthwhile to walk to the town centre. A small market is held here three times a week where you can buy souvenirs and fresh food.

6. Ausangate

Contributed by Dan & George from Backpacking Latin America

Ausangate is one of the most talked about day trips from Cusco since the mountain range is visible from the streets of Cusco. It is a fantastic hiking destination known for its incredible seven coloured lakes, as well as its towering peaks which set the backdrop.

The lagoons which make up part of Ausangate’s scenery feature shades of turquoise, black, wine, and green and are a must-see on one of the many small-group day hikes.

bright turquoise lake overlooked by steep snowy mountains

The trek here is best done with a tour company that first starts from Cusco and drives into the national park.  Travellers also get the chance to visit the village of Paqchanta where they are usually met by the inhabitants and descendants of Incas, who speak the Quechua language, for lunch. They share even more about what the beautiful mountain range has to offer. The nature around here is diverse and it is not until getting closer that its size can be fully appreciated.

Those that don’t plan ahead for this trip as part of their  backpacking Cusco itinerary  may choose the option to go via horse. This is a good option if you’re not already acclimatized to the high altitude and want to save your legs by doing minimal hiking.

No matter what time of year, it is recommended to carry warm clothing as it gets cold toward the mountain top.

7. Ollantaytambo

Contributed by Carley from Home to Havana

The town of  Ollantaytambo , located just an hour and a half northwest of Cusco, is small in size but is as essential a part of the Sacred Valley as it was in the era of the Incas. Home to some of the most impressive and extensive Inca ruins in the Sacred Valley, it’s also a contender for one of the best day trips from Cusco for those who love history and culture. 

The fortress at Ollantaytambo was once an important Inca stronghold against the Spanish conquistadors. Now visitors can take in the extensive ruins of the temple and fortress that made Ollantaytambo such an essential site. Highlights of the ruins include the Wall of Six Monoliths, a towering wall with stones so massive and smooth you can’t help but marvel at how they were moved here.

remains of stone buildings on top of a stone wall with massive stones cut to fit together perfectly

There is much more to see and do here than just visiting the famous ruins. Add an excursion to the ruins of Pinkuylluna to your Ollantaytambo trip as well. These Inca granaries sit on a hillside above the city. While reaching them requires a 30-45 minute steep climb, they’re much less visited than Ollantaytambo’s main ruins and are free to visit. 

Afterwards, plan to visit the Awamaki store. This non-profit works with weaving cooperatives of indigenous women and markets their creations internationally to bring sustainable income to local communities. You’ll find lovely-crafted textiles, perfect for taking home as a thoughtful souvenir.

Ollantaytambo often features in guided tours of the Sacred Valley .

8. Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain

Contributed by Sarah from A Social Nomad

If you’re looking for a Cusco day trip without crowds, then you should visit Palccoyo .  It’s one of Peru’s famous ‘rainbow mountains’ (or cerros colorados), but it is one that is only rarely visited.  Most visitors head to the more famous and well-known Vinicunca – so the lack of crowds is a good reason to head to Palccoyo instead.

mountainside striped with pink and yellow and blue earth and a sprinkling of snow

Peru’s rainbow mountains get their colour from the natural minerals here – there’s red from iron, green from phyllites, and yellow from Sulphur for starters.  Whichever rainbow mountain you opt to visit from Cusco, the views are stunning, the scenery glorious – and the air a little thin.  Vinicunca is located at 5,200 meters above sea level, and Palccoyo is 300 meters lower in altitude.

Palccoyo makes a great day trip from Cusco, as even though it’s a 3.5-hour drive from Cusco, you can get to see the rainbow mountains with just about 30 minutes of hiking, and without crowds.  Drivers will accompany you to the best points for photography and most group tours to Palccoyo also include lunch on your return.  There are rarely people here, so you’ll have the mountains to yourself.  The last 30 minutes of driving are stunning – and other-worldly.  

Wear layers and bring plenty of water to hydrate and enjoy this incredible place!

9. Pikillacta

Contributed by Heather Cole from Conversant Traveller

Pikillacta is an unusual archaeological site that is easily reached from Cusco. It’s about 20 km east of the city and is well off the beaten tourist trail which means you may have the place to yourself when you visit.

Dating to around 800 A.D.  Pikillacta  is an ancient settlement of Wari origin. The Incas later took over, but the structures and layout give a fascinating insight into the mysterious Wari culture. Little is known about this civilisation and the site is still being excavated. You might even get to see some of the archaeologists at work while you stroll around the complex.

reddish stone ruins spread out across a valley

The city sprawls across the valley, and you can walk along the old roads and take in some of the dwellings and buildings – there are over 700! A couple of rare dinosaur skeletons have been found during the excavation work, and you can see them on display in the small on-site museum.

To really make the most of your visit it’s best to come with a Pikillacta tour guide , who can accompany you from Cusco. You may need to hire a car and driver, as public transport options are limited. You can also stop at the Tipon archaeological park along the way to Pikillacta.

Map: Day Trips From Cusco

Here’s a map of the region around Cusco and the destinations in these recommended day trips from Cusco.

How To Use This Map : Click the tab in the top left-hand corner of the map to view the layers. If you click the icons on the map, you can get more information about each one.  If you click the star next to the map’s title, it will be added to your Google Maps account. To view it on your phone or computer, open Google Maps, click the menu, go to ‘Your Places’ or ‘Saved’, then click Maps and you will see this map in your list.

In Conclusion

I hope you’re inspired by all you can see and explore in the area surrounding Cusco . It really is full of ancient ruins and natural wonders! If you’re in need of more ideas for travelling in Peru, check out my suggested itinerary for two exhilarating weeks in Peru .

If you like this article, I'd be delighted if you shared it!

About The Author

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Martha Knight

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20 Best Day Trips from Cusco

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Cusco may be one of the best home bases for any avid hiker or adventurer. The place is best known for Machu Picchu, but besides the famed UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s also home to the best day hikes one can possible take on.

While nomading in Cusco, I only have half of the day to explore while the next half is spent working. This is mostly the reason why I always have massive list of day trips that I constantly refer to when I find myself looking for a new adventure.

In this guide, I’m sharing with you the best day trips from Cusco that I’ve gathered when doing my personal research and recommendations from locals. Whether you like something challenging or something a bit more laid back, there should be a day trip for you on this guide.

Sacsayhuaman to Tambomachay Circuit – Most Convenient Day Trip from Cusco

Inkilltambo & temple of the moon – best if you’re looking for free day trips from cusco, rainbow mountain – vinicunca, rainbow mountain – polccoyo, huchuy qosqo, waqrapukara (most scenic day trip from cusco), tipon archaeological site, cerro pikol, machu picchu citadel, machu picchu citadel with huayna picchu or huchuy picchu, machu picchu citadel with machu picchu mountain, humantay lake, moray and maras salt mine, lares valley, ollantaytambo, pisac ruins, pisac’s 3 lakes (kinsa cocha), wrapping up.

That said, let’s get to it!

The Sacsayhuaman to Tambomachay Circuit is a standout day hike near Cusco, celebrated for its convenience and impressive scenery. Offering stunning views and often featuring llamas grazing among ancient ruins, this trail is a mere 20-minute hike from Cusco’s city center, making it a top choice for those seeking an unforgettable experience in the region.

Sacsayhuaman - One of the best day trips from Cusco

How to Get There

To start this circuit from Sacsayhuaman, several options are available.

  • Get taxi from wherever you can find one (such as Plaza de Armas), which will be around 15-20 soles
  • Get a colectivo heading to Pisac. These colectivos depart from Calle Puputi, and the fare is around 2-5 soles. If you take this option, you can even start from Tambomachay and work your way back to Sacsayhuaman.
  • Look for a bus that says “Sr del Huerto” or “Senor del huerto” bus along Calle Puputi. This is the cheapest option at 1 sol.

🔗 Related : 45 BEST things to do in Cusco

All attractions along the Sacsayhuaman to Tambomachay Circuit are covered by the Boleto Turistico ticket, ensuring access to the archaeological wonders. If opting for a taxi from Cusco to Sacsayhuaman, budget around S/ 15, with a travel time of approximately 10 minutes.

Inkilltambo: Inkilltambo Archaeological Site is situated in the district of San Sebastian within the Saqsayhuaman archaeological park. It is a remarkable shrine surrounded by andens, aqueducts, and drainage systems. This ancient sanctuary, known as ‘Huaca’ in Quechua, was a significant place of worship during the Inca period.

Carved into an immense igneous rock, it features five hornacins—three outside the rock and two within. La Huaca, designed for water worship, includes niches and water channels supplying terraces supported by massive stone walls. The site also boasts a finely carved main temple and storage colcas, where food was stored.

Inkilltambo - One of the best day trips from Cusco

Temple of the Moon and Kallachaka: The nearby Temple of the Moon is a set of stones surrounding a mysterious cavern symbolizing fertility, located just 2 kilometers from Inkilltambo. Additionally, Kallachaka, with its circular pyramid shape, served as a site for Inca religious ceremonies and offers beautiful landscapes along with Inca trails and stone banks. Both the Temple of the Moon and Kallachaka provide unique insights into the spiritual and cultural practices of the Inca civilization.

20 Best Day Trips from Cusco -

To explore these fascinating sites, you have a few transportation options.

  • You can hike from Cusco although it will can be a full day affair.
  • Take a collectivo from the bus stop on Recoleta Avenue, served by Inka Express (green buses). The 15-minute journey costs only 1 Sol. Once dropped off at the Shop stop, a short walk will lead to the entrance gate. The hike from the gate to Inkilltambo takes about an hour.
  • Alternatively, some tour operators offer different types of tours through Inkilltambo. There are horseback riding, bike, and even horseback riding tours.

The cost for visiting Inkilltambo and its neighboring sites is primarily associated with transportation. Public transport buses to the Temple of the Moon or the southern zone of Sacsayhuaman charge 1 Peruvian sol (approximately 0.3 dollars). Other than that, if you opt for a guided tour.

Rainbow Mountain, or Montaña de Siete Colores, is an extraordinary destination drawing up to 1,500 visitors daily, accumulating a staggering 365,000 hikers each year. This awe-inspiring natural wonder, nestled in the Andes at a high altitude, features vibrant mineral layers resembling a rainbow.

The iconic Vinicunca peak, standing at 17,060 ft (5,200m), offers a more challenging 7km hike with a steep incline to the top. Adventurous trekkers can extend the journey to explore the Red Valley, where mountains don various shades of red.

Vinicunca - One of the best day trips from Cusco

The trip, typically a day excursion (or extended to two days for a more extended hike), requires an early departure from Cusco, around 3 or 4 am. However, the breathtaking scenery comes with a real risk of altitude sickness. Good news is that you have the option to hire horses for a significant portion of the trek, stopping at the base of the final steep ascent. The cost for a horse to Rainbow Mountain is 80 soles (approximately $25).

⚠️ Warning Careful with altitude sickness in hiking Rainbow Mountain. I hiked with my friend to the Rainbow Mountain and she had a bad bout of altitude sickness despite hiking the Inca Trail with me just three days ago. Read our guide on how to avoid altitude sickness in Cusco

To reach Rainbow Mountain, various transportation options are available:

Tour Bus: A minibus takes you to the mountain’s base, requiring an additional 3-hour hike to reach Rainbow Mountain. This can be a cost-effective and less cumbersome choice.

Colectivo from Cusco to Checacupe: Depart from Av. Tomasa Ttito Condemayta, opposite the Hospital Adolfo Guevara Velasco Essalud, by 8 am. The colectivo, costing 8 soles, reaches Checacupe in a 2-hour ride. From Checacupe, arrange for a driver to take you to the Vinicunca trailhead, involving an additional 2-hour drive. It’s advisable to have the driver wait for your return, given the difficulty of securing transportation back.

Taxi: Alternatively, a taxi, costing around 100-120 soles, can take you from Cusco to Checacupe, wait for you during the hike, and return you to Checacupe. From there, catch another bus back to Cusco, with an estimated arrival time between 8-9 pm.

The entrance fee to Rainbow Mountain is 15 soles (4 USD), excluding transportation expenses. Various transport options offer flexibility based on budget and convenience, providing visitors with the opportunity to explore this remarkable natural wonder.

Polccoyo offers a unique experience with not just one but three rainbow mountains, making it a distinctive destination. The visual spectacle begins right from the parking lot, continues along the hike, and culminates at the final viewpoint, showcasing the breathtaking array of colors. Additionally, Polccoyo features a lesser-known site named Palccoya, where visitors can witness several slopes adorned with rainbow hues.

Unlike its more famous counterpart, Polccoyo sits at a slightly lower elevation of 16,076 ft (4,900m). The 4km hike is characterized by a slow and steady elevation gain, making it more accessible compared to the Vinicunca trek. Beyond the natural wonders, a trip to Polccoyo provides an opportunity to observe Andean farming communities at work during the drive.

The best way to get there is either to take a tour or drive from Checacupe . The drive takes approximately 2.5 hours, and taxi costs may be slightly higher than the trip to Vinicunca due to the increased distance.

The entrance fee to Polccoyo is 15 soles (4 USD), similar to Rainbow Mountain (Vinicunca) plus transportation expenses. This allows visitors to explore not only the renowned Rainbow Mountain but also its lesser-known yet equally enchanting counterpart, Polccoyo.

Chinchero stands as one of the most overlooked archaeological gems in the region. It’s best known as the Inca Tupac Inca Yupanqui’s residence. The site boasts beautiful palaces built for the Inca and his panaca, surrounded by the majestic snowy peaks of Salkantay, Verónica, and Soray.

Chinchero is only a brief 30-minute drive from Cusco’s city center.

20 Best Day Trips from Cusco -

Visitors have the unique opportunity to witness the cultural richness of the area, observing women in vibrant costumes engaging in the traditional processes of spinning and dyeing wool with natural dyes. The Chinchero weavers continue this ancient tradition, providing a glimpse into the enduring cultural heritage of the region.

🔗 Related: Polish up your spanish with our Survival Spanish 101

Colectivo: For a cost-effective option, a $1.50 colectivo ride provides convenient transportation to Chinchero, allowing visitors to explore this historical site and its cultural treasures.

The cost to visit Chinchero includes transportation and the Boleto Turistico, ensuring access to the archaeological wonders of the site. This affordable option offers a rich cultural experience and a chance to appreciate the historical significance of Chinchero, often overshadowed by more well-known attractions in the region.

Situated at an elevation of 3550 meters above sea level, Huchuy Qosqo, meaning “Small Cusco,” is a hidden gem located 5 km from the province of Calca. This small Inca settlement holds a rich historical tapestry with its series of temples, plazas, and storage buildings. Notable structures include the Kallanka (Great Halls), serving as resting places for high-class individuals, and Qolcas, storage buildings for food like corn in the elevated areas.

In his final year of government, Inca Wiracocha chose to retire to Huchuy Qosqo, reveling in the breathtaking views offered by nature until his passing. This lesser-known site sees fewer than 50 visitors each day, offering an intimate and serene exploration experience. The diversity of plant life, including orchids, ferns, and Andean lilies, along with fauna such as Andean condors, llamas, alpacas, and vicunas, adds to the natural allure of Huchuy Qosqo.

On Foot or Horseback: The site can only be accessed on foot or horseback. A dirt road runs from Lamay to a viewpoint, approximately 150m (492 ft) from the ruins. Travelers can reach this road by car. For a day trip, starting points include Chinchero, Quenqo Village, Tambomachay, or Lamay in the Sacred Valley.

To explore Huchuy Qosqo, hiring a tour guide through Salkantay Trekking is priced at $100 per person. This cost ensures a guided and informative journey through the historical and natural wonders of this unique Inca settlement.

Waqra Pukara, translating to Horned Fortress, stands majestically overlooking the Apurimac River, creating a scene reminiscent of Lord of the Rings. This archaeological site is a hidden gem, attracting few tourists, making it an ideal choice for those seeking an off-the-beaten-path adventure. The historical significance of Waqrapukara is underscored by the last stand of the Qanchi people, who, before surrendering, fought valiantly, ultimately pledging allegiance to the Incas to spare their lives. The experience of exploring Waqrapukara involves a full day of hiking, with routes that may include significant elevation climbs, reaching an altitude of 13,500 feet.

Tour Company: Given the remote nature of Waqrapukara and the logistical challenges involved, opting for a tour company is highly recommended. The journey typically starts with a 4 AM wake-up call, followed by a 4-hour drive to the site and an additional 4 hours for the return journey. The scenic drive is well worth the effort. For those inclined to explore independently, camping along the trails is a feasible option.

Bus Option: For those adventurous souls who choose the DIY route, Transportes Ramos offers frequent buses to Sicuani. These buses depart near the Coliseo Cerrado, and you should exit at the village/stop of Chiquicahuana rather than going all the way to Sicuani.

The cost of exploring Waqrapukara with a tour company typically ranges from USD 45 to 100, offering a guided and organized experience. This expense covers the transportation, logistical planning, and ensures a memorable journey through the enchanting landscapes and historical wonders of Waqrapukara.

Tipon stands as one of the lesser-visited Inca ruins, offering a serene exploration experience with breathtaking views of the Andean peaks due to its elevated mountain location. Beyond its Inca legacy, Tipon preserves remnants of the Wari civilization from a time preceding Inca dominance in the region. The site’s distinctive feature is its 12 agricultural terraces, still in use, and functional water channels running throughout the area. Independent travelers have the opportunity to follow these water channels up the mountain, gaining a panoramic view of the local agricultural fields.

20 Best Day Trips from Cusco -

The hike to Tipon takes approximately 45 minutes to an hour to reach the entrance. Exploring the main ruins requires around 1.5 hours, with the option to extend the visit by hiking up the mountain. The hike is relatively easy, covering a distance of 2 km at an altitude ranging from 3100 to 3500 meters. Tipon is conveniently located 20 km from Cusco, making it an accessible and rewarding destination.

Collectivo from Cusco: Collectivos depart from Cusco on Calle Belén or Callé de la Cultura. Upon reaching Tipon, travelers can either walk the 2 km uphill to the ruins at an altitude of 3,560m or take a taxi from the town.

The cost of visiting Tipon includes the option of a Full Tourist Ticket (130 soles) or Partial Ticket Circuit 2 (70 soles), along with transportation (4 soles for the return journey). This affordable fee allows access to the archaeological wonders of Tipon and ensures a memorable journey through its historical and natural landscapes.

Ausangate, the highest mountain in the Cusco region, stands among 11 sacred apus, embodying a profound pilgrimage route during the Qoyllur Rit’i festival. Celebrating the Pleiades constellation’s reappearance in late May or early June, this trek holds spiritual significance marking the harvest season. The Ausangate circuit, stretching across 70km, weaves through remote Andean landscapes, offering breathtaking views of turquoise lakes, hanging glaciers, and vibrant mountains. Less-traveled than other routes, it provides a unique camping experience at designated sites for $1.5 per tent. Whether admiring the scenery or opting for day tours to the 7 lakes and Rainbow Mountain, Ausangate’s allure lies in its sacred aura and awe-inspiring natural wonders.

Conveniently accessible by a 2.5-hour public bus journey from Cusco’s Terminal Paradero Levitaca, Ausangate beckons adventure seekers. However, due to its high altitude and remote nature, hiring a guide or opting for a guided tour is recommended for a safer and more enriching experience along the Ausangate Trek.

Tour options abound, with a 1-day guided tour typically costing around $45, offering a curated exploration of Ausangate’s highlights. For a more immersive experience, designated campsites along the route provide camping at $1.5 per tent. Day tours efficiently showcase Ausangate’s beauty, while independent travelers can tailor their journey based on preferences and budget constraints.

Cerro Pikol, also known as Pillku Urqu, holds a distinct honor as the tallest mountain in Cusco, rising to 4000 meters above sea level. This day trip from Cusco in the southern valley of Cusco, particularly in the San Jerónimo district, its summit serves as a communal border between different peasant communities. The 16.4-km out-and-back trail near San Sebastian is renowned for its challenging nature, taking approximately 6 hours and 26 minutes to complete. Beyond its hiking appeal, Cerro Pikol is a sought-after mountain biking destination, offering thrilling descents amidst breathtaking views of Cusco and the neighboring Valley de Corral.

Accessing Cerro Pikol involves taking a bus to Tambomachay, followed by a potential additional fee for transportation to the crossroads. Alternatively, one can opt for a taxi from town or embark on a scenic walk from Tambomachay. While the ridge hike offers a more relaxed experience, ascending to the summit requires stamina for a vertical lung-busting climb. Safety precautions are crucial, especially during the descent, avoiding the ravine on the left. Travelers should carry their passport and entrance ticket, aiming to arrive 2-3 hours before closing time.

Exploring Cerro Pikol comes with minimal financial requirements. For group transportation to the crossroads, a nominal fee, such as the 4 soles paid by a group of 11, may apply. Apart from any transportation expenses, the experience of Cerro Pikol is relatively budget-friendly, making it an accessible adventure for nature enthusiasts and hikers in Cusco.

Machu Picchu, the awe-inspiring citadel, stands as a multifaceted marvel. Beyond its potential role as a center of worship and astronomical observation, it might have served as a residence for the royal family of Inca Pachacutec, the empire’s founder. Home to 200 to 300 individuals of high social rank, Machu Picchu is a testament to Incan ingenuity. Recognized as one of the Seven Wonders of the New World, this mountaintop marvel sits at an elevation of 8,000 feet amidst a tropical forest, providing a breathtaking backdrop for its precincts, plazas, temples, tombs, and unique urban design.

20 Best Day Trips from Cusco -

Visiting Machu Picchu needs a bit of planning. You can get tickets at www.machupicchu.gob.pe for different circuits. To travel from Cusco to Machu Picchu , you can take a train from Ollantaytambo. The train ride takes about 1.5 hours and offers great views. When you reach Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu town), you can either take a 2-hour steep hike on Camino Peatonal trail or a bus. The bus is a bit expensive, starting from $24 USD and going up to $34 USD if you book online.

Going to Machu Picchu involves some costs. Apart from your travel expenses, you’ll need to pay S/ 152.00 for the ticket to enter the site. Make sure to plan your budget accordingly so you can fully enjoy your Machu Picchu experience.

Huayna Picchu is a standout feature at Machu Picchu, rising to 2720 meters (8,924 feet). Getting tickets for it can be a bit challenging, especially during the busy season, so it’s a good idea to plan ahead. Huayna Picchu, meaning “young peak” in Quechua, is the green mountain you always see in pictures of Machu Picchu. It offers an adventurous climb with steep stairs and narrow paths. The top might be crowded, but the view over Machu Picchu and the Urubamba River is worth it. There’s also Huchuy Picchu, which used to be part of the route to Huayna Picchu.

20 Best Day Trips from Cusco -

🔗 Related : What I learned in my 3D/2N Multi-day Inca Trail Hike to Machu Picchu

To visit Huayna Picchu or Huchuy Picchu, you can get tickets for Circuit 4 at www.machupicchu.gob.pe . The climb up Huayna Picchu is a bit demanding, so having a moderate fitness level is recommended. It’s a unique experience, providing a different perspective of Machu Picchu.

Apart from transportation expenses, you’ll need to pay S/ 152.00 for the ticket. Plan your journey well, ensuring you have the right tickets and fitness level for the climb, and you’ll enjoy this special adventure at Machu Picchu.

Machu Picchu Mountain promises one of the most breathtaking panoramic views in Peru. Standing at 3,051 meters (10,010 feet), it provides an extraordinary perspective of the Incan city. The trail to the summit involves ascending 1600 stone steps along a wide path, taking about an hour and a half to reach the viewpoint. Unlike the steeper climb of Huayna Picchu, Machu Picchu Mountain offers less daunting trails, potentially used for rituals, astronomy, and surveillance. The journey is not just about the destination; it’s an exploration of intriguing ruins and stunning viewpoints.

20 Best Day Trips from Cusco -

To experience this unique adventure, secure passes for Circuit 3 at www.machupicchu.gob.pe . The path to Machu Picchu Mountain aligns with the route to the citadel, adding an extra layer of exploration to your visit.

If you buy it from the official site, it costs S/152

With only 400 tickets available daily, planning in advance is crucial, especially during peak seasons when tickets can sell out up to six months ahead. Ensure you plan your journey meticulously to savor the extraordinary views Machu Picchu Mountain has to offer.

Humantay Lake, tucked away in the high Andes along the Salkantay Trek, is a hidden gem worth exploring. If you’re not up for a four-day trek, you can take a day trip from Cusco with a group tour. The lake, surrounded by stunning mountains, is known for its vibrant blue-green water. The 6.2-mile round-trip hike might be a bit challenging due to the high altitude, so it’s a good idea to spend a few days in Cusco to acclimate. Booking an early morning tour helps you avoid the crowds and fully enjoy this breathtaking spot.

Getting to Humantay Lake is easy with a group tour from Cusco to Soraypampa, where the trail starts. The 2.5-hour drive from Cusco takes you through the Andes, offering scenic views and setting the stage for your adventure.

You can join a day tour for as low as S/65 through local agencies in Cusco. Another option is to combine your visit to Humantay Lake with the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu for a more comprehensive exploration. Whether you go for the budget-friendly day tour or the combo trek, Humantay Lake promises a stunning natural experience filled with beauty and adventure.

Moray and Maras Salt Mines is among the most fascinating day trips from Cusco with two distinct attractions. Moray features mysterious circular Incan terraces whose exact purpose remains unknown. These terraces, forming rings on the mountainside, provided different climates for growing various crops, similar to modern greenhouses. Maras Salt Mines, located nearby, showcase staggered terraces where locals have been harvesting pink salt for generations, using ancient methods.

20 Best Day Trips from Cusco -

The sites are around an hour and a half drive from Cusco in the Sacred Valley. While many tour operators offer half-day trips, you can also do this tour independently. Take a colectivo from Avenida Grau in Cusco to Urubamba, informing the driver you’ll get off at Maras. From Maras, a short 15-minute taxi ride can take you to the salt mines. After exploring the salt mines, ask your taxi driver to take you to Moray and then back to the colectivo station in Maras for your return trip to Cusco.

Entrance to Maras Salt Mines is not included in the Cusco tourist ticket and requires an extra fee of 10 soles (3 USD).

A day trip to Lares Valley promises an adventure off the beaten path, providing a glimpse into the traditional way of life in the Andes. Starting in the village of Quiswarani, the journey encompasses Inca terraces, local markets, and encounters with the friendly residents. The valley, standing at over 10,600 feet above sea level, offers stunning views of the Andes, with fewer tourists and more opportunities to engage with the local communities. A highlight of the trip is a visit to the Natural Thermal Baths, featuring four pools ranging from 36 to 44 degrees Celsius.

Getting There

While the Lares trek is typically a multi-day experience, a day trip can be arranged through a tour company for a condensed yet enriching adventure. If opting for public transportation, take a collectivo from Puputi Street in Cusco, passing through Pisac and Calca before reaching Lares Valley. The scenic journey takes about 2 hours, and upon reaching Quiswarani, follow the signs to explore the village.

For those embarking on the journey from Calca to Quiswarani, the cost is approximately 10 PEN ($2.50 USD), lasting around 1 hour and 25 minutes. The collectivos operate from 6:00 to 18:00, departing when full. The leg from Cusco to Calca costs around 6 PEN ($1.75), taking about 1 hour, with departures when the collectivo is full.

Ollantaytambo offers a captivating blend of history and natural beauty, making it a must-visit day trip from Cusco. Climbing 200 steps to the top rewards you with breathtaking views of Ollantaytambo and the river valley. The town itself, with its cobbled alleyways flanked by the ruins of Pinkuylluna and Ollantaytambo, exudes a unique charm. Serving as a gateway to the Amazonian corner of the Incan Empire, Ollantaytambo holds a rich history, including a successful defense against the Spanish conquistadors. The fortress, a major highlight, sits atop the mountain, offering panoramic views of the Sacred Valley.

Ollantaytambo features various intriguing sites, including the military area, the Temple of the Sun, and the Princess Bath, showcasing Inca architecture and craftsmanship. The terraces, storehouses, and the Face of Wiracocha add layers to the historical significance of the town. Don’t miss the Inca quarry, a 6km hike from the town, believed to be the source of the large blocks used in construction.

Taking a bus early in the morning from Cusco ensures a less crowded experience. Colectivos, available at the taxi terminal on Pavitos Street, offer an easy and affordable way to reach Ollantaytambo, with the journey taking approximately 90 minutes. The town and its surrounding ruins are a delight to explore.

The adventure to Ollantaytambo involves transportation costs plus the boleto turistico, granting access to various archaeological sites in the region.

Pisac Ruins are a hidden gem, my favorite Inca site after Machu Picchu. They sit high on a mountain, overlooking the stunning Sacred Valley. The hike from town is challenging but totally worth it. The site is massive, and you can spend hours exploring ancient buildings, Andean terraces, and Inca architecture wonders. As you climb, the views of Valle Sagrado are breathtaking. The town of Pisac itself is charming with cobblestone streets and locals in traditional attire. A Sunday visit treats you to the vibrant Pisac Sunday Market, offering a glimpse into Peruvian village life.

20 Best Day Trips from Cusco -

A day trip to Pisac is a quick journey from Cusco, giving you a taste of small Peruvian village life. The ruins, once a significant Incan military complex, are well-preserved and easily accessible, just an hour by bus from Cusco. The site is also a great hike if you’re up for a challenge. The trail starts at the back of the Pisac market, and although it’s short, it’s steep and demanding due to the altitude. Don’t forget to carry water! The Boleto Turistico, costing 40-70 soles, is your ticket to explore this historical wonder.

Catch a colectivo from Cusco to Pisac at the top of Puputi Street. Once there, you can stroll around the town or head straight to the ruins. At the ruins, get your Boleto Turistico stamped, and if you wish, hire a guide for more insights. For those not keen on the uphill trek, plenty of taxis are available to drive you, wait for you, or let you hike back down at your own pace.

Discover the hidden gem of Pisac’s 3 Lakes (Kinsa Cocha), an easy, flat, and off-the-beaten-track one-day hike offering stunning views of three serene lakes. Tailor the hike to your desired distance while meandering through beautiful valleys, fields, and mountains with occasional encounters with Alpacas. With scarce tourists, the route provides a tranquil escape, ensuring you have the path all to yourself. The journey includes a colectivo ride from Cusco to Pisac, followed by a taxi to Kinsa Cocha. You’ll negotiate with the driver to wait during your 3-hour hike, visiting two interconnected lakes and the mesmerizing Laguna Azul. The return trip includes exploring Pisac’s bustling market before heading back to Cusco.

Begin your adventure by driving 30-40 minutes from Cusco or opt for an affordable colectivo (shared van) from Cusco to Pisac, costing only 5 soles / $1.25 per person. Colectivos depart frequently from the top of Puputi street, offering a 45-minute journey to Pisac. Upon arrival, find taxi drivers on the main street, negotiate a round-trip price, and ensure the driver waits for you at Kinsa Cocha lakes, given their remote location. The average cost for the round trip is 115 soles / $35 USD, covering approximately five hours, including the driver’s waiting time.

Enjoy the Kinsa Cocha experience without an entrance fee; your expenses will be solely for transportation. Colectivo fares from Cusco to Pisac are 5 soles / $1.25 per person, providing an economical means to reach your destination. The negotiated round-trip taxi cost, averaging 115 soles / $35 USD, includes the driver’s waiting time during your exploration of the lakes. A budget-friendly escapade into nature’s tranquility awaits, with minimal expenses beyond transportation.

These 20 day trips from Cusco are only a handful of what’s there to explore in this fantastic city. Most people know of Machu Picchu when they learn about Cusco, but sometimes the better hikes are ones that are less known. I personally loved Ollantaytambo and Pisac because the towns themselves are worth staying in. Whichever day trip you decide to do, I’m sure you’ll find something appreciating.

Happy travels!

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Top Best Places and Tourist Attractions to Visit in Peru and Cusco

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Live an unique vacation in Peru with our personalized itineraries designed exclusively through authentic tours, in harmony with the natural world. Travel to Peru and fuel your imagination on a diet of ancient treasures and wonderful landscapes. Surrounded by majestic Andean peaks, world wonder Machu Picchu and the historic city of Cusco highlight Peru’s dramatic birth from the encounter between Incas and Spaniards. Peru is one of the most diverse travel destinations on the entire planet. Full of wilderness, adventure, history, world-renowned cuisine and a colorful culture, this is a country that offers several exciting options for, literally, any type of traveler.

day tours cusco

Custom Tours, Trips & Travel Packages in Peru

The best travel packages and tours to peru.

  • Machu Picchu Tour with Rainbow Mountain Trek 5 Days
  • Sacred Valley with Short Inca Trail & Rainbow Mountain Tour – 4 Days

Explore our selection of Peru tours and packages and get inspire with our journeys and find your perfect itinerary. Come to Peru to discover its mystical land with ancient citadels, magnificent natural beauty, traces of ancient civilizations, rich history, and vibrant culture, of course, Peru is a memorable destination. No matter your inclination or age, Peru Spirit Adventure has an exhilarating adventure ready to take you deep into the heart of Peru. From coastal metropolises, the lively Lima city, with its museums, galleries, and buzzing cuisine scene to the Peruvian Andes to explore Cusco, the historic capital of the Inca Empire, Sacred Valley with its bustling markets overflowing with vivid textiles and handicrafts, and end up with the most revered ruins in the world like Machu Picchu or keep exploring the dramatic snow-capped peaks, the vivid colors of Rainbow Mountain in the Andes Mountains with our carefully crafted custom tour packages in Southern of Peru

Best Tours & Trips to Machu Picchu

Embark an exceptional private tours of machu picchu in peru with an expert tour guide.

  • Tour to Machu Picchu with Vistadome Train 1 Day
  • Machu Picchu Tour by Train – 2 Days / 1 Night
  • Sacred Valley & Machu Picchu Tour 2D/1N
  • Cusco City Tour, Sacred Valley & Machu Picchu Tour 3D/2N
  • Sacred Valley 2 Day & Machu Picchu – 3 Days / 2 Nights
  • 4D/3N Cusco City, Sacred Valley 2 Day & Machu Picchu Tour
  • Sacred Valley & Inca Trail to Machu Picchu 3D/2N
  • 2-Day Moray, Maras Salt Mines & Machu Picchu Tour

The spectacular Inca citadel of Machu Picchu – Is the world’s greatest travel destination, a New Wonder of the World, South America’s top attraction, or purely a postcard-worthy ancient site that must be seen to be believed. Whether you travel to Machu Picchu by scenic train, hike the world-famous Inca Trail or venture off the beaten path, you’ll be able to enjoy a unique experience and discover the Lost City’s secrets. Once you step foot into this UNESCO World Heritage site, you’ll discover its refined architecture, spiritual meaning and astronomical importance. Machu Picchu – a bucket list experience!!

Best Inca Trail Tours to Machu Picchu Peru

Hike the famous inca trail to machu picchu, the best trekking route in all of south america.

  • Inca Trail 4 Days Trek to Machu Picchu 
  • Inca Trail 5 Days Tour to Machu Picchu
  • Inca Trail Short 2 Days Trek to Machu Picchu
  • Salkantay Trek + Classic Inca Trail 6D/5N
  • 1 Day Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
  • 2 Days Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

The Inca Trail – Is one of the most iconic and famous trails in South America – perhaps the world – and a must-do, life-changing experience. This 26-mile (42km) trail to the 15th-century Inca citadel of Machu Picchu goes across the Andes mountains reaching 13,829 ft (4,215m) and it’s hiked in 4 days and 5 days. Along the route you’ll get to see some fascinating archaeological sites that can only be accessed by foot and witness a mix of ecosystems with abundance in fauna and flora where you’ll have high chances to spot gorgeous orchids, tall mountains ranging from the snow-capped Andes to the luscious cloud forest and in the middle of this region is where you’ll camp every night and live an unforgettable experience and this original Inca steps ends at the Sun Gate (Inti Punku), the entrance to Machu Picchu city.

The Greatest Hikes in Peru

Alternative Treks To Machu Picchu & Off The Beaten Path Adventure Travel in Peru

SALKANTAY TREKS

  • Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu 5 Days
  • Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu 4 Days
  • Salkantay Challenge Trek 3 Days
  • Salkantay Trek + Classic Inca Trail 6 Days
  • Salkantay Trail to Machu Picchu & Zipline 5 Days

AUSANGATE TREKS

  • Ausangate Trek to Rainbow Mountains – 4 Days
  • Ausangate 5 Day Trek + Rainbow Mountains Cusco
  • Ausangate & Sibinacocha Lake 7D/6N

LARES TREKS

  • Lares Trek to Machu Picchu 3D/2N
  • Lares Trek & Short Inca Trail 5D/4N
  • Lares Trek 4 Days to Machu Picchu

HUCHUY QOSQO TREKS

  • Huchuy Qosqo 1 Day Hike
  • Huchuy Qosqo Trek 2 Days (With Machu Picchu)
  • Huchuy Qosqo Trek to Machu Picchu 3D/2N

CHOQUEQUIRAO TREKS

  • Choquequirao Trek 4D/3N
  • Choquequirao Trek 5D/4N

ANCASCOCHA TREKS

  • Ancascocha Challenge Trek 4D/3N
  • Ancascocha Trek 5D/4N

INCA QUARRY TREKS

  • Inca Quarry Trek 4D/3N
  • Inca Quarry Trek + Short Inca Trail 5D/4N

INCA JUNGLE TOURS

  • Inca Jungle 4 Days
  • Inca Jungle 3 Days

DAY TRIPS IN CUSCO

Enjoy the best of the city of Cusco & surrond

  • City Tour Cusco Half Day Tour – Morning or Afternoon 
  • Cusco City Highlights & Surroundings Tour – 1 Day
  • Maras Moray & Salt Mines Tour – Half Day
  • 1-Day South Valley Tour of Cusco
  • Walking Tour Cusco Half Day Tour
  • Cusco Horseback riding – Half day

FULL DAY HIKES

Off The Beaten Path Cusco Day Hikes

  • Full-Day Huchuy Qosqo Trek
  • Inca Quarry Trail 1-Day Hike
  • Chinchero to Urquillos One Day Trek
  • Pumamarca Hike to Ollantaytambo – 1 Day
  • Qeswachaka Bridge One Day Tour
  • Tipon, Pikillacta & Andahuaylillas Tour – 1 Day

BEST SELLER DAY TOURS IN CUSCO

Discover the Best Day Hikes in Peru

  • Rainbow Mountain One Day Tour
  • Horseback Ride Rainbow Mountain 1-Day Tour
  • Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain 1-Day Tour
  • Humantay Lake One Day Tour
  • 1-Day Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu
  • Ausangate 7 Lakes 1-Day Hike

Peru's Best Sacred Valley Tours in Private Service

Discover the best of sacred valley with a customized tour on your terms.

  • CLASSIC Sacred Valley Tour (Pisac & Ollantaytambo)
  • ALTERNATIVE Sacred Valley Tour (Chinchero, Moray, Salt Mines & Ollantaytambo)
  • EXTENDED Sacred Valley Tour (Pisac, Salt Mines, Moray & Ollantaytambo)
  • SUPER Sacred Valley Tour (Chinchero, Salt Mines, Moray, Ollantaytambo & Pisac)
  • FULL-DAY TOUR ( Moray, Salt Ponds of Maras & Pisac)
  • SACRED VALLEY TOUR from OLLANTAYTAMBO to CUSCO

Peru’s Sacred Valley – Just one hour away from Cusco, it’s a destination full of adventure, culture, and glimpses into local Andean life; nestled in the verdant foothills of the snow-capped Andes, with a stunning landscape, dotted with little villages and ruins. Explore Pisac and Ollantaytambo to witness and wander around stunning hillside Incan ruins, visit Chinchero to experience a traditional market day in the valley. Do not miss the ancient salt pans, known as the Maras Salt Mines and the Inca experimental terraces of Moray.

Rainbow Mountain Treks & Tours

Hike to the incredible rainbow mountain or vinicunca mountain in peru.

  • Rainbow Mountain Trek & Red Valley 2 Days
  • Ausangate & Rainbow Mountain Trek 3 Days
  • Ausangate Trek to Rainbow Mountains 4 Days
  • Machu Picchu Tour & Rainbow Mountain 5 Days 

Vinicunca Mountain — also known as the Mountain of Seven Colors, or more simply Rainbow Mountain — was discovered four years ago when the snow covering it melted, revealing the natural beauty of the rock beneath. A visit to Rainbow Mountain is an absolute must for all those who love stunning landscapes and gorgeous scenery. This hike to Rainbow Mountain offer you one of the earth’s most amazing natural wonders in Peru.

day tours cusco

Best Guided Cusco City Tour & Surroundings

Full Day Tour | Starting From: $ per person

Best Guided Cusco City Tour & Surroundings

Full Day Tour

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day tours cusco

Peru Spirit Adventure » Tours » Cusco Private Tours » Best Guided Cusco City Tour & Surroundings

Cusco City Highlights & Surroundings - Full Day

Explore the best that cusco has to offer with an expert tour guide.

Full-Day Cusco City Tour – Explore the highlights of this amazing city , ruins and its archaeological sites that surrond Cusco on a full-day city tour with a private Peru Spirit Adventure knowledgeable tour guide and enhance your visit to city of Cusco to its fullest, the once the shimmering capital of the entire Inca Empire .

This full-day city tour will allow you to explore the best of Cusco city, visiting all the most beautiful Inca and colonial sights in the historic center of Cusco, as well as discover the incredible Inca ruins both within the city and in the surroundings hills, and learn the city’s history from its foundations, while visiting the impressive Spanish colonial city in the southern highlands of Peru during your day trip in Cusco.

During this private Cusco full-day tour and surroundings in Peru , spend the morning visiting the incredible archaeological sites of Tambomachay, Puca Pucara, Q’enqo and Sacsayhuaman set just above Cusco City and enjoy sweeping views of the surrounding landscape, with a private local tour guide at your side!

Then, taste the delights of Andean cuisine at Cusco’s restaurants and bars. In the afternoon, explore the city’s highlights such as the grandeur of the Plaza de Armas of Cusco, temples and palaces of the city center as you walk through the ancestral typical streets and plazas of Cusco city: amazed yourself with the magnificent architecture of the colonial buildings lying over the Inca foundations.

Onward, visit the Cusco’s main Cathedral that holds approximately 300 paintings from the famous Cusqueña School in the city. Then amazed yourself with the famous Twelve-Angled Stone in Hatunrumiyoc Street. To finish later, visit the Temple of the Sun called Coricancha and Convent of Santo Domingo , and stop by the city’s San Pedro Market for a glimpse of daily life for city residents.

If you only have one day to explore the ancient heart of the Inca Empire and its incredible Incan ruins located on the outskirts of the royal city – embark on a full-day city tour of Cusco, it’s a foolproof plan to spend a perfect day in the capital of the mighty Inca Empire, and take a deep dive into some of the region’s cultural, at a leisure pace, no rush!

day tours cusco

Trip Details For Full-Day Cusco City Tour

  • Location/Terrain:  Gentle trails, dirt paths, grassy fields, mountains above Cusco, Cobblestone streets, pavement, Cusco City
  • Acclimatization:  A great way to acclimatize to Cusco’s altitude in prep for a trek
  • Duration:  1 Day tour
  • Altitude:  3400m/11,155ft to 3650m/11,975ft
  • Physical Grading:  easy, gentle walk, stone steps, and cobblestone streets
  • When to Go:  Year round
  • Departures:  Daily departures with 2 or more people
  • Customizable:  Yes! Private, custom, add-ons all available. Can add this on to any tour or trek

Embark on this personalized full-day guided sightseeing tour of the city and avoid the crowds, enjoying insider-access opportunities and staying longer, and explore the places that others don’t go during this city tour of  Cusco , and take the best photographs in this beautiful city

What's it like

day tours cusco

This day trip is an amazing introduction to Incan history and culture, and one of our most favorite tours offered and we personally rate it as a must not miss experience. This tour can also be added on to the Machu Picchu Train tour or any Trek for the complete Cusco experience!

Come and be one of the first adventurers to make this full-day guided sightseeing tour of Cusco with us and soak up the rich culture and spectacular landscape of the Imperial city! Contact us for a personalized day trip and our tailor-made trip experts will work with you.

This tour is completely customizable, which means you can make your add-ons or focus on certain interests, where our private guides will offer you with more unique experiences. At Peru Spirit Adventure will tailor this 1-day city tour of Cusco to your specifications.

Plan your Peru trip with a Cusco City Tour and explore all the significant Inca and colonial sights of the historic center, and get an insider peek into today’s Cusco, plus four spectacular Inca Ruins just outside town. Cusco holds excellent cultural richness.

Cusco City is the center of Inca history and this full-day tour is an absolute way of exploring and learning about the Incan heritage of Cusco and hidden gems. This great day trip is highly recommended for those who have very limited time or have just one day to explore the capital of the mighty Inca Empire, before or after the visit the whole Sacred Valley, and Machu Picchu. It is also perfect for travelers who would like to know more about our culture.

Cusco Highlights & Surroundings

  • Explore Cusco city and its hidden gems with a friendly local guide and soak up the rich culture and traditions as you touch down in the city of Cusco
  • Discover the best that Cusco has to offer on this full-day tour in Cusco and drive outside the city to visit important Inca sites, including the fortress of Sacsayhuaman, Quenqo, Pucapucara, and Tambomachay
  • Uncover the imperial City of Cusco, South America’s oldest continuously inhabited city, on a full-day guided sightseeing tour of the city with our native Tour Guide
  • During the Viceroyalty in Cusco, houses, colonial churches, and convents with magnificent art pieces were built on top of Incan walls and foundations. You’ll get to witness this and more.
  • Cusco holds various titles, including UNESCO World Heritage Site, Archaeological Capital of America, Historical Capital of Peru, and Navel of the World. Come and see why for yourself.
  • Visit the impressive Inca Temple of the Sun, also known as Qoricancha or Koricancha, the most renowned temple of the Inca Empire on your Cusco day trip
  • Stroll through antique and cobblestone streets of Cusco while learning about its history and culture, enjoying the fascinating colonial era architecture
  • As you head out of the center, you’ll be blown away by the incredible views of the surrounding mountains as well as the expansive city below, right in the middle.
  • Take a tour of the most historically important sites in the whole city to welcome you in the best way possible.

Itinerary of the 1-Day Guided Cusco City Tour & Surroundings

Day 1: san pedro market - sacsayhuaman & nearby ruins - cusco cathedral - qoricancha - 12-angle stone.

To begin a day on leisure in the ancient capital of the Incan Empire entitled a World’s Heritage site by UNESCO, we will pick you from your hotel at 8:00 am in our private transport. Then, you will drive with your guide to explore four spectacular Inca Ruins set just above Cusco City.

After driving for about 20 minutes from Cusco, we will spend the morning visiting the famous spectacular archaeological sites of Tambomachay, Puca Pucara, and Q’enqo, and the magnificent Inca site of Sacsayhuaman, one of the Inca Empire’s most spectacular buildings.

Next, we will take our private van and down to the city to visit the emblematic San Pedro Market or Cusco Central Market, one of the oldest in the whole city and probably the most famous. At this local market in Cusco, we’ll experience an authentic slice of everyday life in this city and get a little taste of local life in Cusco.

As we stroll through the rows of bright fruits, colorful garments, handcrafted pieces, and food stalls through colorful San Pedro Market. Your tour guide will tell you about the history and current workings of the market. Also, you will have the opportunity to interact with the local merchants at their stalls, so be prepared to practice your Spanish and Quechua skills.

Then, we walk down to the main square of Cusco to enjoy a great lunch (not included) at one of the typical restaurants, there are plenty of good expensive eateries for lunch on the Plaza de Armas.

Following lunch, we will continue a walking tour of Cusco, through the Cusco’s antique streets of the ancient capital of the Incas. Our afternoon tour includes the Plaza de Armas, Cusco Cathedral, the extraordinary the Temple of the Sun, also known as Qoricancha, the most important religious site of the Incas in the lower Cusco, as well as, explore antique streets in the city and admire its incomparable beauty.

After one-day guided sightseeing tour in Cusco in private service, we will drop you off at your hotel around 5 PM.

Important Note:  While we expect the Cusco City Tour (1D) will run as the itinerary describes. Participants should accept that there is the possibility of changes, being necessary liable to local conditions, e.g, strikes, natural desasters, these changes might be at the discretion of your travel company.

What’s Included For Cusco City Tour - 1 Day?

  • Pre-departure briefing:  We’ll meet you at your hotel for an orientation before your city tour in Cusco. The meeting will be at 5:00 PM the evening before the trip begins.
  • Experienced Guide:  All our guides are graduates of the professional career of Tourism of the National University San Antonio Abad of Cusco. Our guides are chosen for their professionalism, experience, responsibility, seriousness, unbridled passion for exploring, and a desire to share in the experience. They’ll make sure you are safe and happy.
  • Transportation:  All your transportation is included in this full-day city tour of Cusco. We’ll pick you up from your hotel to explore the Cusco city and outskirts of town. Once you complete the tour, we’ll take you back to the door of your hotel. The type of transportation will be provided based on the group size – SEDAN, MINI-VAN or VAN.

What Is Not Included?

  • Hotel before/after the tour
  • Tourist Ticket (Boleto Turistico): 70 soles per person (or 130 soles if you are also doing the Sacred Valley)
  • Entrance to Qoricancha (Temple of the Sun): 15 soles per person
  • Entrance to the main Cathedral: 25 soles per person
  • Travel interruption & travel medical/evacuation insurance (required)
  • Meals:  Meals are not included in your tour but our guides will recommend some good places. If you prefer another location, please feel free to tell your guide
  • Tip for your guide is optional but highly encouraged if you enjoy your tour

NOTE ON THE ENTRANCE TICKETS

The entrance fee to the archaeological and tourist sites are not included. Please note that you will need to purchase an a dmission partial ticket (Boleto Turistico Partial) whose cost is PEN 70 Peruvian soles (about USD 25 per ticket) which allows you to access four historical sites located on the city limits like Sacsayhuaman, Q’enqo, Puca Pucara, and Tambomachay (in other words, it is used only on this tour).

The cathedral and Q’oricancha (Temple of the Sun) are separate entrance tickets and are PEN 25 Peruvian soles (about USD 8 per ticket) and PEN 15 Peruvian soles (about USD 5 per ticket).

However, if you plan to visit historical sites in both Cusco and the Sacred Valley , we recommend you purchase the general admission ticket (Boleto Turistico General) whose cost is PEN 130 Peruvian Soles (about USD 45 per ticket), this ticket allows you to visit 14 historical sites, which are located in Cusco, Southern part of Cusco, Sacred Valley ( Pisac, Ollantaytambo, Moray, and Chinchero ), and some museums in Cusco city. The ticket is valid for 10 days.

The Maras salt ponds ticket is not part of the boleto turistico parcial or boleto turistico general (partial or general ticket), this ticket should be purchased at the entrance of the same place, whose cost is PEN 10 Peruvian soles (about USD 4 per ticket). It is not necessary to purchase the tourist pass in advance, as you can get it at the first site we visit on the tour.

What to bring for a Day Trip to Cusco & Surroundings

Cusco can experience every season in a single day, so you should be prepared for sun and rain, cold and hot weather! We recommend to bring with you

  • Original passport
  • Tourist ticket (not included in price)
  • Hat and sunglasses to protect you from the sun
  • Sunscream (factor 35 recommended)
  • Rain gear or plastic poncho
  • Winter hat or toque and gloves
  • A light day pack to carry your things
  • A bottle of water
  • Camera and films
  • Money for snacks, souvenirs and tips
  • Comfortable hiking shoes or athletic sneakers with good traction are perfect for walking up to and around the Inca archaeological complexes.

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day tours cusco

Why Peru Spirit Adventures!

Peru Spirit Adventure is a family owned travel agency and a local tour operator based in Cusco, Peru, in the Ancient Capital of the Inca Empire! Peru Spirit Adventure was founded by a Peruvian with over many years of guiding experience, and is a 100% Cusqueñian Company without any shareholders.

We are an agency with a great spirit of adventure and passionate about travel, dedicated to offer the best tourist services, to take you to discover the vast riches, natural and archaeological of each corner of the country.

We provide high quality service as well as focusing on having small groups to enhance the travel experience and customize any tour or trek to suit your travel, fitness, budget, and time preferences. This is what makes us stand out from other tour operators.

We create small personalized tours & treks strictly and only operated by local professional staff catering in PERSONALIZED and HIGH QUALITY SERVICE. Our guides in Peru are hand selected by the owners of Peru Spirit Adventure. All guides for our tours and treks are native to Peru and speak fluent English to ensure excellent communication and a positive experience overall.

We pride ourselves on providing 5 star service before, during, and after your trip. Peru Spirit Adventure is dedicated to excellent customer service and adventure experiences. We have been awarded from Trip Advisor the Certificate of Excellence for the last three years. Please check out our reviews and certificates of excellence on,  TRIPADVISOR  for yourself!

We are direct operators of all the tours and treks we offer, from family trips, honeymoon trips and luxury travel, including adventure tours to Peruvian Andes. Please email us to customize your trip in Peru.

Our tours & treks are operated in private service with a mínimum of 2 people to confirm the departure – Max 8 / Average 4 guests, ensuring a small group feel and specialized attention.

We are a responsible and sustainable tour operator – Our mission is to provide exceptional tours, treks, and adventure trips. During our trips, we make every effort to minimize negative impacts and maximize the benefits to the local people and natural environments we visit. We pay fair, livable wages, ensuring we hire and maintain the absolute best guides and support staff. We are proud of our team without them, we wouldn’t be able to offer the best service and lifetime experiences to our clie

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Thank you so much for reaching out to us. We will respond to all email inquiries within 24 hours. We are also reachable by chat and phone and look forward to connecting.

Our main email:  [email protected] / [email protected] Address:  Urb. Picchu Alto J – 5, Cusco – Peru​ Mobile:  +51 957 326 998 | +51 965 730 786 WhatsApp:  +51 957 326 998

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Sacred Valley Private Tours & Tailor Made with Local Experts

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Thank you so much for reaching out to us. Please complete the contact form below to tell us more about your dates, interests, the number of travelers, pick-up and drop-off places etc. We will do our best to help you organize your trip. You can be assured you will hear from us within 24 hours. Our Sacred Valley tour is available only in Private Service that offer you  the flexibility to design your own trip exactly how you like it, as well as the duration of the visit in each case, not being subject to a larger group itinerary and timings.

Terms & Conditions

Thank you for booking and/or traveling on a Peru Spirit Adventure tour with Peru Spirit Adventure. We are 100% local Cusqueñan company and legally recognized by Peruvian law. These Terms and Conditions apply to any travel products and/or services purchased from Peru Spirit Adventure. A contract is entered into once PERU SPIRIT ADVENTURE receives your booking form and deposit, and we accept and confirm the booking. Please note that travel arrangements are not confirmed until stated so in writing by PERU SPIRIT ADVENTURE. All Peru Spirit Adventure based treks and tours are operated by Peru Spirit Adventure.

BOOKING & PAYMENT

To reserve any of our tours and treks services, the customer must submit his or her personal information and a deposit. The personal information we require is the following: Full name (as appears on passport), Date of Birth, Nationality, Gender, and Passport number.

  • A picture of their passport photo page. A camera phone picture or similar is acceptable.

Once the customer confirms their reservation, we will send an email within 24 hours with a confirmation of their tour or trek and the deposit amount and also, details of the services included and not included in the service price. Once we send this information to the customer, if we do not receive any response from the customer it will be assumed by the company that the customer has accepted all terms and conditions. We provide a full pre-tour briefing at your hotel in Cusco. This gives the customer the chance to ask any questions they may have about the tour or trek itinerary. — ABOUT THE BRIEFING:  The night before your tour or trek, there will be a pre-tour talk (briefing) at your hotel in Cusco at either 6:00 pm or 7:00 pm. (exact time will be confirmed by email). Once you receive your briefing time, if we do not hear back we will assume it is confirmed by you. Please take this into consideration when booking your travel plans to Cusco, ensuring you arrive in time for the briefing. If your tour or trek begins on a Monday then the briefing will be scheduled for the Saturday before.

  • Please note that it is difficult to change the briefing time and date at short notice. Therefore, if we receive a request for a briefing change less than 48 hours prior to the scheduled briefing, we most likely will not be able to change the briefing time or date. We will, however, do everything we can to change to try and accommodate the schedule change.

We use PayPal for sending deposits, that way you can use your credit card. There is a 6% fee for deposits using PayPal (for the international transfer). We also use Western Union for sending deposits, Deposits through Western Union have variable fees. The deposit amount depends on the type of itinerary you will book, as follows;

  • For all trek and multi-day tours,  we require a deposit of $250 USD per person — Deposits for tours and treks are non-refundable and non-transferable to another individual. There are no exceptions.
  • For the Rainbow Mountain tours & hikes  we require a deposit of $100 USD per person — Deposits for tours and treks are non-refundable and non-transferable to another individual. There are no exceptions.
  • For the Humantay Lake Day Trip,  we require a deposit of $100 USD per person — Deposits for tours and treks are non-refundable and non-transferable to another individual. There are no exceptions.
  • For the Sacred Valley Tours & Trips,  we require a deposit of $100 USD (for the group) — Deposits for tours and treks are non-refundable and non-transferable to another individual. There are no exceptions.
  • For the Cusco Half Day Tours,  we require a deposit of $50 USD (for the group) — Deposits for tours and treks are non-refundable and non-transferable to another individual. There are no exceptions.
  • For large groups, we accept wire transfer for deposits and final balances due. If you would like more information about the wire transfer option, please email us at  [email protected]

FINAL PAYMENTS:  We accept cash and PayPal for final payments. A client may not depart for the tour or trek until payment in full is received, either in cash or by PayPal.

  • Cash payments  are due the day before tour or trek departure and can be paid at the pre-tour or trek briefing. We accept US dollars and Peruvian soles for cash payments. If you will pay in US dollars.  Take note.  The Peruvian banks are extremely strict about the “quality” of dollars they will accept. Therefore, we have to request that your bills are what they call “unbroken”. Broken bills will not be accepted. Broken means — any tear (even as small as 3 mm) or excessive wrinkling
  • PayPal payments  are due one week before the tour or trek departure.  a)  There is an 8% fee on balance due payments using PayPal.  b)  If the balance via PayPal is not paid by 3 days prior to trek departure, the PayPal fee will be 10%. Our PayPal email is: [email protected]
  • All banking fees will be covered by the client

CANCELLATION POLICY FOR TOURS & TREKS:

Notification

  • Notification of cancellation must always be made in writing by the person that made the booking and paid the deposit to  [email protected] .
  • Your deposit for the tours and treks are 100% non-refundable. If you need to cancel for any reason, as you approach your tour start date, there may be additional cost due. There are no exceptions due to the fact, that  PERU SPIRIT ADVENTURE  expends a great deal of expense purchasing permits, entrance tickets, and making deposits for reservations or services, most of which are non-changeable, non-transferable, and non-refundable by government regulation. We also do not accept medical notes of any kind, as our out of pocket expenses are non-refundable to us.

CANCELLATION FEES

  • Cancellations made 30 days in advance have no charge (with the exception of the non-refundable deposit) with the following exception:
  • Inca Trail treks
  • In the case of cancellation, the customer will not receive a refund of their deposit
  • If the customer cancels between 30 and 10 days before their trek, they must pay 50% of the total trip cost.
  • If the customer cancels between 10 and 3 days before their trek, they must pay 80% of the total cost.
  • If the customer cancels 2 days or less before their trek, they must pay 100% of the total cost.
  • In the exceptional case that a customer decides to leave once they have started the trek, no refund will be given. The customer must also pay any additional expenses they incur such as food, lodging, and transportation. On the last day, the customer will be able to rejoin the group and participate in the Machu Picchu tour.
  • If after the tour has started a client cannot participate in the trek or tour (due to sickness, physical problems, etc.) no refund will be given. The customer must also pay any additional costs they incur for transportation, lodging, and food. On the last day, the tourist will be able to rejoin the group and participate in the Machu Picchu tour.
  • In the case of natural disaster that prevents a service being completed, the customer will receive a 50% refund.
  • In the case of a natural disaster that requires a change in the trek route, but the trek is still completed, there will be no refund.
  • In the very unlikely circumstance that your service is not completed due to a fault of Peru Spirit Adventure, you will receive a full refund (including your deposit).

INCA TRAIL TOURS

  • PERMITS:  Permits for the Inca Trail are in your name and can not be transferred to anyone else under any circumstances. Change of dates is also not possible once a permit has been purchased. Permits are non-refundable and non-transferable. The deposit will be forfeited. Please note that this is a regulation of the Peruvian government and not Peru Spirit Adventure (or any agency).
  • In extreme cases when the “Inca Trail to Machu Picchu” is declared closed for safety reasons, Peru Spirit Adventure will replace your trek with an alternative trek.
  • Those who booked PERMITS with a Student ID must bring that ID with them on the trek. If they fail to show this card to the Park Rangers, they will not be allowed entry onto the trail.

CHANGES MADE BY CLIENT

  • Please note that for the Inca Trail, permits are not-changeable, not-transferable, and not-refundable. Dates can never be changed by government policy.

With the exception of the Inca Trail treks, we are generally able to change a trek date.

  • To change the date of your non-Inca Trail trek, there is a fee of US $75 per person if the change occurs more than 30 days prior to trek departure.
  • If the change occurs 21 to 30 days prior to trek departure, the fee is US $100 per person.
  • If the change occurs 10 to 20 days before trek departure, the fee is US $150 per person.
  • Changes less than 10 days prior to trek departure will have varying fees, which can be discussed at the time the change is being made.
  • Changes made must be to another group trek for a minimum of 2 individuals. If a single traveler needs to change dates, and there is not an existing option for that date, the change will not be possible.

TRAVEL INSURANCE

  • We highly recommend travel insurance for all of our customers.
  • Coverage should include baggage loss, accident, emergency air rescue and trip cancellation. Trip cancellation insurance should reimburse you for non-recoverable air or land expenses should you cancel your trip due to personal or family illness, as well as covering any medical or emergency evacuation expenses if you become ill during your trip.
  • In the case of illness or injury on one of our treks or tours, we are trained to provide emergency first aid and arrange transportation to a proper medical facility. However, we are not responsible for the cost of those transportation services or the cost of medical care.

ABOUT YOUR PASSPORT IN MACHU PICCHU, HUAYNA PICCHU AND ON THE INCA TRAIL:

  • Once you book your tour, we send your information immediately to “Machu Picchu Park” in order for permits to be issued as soon as possible.
  • You will need to bring your actual passport for all services. A photocopy will not be accepted.
  • If your passport number changes between reserving your spot and the start of your trek, you will need to bring your old as well as your new passport to the start of the Trek.
  • If any of the information on your passport does not match the information we were previously provided, you won’t be able to start the trek.
  • If you arrive in Cusco and did not advise us that you have a new passport number, and that your information has changed, Peru Spirit Adventure will not be held responsible. In this situation it will be the responsibility of the customer to pay the extra expense of returning to Cusco or Machu Picchu (transportation, food and other expenses).

TRAVEL IN PERU:   Peru Spirit Adventure  operates in regions, where standards of accommodation can vary. Transportation and other services might not be like those you would normally have back home. However, we strive with all due care and skill, to provide the best service for our clients. Traveling in Peru requires flexibility, patience, broad-mindedness, good humor and an understanding that changes may be made without notice due to circumstances or occurrences beyond our control. For example: a strike, protest, landslide, bad weather, etc. ( Force Majeure ). By booking any of our tours & treks, you agree to allow  Peru Spirit Adventure  to make necessary changes without liability.

FORCE MAJEURE

Force Majeure is any event that PERU SPIRIT ADVENTURE cannot with all due care foresee, control or avoid. This covers events such as war or threat of war, riot, civil strike, terrorist activity, industrial dispute, disease, natural disasters, adverse weather conditions, fire or all similar events beyond our control. In this case, PERU SPIRIT ADVENTURE will not accept liability and reserves the right to change, postpone or even cancel trips. (This is a last option, of course!)

By booking any of our adventure trips (Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, Lares, Salkantay, Ausangate, Choquequirao, Rainbow Mountain trek and more) you assume the risks associated with personal accidents, medical emergencies, air travel problems etc. For these treks, PERU SPIRIT ADVENTURE Agency accepts no responsibility.

FULL TERMS & CONDITIONS FOR ADVENTURE TOURS & TREKS

  • You must advise Peru Spirit Adventure of any medical problems or allergies you may have. You need to be in good physical health, and if your health is questionable, then you should consult a doctor. If you are over the age of 70 years old, then you will need to present us with a current good health medical certificate.
  • You must advise your guide if you wish to leave the group or the camping area for independent walks or sightseeing. If you are experiencing any problems with the services of the guide or tour, please advise the guide in that moment, so that he can resolve any problems.
  • All balances need to be paid in either cash or PayPal (see “ FINAL PAYMENTS ” section above).
  • In order to receive a student discount, you must send your valid University ID to Peru Spirit Adventure at the time of booking. ID must have your name, photo and valid expiration date. Any card without an expiration date will not be accepted. You will then be required to bring your student card with you on the trek – they will not allow you to pass through the checkpoint without this original card.
  • You will be required to show the original passport (not a copy) that you booked with, at the checkpoint to enter the Inca Trail. If you originally booked with an old passport and then renewed your passport, you must also bring your expired passport along with your new, valid passport to permit entry or they will refuse your entrance to the trail.
  • Cancellations: Your deposit is 100% non-refundable. If you need to cancel for any reason, as you approach your tour start date, there may be additional cost due. There are absolutely no exceptions (we do not accept medical notes of any kind) as our out of pocket expenses are non-refundable to us (see  “CANCELLATION FEES”  section above).
  • PERMITS: Permits for the Inca Trail are in your name and can not be transferred to anyone else under any circumstances. Change of dates is also not possible once a permit has been purchased. Permits are non-refundable and non-transferable. The deposit will be forfeited. Please note that this is a regulation of the Peruvian government and not PERU SPIRIT ADVENTURE (or any agency).
  • All Adventure Treks include transportation to Cusco. The return train route depends on train availability.
  • If you become ill or injured on the trail and are unable to continue, a porter will be provided to accompany you back to an area with emergency assistance capabilities. Helicopter airlifts and medical assistance are at the expense of the trekker. If you are unable to complete the tour due to illness, we will assist you in meeting your group at Machu Picchu to recommence your tour at that point. There will be no refund of the original payment.
  • PERU SPIRIT ADVENTURE will take all reasonable care in providing to our clients avoidance of accident, illness, and loss of personal property, and will only employ suitably qualified staff. We accept responsibility for the actions of our own employees. Peru Spirit Adventure cannot, however, be responsible for any action of third parties. You are totally responsible for your own personal property and rented equipment.
  • PERU SPIRIT ADVENTURE does not take responsibility for unfavorable weather conditions, natural catastrophe, strikes, accidents, illness, injury, loss of personal ítems, etc. It is the client’s responsibility to carry insurance to cover these types of events. We reserve the right to modify or cancel the program due to any of the unforeseen conditions listed above.

VERY IMPORTANT:

  • We strongly suggest spending time at high altitude (above 3000 meters / 9842 feet)- in Cusco or another high altitude area for a minimum of 2- 4 days before undertaking your trip. This is in order to minimize the possible effects of altitude sickness. By drinking plenty of fluids, adding sugar to your drinks, eating food high in carbohydrates, avoiding cigarettes, alcohol, and drinking coca tea (ancient traditional leaf) will help your body acclimatize.
  • We recommend you arrive in Cusco 48 hours or more before trek departure because occasionally we need to leave earlier than scheduled in case of strikes or other events out of our control (see ‘Force Majeure’ section below)

RIGHT TO USE PICTURES

You accept and grant to Peru Spirit Adventure – Tour Operator the right to use your images, photos, and videos that show or describe during your participation in any tour, trekking or adventure, in any advertising of any type, without payment of any additional consideration.

Thanks again for choosing us and we look forward to seeing you in Cusco!

Peru Spirit Adventure Team!

Who is  Peru Spirit Adventure ? We are a small tour operator company owned by a local  Peruvian experts  with more than 10 years of experience as a guide.  Our office is based in Cusc o, a city in the Peruvian Andes and is located near the central square, Plaza del Armas. Our team is made up of  knowledgeable  and  passionate  tour guides from  Cusco  and  Andes  with many years of experience  Read more

PERSONAL DETAILS

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TRIP DETAILS

Adults 0 1 2 3 4 5 7 8 Above 8

Children 0 1 2 3 4 5 7 8 Above 8

Questions and Comments

The price of the one-day private Cusco city tour depends on the size of the group and is available on any day that suits your schedule! 2 people minimum required to start a group! Spend more time at the Inca cities in small or private groups with your private expert local guide!

  • Price for 2 people: 95 USD per person
  • Price for 3 people: 80 USD per person
  • Price for 4 people: 65 USD per person
  • Price for 5 people: 50 USD per person
  • Price for 6 people: 40 USD per person
  • Price for 7 + people: 30 USD per person

Our tours are operated by local people with a true passion for their heritage and ready to create Memorable lifetime Experiences for you!

Inquire now

+51 979 300 796

day tours cusco

Menu Principal

  • THE MAGIC ANDES ROUTE 10 DAYS / 9 NIGHTS
  • CROSSING THE OASIS, AMAZON,AND THE ANDES OF PERU 12D/11N
  • FAMILY PERU TOUR – 8 DAYS / 7 NIGHTS
  • CUSCO ADVENTURE TOUR – 8 DAYS / 7 NIGHTS
  • DISCOVER SOUTHERN PERU 11D/10N
  • PATH TO PERU – FROM COAST TO AMAZON, AND ANDES 20D/19N
  • Machu Picchu by Train
  • Cusco City Tour
  • Sacred Valley Tour from Cusco
  • Maras Moray Tour
  • Maras Moray and Picnic with llamas
  • South Valley Tour
  • Sacred Valley VIP Tour

Cooking Class Cusco

  • Free Walking Tour in Cusco
  • Apukunaq Tianan, The abode of the gods
  • Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain Tour
  • Humantay Lake Tour From Cusco
  • Qeswachaka Bridge Tour
  • Waqrapukara, the Inca Fortress
  • Pallay Puncho, The Sharp Rainbow Mountain

AUSANGATE 7 LAKES DAY TRIP

  • Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain Tour
  • The Condor Canyon in Chonta
  • ATV Maras Moray Tour
  • Biking Maras Moray Tour
  • Experiential Tourism in Chinchero 2 Days
  • HUMANTAY LAKE 2 DAY TREK EXCURSION
  • Machupicchu Overnight 2D/1N
  • Discover Machupicchu 3D / 2N
  • Unforgettable Cusco 4D / 3N
  • Magic Cusco 5D / 4N
  • Essence of Cusco 6D / 5N
  • Mysterires of Cusco 7D / 6N
  • Deluxe Tour Cusco Machu Picchu 3 Days
  • Luxury Tour Cusco Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu 4 Days
  • Exclusive Tour to Cusco Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu
  • Luxury Touristic Packages in Cusco and Machu Picchu 6 days
  • Exclusive Travel Package Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Humantay Lake and Rainbow Mountain 7 days
  • Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu 4 Days
  • Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu 2 Days
  • Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu 5 Days
  • Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu 4 days
  • Lares Trek to Machu Picchu 4 Days
  • Inca Jungle Trail to Machu Picchu 4 Days
  • Inca Trail to Choquequirao 5 days
  • CUSCO TO PUNO BUS TOUR / ROUTE OF THE SUN
  • LAKE TITICACA TOUR
  • LAKE TITICACA 2 DAY TOUR
  • HUACACHINA TOUR FROM LIMA
  • HUACACHINA 2 DAY TOUR
  • LIMA CITY TOUR
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Day Trips From Cusco

Cusco, the ancient capital of the Inca empire, a city full of magic and mystery awaits you. Come and enjoy our day trips from Cusco, where you will be able to know the great legacy of the Incas, from the magical sacred valley of the Incas, The Cusco Cathedral, Sacsayhuaman, Ollantaytambo, and of course our world wonder, Machupicchu.

Why with us?

All our Day Trips from Cusco were carefully designed to provide you the best service ever. Firstly Combining the best tour guides, 100% local with a good domain of English language; and finally the best touristic transportation, that will make your visit to Cusco, memorable.

Kantu Peru Tours offers the best Cusco Day Trips, tours to Machu Picchu, Inca trail to Machu Picchu, and tour packages in Peru with the best prices and offers.

We are your best option in Peru, come and live an amazing experience with the best team.

Experiential Tourism in Chinchero 2 Days

  • Sin Alojamiento

Experiential Tourism in Chinchero

Experiential tourism.

day tours cusco

US$ 100 .00

Pallay Punchu the New Rainbow Mountain

Pallay Punchu Tour

Waqrapukara Tour, the Inca Fortress Full Day

Waqrapukara Tour

Apukunaq Tianan

Apukunaq Tianan - The Abode of the Gods

Free Walking Tour in Cusco

Free Walking Tour Cusco

Cooking Class Cusco

Peruvian Food

Sacred Valley VIP Tour: Maras Moray, Ollantaytambo and Pisaq 1 Day Tour

Sacred Valley Vip

Cultural, classic.

Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain – 1 Day Tour

Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain

Trekking, cultural.

South Valley Tour Cusco – Half Day Tour

South Valley Tour Cusco

Qeswachaka Inca Bridge – Full Day Tour

Qeswachaka Inca Bridge Tour

Culture, nature.

ATV Tour Maras Moray – Half Day Tour

ATV TOUR MARAS MORAY

Cultural, adventure.

Humantay Lake Tour From Cusco

Humantay Lake Tour

Trekking, nature.

Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain Tour From Cusco

Rainbow Mountain Tour

Chonta Canyon Tour

Chonta Canyon Cusco

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Historic ruins surrounded by clouds and mountains.

How to plan the ultimate adventure to Peru, from the ancient Machu Picchu to the thermal waters of Cajamarca

From Andean peaks to Amazonian jungles and the ancient cities of the Incas, Peru offers the perfect base for an epic adventure.

A trip across Peru feels like passing through multiple countries and cultures merged into one. The topography is as diverse as it is dramatic; in just a few days, you can pass from the desert of the coastal lowlands to the saw-toothed, glacial peaks of the Andes Mountains and onwards to reach the emerald enclave of the world’s largest tropical rainforest. En route are thousands of 16th-century towns, Indigenous communities and archaeological sites, relics of ancient civilisations that have managed to capture the collective imagination like few others around the world.

Chief among those civilisations is the Inca, a superpower that ruled in the 15th century from modern-day Ecuador in the north, down to the Chilean capital of Santiago. Itineraries for first-time visitors focus on the heart of their empire, the Andean highlands of southern Peru. Tack on an extra week and you can discover the other big-hitting wonders of the country’s south, including Lake Titicaca, Arequipa city and the Nasca Lines. It’s a journey from mountains to dusty lowland desert: along the way, gaze at the barren Altiplano from a classic Pullman train carriage; sleep in a one-of-a-kind reed B & B; and glide above colossal geoglyphs in the   belly of a Cessna plane.

The Inca Empire was but a brief, 100-year chapter in the nation’s millennia-old story. And the north proves just how unparalleled that history is. Those with the time and curiosity to head beyond the staples are justly rewarded. Dusty cities and cloud-forest-fringed valleys conceal archaeological sites predating the Inca by hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Hikers will also find some   of South America’s finest trails in the high altitudes surrounding Huaraz’s glacier-studded national parks.

No matter where you go, Peruvian cuisine reflects this intersection of culture and nature. The gastronomy of Lima has risen to world-class status over the past two decades with dishes such as ceviche, where local fish is ‘flash cooked’ in lime juice — a form of marinating introduced by Japanese immigrants in the late 19th century. In the Andes, pachamanca is an ancient dish where potatoes and meat are still cooked by scorching hot stones.

Travel here is spectacular, but it can also be slow and, at times, frustrating. This is a country where distances are large and regional flights often require a connection through Lima. It’s a place that demands patience but the payoff is worth it.

Historical town within a valley

Itinerary 1: The big hitters

The south is the tourism capital of Peru, and for good reason: it packs a punch while remaining easily navigable. This itinerary begins in the high elevations of Cusco, gateway to the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. South east is Lake Titicaca, where the Indigenous Uros people constructed homes out of unlikely materials for survival. The white architecture of Arequipa, the country’s second city, breaks up the journey from highlands to lowlands before you finish on the Pacific Coast, where the Nasca Lines reflect another of Peru’s ingenious ancient peoples.

Along the way, you’ll experience many different types of transport. Buses, flights and a handful of comfortable trains shuttle between   destinations, all with the guarantee of superlative views. The high elevations along the way — peaking at 11,152ft   in Cusco and 12,507ft at Lake Titicaca — are no holiday for your body or brain, so drink plenty of coca tea, a great local antidote to soroche (altitude sickness).

1. Cusco Fly from Lima to Cusco, the former capital of the Inca Empire, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Spanish invaders built baroque churches and terracotta-roofed mansions over Inca palaces, but the Sacsayhuamán fortress has survived as one of the best displays of Inca architecture. Take a taxi to this archaeological site, located just above the city, where you’ll find walls constructed from a perfect jigsaw of boulders weighing up to 120 tonnes apiece.

2. Sacred Valley Named for its spiritual and agrarian importance to the Inca people, this valley remains the region’s breadbasket. Explore Moray, where stepped, concentric terraces acted as a sophisticated agricultural laboratory for the Inca, before heading to Chinchero market. Merchants gather here to sell handwoven llama and alpaca wool textiles, and you can sample roast guinea pig — a local delicacy. At the end of the day, head to the Inca town of Ollantaytambo, home to the ruins of an Inca fortress, and overnight at El Albergue , a family-run B & B in a historic hacienda.

3. Machu Picchu From Ollantaytambo, PeruRail’s Vistadome train races to Aguas Calientes, the town right beneath Machu Picchu. Spend a day here, exploring the centre and stay at Inkaterra , a hotel in 12 acres of cloud forest, home to 214 species of bird — including hummingbirds, the golden-headed quetzal and the iconic Andean cock-of-the-rock — and 372 of native orchid.

The next morning, head to Machu Picchu , the ancient citadel that’s become a symbol of the lost Inca Empire since being revealed to the wider world by explorer Hiram Bingham in 1911. Take the first bus to its entrance at 6am to watch the sun rise over its terraces and the brooding Huayna Picchu mountain.

4. Lake Titicaca The ticket back from Aguas Calientes to Cusco with PeruRail covers both the train to Ollantaytambo and the onward bus trip. From Cusco, settle into the observation car to watch the grassy plains of the Altiplano whip past during the 10-hour train ride to Puno, the gateway town to Lake Titicaca . Floating on its waters are the 120-or-so Uros Islands, feats of engineering first constructed from totora reeds by the Indigenous Uros over 500 years ago to escape Inca invasion. Uros people still live here and visitors can now overnight in their reed guesthouses. Book with All Ways Travel, whose profits go to local communities.

5. Arequipa A six-hour bus journey from Lake Titicaca, Arequipa is nicknamed White City for the volcanic sillar used to construct its baroque architecture. Arequipeño gastronomy is a source of pride, so head to a traditional picantería restaurant to sample rocoto relleno, a spicy stuffed pepper dish filled with meat, cheese and eggs, cooked over a wood fire.

7. Nasca lines A final eight-hour bus journey takes you down from the mountains and along the coast to reach the town of Nasca. Here, a tour by light aircraft gives you the best views of the Nasca Lines, giant geoglyphs showing hummingbirds, monkeys and other shapes etched into the desert over 2,000 years ago — although how, or why, remains a mystery.

Itinerary 2: Highlights of the North

Witnessing little international attention, northern Peru receives just a fraction of the visitors of the better-known south. Yet it’s home to some of the country’s richest archaeological sites, as well as natural wonders you’re likely to have to yourself.

Start in the Cordillera Blanca, an Andean sub-range of sky-reaching peaks, before making your way to the coast. Pre-Columbian artefacts abound outside the metropolises of Chiclayo and Trujillo, where museums are stacked to the rafters with gold, and adobe pyramids built between 100 and 800 CE still stand proud. Then, from the city of Cajamarca — where you can soak in thermal waters once frequented by Inca emperors — a road traces through the mountains to the green Amazonas region for the last stops on this itinerary.

Tourism is nascent in the north and the infrastructure reflects this. Domestic flights are either non-existent or require a stopover in Lima, so bus journeys often offer the most direct transit between destinations. They can be long, slow and occasionally hair-raising —   but as you whizz past adobe villages tucked into mountain passes and career alongside yawning valleys, you’ll feel like you’re travelling through time, too.

grand yellow building and statue with blue skies

1. Huaraz From Lima, buses take around nine hours to reach this high-altitude city. Give yourself two days to acclimatise with short hikes around the surrounding Cordillera Blanca, then join Turismo Andino on a two-day trek to Lake 69 in Huascarán National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site. You’ll clamber high into glacier-sheathed mountains and through valleys splashed with   crystalline lakes — and stay overnight in a rustic lodge with pisco sours on tap.

2. Trujillo It’s a seven-hour bus ride to the dusty, 16th-century city of Trujillo . A local highlight is Huaca de la Luna, an adobe pyramid built by the pre-Incan Moche civilisation, whose use of human sacrifices is recorded in grisly friezes. Next, catch some waves at the nearby beach town of Huanchaco aboard a caballito de totora, reed boats first used by fishermen 3,000 years ago and considered by some to be the predecessors of modern surfboards.

3. Cajamarca Second only to Cusco for its elegant architecture and a six-hour bus journey inland, Cajamarca is where the fate of the Inca was sealed. To secure his release after having been imprisoned by the Spanish, final Inca leader Atahualpa supposedly called for his subjects across the empire to send enough gold and silver to fill a room, but was executed regardless in 1533. Los Baños del Inca , said to have been his favourite thermal waters, are just a few miles away and still open to visitors.

Fishing rafts standing on a beach

4. Gocta Falls Bring earplugs, an eye mask and a jumper for the long, 12-hour bus ride to Cajamarca: temperatures on board tend to be either glacial or sweltering. The six-hour hike to the base of Gocta Falls is worth the mud: one of the world’s tallest single-drop waterfalls, it plunges 2,530ft from clifftop to cloud-forested valley floor. Spend the night in a cabin with a view at Gocta Natura Reserve .

5. Chiclayo There’s more history on display a four-hour bus journey away, inside Chiclayo’s under-the-radar Museo de Tumbas Reales del Senor de Sipán . A 20-minute taxi ride from the city centre, it has a staggering, three-floor collection showcasing gold artefacts discovered in the tombs of a nearby Moche site. Afterwards, get lost in Mercado de Brujos (Witch Doctors’ Market), where you can find folk remedies said to help mend a broken heart, charms to attract wealth and everything in between.

6. Utcubamba Valley Finish your trip with a two-hour bus ride through the Utcubamba Valley and Leymebamba town, where the namesake museum features 200 mummies discovered in a local cave in 1997. They belong to the Chachapoya, warrior people who predate the Inca by over six centuries. Learn more about them at their walled city of Kuélap, where 400 circular houses are built on a high ridge.

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  3. Cusco and Machu Picchu 4-Day Guided All-Inclusive Tour 2023

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  4. 19 Best Machu Picchu Tours from Cusco 2020

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COMMENTS

  1. THE TOP 10 Cusco Day Trips (w/Prices)

    Sacred Valley Full Day Tour. 2,569. Venture into the lush Andean highlands and discover Peru's Sacred Valley on this full-day tour from Cusco. With a small group, visit all the top sites—Pisac, Urubamba, and Ollantaytambo—to explore Inca ruins and ancient settlements.

  2. THE 10 BEST Day Trips from Cusco (UPDATED 2024)

    Cusco is a great travel destination with a lot to do and see, but sometimes you need to get away and explore the surrounding areas. Book the best day trips from Cusco, Peru directly on Tripadvisor and take the stress out of planning. Read 780,185 traveler reviews and view photos of different trips from Cusco to various destinations. Find day trips to take today or this coming weekend. Book ...

  3. THE TOP 10 Cusco Tours & Excursions (UPDATED 2024)

    Discover Peru's Manu National Park on this 3-day guided tour from Cusco with a small group. Admire cloud forests, hike through the jungle, explore caves, enjoy a boat ride on the Madres de Dios River, visit the Machuhuasi Oxbow Lake, and look for wildlife all around. Includes two nights lodging, food, transfers, and a professional guide. ...

  4. 15 Best Day Trips from Cusco

    Amazing tour: From Cusco: Humantay Lake 1-Day Trek. 6. Chonta Source: NicoGutierrezPhotography / shutterstock Chonta Canyon. Chonta is a small Andean community to the west of Cusco. As well as being able to see how local people live in the village and admiring stunning views that encompass Salkantay Mountain, spotting wildlife is a highlight of ...

  5. Cusco Day Trips: Full-Day & Half-Day Tours from Cusco, Peru

    If you don't have multiple days to take in the history and culture of the Incas, we offer full-day and half-day tours from Cusco that cover important cultural sites, historic buildings, and stunning views near Cusco. See the over 3,000 salt pools on the Maras Moray tour, the vivid and sparkling blue hues of the Blue Lagoon on our full-day ...

  6. Day Trips from Cusco

    3 Cusco Day trips. 4 Cusco Natural Attractions & National Parks. 5 Cusco Small group activities. 6 Cusco Outdoor activities. 7 Cusco Nature & adventure. 8 Cusco Architecture. 9 Cusco Archaeology. 10 Cusco Culture & history. 11 Cusco Good for groups. 12 Cusco Photography tours. 13 Cusco Outdoor sports.

  7. THE 10 BEST Day Trips from Cusco (UPDATED 2024)

    1,000+ places sorted by featured. SPECIAL OFFER. 1. Full Day Tour to Machu Picchu from Cusco. 320. Historical Tours. 14-15 hours. Machu Picchu, declared a cultural heritage of humanity by UNESCO, is considered one of the most important places of world…. Recommended by 98% of travellers.

  8. THE 10 BEST Day Trips from Cusco 2024 (With Photos)

    Recommended by 92% of travellers. 5. Machu Picchu Day Trip from Cusco. 376. Historical Tours. 6+ hours. Visit Machu Picchu by train on a full-day trip from Cusco that takes the hassle out of exploring the spectacular Inca site…. 6. Excursión to Humantay Lake Full Day from Cusco.

  9. Day Trips from Cusco

    Machu Picchu: Full-Day Tour from Cusco with Optional Lunch. 15 hours; Pickup available; 4.6 (295) From. $339. per person. Show more. Cusco See all 1563 tickets & tours. Top Attractions in Cusco. 1 Rainbow Mountain. 2 Tipon. 3 Morada de Los Dioses, Cusco Region. 4 Tambomachay. 5 Saksaywaman. 6 Puka Pukara Archaeological Complex.

  10. The Best Day Trips & Tours from Cusco, Peru

    Our tours start wherever you want to go, from either Ollantaytambo or Urubamba. If you are in Cusco you can book up to 1 day before the tour and pay afterwards. We offer tours to the Sacred Valley with a visit to the alpaca and llama farms. At Come See Peru travel your way, we adapt to your Schedule.

  11. 12 BEST Day Trips from Cusco that You Can't Miss (2024!)

    Day Trips from Cusco. 1. Machu Picchu. Machu Picchu! Machu Picchu terraces. Distance from Cusco: 210 km (130 mi) Time needed: 12+ hours. What you need: Train + bus, or a guided tour from Cusco. We're adamant that Cusco is so much more than the gateway to Machu Picchu.

  12. 16 Exciting Day Trips from Cusco Worth Doing

    You can easily reach Chinchero by car, cab, or by taking a shared van from Cusco. 9. Santa Teresa. Santa Teresa is one of the coolest and off-the-beaten-path Cusco day trips. The journey there is as thrilling as the destination itself, passing through stunning mountain landscapes and traditional Andean villages.

  13. 9 Best Day Trips from Cusco, Peru

    Check Details: Rainbow Mountain Day Trip. 9. Machu Picchu. Many travelers come to Peru solely with the goal of visiting the ruins of Machu Picchu. While it makes for a long day trip, it is possible to visit Machu Picchu on a day trip from Cusco. Cusco is also where many treks to Machu Picchu on the Inca Trail depart.

  14. Day Trips From Cusco 2024

    315,000 + Happy Customers. 8,000+ Total Reviews. 96% Overall Rating. #1 Rated company. See below our 1 day, 2 day and 3 day trips from Cusco. Read more Info about any option you like below: Cusco - Lake Titicaca - Cusco (operated by Peru Hop) Cusco - Machu Picchu - Cusco (operated by Yapa Explorers) Cusco - Rainbow Mountain - Cusco ...

  15. 8 Best Day Trips from Cusco

    Travel smarter and safer! HUMANTAY LAKE. Another must-do one day trip from Cusco is a journey that will take you to Humantay Lake. The crystal clear, breathtakingly blue-green lake lies more than 4000 meters above sea level, so prepare your lungs for some serious work.

  16. 7 Best Day Trips From Cusco

    day trips from cusco. Rainbow Mountain / Do it independently or with a tour. Pisac / Visit the markets & ruins independently or with a tour. Lake Humantay / Only really possible with a tour (or on the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu) Ollantaytambo / Visit independently or with a tour. Moray & Maras / This tour covers both and is very popular.

  17. THE 10 BEST Day Trips from Cusco (UPDATED 2024)

    Cusco is a great travel destination with a lot to do and see, but sometimes you need to get away and explore the surrounding areas. Book the best day trips from Cusco, Peru directly on Tripadvisor and take the stress out of planning. Read 782,526 traveller reviews and view photos of different trips from Cusco to various destinations. Find day trips to take today or this coming weekend. Book ...

  18. Cusco Day Trips

    Sacred Valley Full Day Tour From Cusco, Pisaq, Ollantaytambo, Chinchero. Price USD 100 pp. DURATION: Ful Day Tour All Inclusive GROUP SIZE: We Arrange groups up to 2 PHYSICAL RITE: Recommended for Acclimatization The Valley of the Incas is an otherworldly, beautiful place that you must see to believe is recommended for the best Cusco Day Tours.

  19. 9 Brilliant Day Trips From Cusco, Peru

    3. Moray & Maras. Contributed by Ellie from El On The Move. A brilliant Cusco day trip is to the ruins of Moray, the small town of Maras and the Salt mines of Maras - all in one day. The first stop of the day is Moray, where you'll find one of the most famous Inca ruins in the Sacred Valley.

  20. The BEST Cusco Tours and Things to Do in 2024

    The best tours in Cusco are: Cusco: Rainbow Mountain Day Trip and Red Valley (Optional) Cusco: Humantay Lake with Breakfast and Buffet Lunch. From Cusco: Full-Day Group Tour of Machu Picchu. From Cusco: Moray and Salt Mines Quad Bike Tour. From Cusco: Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain ATV Tour with Meals.

  21. 20 Best Day Trips From Cusco In 2024 (Not Just Machu Picchu)

    Sacsayhuaman to Tambomachay Circuit - Most Convenient Day Trip from Cusco. Inkilltambo & Temple of the Moon - Best if you're looking for free day trips from Cusco. Rainbow Mountain - Vinicunca. Rainbow Mountain - Polccoyo. Chinchero. Huchuy Qosqo. Waqrapukara (Most Scenic Day Trip from Cusco) Tipon Archaeological Site. Ausangate.

  22. Full-Day Cusco City Tour

    Trip Details For Full-Day Cusco City Tour. Location/Terrain: Gentle trails, dirt paths, grassy fields, mountains above Cusco, Cobblestone streets, pavement, Cusco City. Acclimatization: A great way to acclimatize to Cusco's altitude in prep for a trek. Duration: 1 Day tour. Altitude: 3400m/11,155ft to 3650m/11,975ft.

  23. Day Trips From Cusco

    Kantu Peru Tours offers the best Cusco Day Trips, tours to Machu Picchu, Inca trail to Machu Picchu, and tour packages in Peru with the best prices and offers. We are your best option in Peru, come and live an amazing experience with the best team. 2D/1N. Min 1.

  24. Machu Picchu Day Trip from Ollantaytambo & Urubamba 2024

    1 Day Sacred Valley VIP Tour from Cusco. 10. from $100.00. Price varies by group size. Cusco, Peru. 2 Days Machu Picchu Tour from Cusco. 52. from $475.00. Price varies by group size. Cusco, Peru. Classic Sacred Valley. 5. from $64.00. Cusco, Peru. red valley + rainbow mountain tour. 15. from $50.00. Cusco, Peru.

  25. One Day Machu Picchu Tour

    Home > South America > Peru > Cusco > One Day Machu Picchu Tour One Day Machu Picchu Tour . Cusco, Peru. From 13 hours to 14 hours. E-Ticket (1) Date. Today. Edit. Time. Options. Extras. Total. Incl. taxes & fees. $0.00. USD. Earn 0 Marriott Bonvoy points. ... we offer a one-day round-trip that includes a scenic, panoramic train journey through ...

  26. How to plan the ultimate trip to Peru

    Alternatively, Journey Latin America's 14-day Tico Tico: Culture of the Northern Andes tour visits all the northern highlights except Huaraz from £3,100 per person, excluding international flights.