10 reasons why you should travel to Cusco instead of Lima

Shamil Hasanli19 October 2020910 views8 min. read
10 reasons why you should travel to Cusco instead of Lima
Peru is one of those countries that manage to be above average. This destination has an extensive amount of natural and cultural treasures that have fascinated travellers for hundreds of years, and still today, they attract many people. There are thousands of reasons to travel to Peru. It has many wonderful historical places, cultural festivals, interesting people, stunning nature, and Machu Picchu. Not only because of Machu Picchu but also because of many other reasons that I will cover, you should travel to Cusco Peru instead of Lima when you travel to Peru. In case you come to the capital, there are several options to travel from Lima to Cusco. 

How to get from Lima to Cusco?

alpaca Most international flights probably will take you to Lima, the capital of Peru. If you have the same situation and want to travel to Cusco Peru, the first question which will pop up in your mind is about how to get from Lima to Cusco. You will have many choices to travel from Lima to Cusco. First of all, you can choose the easiest and comfortable way: flight. Several local airlines offer flights between two cities. I would rather travel by train on the mountainous ways of Peru. Moreover, there is another possibility to travel from Lima to Cusco, which is the bus. Among these alternatives, you can decide how to get from Lima to Cusco.

What to do in Cusco?

hiking in cusco As the historical capital of Peru, Cusco has a lot to offer to its visitors. There are many activities to do and places to see in Cusco. If you do not know what to do in Cusco, you can start tasting street food, ride a horse, enjoy the nightlife, or hike in the mountains. You can find more about these activities below among the 10 reasons why you should travel to Cusco instead of Lima. When you are out of energy, there are the various best places to stay in Cusco. You can either choose to stay at a luxury hotel or a traditional Cusco apartment.

1. Machu Picchu, cultural heritage site of Peru

machu picchu Although it may be somewhat topical, Machu Picchu alone is the best reason to travel to Peru. Hiram Bingham III discovered this ancient Inca citadel in 1911, then UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site in 1983. Machu Picchu is one of the few wonders of the modern world. It is located 2,500 meters above sea level and offers an impressive panorama that attracts many tourists. Accessing this sacred city, located 130 kilometres from Cusco's city, on an interior plateau of the Amazon jungle, is an authentic adventure. You can travel to this Inca citadel by train or on foot, on a route that lasts for several days, along cobbled roads through mountains, forests, and rivers.

2. Traditional and organic gastronomy

traditional cuisine Peru has the best gastronomy in the Americas. Peru has not only a great variety of ethnic mixes but also a climatic variety of 28 individual climates. This mix of cultures and various climates differ from city to city, thus creating a varied cuisine throughout the country. Cusco has a great gastronomic variety that has transcended from generation to generation and allows tourists to enjoy typical dishes of the ancient settlers with totally natural ingredients. Tasting dishes like Lomo Saltado, Butifarra, Ceviche Mixto, Tiradito, or Chicharron should be in the top activities of your list on what to do in Cusco. Also, if you are looking for the next level when it comes to Andean cuisine, do not miss trying guinea pig meat. Because it is a juicy and tender dish, it is inadvisable for sensitive stomachs as it is heavily seasoned.

3. Inti Raymi, traditional religious ceremony

inti raymi festival Another reason to travel to Cusco is the Inti Raymi festival, which is celebrated on June 24. This festival was one of the largest and most important in the Inca period, as it honoured the Sun God during the winter solstice. Inca Pachacutec, the same person who ordered the construction of the citadel of Machu Picchu, began this festivity in the 15th century. According to the Andean worldview at that time, the sun began its cycle again. The festival unfolds with the staging of millennial episodes. With a musical background full of tradition and culture, the four suyos parade delegates in typical clothing. In the Coricancha for the representation, the gold garden is used, and there the Inca appears, and the first rituals are performed where coca leaves, llamas, and alpacas are offered.

4. Famous Flea Baratillo Market

baratillo market El Baratillo is the most famous flea market in Cusco. Not many travellers know about its existence, and it takes place every Saturday from very early hours in the morning. In the Baratillo, you usually will find the same crafts as in the city centre but at much lower prices. If you want to get to know the vibrant local scene in Cusco, you must check out this market. To get to Baratillo, in the historic centre, you must walk southwest along Almagro street; it will change its name until eventually running into the Santiago Bridge. Once you cross the Bridge, you will see the market.

5. The best places to stay in Cusco

hotel in cusco Cusco has a great offer of hotels that fit all pockets. You do not need to aim to take the best hotel; those with 2-3 stars will be enough to spend the night and leave your luggage while you explore the city's attractions. You can rent a flat from booking websites, or if you have a friendly personality and you like meeting new people, you can try Couchsurfing alternatives in the town. Nevertheless, if you are looking for luxury, the Hilton Garden Inn, Novotel, or JW Marriott El Convento might be the best places to stay in Cusco.

6. Palcoyo, alternative rainbow mountain

palcoyo The mountain of Palcoyo has become one of the favourite destinations of Cusco. The Palcoyo is popular as the rainbow mountain consisting of 7 colours. It has the same colours, and from the starting point of the walk, you can observe three mountains of these colours. The rainbow mountain of Palcoyo receives very few visitors every day and is ideal for taking good pictures and walking around the place quietly. Additionally, the stone forest is very close to where you can visit without any problem. The hiking to the Palcoyo rainbow mountain takes 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the person's physical condition.

7. The Sacred Valley of the Incas

valley of the incas Sacred Valley of the Incas is located in the north of the city. The valley is one of the best routes to enjoy beautiful landscapes and visit some archaeological centres on the valley's route. To visit the Sacred Valley of the Incas, it is best to take a tour since the price will be almost the same if you visit on your own to save a lot of time and enjoy each place to visit. The archaeological centres that are in the Sacred Valley of the Incas: the Inca cemetery in Pisac, the international market of Pisac, the archaeological centre of Ollantaytambo, and the town of Chinchero.

8. Temple of the Moon

temple of the moon Not far from the city, you can find the archaeological remains of the Temple of the Moon. While several tours can take you only bypassing it, if you go on your own, you can stay longer and meet the authentic archaeological remains on the temple. If you want to escape the city's hustle and bustle, the Temple of the Moon is the perfect place for a respite in nature. It is not within the classic circuit of tourist places in Cusco, and for that reason, it is a very special and peaceful place. Here you will find impressive Inca ruins and a vast landscape full of vegetation that calms the soul.

9. Sacsayhuaman, Historical place in Peru

sacsayhuaman The archaeological complex of Sacsayhuaman, another reason to travel to Cusco Peru, is the largest within Cusco. Still, it is estimated that the current structure represents only 40% of its original size. In Sacsayhuaman, you will find towers, tunnels, and rooms built with imposing rocks. During your visit, do not forget to go through the huge slides made of stone. To get to Sacsayhuaman, from Plaza de Armas, you can head down Sweden Street, then Huaynapata, and continue along Resbalosa. From the Church of San Cristobal, you must follow the road to Sacsayhuaman.

10. Religious Corpus Christi festival

local people of cusco Last but not least, travel to Cusco for the Corpus Christi festival, which takes place in June. This religious festival was declared Cultural Heritage of the Nation in 2004 due to its importance. Corpus Christi begins with the departure of each of the saints that will make up the procession to Cusco's city. During this procession, the rich give the attendees gifts such as objects or souvenirs. The event organizers carry with them the miniature image of the saint or virgin of their town. This image is called a dowry. There are the musicians, dancers, and other faithful participants of the religious event behind the procession.

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