Cusco, a bustling city in the Peruvian Andes and gateway to Machu Picchu, was once capital of the Inca Empire, and is now known for its archaeological remains and Spanish colonial architecture. Plaza de Armas is the central square in which you’ll find a host of quaint restaurants, cafes and arcades. Ornate carved wooden balconies frame the picturesque square whilst the Inca wall ruins perfectly compliment the historical history behind the Inca tails. Not forgetting the baroque Santo Domingo Convent which is built on top of the Inca Temple of the Sun (Qoricancha), and has archaeological remains of Inca stonework.


How to get there to Cusco

  • Fly - you can get a direct flight in from Lima to Cusco airport. It’s only an hours journey which is nothing compared to if you decide to take the bus

    • Direct fights are also available from Juliaca and La Paz

  • Bus - you can take a bus to Cusco from Lima, it’s around a 12 hour journey and the ride can be a bit tiring especially as Cusco is over 3500ft in elevation the road is very bendy. Here are a couple of bus companies to do the transfer

There are also bus services from puno to Cusco

  • Train – you can get a train to Cusco from Puno. It can take around 10 hours to get there. It’s operated by Peru rail.


Where to stay in Cusco


We flew from Lima to Cusco, where we stayed at Quencha Hostel. Cusco is 3600 ft. above sea level and the altitude can really affect you here. The advice is to rest and acclimatise. Which of course we didn’t!

We arrived and headed straight out to buy food. The hostel is ideally located, just outside Plaza de Armas, close to all the action but hidden away from all the noise.

The most unfavourable thing about Cusco is the pollution. Petrol fumes are heavy in the air making breathing for those with altitude sickness even harder. Traffic is back to back lining the tiny streets so walking is certainly the best way to get around.

Cusco is not very big and areas to stay in the old town are very close to each other.

Areas to stay:

  • Plaza de Armas – The central square, packed with shops at ground level and restaurants up top with balconies. Very nice place to stay and eat. Very central, with plenty of shops around.

  • San Blas – Situated north east of plaza de Armas, it is a place where you will find cobbled streets and artist studios, trendy part of the small town, here you will find the bars.

  • Plaza San Francisco – One of the more popular plazas as it showcases Cusco’s colonial buildings. A few blocks from Plaza de Armas

  • Plaza san Pedro – San Pedro market is a huge tourist attraction here in Cusco, located next to san Pedro church, it’s a bustling market place for locals and tourist alike.


Things to do in Cusco with children

You can easily get lost wandering through the many squares in Cusco, including Plaza de Armas. We, wandered aimlessly, admiring the colourful outfits, the tired faces and the hustle and bustle of the local markets. Be sure to venture out during the evening too, the squares are beautifully lit, and restaurants plentiful.

  • Cristo Blanco – A short taxi ride out of the city up to Cristo Blanco is well worth the trip. Met with stunning views out of the city, this really is a little sanctuary out of the hustle of the city.


  • La Catedral – Located in plaza de Armas, its known as the mother church of the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Cusco.


  • Planetarium – Visit the planetarium for a glimpse of the starts above – on a good day you can see the Milky Way.


  • San Pedro market – Hustle and bustle in the market pace selling anything, locals and tourist are attracted to this place.  Really fun to go down the rows of stalls trying to find a bargain.


  • Plaza Regiocijo - A tranquil square with colonial architecture lined with trees and fountain in the middle.


  • Moray – Famous round terraces of the Incas, they were used for experiment in agriculture. Worth a visit from Cusco or Ollantaytambo.


  • Macchu Picchu – you can visit Macchu Picchu from Cusco for the day via Inca rail or Peru rail. We have more info on our Macchu Picchu page.


  • Plaza de Armas – This is a fun place for kids as there is a fountain in the middle and also space for them to run around without the worry of cars.

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