Best Things To Do in Cusco, Peru

The Ultimate Guide to Cusco, Peru: Best things to do, how long to stay, and best day trips to take from Cusco. Use these tips to help plan your trip to Cusco!

Going to Peru? You may be wondering how many days to spend in Cusco, and what all there is to do there. If this is your first time to Cusco, here’s our guide to the best things to see and do in Cusco, the essential day trips to take from Cusco, where to stay in Cusco, and also some fun food and restaurant recommendations.

The Ultimate Guide to Cusco, Peru: Best things to do, how long to stay, and best day trips to take from Cusco. Use these tips to help plan your trip to Cusco!

One full day is plenty of of time to see all the main hotspots in Cusco itself. But you’ll definitely want to plan some time for day trips also. Here’s what you shouldn’t miss in Cusco:

MY OTHER RECIPES

The Ultimate Guide to Cusco, Peru: Best things to do, how long to stay, and best day trips to take from Cusco. Use these tips to help plan your trip to Cusco!

Plaza De Armas

The Plaza De Armas is the main square of Cusco, lined with colorful colonial buildings and views of all the houses on the hills surrounding Cusco. One of the main highlights of the square is the Cusco Cathedral.

The Ultimate Guide to Cusco, Peru: Best things to do, how long to stay, and best day trips to take from Cusco. Use these tips to help plan your trip to Cusco!

San Pedro Market

The San Pedro Market is a lively covered market offering exotic fruits and vegetables, spices, chocolates, handcrafted souvenirs, colorful flowers, meats, cheese, and more. I highly recommend the Cusqueño brand Maras Salted Chocolate you can buy here! They will even let you try a sample.

The Ultimate Guide to Cusco, Peru: Best things to do, how long to stay, and best day trips to take from Cusco. Use these tips to help plan your trip to Cusco!

We stayed at the JW Marriott in Cusco and they offered a free walking tour to the market with their executive chef. What an amazing experience! He explained all the exotic fruits and vegetables on display — some I had never seen or heard of before in my entire life! We even got to try samples of the fruits.

Can you guess the fruits in the first two pictures? I’ll give you a hint… The first one is not passionfruit!

As you’re walking to the market from the Plaza de Armas, you’ll go under a big arch. Just before the arch you’ll see a little shop selling fried bread. They fry it fresh on the spot for you, then roll it in sugar. Inside is filled with warm dulce de leche. SO GOOD!! Here is the approximate {GPS Location} of the shop.

The Ultimate Guide to Cusco, Peru: Best things to do, how long to stay, and best day trips to take from Cusco. Use these tips to help plan your trip to Cusco!

In the market there was a young boy with a giant cart of churros covered in chocolate and dulce de leche. Of course I had to try one! It wasn’t nearly as good as the fried bread though.

The Ultimate Guide to Cusco, Peru: Best things to do, how long to stay, and best day trips to take from Cusco. Use these tips to help plan your trip to Cusco!

Qorikancha

In the middle of Cusco are the ruins of a 15th-century Inca temple that once had walls and floors covered in pure gold.

{GPS Location}


Best Day Trips to Take from Cusco

There are so many incredible places to see around Cusco. After one full day in Cusco, you’ll also want at least 2-4 full days for day trips from Cusco. Here are the best day trip to take from Cusco:

Rainbow Mountain, Peru. Don't go at 3 AM with the tour groups. Sleep in, miss the crowds, and have Rainbow Mountain all to yourself! Read this post for everything you need to know about hiking Rainbow Mountain in Peru.

Rainbow Mountain

See this post: Rainbow Mountain Day Trip from Cusco

The sacred Humantay Lake, one of the best day trips from Cusco, Peru!

Humantay Lake

See this post: Humantay Lake Day Trip from Cusco

What you shouldn't miss in the Sacred Valley: Pisac, Ollantaytambo, Maras, and Moray. You can do this itinerary in 2 days as day trips from Cusco, or you can stay in the Sacred Valley itself.

Sacred Valley

If you’re going to Peru, you can’t miss the Sacred Valley. Although I recommend staying in the Sacred Valley itself and visiting from there, its definitely possible (and easy) to visit the Sacred Valley as day trips from Cusco (I recommend two days). See the post below for a recommended itinerary.

See this post: Where to Stay and What to Do in the Sacred Valley of Peru

Everything you need to know about visiting Machu Picchu in Peru

Machu Picchu

Yes, you can see Machu Picchu as a day trip from Cusco! The JW Marriott in Cusco will arrange everything for you. They will book your train tickets and your entry tickets to Machu Picchu and everything else you need. Let them handle everything for you! This is definitely the easiest and fastest way to see Machu Picchu.

See this post: The Ultimate Guide to Machu Picchu


Where to Eat

The Ultimate Guide to Cusco, Peru: Best things to do, how long to stay, and best day trips to take from Cusco. Use these tips to help plan your trip to Cusco!

Marcelo Batata

One of my favorite places we ate has the best rooftop view of Cusco!! Definitely plan to have lunch at Marcelo Batata one day. This non-alcoholic passionfruit lemonade was incredible!!

The Ultimate Guide to Cusco, Peru: Best things to do, how long to stay, and best day trips to take from Cusco. Use these tips to help plan your trip to Cusco!

Homemade chips and avocado with Maras salt. The shrimp, mango, and avocado appetizer was also incredible!

The Ultimate Guide to Cusco, Peru: Best things to do, how long to stay, and best day trips to take from Cusco. Use these tips to help plan your trip to Cusco!

La Rabona Peruvian Deli

If you need a spot to grab a sandwich or traditional Peruvian dessert, check out La Rabona. This chocolate dulce de leche cake was to die for! They also had soo many other things on the menu that looked so good, like hot paninis on freshly baked focaccia and so much more.

The Ultimate Guide to Cusco, Peru: Best things to do, how long to stay, and best day trips to take from Cusco. Use these tips to help plan your trip to Cusco!

Qucharitas

Such a fun ice cream shop in Cusco! Located on a narrow, pedestrian alley, they make your ice cream fresh in front you when you order.

The Ultimate Guide to Cusco, Peru: Best things to do, how long to stay, and best day trips to take from Cusco. Use these tips to help plan your trip to Cusco!


Where to Stay in Cusco

The Ultimate Guide to Cusco, Peru: Best things to do, how long to stay, and best day trips to take from Cusco. Use these tips to help plan your trip to Cusco!

Hands down, the BEST place to stay in Cusco is the JW Marriott El Convento Cusco. It’s very well located and within walking distance to everything.

You may have heard that Cusco and Machu Picchu are at a high altitude and you need to give yourself plenty of time to acclimate. It’s true. Symptoms of altitude sickness are headaches and nausea. But what the JW Marriott does is truly amazing.

The JW Marriott in Cusco pumps oxygen into the rooms so you acclimate to the altitude faster. Even the locals recommend staying at the Marriott your first night to help you acclimate. It makes you feel like you’re 3,000 feet lower than you actually are, which can make a HUGE different in how you feel! There are so many awesome things to see and do around Cusco, you don’t have time to be sick. Stay at the JW Marriott so you can feel your best and not miss anything in Peru!

The Ultimate Guide to Cusco, Peru: Best things to do, how long to stay, and best day trips to take from Cusco. Use these tips to help plan your trip to Cusco!

How gorgeous is this bathroom?? I loved all the luxury amenities here. The shampoo and conditioner were SO good! I wish I knew what they were so I could buy them and use them at home!! My hair was SO clean and soft! I also hoarded all the mini bottles of lavender lotion so I could take some home with me. It smelled SO good! There was also a full-size Colgate toothbrush and a travel size bottle of toothpaste. If all hotels had amenities like this I could pack a lot less when I traveled, lol!

The Ultimate Guide to Cusco, Peru: Best things to do, how long to stay, and best day trips to take from Cusco. Use these tips to help plan your trip to Cusco!

Another amazing thing about the JW Marriot in Cusco is that it was built on an Inca foundation. When they were excavating for the hotel, they found ancient ruins with Inca and even pre-Inca colonies. They found over 2,000 artifacts which were sent to museums. The JW Marriott preserved these ruins and you can still see them inside the hotel today. They even offer a daily tour with a monk to explain the history of the site. Some of the rooms even have views of the ancient Inca walls!

The Ultimate Guide to Cusco, Peru: Best things to do, how long to stay, and best day trips to take from Cusco. Use these tips to help plan your trip to Cusco!

The JW Marriott in Cusco is seriously one of the most fun hotels I’ve ever been to! They offer so many complimentary activities, like a Pisco Sour class every evening at the bar. You’ll learn about the history of the Pisco Sour, how to make one, and even get a free Pisco Sour to drink during the class!

The Ultimate Guide to Cusco, Peru: Best things to do, how long to stay, and best day trips to take from Cusco. Use these tips to help plan your trip to Cusco!

Breakfast at the JW Marriott in Cusco is AMAZING. Oh my gosh, where do I start?? I’ll mention some of my favorites: the omelet station, the create-your-own pancakes and waffles with with Nutella, whipped cream, chocolate, and peanut butter, the lemon poundcake, the chocolate chip cookies, double fudge chocolate chip cookies, the fruit infused juice which changed daily, and SO much more.

The Ultimate Guide to Cusco, Peru: Best things to do, how long to stay, and best day trips to take from Cusco. Use these tips to help plan your trip to Cusco!

How cute are these fruit cups in a jar??

The Ultimate Guide to Cusco, Peru: Best things to do, how long to stay, and best day trips to take from Cusco. Use these tips to help plan your trip to Cusco!

You guys. I was DYING over this “almond croissant”!! That was the name, but honestly it tasted to me like honey butter croissant! Whatever you call it, it was SO good!!

Why the locals recommend staying at the JW Marriott in Cusco your first night

Oh my gosh, this was probably my favorite room in the entire hotel!! The spa at the JW Marriott in Cusco has a pool, hot tub, and sauna available for all guests. I seriously could not think of a more perfect way to relax after hiking all day!!

And possibly the most amazing thing about the JW Marriott in Cusco… They have a daily meet and greet with a baby llama every morning in the courtyard. That’s right. You can cuddle your very own baby llama!! This little girl was SO precious!! I want to hug her every day!!!!

On Saturday nights they have a bonfire in the courtyard with complimentary s’mores. On Friday afternoons they have a dessert cart with doughnuts, pies, and cakes. There’s complimentary tea all day every day. On Wednesdays they offer complimentary cooking classes with the executive chef. They also offer complimentary yoga classes 3 times a week.

The staff was so friendly and helpful. I’d like to mention Brian and Jesus by name. They went above and beyond to make sure we had everything we needed. I highly, highly recommend staying at the JW Marriott for an amazing experience in Cusco!