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The Most Unique Experiences to Have in Cusco
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The Most Unique Experiences to Have in Cusco

Picture of Brandon Dupre
Updated: 13 November 2017
Peru is a fascinating country and Cusco is its most magical destination. With Inca ruins, beautiful cobblestone streets and alpaca shopping – Cusco has something for everyone. The only difficult part is figuring out what to do first. Here is our guide to the best and most unique experience to have in Cusco, the sacred land of the Incas.

See the 12-sided stone

When in Cusco this might be the first place everyone visits to admire the intricacies of Incan architecture. The stone is one of the only Incan buildings in Cusco that survived the Spanish destruction and is a sight to behold. In addition to the 12-sided stone that you can’t even fit the blade of a knife through, the building also has shapes of a puma and a snake.

Ruins

In addition to the 12-sided stone, there are ruins only a hike away from the Plaza de Armas, such as Saksaywaman and Qenqo, that are more than worth the boleto turistico. Saksaywaman is both a religious site and also served as a place of military significance for the Incas. Qenqo is believed to be where sacrifices would take place, as evinced by llama and alpaca bones.

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Saksaywaman/ | Saksaywaman/ © bobistraveling/Flicker

Shopping

If you love shopping then you’ll love Cusco. There’s no shortage of places to buy alpaca gear such as jackets, shirts and scarves in varying price ranges. You’ll even find vicuña gear for around half the price of what it usually sells for in the US. There are so many places to go you’ll probably need to couple of days to shop.

Wandering down narrow streets

Incan architecture is famous – among other things – for having very tiny, cobblestone streets. The Plaza de Amras is surrounded by these walkways and makes for some fun exploring. Get lost in the beautiful streets of the Incas.

Cristo Blaco

There’s a statute of Christ at the top of the valley overlooking Cusco. Take the steep hike to the top where you’ll have the best views of the entire city.

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https://www.flickr.com/photos/bobistraveling/14943903127/in/photolist-7yjoGq-7yRU8q-7yeMuV-7yeLa8-5mFpBv-oLxpLc-5cLZ7W-5ZSZpD-8sgfPh-8Akexv-nFnEkS-oVT5DD-racD1X-nv1bqo-8a7F5D-8aaUiw-61kjeo-pETd6h-9JN61E-cUmhqA-cUmgXQ-LYkoUy-PcGRzK-P4TZnR-P4TZNk-7yjnGo-LUcnoi-P4TZVp-P4TZQV-oZjpNg-oZkeTx | © bobistraveling/Flickr

Coca

Educate yourself about how integral coca is to Andean life at the coca museum and then try all the different cocoa products such as tea, chapstick and candy. A must is to buy dry leafs and put them in your mouth like the locals do – it gives you energy and helps fight altitude sickness.

Eat cuy

You probably never thought to eat your little family pet, but in Peru guinea pig is considered a delicacy. While in Cusco it is a must to order some oven baked guinea pig with a big glass of chica.

Unique architecture

The combination of Inca stones and foundations with Spanish colonial facades and balconies – there’s nothing quite like this in the world. Soak up the magic of these buildings by walking around the Plaza de Armas.

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https://www.flickr.com/photos/robertluna3/5541882846/in/photolist-9rHAGf-gBUXXb-b81v3k-75un7z-75umTz-gBYo78-pB1PnR-YRFZ1z-i5uZT5-5zCdp8-GbYX2v-CtXGnm-YB3rnz-Z5EQvA-2Hr3cv-8tYf6b-b81uFM-HAzYM9-ZeryQq-Z1ANBV-213erw5-7YymL7-5TFJmy-ZTSY1r-BJXvQb-b5yegV-Ypb2VD-4NuaeX-5NrmtP-6DTiZ-214Ju4b-atvqH1-ev3yCP-b5y6Xe-2Hr12a-6DTp1-6DQT2-75t4Yu-AX2RJu-GaSMrX-6XxTKY-24HGFN-6DSZP-dc6imH-n9EYA-4KWjSa-84WYi9-6Zn729-hHUPTS-qmtgYM | © Robert Luna/Flickr

Devil’s balcony

El Balcon del Diablo is a cave cave about a three-hour hike form Cusco. If that sounds too long for you, rent horses near Saksaywaman for about 50 soles. The cave has a river that runs through it and makes for a perfect place for a picnic.

Learn about local texiles

Beautiful Andean textiles are to be found everywhere in Cusco and you should go one step further than just simply buying them – buy them while also learning about the rich history of textile making at the textile museum.

Happy hour in the Plaza

Head to the Plaza de Armas and find a bar offering a good priced happy hour. Watching the sun set over the mountains and the plaza is unbeatable. Cusco’s plaza might be Peru’s best and what better way to enjoy it than with a pisco sour in hand.