Deep in a highland valley in the South American Andes is the city of Cusco, Peru’s most popular travel destination. Once the beating heart of the mighty Incan Empire, today Cusco is a launchpad for tourists to explore the historic villages and relics of the Sacred Valley, most notably the “lost” city of Machu Picchu.
But while the area surrounding Cusco offers a dizzying array of cultural excursions, treks and outdoor activities, the city itself is a joy to discover. Designed by the Incas in the shape of a puma, at Cusco’s centre is the splendid Plaza de Armas, around which labyrinths of colourful cobbled streets beckon for exploration.
This is a city where ancient Andean history interweaves with colonial culture to create some of the most beautiful architecture in the country. You can dine like king (or queen) at a different restaurant every night, pose for pictures with baby alpacas in your arms, and spend hours browsing the vibrant markets full of traditional textiles and trinkets. Here’s how to make the best of this spectacular sacred city.
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