Often referred to Cusco as the 'Archaeological Capital of the Americas' Cusco is a beautiful city riddled with contrasts between the indigenous styles and the modern western world. It is these contrasts that have given Cusco its rare beauty.
|Elevation||: 3360m ,11155 pies|
|Location||: Southeast of Perú|
|Annual average temperature||: 11° C|
|Maximum temperature||: 17° C|
|Minimum temperature||: - 2° C|
|Rain||: from November to March|
|Population||: 1'171503 inhabitants|
|Telephone Code||: 084|
Before Traveling to Cusco.
CUSCO ARCHAEOLOGICAL CAPITAL OF AMERICA
Shopping : Cusco has a great variety of articles of silver, alpaca wool and pima cotton. Our handicrafts are highly valued worldwide. In our local handicrafts market it is possible barging with the venders. A 15% of discount is usually what you get.
Electricity : : In all Peru and in Cusco the current is 220 volts AC. In most places all the plugs are ambivalent, circles ( as in Spain ) or planes (as in America).
Tipping :A 10% service charge is included in all restaurants prices. It is customary to leave an additional 10% for the waiter and a voluntary tip for tourist guides and drives , but no for taxi drives.
Internet And Telephone : In Cusco there are public facilities for worldwide internet access at affordable rates . Telefonica del Peru y AT & T sell pre paid calling cards of different denominations available at book stores, markets and newspaper stands.
Currency : Peru´s unit of currency is the Sol ( s/ ). Most hotels, hostels, restaurants and shops accept U.S dollars, but if you want to change your dollars into local currency, we recommend that you do it at the money change houses or at a bank.
Mail : A letter or postcard takes one week in arriving to its destination. Mail boxes and stamps are available in most of the book stores, hotels and in the central post office.
Time :The time in Peru is ´5 GMT. Also remember that we are near the tropic and that people therefore have a more relaxed sense of time. Of course we do avoid any type of delay.
Public Transportation :There are not taximeters in Peru, so for that before getting into a taxi, you must clearly establish the rate with your driver. Remember to take low denomination coins with you to pay this service.
Security Measures :We recommend carry money or credit cards in money belts and don´t carry a purse unless it is absolutely essential. Handbags and photograph and video cameras can be carried if you act prudently, taking care in places with large crows, such as markets, train stations and public plazas.
Health Precautions : Don´t forget to take precautions to avoid altitude sickness ( Cusco 11.200 ft), and be sure to try a hot tea or infusion of coca leaves on the arrival in the altitude, rest some few hours and eat lightly.
Travelers with heart conditions or high blood pressure should check with their doctor before traveling to Cusco.
If you are going to visit areas of the jungle, do not forget that a yellow fever immunization is a prerequisite and must be receive at least 10 days before beginning your trip to this area.
Water And Food : To avoid problems drinking tap water, we recommend that you always drink bottle water. Peruvian cuisine is highly varied and spicy ,we recommend that you take advantage of your visit to enjoy the local and international cuisine prepared in Cusco that is recognized around the world as one of the best.
Clothing And Weather : : Here the weather can vary considerably in one day, according to the time day. It can be cold in the early morning and at night, and quite warm at midday. Therefore, it is advisable to dress in layers of clothing that can be easily put or taken off. Sweaters, jackets and long slacks are necessary.
Domestic animals :The dog is the favorite domestic animal in Cusco, you will see dogs everywhere. The cat is present but in smaller percentages. Be not afraid if one day when checking the menu in the different restaurants finds the guinea pig as main course. Here the Guinea pig is not a pet. This little animal constitutes one of the most traditional dishes in Cusco cuisine.
Family Houses :This is a different type of lodging offered by some families from Cusco, they offered simple and double rooms. To be in a family house is a great advantage for those that want to know a little but about the customs of Cusco resident's.
How to arrive to Cusco Peru
How to travel by Air
The most convenient thing to do in order to travel to Cusco by air is first arrive to Lima, and once there, take another plane or simply a bus. From Lima direct flights leave to Cusco, lasting in general less tan seventy minutes. Also, it is possible to fly from and to Arequipa, Juliaca in Puno, Maldonado Port or Ayacucho.
It is important to remember that a “domestic tax” will have to be paid at the airport for domestic flights and a boarding tax in the case of international flights.
It is also possible to access Cusco through the Alejandro Velasco Astete Airport, which has been recently remodeled and modernized. Such airport is located only ten kilometers away from the city, in Quispiquilla.
In this case, it is compulsory for all passengers coming from international flights to go through migration office and customs office to show their loading and disembark card, keeping it until they leave the country.
Nevertheless, all flights must be confirmed 72 hours before from any agency or by telephone with the number pointed out in the ticket.
How to travel by Land
Although it is possible to access Cusco by land, this isn’t the most convenient thing to, given that the route is long and the journey can be exhausting as it can last about a day and a half.
From Lima, routes 1, 2 and 3 must be followed. Should you travel along route 1, you will arrive first at Arequipa, and from there you will travel to Juliaca, and finally to Cusco.
If you choose to travel along route 2, first you will travel from Lima to Nesca, then to Puquio and afterwards Chalhuanca and Abancay until finally arriving in Cusco.If, on the other hand, you decide to travel along route number 3, the journey begins in Lima, continuing up to Huancayo and then up to Abancay. From there, Cusco is the next destination.
How to travel by Bus
Should you travel by bus from Pisac, Calca or Urubamba, you will arrive to Tullumayo Avenue. If you travel from Oropesa, Urcos or Sicuani, then you will arrive to the covered Coliseum in Manco Cápac Avenue.
However, it is important to know that most of the inter-provincial buses arrive to the Tio Bus Terminal and to the Pachacutec Avenue.
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How to travel by Train
Two train stations can be found in Cusco, given that this means of transport is widely used in the area. Those trains coming from places such as Quillabamba and Machu Picchu will arrive at San Pedro Station.
On the other hand, those coming from Arequipa, Puno or La Paz in Bolivia will arrive at the Huanchac Terminal located in Pachacutec Avenue
Nevertheless, as it was previously mentioned, it is a risky journey where thefts are very common and therefore you should be careful and keep an eye on your luggage. If you take a taxi, make sure that the fare is cheaper than two Peruvian Nuevos Soles.
Most visitors are keen to get to Machu Picchu, either by trekking for 4 days along the Inca Trail, or by 4 hours in the train, but Cusco itself has a lot to offer the visitor and most travellers usually end up seduced with this vibrant city and stay longer than first planned.
History of Cusco
"The children of the sun descended in a cloud of fire, walking out of the lake, climbed the hills trying to sink the goldenrod that his father had given them, sinking the rod and there was founded the great Inca Empire. And this happened in there in the middle of what would be called Cusco ... "
According to legend, Cusco was founded around the eleventh and twelfth centuries AD by Inca Manco Capac, who emerged from the sacred Lake Titicaca.
It was the center of government, sacred city and capital of the Empire of Tahuantinsuyo.
Inca society, managed to develop a technology capable of adapting and harmonizing with nature, thanks to his great knowledge in architecture, hydraulic engineering, medicine and agriculture.
The Inca emperors were 13. They say it was the Inca Pachacutec, who started the enlargement and modernization of the empire, coming to the Inca Huayna Capac at maximum expansion, conquering territory until it is now Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and Chile.
After the death of Huayna Capac, civil war broke out between his 2 sons for power. Huascar and Atahualpa fought for the throne of his father, emerging victorious Atahualpa.
In 1532 he produced the Spanish Conquest. On arrival, the Spanish captured and killed the last Inca (Atahualpa) in Cajamarca, Cusco took in 1533.
Francisco Pizarro, head of the conquistadores, given to Manco II (another son of Huayna Capac) be the new Inca, as a strategy to maintain control of the empire. Then part of the coast.
Manco II In 1536, rebels from the fortress of Sacsayhuaman, and subjected to Cusco, but after several months of fighting, the Spanish managed to seize the fortress. The Inca had to retreat first to Ollantaytambo and then in Vilcabamba.
Following this episode, Sacsayhuaman and other buildings destroyed Incas, using their stones and build on these houses and European-style temples.
In 1650, a major earthquake forced the reconstruction of many of the Spanish buildings.
In 1780 The Spanish are almost defeated by Jose Gabriel Condorcanqui (Tupac Amaru II), who after being defeated is executed in public in the main square of Cusco.
In 1814 Mattheo Pumacahua starts a second revolution, which was quelled by the Spanish.
In 1824 The Spanish are defeated and driven out of the country.
More recently, in 1911 Hiram Bingham discovers American researcher for the European world, the wondrous Machu Picchu Inca citadel.
The first thing that hits the newly arrived visitor to Cusco are the Inca walls; enormous granite blocks carved to fit together perfectly without the aid of mortar beds. Many of the walls were simply built upon during the construction of a new Spanish city. Its a tribute to the Incas that their anti seismic design has survived the test of time while the Spanish colonial architecture has been rebuilt several times following a wave of earthquakes that have hit the city.
Located at an altitude of 3,360m above sea level, Cusco was referred to as the 'Navel of the World'.
The city has a long and interesting history dating back to 1200AD and linked to the first Inca ruler Manco Capac. However the city saw its expansion in the 15th century under the rule of the greatest Inca Pachacutec, who led a drive that spread the boundaries of the Inca empire as far south as Chile and Argentina, and north to include Ecuador and Columbia. This rapid expansion abruptly came to an end on the arrival of the Spanish Conquistadors, led by Francisco Pizarro who, following the murder of the Inca Atahaulpa in Cajamarca, marched into Cusco in 1534 and added it definitively to the realms of King Charles V. This invasion opened the gates to a cultural mix that has left its imprint on every aspect of Peruvian culture, especially in the ancient Andean capital of Cusco.
When arriving in Cusco from the coast you'll immediately notice the thin clear mountain air, a result of the City's high altitude. The first day in particular should be spent quietly relaxing and taking things easy as you gently acclimatize. Plan to spend at least 3 days in and around Cusco before starting any serious trekking such as the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. This is an ideal opportunity to see the highlights Cusco has to offer such as a tour of the City, the nearby Inca Ruins of Sacsayhuaman, Qenko, Pucapucara and Tambomachay and, of course, a day trip out to the Sacred Valley of the Incas including a visit to the traditional Indian market at Pisac, the beautiful village of Ollantaytambo and the small village of Chinchero located high up in the mountains.
World Recognition Cusco
The city of Cuzco has received several honorary degrees and international awards.
- Cusco, the first city and first vote of all the cities and villages of the New Castile.Issued in Madrid by royal decree of Charles V, April 24, 1540
- The very famous, very noble, loyal and most faithful city of Cuzco, principal and head over the kingdoms of Peru. Issued in Madrid by royal decree of Charles V on July 19, 1540.
- Cusco, Archeological Capital of America.Presented at the XXV International Congress of Americanists held in La Plata, Argentina in 1933. This title was endorsed by the Congress of Peru by Law No. 7688 of January 23, 1933.
Cusco, World Cultural Heritage.Awarded by the Seventh Convention of Mayors of the Major Cities of the World, held in Milan, Italy on April 19, 1978.
Cusco, Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Awarded by the UNESCO in Paris, France on December 9, 1983.
Cusco, the National Cultural Heritage. Granted by Law N º 23765 of December 30, 1983. The same law called for in Article 3 rd to the City of Cusco and Tourist Capital of Peru.
Cusco, Peru's historic capital. Granted by Article 49 of the Constitution of Peru, 1993.
Cusco, the historic capital of Latin America. Awarded by the Latin American Congress of Aldermen and Councilmen, in the city of Cuzco in November 2001.
Cusco, American Capital of Culture. Awarded by the American Capital of Culture in 2007.
Cusco, Wonder of the World. Granted July 7, 2007 in a ceremony held in Lisbon - Portugal.