Best Cusco Day Tours
Cusco, a city located in the Peruvian Andes at over 3,360 meters (11,023 feet), was once the 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 the old city, with arcades, carved wooden balconies, and Incan wall ruins. The baroque Santo Domingo Convent was built on top of the Incan Temple of the Sun (Qoricancha) and has archaeological remains of Inca stonework.
These are just a few reasons why thousands of tourists visit the city every year. Many think that Machu Picchu is the only site to visit, but there are so many more things to see in Cusco. In the following article, you will find all the tours in Cusco that you can explore while you are visiting Cusco.
City Tour Cusco
This is the most exciting half-day tour of Cusco and has always been one of the most in-demand experiences as it takes you around must-see sites in Cusco. Our Guides will give you a glimpse of top attractions from Inca temples. You’ll also explore some Inca sites located on the outskirts of Cusco: Qenqo, Puka Pukara, Saqsayhuaman, and Tambomachay.
The tour will take about 5 to 6 hours, and usually it starts at 1:30 p.m., where our guide will take you through the highlights of the city. Once you have been explored, you’ll be back in Cusco. This city tour is well recommended for everyone (children, families, couples, solo travelers, and adults) because it does not demand a long hike.
On this tour, you will need to purchase the Boleto turistico (entrance ticket), which you can usually buy at the first Inca site. The prices are as follows:
Some important info
Half Ticket: Which allows you to visit only four Inca ruins (Sacsayhuaman, Qenqo, Puca Pucara, and Tambomachay) the price for this is S/70.00 Peruvian soles, it is valid for 2 days.
Full Ticket: Is the most complte ticket that allows you to visit about 16 places included Inca sites near to Cusco, Sacred Valley, South Valley and museums in the Cusco city. The price for this is S/130.00 Peruvian soles, it is valid for 10 days.
The Sacred Valley of the Incas
The Sacred Valley Tour should be on the bucket list of all travelers visiting Peru, Cusco, and Machu Picchu. Enjoy the magnificent landscapes and amazing Inca sites while experiencing local life as you journey through the amazing Sacred Valley of the Incas. The adventure begins in Cusco, where a private vehicle will collect you at your hotel and transport you directly to this stunning spot surrounded by impressive mountains.
During the Sacred Valley Tour, you will visit the following archaeological sites:
is a small village nestled in the Urubamba range, near the Vilcanota River. Famous for its Sunday market and Inca ruins, most people spend a few hours exploring the archaeological site located at the top of the mountain.
Pisac still preserves buildings, complete walls, houses, food deposits, guard posts, and other constructions that are part of that great Inca legacy for humanity.
Ollantaytambo, a former Inca administrative center and gateway to the Antisuyo (the Amazon corner of the Inca Empire), sits at the northern end of the Sacred Valley. At the time of the Spanish invasion and conquest of Peru, Ollantaytambo served as the last stronghold for Inca Manco Yupanqui, leader of the Inca resistance at the time. Nowadays, the Ollantaytambo ruins and town are an important and popular tourist attraction in the Sacred Valley. The town’s primary attraction is the Ollantaytambo Fortress on the outskirts of the settlement, in a section known as Temple Hill. It is also a frequented attraction, as many tourists catch the train to Aguas Calientes from here.
This archaeological site has incredible terraces that were designed by the Incas a hundred years ago. These terraces are in the form of a trapezoid, a perfect shape for farming. The Incas cultivated very nutritious crops such as Quinoa, kiwi, and seeds that provided lots of energy.
The archeological site of Chinchero gives visitors a better understanding of how vital this area was to agricultural production. Food storehouses and a highly efficient irrigation system show the genius of this culture, which is difficult to imitate today.
Moray and Salt Mines Tour
Embark on an unforgettable adventure to explore two of Cusco’s most distinctive and fascinating sites: The agricultural marvel of Moray and the ancient Salt Mines of Maras. This enriching tour offers a rare glimpse into the Inca civilization’s ingenuity and the region’s enduring traditions.
This tour in Cusco is a lovely way to begin acclimatizing to the high altitude of Cusco and get ready for a trek if you have booked one.
At the Moray ruin site, located at 3,450 m/11,319 ft, you can explore circular agricultural terraces with a complex irrigation system. These terraces served as a natural green house to grow an extraordinary variety of crops at an altitude that they would typically only reach in the tropical Andes. It has also been suggested that they have a cosmological meaning.
Is a vast salt mine set in a breathtaking little valley in the Andean mountains. This tour has become quite popular recently and can be added on to any other treks or tours to have the complete Cusco experience!
Humantay Lake Day Tour
Humantay Lake is one of the many hidden gems of Peru’s highland region. The turquoise waters and the hugely imposing glacier come together in flawless harmony for the truly incredible sight that you see. It truly is a hidden gem, as it is nestled between two different peaks, Humantay and Salkantay, and the only way to access it safely is from below. This means there are no tantalizing glimpses of the water to spur you on; simply the mystery of what is to come.
The Humantay Lake Day tour
begins in Cusco, and it starts early due to the distance of about 3 hours to reach the trailhead. The hike begins at about 3,900 meters and gradually ascends through a picturesque path surrounded by beautiful snow-capped mountains. After a few hours of hiking up, you will reach the most incredible turquoise alpine lake located at the high altitude where the fog and clouds keep rolling all day long. You do not have a chance to escape it.
After we have explored this beautiful lake, we return to the same path we took to reach here. It takes about 30 minutes to reach the campsite or the bus station, and from here we board the bus and drive to Mollepata to have lunch. Then, we continue the drive to Cusco.
What is the Humantay Lake Altitude?
The hike to Humantay Lake is one of the most visited Tours in Cusco would not have been that hard had it not been for the high elevation at which the lake sits. The trek itself starts at 3,800 meters above sea level, which is relatively high already, and you must gain another 400 meters to reach Humantay Lake, which sits at 4,200 meters.
The beginning of the hike is quite flat, but while you walk, it will turn a little steep and gradually go up in a rocky path. However, while you gain elevation, the views are incredible; just turn around and see the green valley and the towering peaks around.
You will also be able to walk around and even climb a little to have more fantastic views.
We recommend spending a few days in Cusco to acclimatize to the altitude; drinking water will help you a lot with your performance.
The Rainbow Mountain Tour
Rainbow Mountain, locally known as Vinicunca, was hidden in the Andes mountains under deep snow until recent climate changes melted the ice, revealing the hidden gem to the world. What makes it so special are the seven different colored minerals that form rainbow-like layers due to erosion, oxidation, and other geological factors. Since its discovery in 2015, The Rainbow Mountain has gained popularity and now receives travelers from all over, looking to see the colorful mountain with their own eyes.
Located in the middle of the Andes, about 3 hours drive from Cusco, it offers stunning views surrounded by snowy peaks and picturesque Andean villages.
The tour with Vidal Expeditions, starts early in the morning in Cusco in order to avoid the crowds and reach the mountain before the other groups. With the option to hike to the Red Valley, we return about 3 p.m. to Cusco.
What is the Rainbow Mountain Altitude?
Also known as Vinicunca mountain is located in the Vilcanote range, about 5,036 meters (16,522 ft) near Ausangate Mountain.
The entire walk to Rainbow Mountain’s main summit viewpoint takes place at high altitude (starting at around 4,600 meters), and its summit is at 5,036 meters above sea level.
We highly recommend having some days in Cusco to acclimatize. If you have other tours, trekking around Cusco will help you a lot. Also, you will be able to hire a horse from the beginning of the path, and you can negotiate the price directly with the locals; there are many of them offering that service.
Seven Lakes of Ausangate Tour
Experience the Seven Lakes of Ausangate Peru, including Azulqocha, Otorongo, and the Pucacocha in The Cordillera of Vilcanota! This is an excellent option for a shorter trip when traveling to Cusco. If you are a trekker with limited time, this full-day experience is best for you.
See unique landscapes and snowy peaks, visit 7 different lakes, see picturesque Andean villages, hear of Lamas, soak in some relaxing hot springs, and enjoy delicious meals on a single Cusco day trip.
The Ausangate 7 Lakes are located 4 hours from Cusco, near Ocongate town. The maximum elevation you will reach on this tour is over 4,600 meters while you explore the beautiful turquoise lakes and the Apu Ausangate (protector of the Andes).
Q’ueswachaca Inca bridge Tour
The Q’ueswachaca Inca rope bridge in Peru is one of the most fascinating tours in Cusco move over, Inca Trail! It is found in the province of Canas, in the department of Cusco, at 3700m (12,139 ft). It has a length of 28 meters and is slung 30 meters above the Apurimac River (Apurimac in Quechua means «the god who talks»).
Back in the day, the Q’eswachaka bridge was part of the vast network of Inca roads known as Qhapaq an, the Royal Way, which led to the Citadel of Machu Picchu. But this is no ordinary bridge. Each year, the locals remake this Inca grass bridge entirely by hand, using the same techniques that their ancestors used many years ago.
Join a Qeswachaka Bridge Tour
Vidal Expeditions offers a full-day Qeswachaka tour and many more destinations that are equally engaging and steeped in culture. If you want to check out this swinging bridge festival in 2024 or any other year, find full Qeswachaka Peru tour information here. Or, follow this link to find out more about all of our cultural treks and tours.
Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain Tour
Hidden from the outside world, surrounded by gorgeous Andean valleys with tiny villages and hundreds of alpacas, is Rainbow Mountain in Peru. Mountain tops at 5000 meters (16400 ft) are covered with a dozen different colors as if it’s painted on there, while it’s actually due to various kinds of metals. And we are not talking about the immensely popular Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain but its unknown brother, Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain in Peru.
Join the Palccoyo Tour
Nestled in the souther part of Cusco, it takes about 4 hours to drive on the highway to Puno. Nowadays, it can be visited on a day tour from Cusco. The sad truth behind this all is that less than 10 years ago, snow covered the mountain tops year-round. But due to climate change, the snow melts in the summer and reveals these incredible colors.
Comparing to the Vinicunca mountain, this Palccoyo mountain is easier to reach the summit due to the gradual ascending path, but the hike takes only 30 minutes from the bus station. However, we always recommend having a previous day in Cusco to acclimatize to the altitude.
Pallay Punchu Tour
Discover the new rainbow mountain in Peru, just a few hours from the city of Cusco. In the middle of a practically virgin tourist circuit lies one of the most impressive natural wonders of Latin America. Travel towards the Cusco highlands and be amazed by a mountain that seems to have been wrapped in a colorful Andean poncho full of ancestral iconography.
Located in Layo, approximately 4 hours by car from the city of Cusco, you first need to reach the city of Sicuani (3,550 masl or 11,646 fasl) and then board a car to get to the town of Layo. The hike will take only half an hour on an ascending path, and you will be amazed by the most incredible landscape in the Andes.
Waqra Pucara Tour
Located in the district of Acos in the department of Cusco, Waqrapukara (also spelled Waqra Pukara) is carved into and built upon the slopes of a hillside with an overlooking view of the grand Apurimac River. Only in 2017 was it declared a Cultural Heritage Site by Peru’s Ministry of Culture.
Waqra means “horn” in Quechua, while Pukara means “fortress.”
Waqrapukara features two groups of buildings; the first is located in the upper part of a mass of rocks jutting out from the hill while the other is made up of 2 enclosures on the west side of the hill. The latter of these is thought to have been for ceremonial use only.
The foundations of the site are actually pre-Inca, dating back to the Q’anchi culture. The Inca constructions came later under the reign of Huayna Capac.
Conservation of Waqrapukara is an immediate and long-term priority for the municipal governments now that it has been given proper recognition as a Cultural Heritage Site.