What to visit in Cusco?
Plaza de Armas:
The Plaza de Armas was formerly a marsh that was dried up during the time of the Inca Empire. It became the cultural and administrative center of the empire. After the conquest, it was occupied by the Spaniards, who surrounded this square of temples and precious mansions built on the Inca palaces. Today, Plaza de Armas is the center of “everything” in the city, there are plenty of restaurants, banks, currency exchange and excursion offices. The Cuzco Plaza de armas is surrounded by some of the most beautiful buildings in the city like the cathedral or the church of the Company of Jesus.
Písac is located at only 32 Km from Cusco, just a few kilometers from the city you can find this important archaeological center known for being part of the Inca ruins. The entry costs 140 soles and 80 soles for students. To get to Pisac: you can take the local bus from Cusco which leaves from Tullumayo Avenue and costs less than 1 dollar. Once in Pisac, you can ask for a local van to get you there. These ruins stand out for their magnificent terraces of cultivation and the village market is extremely colorful and interesting.
At about 7 Km from Cusco on the road that leads to Pisac, you can find this mystical Inca place whose name means “red fort” in Quechua by the tone of its rocks at sunset (Puca = red, and Pucara = fortress or place defended). It is a military construction composed of superposed terraces, with interior squares, watchtowers, high walls and spectacular staircases.
If you are a traveler you shouldn’t miss the Cusco Baratillo, a large flea market that rides every Saturday from very early in the neighborhood of Santiago. Very popular, crowded with stalls, in the Baratillo you can find anything, even those unimaginable. clothing, footwear, music, electronic gadgets, sportswear, furniture, ornaments, antiques, typical textiles and used objects. It’s like being in La feria del Alto in La Paz! Everything has room in this incredible place… The site is known for being very picturesque but unsafe.
Ollantaytambo is located in the Sacred Valley 70 Km away from Cusco and is practically an Inca town that also preserves a large amount of pre-Hispanic constructions. Ollantaytambo is the destination bound if you want to save enough dollars on the train that goes to Machupicchu village (Aguas Calientes) since the train that leaves from Cusco is much more expensive. The cheapest one is the one that leaves at about 8 pm from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes. As mentioned before, the best way to travel to Ollantaytambo is by bus from Cusco, but it is better to pass by Pisac and take a tour of its handicraft market and its ruins!