Flying into Cuzco can be a bit of a shock to travelers who aren’t used to the 11,000-foot altitude, but once those feelings wear off, they’re treated to a feast of ancient Inca heritage, from the eye-popping splendor at Machu Picchu to the festive pagan-meets-Catholic contemporary culture of the city itself.Most Impressive Historic Sites
Recommended Trips In The Area
- The attraction of Machu Picchu lies in its beauty as well as mystery: For what purpose did the ancient Incans build the structures, and why they did subsequently abandon it? The altitude and sprawl of the ancient ruins makes them an incredible place to catch the morning sun’s first rays and contemplate the wonders of Inca’s stonemasonry.
- Sacsayhuaman, another archeological wonder unlike any other monolithic structure seen in the rest of the world, is a walled complex made of massive stones that manage to fit together as tightly as a jigsaw puzzle without the aide of mortar. To this day, historians can only speculate as to how these non-uniform walls were built.
- Located in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, Choquequirao is a prime hiking spot due to its superb mountain scenery. Tourists can simply drive two and a half hours to Cachora to meet their guide, then embark on the multi-day trek up to the site, which is similarly beautiful to but much less crowded than Machu Picchu.
- About 40 kilometers from Cuzco, the town of Maras is home to a stunning spread of pre-Inca salt evaporation ponds of all different colors. Consider stopping by Moray nearby as well; the enormous terraced, circular depressions are simply more proof of the ancient civilization’s remarkable architectural abilities.