Cusco (Cuzco) Peru Adventure Travel | Budget Travel Adventure

| May 27, 2022

Cusco (or Cuzco) is one of the largest cities in Peru, and once upon a time, the largest city in South America during the era of the Inca Empire. Cusco was the central capital of the Incas. Most budget adventure travelers spend much time in Cusco (it is after all the base point for all Machu Picchu travels). There are differing opinions among tourists and travel bloggers on the authenticity of some aspects of the City (to be fair, this opinion applies to nearly every major global tourist hub), but there are some treasures that are unique to it and indicative of the rich history of Peru’s Inca empire.

Cusco Peru Adventure Travel | Budget Travel Adventure

View of Cusco City from the airplane

1. Altitude

At 3,400 m (11,200 ft), Cusco is higher in elevation than Machu Picchu ruins, which stands at only 2,430 m (7,972 ft). Unless you are accustomed to such altitudes, or have acclimatized to it by spending 2 days, you are likely to feel symptoms of altitude sickness ranging from anything mild like dizziness, nausea to extreme like faint spells, cramps, severe breathing problems. Consult your doctor at home before undertaking a trip up here.

Cusco Peru Adventure Travel | Budget Travel Adventure

2. The Good and the not so good.

With over 1.5 million tourists visiting Cusco any given year, Cusco gets its fair share of global tourists. Which is both good and bad. As one can only expect of bustling tourist venues, the city has its fair share of overpriced hotels, restaurants, clubs, and souvenir shops.  Before jumping in to a purchase or booking that hotel, do you research, spend some time shopping around, do bargain, and get recommendations from locals with whom you have built up a rapport. Do spend time to get to know the environment first. For the most part, it is quite safe here for tourists. Just express common sense as you would anywhere unfamiliar.

Cusco Peru Adventure Travel | Budget Travel Adventure


3. Spend time here prior to the big visit to Machu Pichu Ruins

A common complaint expressed by tourists that visit Cusco AFTER completing the Machu Pichu trek is that they feel “ruined” out. So I recommend touring these local spots (SaksaywamanQorikancha, Tambomachay, Kenko) before departing for Machu Picchu trek as these spots have cultural and historical significance to the Machu Picchu ruins. In fact, what most people don’t know is that Machu Picchu was not the centre of the Inca empire, Cusco was. From here, the Inca empire traversed north to parts of modern Venezuala and all the way down to modern Argentina. There are also some very unique tours to take within Cusco, but most local operators do not offer it, which is sad. It is a behind the scenes Cusco tour offered by select companies.

Cusco Peru Adventure Travel | Budget Travel Adventure


Cusco Peru Adventure Travel | Budget Travel Adventure


Here are some other notable places to visit in Cusco

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Disclaimer: A portion of this tour was sponsored by Gate1 Travel. Check out their other incredible tours in Peru.

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Category: Budget Adventure Travel, Peru Budget Travel

About the Author ()

Larkycanuck is the pseudonym for the spirited, spontaneous and zestful Canadian. The Blog is focused on showcasing budget adventure travels for working families. Larkycanuck has traveled to over 15 countries, 38 cities in 10 years. He has never quit a job to do this. He travels with his wife and on some trips with the house rabbit (Pepper).

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  1. Cusco (Cuzco) Peru Adventure Travel | Budget Travel Adventure | ivanjay99 | October 19, 2013
  1. I am sorry you feel this way.We spent 5 days there last June and had a wonderful experience!.

  2. Cuzco is not the second large city in Peru, but Arequipa. And, why did you titled “TOP 5 REASONS WHY NOT TO VISIT CUSCO (CUZCO)…” when after that you write “does not recommend spending more than 2 days in Cusco”? To visit or not?

    Altitude? True, but you can go directly to Macchu Picchu and after go back and stay in Cuzco. Yo will be perfectly acclimatized abd reafdy to enjoy a fascinating city, with luxury and cheap hotels, McDonalds and a large selection of exquisit cousine, a wonderful nightlife,

    And if you don´t want to be in a crowded place, man, don´t go to ANY of the 7 wonders of the modern world,

    • larkycanuck says:

      all true but I didnt know about Arequipa being that large. Ill have to look that one up.

      As I said, i only mention 5 reasons not to go. But there are 2,000+ reasons to go.