Answers from Our Experts (1)
While some cities require stepping off the well-worn path to try something new, Cuzco is best experienced by sticking to the classic attractions—they're famous for a reason. Here are Forbes Travel Guide’s editors’ picks on what to see to get the most out of your stay.
1. Machu Picchu. Though a separate destination reached by train, the real reason so many people find themselves in Cuzco is the opportunity to see Machu Piccu, South America's crown jewel of Incan structures and stunning natural views. While it's been swamped with tourists ever since its “discovery” in 1911 (indigenous people in the region knew of its existence), it's one of those few spots on the planet where the experience is going to outlive the hype in your mind. Do not miss the opportunity, but make travel arrangements with a tour group before arriving in Cuzco, since daily visitor limits are strictly enforced.
2. Qorikancha. Even for tourists on the fence about exploring ruins, this is an awe-inspiring experience. Formerly the finest temple in the Inca empire, the remains today serve as the base of a colonial church, doing double duty as both an impressive Incan stonework relic and an educational tool for visitors who want to understand more about the history of the city.
3. La Cathedral. Both a religious space and the home of the most extensive collection of colonial art in Cuzco, this is a formidable building that will make an impression on visitors. Construction for this structure began in 1559 and took nearly a century to complete.
4. Planetarium Cuzco. By focusing on how the Andean people understand the skies, this venue offers something different from your typical planetarium. The emphasis here is on the local culture’s interpretations of the constellations. It’s a fascinating and a fun experience that’s best followed by some actual stargazing in the startlingly clear Andean night sky.
5. Moray. For fit travelers who don't mind a bit of a hike to get to their destination, these spectacular spiral ruins—best viewed from up above but equally impressive from the center—are definitely worth the trip.