Not packed in a bus. Not herded with a group. Self guided walk is the SAFEST way to sightsee while observing SOCIAL DISTANCING!

Cusco Introduction Walk (Self Guided), Cusco

The rich historical legacy of Cusco is known well beyond the city's borders. The streets of the capital of the once mighty Inca Empire tell a fascinating story of life in the pre- and post-Columbus eras. This tour invites you to visit some of Cusco's most noteworthy attractions, prominent reminders of the city's eventful past.
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Cusco Introduction Walk Map

Guide Name: Cusco Introduction Walk
Guide Location: Peru » Cusco (See other walking tours in Cusco)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 11
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 Km or 1.6 Miles
Author: Nick
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Plaza de Armas
  • Cusco Cathedral
  • Museum of Religious Art
  • Archbishop Palace and Twelve-Angle Stone
  • San Blas District
  • The Four Busts House
  • Coricancha Temple
  • Church of the Company of Jesus
  • La Merced Church
  • Cusco Regional History Museum
  • San Francisco Museum
1
Plaza de Armas

1) Plaza de Armas

Known as the "Square of the warrior" in the Inca era, this plaza has been the scene of several important events, such as the proclamation by Francisco Pizarro in the conquest of Cuzco. Similarly, the Plaza de Armas was the scene of the death of Túpac Amaru II, considered the indigenous leader of the resistance. The Spanish built stone arcades around the plaza which endure to this day. The main cathedral and the Church of La Compañía both open directly onto the plaza.
Sight description based on wikipedia
2
Cusco Cathedral

2) Cusco Cathedral (must see)

The Cathedral of Santo Domingo, also known as Cusco Cathedral, is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cusco. The cathedral is located on the main road of Cusco, Peru, called the Avenida de Sol. Building was completed in 1654, almost a hundred years after construction began.

Adjacent and joined to the cathedral is the smaller Iglesia del Triunfo, the first Christian church to be built in Cusco. The Iglesia de la Compania de Jesus, also on the Plaza de Armas, was built at a similar time as Santo Domingo.

The Cathedral, in addition to its official status as a place of worship, has become a major repository of Cusco's colonial art. It also holds many archeological artifacts and relics. The cathedral was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site under the City of Cuzco listing in 1983.

The Gothic-Renaissance style of the cathedral reflects that of Spain during the period of the Spanish conquest of South America and also Cusco. There is also evidence of baroque influence in the facade on the Plaza de Armas. The Incas incorporated some of their religious symbolism into the cathedral, for example, the carved head of a jaguar (an important god or religious motif found widely through much of ancient Peru) is part of the cathedral doors.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
3
Museum of Religious Art

3) Museum of Religious Art (must see)

The Museum of Religious Art is located near the center of the city in the historic Archiepiscopal Palace, which was built over the walls of the Inca Sinchi Roca Palace. During the Colonial era, the building belonged to Marquiz de Buenavista. Today, several rooms of this beautiful house are used to display a collection of religious art, Colonial furniture and paintings. This is one of the best places in Cusco to enjoy Andean art.
4
Archbishop Palace and Twelve-Angle Stone

4) Archbishop Palace and Twelve-Angle Stone

Visit the narrow pedestrian street Hatunrumiyoc, near Plaza de Armas, to view this marvelous Inca stone construction. The structure is in fact an old wall that was once part of the Inca Roca Palace. This masterful ‘Twelve-angled stone’ is a great example of what the Inca were capable of creating. A visit to this popular downtown area, packed with small shops, museums and bars, should definitely be Number 1 on your Cusco 'To Do' list.
5
San Blas District

5) San Blas District (must see)

San Blas, also known as "the Artist’s District," is a popular downtown area. The narrow, picturesque streets here are packed with small art galleries, specialty shops and bars. Despite its popularity, you can still take a leisurely stroll in San Blas. Be sure not to miss San Blas Church, home of the legendary Pulpit of San Blas, one of the greatest jewels of Colonial religious art in South America.
6
The Four Busts House

6) The Four Busts House

The Four Busts House, a great example of Spanish colonial architecture, was once the home Spanish conquistador Marquis Salas Valdez. The family coat of arms and four images of the home's owners are carved in stone on the outside of the house. The well-preserved family portraits on the exterior of the house once served to remind people walking by of the noble status of its inhabitants, as well as their Spanish heritage.
7
Coricancha Temple

7) Coricancha Temple (must see)

The Coricancha (from the Quechua words Quri Kancha meaning "Golden Temple"), originally named Inti Kancha ("Temple of the Sun") or Inti Wasi ("Sun House"), was the most important temple in the Inca Empire, dedicated primarily to Inti, the Sun God. It was one of the most revered temples of the capital city of Cusco.

The walls and floors were once covered in sheets of solid gold, and its adjacent courtyard was filled with golden statues. Spanish reports tell of its opulence that was "fabulous beyond belief". When the Spanish required the Inca to raise a ransom in gold for the life of the leader Atahualpa, most of the gold was collected from Coricancha.

The Spanish colonists built the Church of Santo Domingo on the site, demolishing the temple and using its foundations for the cathedral. Construction took most of a century. This is one of numerous sites where the Spanish incorporated Inca stonework into the structure of a colonial building. Major earthquakes severely damaged the church, but the Inca stone walls, built out of huge, tightly-interlocking blocks of stone, still stand due to their sophisticated stone masonry.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
8
Church of the Company of Jesus

8) Church of the Company of Jesus (must see)

During construction on the Church of the Company of Jesus in 1571, the Jesuits, who were building it, decided that it should be the most magnificent church in Cusco. The archbishop of Cusco argued that it should not be allowed to compete with the splendor of the cathedral, and the conflict became so heated that Pope Paul III was called on to deliberate over the matter and give a verdict. By the time the message had reached the pope in Europe and his decision reached South America, the Iglesia de la Compania de Jesus was almost complete, which is why it has such an ornate frontal facade.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
9
La Merced Church

9) La Merced Church (must see)

La Merced Church was originally built in 1536, but it underwent restoration work at the end of the 17th century. Its beautiful facade, the Gonzalo Pizarro crypt, the former prison of Salamanca and the courtyard carvings that depict the life of the Merced Order members attract many tourists to La Merced. The church's valuable collection of statues, carvings, paintings and other religious art can be viewed in the museum of the church.
10
Cusco Regional History Museum

10) Cusco Regional History Museum

One of the most attractive museums in the city, The History Museum of Cusco is located in the former house of the famous local writer Garcilazo de la Vega. The museum is centrally located just a few blocks away from the city’s central plaza. Inside, the museum has preserved the building's decorative features and has on display a permanent collection of paintings of the Academy of Cusco, in addition to wooden sculptures and archeological pieces. These archeological artifacts include Inca pottery, agricultural tools, textiles and musical instruments.
11
San Francisco Museum

11) San Francisco Museum (must see)

The San Francisco museum is one of the largest and most popular museums in Cusco. The museum occupies the two floors of the San Francisco Church. The interior walls are decorated with beautiful paintings and wooden carvings. The museum's main attractions include the Franciscan family tree canvas, a series of Saint Antonio images, Colonial furniture and a large number of unique religious paintings.

Opening hours: Monday - Saturday: 9 am - 8 pm

Walking Tours in Cusco, Peru

Create Your Own Walk in Cusco

Create Your Own Walk in Cusco

Creating your own self-guided walk in Cusco is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Museum Tour of Cusco, Part 1

Museum Tour of Cusco, Part 1

Cusco is a beautiful, historical city and the cradle of Inca civilization. The city is home to many ancient ruins, which explains why it is considered "The Archeological Capital of America." Take this tour to visit Cusco's best museums, which hold the treasures of the city's past.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.2 Km or 0.7 Miles
Museum Tour of Cusco, Part 2

Museum Tour of Cusco, Part 2

Cusco has a stunning variety of museums and cultural centers that contain fascinating art, historical artifacts and more. Take this self-guided tour of Cusco's premier museums to learn about the city's history and cultural heritage.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.6 Km or 1 Miles
Religious Tour of Cusco

Religious Tour of Cusco

Cusco, once the capital of the Inca Empire, is one of the oldest cities in the world. In the 16th century Spanish missionaries brought Catholicism to Cusco. Take this tour to learn about fascinating Inca religious buildings and rituals and to see some of the beautiful religious art in Cusco's Colonial-era churches.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 Km or 1.3 Miles
Shopping Tour of Cusco

Shopping Tour of Cusco

Cusco has many excellent opportunities for shopping. Here you can find beautiful clothing, most of which is made from 100% alpaca wool. You can also purchase handmade jewelry, Inca pottery, quilts, textiles and more. Take this tour to explore some of the best stores in Cusco.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.6 Km or 1 Miles