The essence of the experience
A magnificently preserved city, Cusco is resplendent with colonial architecture and a deeply embroidered, rich and textured history. Exemplifying the apex of Indigenous Quechua culture in the Andes, beautiful Spanish colonial buildings are juxtaposed with Inca walls lining the square, and a contemporary thriving nightlife flourishes.
Positioned in the Peruvian Andes, Cusco developed under the Inca ruler Pachacutec into a complex urban centre with distinct religious and administrative functions. Surrounded by distinct areas for agricultural, artisans and industrial production, when the Spaniards conquered it in the 16th century, they kept the basic structure intact, and constructed Baroque churches and palaces over the ruins of the Inca city.
A gateway to Peru’s biggest drawcard – Machu Picchu – Cusco is surrounded by the Sacred Valley, the Andean countryside dotted with villages, high altitude hamlets and ruins. It is a vibrant destination, and carnivals and festivals abound. The magnificent surrounds give way to beautifully crafted landscapes where soaring Andean peaks stand vigil over lush, colourful forests, and the Amazon lowlands are a hive of activity with their incredibly diverse wildlife.