Cusco in 3 days: the guide to not miss anything.

travel itinerary to cusco

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Are you planning a travel to Peru and have only a few days? Is Cusco on your itinerary?

We are sure it is. Cusco is one of the most popular cities in Peru. Since it is the former capital of the Inca Empire, it is a city with a lot of cultural richness, as well as its surroundings.

If you plan to travel here and don’t have much time, in this post we will show you our guide to Cusco in 3 days.

Precautions before traveling to Cusco

Before traveling to Cusco, you should know that this city is located 3,399 meters above sea level. When you are above 2,000 meters, if your body is not adapted to these heights, it is common to suffer from the so-called altitude sickness.

This is why every precaution is too little. You don’t want to get to Cusco and then not be able to get out of bed…

As main recommendations, don’t eat heavy food. If you have never tried the Peruvian gastronomy before, this may not be the best time to do so. Reserve this option for places at lower altitudes, such as the Iquitos jungle, or in Puno, on the Lake Titicaca tour.

Another of the main recommendations is no heavy activities, especially on the first day of arrival in the city. In case of doing any tour in Cusco that is physically demanding, it is better to do it the day after arrival, since you will surely have adapted your body to the place.

It is also recommended to drink plenty of water, do not drink alcoholic beverages, and get adequate rest. Let’s say, the opposite of what you would do on a trip to a party destination.

Once we have given you our recommendations to make the most of your visit to Cusco, we show you our travel guide to Cusco in 3 days.

Guide to Cusco in 3 days

Day 1. Cusco Tour

As we have already explained, the best thing to do during this day is not to do any heavy activity.

Considering that you are only going to have 3 days to enjoy this area, it is important to be able to take advantage of every moment here.

Our recommendation is that you arrive as early as possible to the city of Cusco, so you can take advantage of the day.

To start the day off right, we suggest you take a city tour of Cusco, to discover the most important places in the city.

Through it, you can visit the main archaeological sites of the Incas, such as Sacsayhuaman, Qenko, Puka Pukara, and Tambomachay.

peruvian animals in archaeological ruins background

These sites are very close to the city, so it won’t take you long to visit them all.

Once back in the city, the tour continues in the traditional markets of Cusco to enjoy the local traditions.

When this tour ends, it will be time for lunch. You will be very close to the Plaza de Armas, so we suggest you stop by to enjoy this place, see the Cathedral of Cusco, and enjoy one of the Most beautiful Plazas de Armas in Peru.

Plaza de Armas city of Cusco

Along the streets leading to this square, there are many places to eat. We have already told you before, that preferably do not order very heavy food, just in case.

Once you have finished eating, and now free, we recommend visiting the Convent of Santo Domingo, also known as Qorikancha, which is the most important temple of the Inca culture.

convent santo domingo in guide to cusco

To end the day, you will only need to take a walk through its main streets, such as Calle Loreto and Cuesta de San Blas, and visit the Mercado de San Pedro, the most famous market in the city.

Day 2. Machu Picchu

We already told you that 3 days are too few to visit Cusco. The most popular is the tour to Machu Picchu. The problem with these excursions, is that most are several days, such as the Inca Trail or the Salkantay Trek.

As in your case, it will not be possible due to lack of days, you can also do the Machu Picchu tour in 1 day.

Be prepared to get up early, because at 4 a.m. you will be picked up by bus heading to Machu Picchu. But don’t let it bother you, an early start has never had such a happy ending as contemplating the sacred temple of the Incas.

man jumping in machu picchu with views to huayna picchu

The tour will last all day, and depending on the availability of the return trains from Aguas Calientes, you will arrive between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. back in Cusco.

We don’t think you will feel like doing much more, so you will go straight to bed upon arrival that day. In addition, we recommend you rest for the third and last day of your visit to Cusco.

Day 3. Sacred Valley

For this last day, you will not have to get up so early, although we do recommend that you set your alarm. At 8.30 a.m. the bus will leave for the Sacred Valley.

To give you an idea, the Sacred Valley of the Incas includes, in addition to Cusco and Machu Picchu, many other towns with an incredible cultural richness.

That is why on this day, our choice is for you to visit some of these most important towns.

This is the case of the archaeological ruins of Ollantaytambo, Pisac, and Chinchero, known for its street market.

views ollantaytambo ruins

You won’t have time for more, and before you know it, you’ll be back in Cusco for your last night.

Extra day in Cusco

Although you have been able to see many things, the Sacred Valley is a culturally rich area of Peru, so if you can afford to spend an extra day, we are sure you will not regret it.

If you have an extra day or want to substitute the activity to the Sacred Valley for another, visit the world’s most famous rainbow mountain, Vinicunca Mountain. It is also a great option for this extra day, to visit other of the most famous towns in the Sacred Valley, such as Maras and Moray.

mountain vinicunca rainbow in guide to cusco

Maras is known for its salinas in the middle of the mountain. Undoubtedly, a shocking landscape will leave you with your mouth open. Meanwhile, Moray is famous for its terraces, historically built by the Incas to get better food.

salt mines of maras in guide to cusco

Although we know that it is difficult to see all this area in only 3 days, in our itinerary you will see the most outstanding places. But you know, if you can extend one or two more days your stay here, it will surely be worth it.

What do you think about our tour of Cusco, would you add or change anything to our guide in Cusco in these 3 days?

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