Cielo Punku Viewpoint: A door to the Cusco sky

1. Description

“Cielo Punku (Heaven’s Gate in Quechua) is a viewpoint where you’ll find a large sculpture shaped like a hand, offering a beautiful view of the Huaro valley surrounded by magical mountains.”

2. Location

It is located 45 minutes from the city of Cusco in the district of Huaro, province of Quispicanchi.

3. Lookout point of “La puerta del cielo”

This tourist attraction was an initiative of Mr. Bernandino Cutiré Mamani, who was the mayor of the Huaro district municipality. The main objective of this project is to encourage tourism in this district through a contemporary sculpture that perfectly blends with the scenic beauty of the area.

4. ¿How to reach there?

You can get to the viewpoint on your own or by hiring a tour departing from the city of Cusco.

  • If you’re traveling on your own, the starting point is the Urcos bus stop, and the fare costs 4 soles. Once you arrive in Urcos, the bus will drop you off at the ‘Templo de Canincunca’ bus stop, from where you’ll need to walk for approximately 20 minutes.
  • If you have your own car, park it at Huaro’s main square and head towards Jr. Bolívar street, then walk for about 30 minutes.
  • Alternatively, you can hire a local tour operator in Cusco.

5. Additional attractions that you can see in Huaro:

5.1 Canincunca church

The Church was constructed in the 17th century on the high part of Urcos Lagoon. It’s known for the beauty of its frescoes and its altar covered in gold leaf.

5.2 Juan Bautista church

It was built in the 16th century and is part of the ‘Route of the Andean Baroque’ tour. The church is recognized for its frescoes, paintings from the Cusco School of Art, and an altar covered in gold leaf and embossed silver.

5.3 Try the Huaro bread

Huaro is also known as the ‘District of Bread’ due to the presence of several bakeries in the city. Here, you can relish the famous ‘Pan Huaro,’ which is primarily distinguished by its absence of sugar.

6. ¿What should I bring?

  • Local currency (soles)
  • rain poncho
  • Sunscreen
  • Sun glasses
  • A bottle of water
  • Comfortable hiking shoes

7. Price

  • Adults: 2 soles
  • Kids: 1 sol
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Free Walking Tour Cartagena – Guided Tours in English

Discover the most famous port of the Atlantic of Colombia with a free tour of Cartagena in Spanish with the best guides who are experts in Colombian history, culture and tradition. Your guide will tell you in detail about the origin of this port city, pre-Hispanic populations that existed before the arrival of the Spanish, during the free tour you will also learn about the history of the colonial era and the emancipation processes. Visit the following places:

  • Plaza de San Pedro Clave
  • Torre del Reloj
  • Teatro Heredia
  • Palacio de la Inquisición
  • Catedral de Alejandría
  • Parque Simón Bolívar
  • Plaza de los Coches y Aduana

ner of the Nobel Prize in 1982 for his monumental work “100 years of solitude” Learn more about the history of this park and Gabriel Garcia.

Details of this Free Tour in Cartagena, Colombia

Find all the details of this free tour via the best companies like Beyond Colombia or Gran Colombia Tours where you will find everything you need to know before joining this free tour such as meet up times, operation days, available languages, meeting points, reservations and more, do not forget to leave your donation at the end of the tour.

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Historic Center of Cusco: What to see in centro histórico?

1. What is the Historic Center of Cusco?

The Historic Center Cusco | According to collective memory, the city of Cusco was re-founded by the first Sapa Inca known as Manco Capac and his wife Mama Ocllo at the beginning of the 11th century.

According to 20th century researches, Manco Capac was probably an astronomer who arrived in the 12th at a very advanced Wari city known as Aja Mama in Cusco valley, then he determined that the ancient Wari settlement was the center of a constellation; that is why he renamed it as Qosqo, which means The Center of the Universe.

Starting 1430 AD onward, under the government of the 9th Emperor Pachaqutec, the city of Qosqo entered a phase of remodelling its streets, squares, palaces, temples, aqueducts, etc. in order to give to the city the shape of a Puma, however this figure could only be seen from elevated areas.

The figure of the Puma was outlined by two rivers: Tullumayu (for the Puma spine) and the Saphy (for the front side of the Puma), when these rivers join together they make the Puma’s tail (the joint occurs 1km south from the Plaza de Armas), the current Plaza de Armas was the belly of the Puma and the head was Saqsayhuman archaeological complex.

There were 4 main roads known as the Qhapaq Ñan, starting in the Plaza de Armas of Cusco (known as Auqaypata in the Inca period), these road systems use to connect Qosqo city with the 4 provinces of the Inca Empire: the Chinchaysuyo (north), the Antisuyo (the entire eastern area or the Amazonia), the Kuntisuyo (the south-west) and the Qollasuyo (the South).

In 1534, Francisco Pizarro arrived at Cusco and a new remodelling began under Greco-Roman, Christian and Arab parameters, and the Andean name of this city was changed from Qosqo by Cusco.

The arrival of the Spaniard meant also the genesis of a syncretism between the Andean and European cultures in many fields such as architecture, cuisine, language, clothing, economy, religion, etc.

The Historic Center of Cusco is the product of that fusion of about 500 years, there is no street, house or corner that has no history to tell, it is a living museum, that enchants millions of visitors, that is why in 1983, it was proclaimed as a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO.

What are you waiting for to visit Cusco, below we show you all the highlights of the historic center for you to explore on your own or on a free walking tour.

2. What to do in a day-time in the historic center?

2.1 Explore the Cathedral

Visit the Cathedral of Our Lady of Asunción of Cusco, built starting 1560 and finished in 1664, the main architect was Juan Miguel de Veramendi, it is the second largest and oldest Cathedral in the American continent after Mexico city’s cathedral.

The most famous painting in Cusco “The Last Supper of Jesus” by Marco Zapata Sinchi-Roca is located inside the Cathedral; this painting calls the curiosity of many visitors, because of the presence of a guinea pig in the center of the table, where Jesus meets his disciples for the last time; you can also see Judas Iscariot who has a darker skin, thus resembling the natives or indigenous people.

There are also 16 Saints from the colonial period in the cathedral, one of them is the patron saint of Cusco city, he’s called El Cristo Negro or Taytacha—he is black Jesus Christ who has a strong indigenous phenotype.

The price of the cathedral is 25 soles per person, it is open Monday to Sunday starting 9am until 6pm, find the Cathedral in the main square of Cusco.

2.2 Visit the Plaza de Armas of Cusco – Main Square

Explore the famous Plaza de Armas of Cusco or Auqaypata in the Quechua language—Auqaypata means “the most important place“; the existence of this square dates back to pre-hispanic times, during the Inca period the most important festivities would take place here, for example the Inti Raimy—or the Sun festival (June 21, winter solstice); this festival use to start in the Coricancha temple and the main ritual would take place at the Plaza de Armas.

Centro Histórico de Cusco

The Auqaypata—or Plaza de Armas was surrounded by palaces, temples, sanctuaries, etc. Upon the arrival of the Spaniards, most of the buildings were destroyed to be replaced by current colonial buildings such as the Cathedral, the Church of the Society of Jesus, the Convent of Santa Catalina, etc.

There is also a beautiful water fountain in the central part of the Plaza de Armas, donated to Cusco by New York City, at the beginning of the 20th century.

2.3 Visit the Coricancha temple

The most famous temple for pre-Inca cultures was Pachacamac, located on the southern coast of the ancient Peru; however for the Inca people, the most sacred place was the Coricancha, located in the city of Cusco; it was a ceremonial center and congregation of deities on its physical forms forged in precious metals such as gold and silver, decorated with precious stones.

Centro Histórico de Cusco

The Coricancha temple was destroyed during the colonial period to build the current colonial convent of Santo Domingo.

In 1950, an earthquake happened in Cusco city and destroyed large part of the Santo Domingo church, revealing many Inca walls that had been covered with plaster, so that the walls cannot be seen by indigenous parishioners and thus erase this religious precinct from the indigenous people mind.

This temple is located in front of the Palacio del Inka hotel, it is open from Monday to Saturday starting 9am until 5pm and on Sundays from 2pm to 5pm; the price is 15 soles per person.

2.4 Don’t miss the 12 angled stone

In the western part of Cusco city there is a palace dating back to the pre-Inca period, it belonged to the Wari kingdom, this pre-inca palace survived the arrival of the Inca people at the beginning of the 12th century, in 1250 AD, this building became the palace of an Inca emperor known as Inca Roca.

Centro Histórico de Cusco

In this pre-Inca construction, there is a lithic piece that has 12 angles or sides, and calls the curiosity of many visitors because of the angles and the interlocking system.

On the other hand, there are no writings or chronicles from the colonial period, that mentions this stone under any mystical or political connotation; the popularity of the stone is due to events that occurred in the 20th century and other factors, for example, the number 12 is cabalistic, Che Guevara took a photo with this stone in the last century, the Cusqueña beer brewery company used this stone as part of their logo on millions of bottles.

It is not necessarily famous because of the amount of angles since there are other stones with even more angles, for example the 13-angled stone located right on the opposite side of the same Inca palace.

However overall, the stone is beautiful and the pre-hispanic architecture is stunning, what is more, it is not just this stone attracting many visitors, but also the whole palace and Hatun Rumiyoq street.

The 12 angled stone is located on Hatun Rumiyoc street, it is free, taking a photo with it, is a bit difficult because there are many visitors trying to do the same, we advise you to go there, from 8pm onward.

2.5 Visit the San Pedro market

The most famous market in the historic center of Cusco is San Pedro, because it is a typical market and traditional place, there are many things you can inside the market, for example, buy fresh fruits, dried fruits, get some breakfast or lunch, you can also buy gifts for your family (there is a especial section of handicrafts and souvenirs for tourists), the prices are cheap although haggling is always recommended, haggling prices for local people is fine, it is not rude.

Centro Histórico de Cusco

The San Pedro market is clean, the women who sell fruit juices or those who offer you cheap lunch wear aprons and cover their heads with a special sanitary material; they also have the permission from the Ministry of Health, so get in there with all confidence.

It is located in Plaza San Pedro, the entrance is free, the opening hours are from 6am to 5pm—every day (it is not open for dinner).

2.6 Explore the Bohemian neighborhood of San Blas

In the Inca period there was a neighbourhood called Toq´o Cachi (today it is called the San Blas neighbourhood), in the main square of this neighbourhood, there was a Huaca— Inca temple, and unfortunately the ancient temple was replaced by the current Church of San Blas

Centro Histórico de Cusco

During the Inca period the Toq´o Cachi neighbourhood was for the nobility, the Inca neighbourhood’s s connotation didn’t change much in the colonial times, because the whole area were meant to be, only for the aristocracy.

Today, it is a neighbourhood that keeps almost 70% of the houses and streets dating back to the colonial period, the neighbourhood is super bohemian, the food is the best.

It is located three blocks away from the Plaza de Armas of Cusco, the entrance is free.

3. What to do at night in the historic center?

  1. You can attend the Centro Qosqo de Arte Nativo, the folkloric dancers start the show at 6:30pm— you will need to buy the Cusco Tourist Ticket or pay an individual price, only for this attraction.
  2. Take a short walk up to the San Cristóbal lookout point, you will have a beautiful panoramic view with a good angle to all Cusco city, the place is safe, the walk starting from the Plaza de Armas is 20 minutes (walking slowly).
  3. Visit a Pisquero in the Pisco museum, you can take Pisco lessons for affordable prices, keep in mind that Pisco is the national alcoholic drink of Peru. In addition to this, they also prepare different type of Pisco Sours and other local cocktails.
  4. Take Free Salsa and Bachata lessons in any of the following clubs: Inca Team, Mythology and Mama Africa, the admission is free, classes start at 9:30pm, last 1 hour; you can stay up to dance and meet people the rest of the night. All the clubs mentioned above are in the Plaza de Armas, next to KFC.
  5. If you just want some drinks, not necessarily dancing; then go to Paddys Irish pub or Cross Keys, in both bars you can find a wide variety of local drinks such as craft beers, wines and cocktails. Both bars are located on Calle Triunfo, close to the Plaza de Armas..  

4 How to visit the historic center?

4.1 Book the Classic Cusco city tour

You can visit part of the historic center by booking a classic city tour of Cusco, on this tour you will visit Coricancha and the Cathedral and the 4 ruins located on the outskirts of Cusco.

4.2 Book the FREE walking tour of Cusco

Book the most popular walking tour of Cusco organized by the first free tour company in Cusco, we have groups in Spanish and English—separate groups, join today our 100% authorized tour Guides, book our Free tour here, check out thousands of reviews here; don´t forget to leave your tip to your Guide at the end of the walk; still doubting about the free tours? then take a glance at thousands of photos and followers on our Instagram and Facebook fun pages.

Centro Histórico de Cusco

Important: The reservation for the free tour is 100% free, and confirmation is instant; at the end of the tour, you can leave some tip.

Nota para peruanos: Los free tours por el momento son solamente para el turismo receptivo; sin embargo puedes realizar el city tour clásico del Cusco.

5. Where to eat in the historic center?

If you want to treat yourself and money is not a problem for you, we recommend you visiting the following A-1 restaurants:

If you want cheap restaurants for tourists, read below please:

  • Go to Plateros or Saphy street, you will find dozens of restaurants, it is a matter of finding out the prices and inclusions by taking a look at the English or Spanish menus, placed right at the front door.
  • Our recommendation: There is a very popular restaurant for local people, it is called La Chomba, located on Garcilaso street; it is not a tourist restaurant, but the food is super good, tasty, clean and cheap, for example, for a “set of menu” you pay 12 Soles—4 USD, “a set of menu” includes starter, main course and dessert.

10 Free things to do in Cusco | What to visit for Free!

10 Cosas Gratis en Cusco ¿Qué hacer Gratis?
What can you do for free in Cusco?

Free things to do in Cusco | Not everything is money while travelling, there are many attractions Cusco that are for free, many of them located in the city center some of them nearby Cusco, learn with us what can you visit in Cusco for free?

Below we mention the places or free activities that you must visit or take part in!

a. Free attractions in the city center:

1. Book the best FREE Tour of Cusco

Book the most popular walking tour of Cusco organized by the first free tour company in Cusco, join today our 100% authorized tour Guides, book our Free tour here, check out thousands of reviews here; don’t forget to leave your tip to your Guide at the end of the walk; still doubting about the free tours? then take a glance at thousands of photos and followers on our Instagram and Facebook fun pages.

Note for Peruvians: At the moment the free tours are only for non-Peruvian tourists; However, you can take the classic city tour of Cusco.

2. Visit the Old Colonial Town and the Plaza de Armas of Cusco

what can you visit in cusco for free? moon temple, main square of cusco
Visit the Old Colonial Town and the Plaza de Armas of Cusco

The entire historical center of Cusco includes buildings that date back to 3 historical periods: the pre-Hispanic, colonial and republican, as you walk you will see pre-Hispanic walls from the Inca period (1100 to 1534), for example, Calle del Sol, a street that still keeps on both sides Inca walls, you can also visit the Inca Roca Palace and explore the Kusicancha Palace.

You can also combine this experience by visiting places from the colonial era (1534 to 1821), for instance, the Plaza de Armas and the San Blas neighbourhood unforgettable!

3. Visit the famous 12 Angled Stone

what can you visit in cusco for free? 12 sided stone
Visit the famous 12 Angle Stone

This famous stone is located on Hatun Rumiyoc Street (very close to the San Blas neighbourhood) where you can see the best Inca Stone Fitting, this pre-Hispanic residence belonged to Inca Roca (1200 AD) who is one of the 14 Inca Rulers. The 12-sided stone is very famous because of the hard work that required to fit or place perfectly 12 stones around on stone only, apart from that the number 12th is a cabalistic number.

If you wish to take a great photo together with the stone, it is hard since there are many tourists trying to take one; therefore, we strongly recommend you visit this stone in the morning from 6 am to 9 am and in the evening from 9pm until 12 noon.

4. Visit the San Pedro market

what can you visit in cusco for free? san pedro market
Visit the San Pedro Market

We know that you have been recommended a thousand times to visit this Market and we still do the same because we have visited many markets in cities such as Lima or Arequipa and our conclusion is simple: The Mercado San Pedro of Cusco is the best because it is a traditional market and the content in the market!

Why visit the San Pedro Market?

It is Free, it is opened almost all day long from 7 am to 5 pm, it is beautiful and cheap, moreover, you can always haggle the prices of almost all products, except for food.

5. Visit the Mural Painting on Avenida el Sol

what can you visit in cusco for free? mural painting
Visit the Mural Painting

This beautiful Mural Painting was designed and painted by Juan Bravo Vizcarra in 1992, to represent around 3 thousand years of pre-Inca, Inca, Colonial and Republican history of Cusco. The wall painting has a perimeter of ​​50 meters by 6 meters. Bring a good camera with you!

6. Visit the Colonial Aqueduct of Sapantiana

If you are good at walking and don’t have any problem with altitude, don’t miss out on this work of architecture from the Spanish occupation period—17th century. This colonial wall has several Roman arches, it has a total of four levels; most of the stones used for this a aqueduct belonged to the Inca temple known as Sanpantiyana. This aqueduct was still in use until the middle of the 20th century.

It is located on the Tullumayo river between the neighborhoods of San Blas and San Cristóbal, it will take you about 30 minutes on foot to get there from the Plaza de Armas of Cusco.

b. On the outskirts of Cusco city:

7. Visit Tupac Amaru Square

what can you visit in cusco for free? visit the tupac amaru square
Visit Tupac Amaru Square

No all-awesome attractions of Cusco are located in the historical center, therefore we recommend you to visit The Plaza Tupac Amaru located at Wanchaq district, this plaza is fully decorated with flora from the Andes and right at the center you will see an awesome horse statue and a man riding it! Who is the man? His name is Tupac Amaru a very famous indigenous revolutionary in Peru and South America – Colonial history of Peru.

Tupac Amaru Square is at about 30 minutes walk from the Plaza de Armas of Cusco city, don’t miss it.

8. Visit the Mirador de San Cristóbal

what can you visit in cusco for free? san cristobal viewpoint, watch point, panoramic view point
Visit the Mirador de San Cristóbal

Located at about 20 minutes steep walk from the main square of Cusco city, once you reach into this place you will have a beautiful panoramic viewpoint to the whole city of Cusco, we recommend you bring a good camera and nice walking shoes, you can visit this palace during daytime and night-time hours—up to 8 pm the latest.

9. Discover the White Christ

what can you visit in cusco for free? white jesus chist
Enjoy the White Christ

This statue is located in the north-eastern part of the city of Cusco, above the Barrio de San Blas, it represents the protection for the inhabitants of the city of Cusco, note that almost 80% of the people of Cusco are Catholic.

How to get to the White Christ on foot?

There are many ways to get to the white Christ on foot, but we recommend you take Atojsayquchi Street, and continue straight ahead (do not turn left or right), once you reach the main road you can turn left and walks for around 70 meters and finally you will clearly see this attraction.

10. Visit the Temple of the Moon

what can you visit in cusco for free? moon temple, exterior
Visit the Temple of the Moon – Exterior

If you are in Cusco, visit one of the most significant places from the mystical viewpoint for the Andean men, visit the Temple of the Moon, starting from the main square of Cusco, it will take approximately 1 hour by foot.

what can you visit in cusco for free? moon temple, interior
Visit the Temple of the Moon – Interior

You have to use the same route that you used to reach the White Christ, from this statue you must walk towards the Inca Qenqo temple (for this temple you pay, so you can ignore it, consider that you can still take photos  of Qenqo from the upper part), from the temple of Qenqo keep walking in the same direction northeast, walk for about 15 minutes more and you will reach the temple of the Moon, do not worry if you get disoriented, you can always ask Locals, as you walk you will see many locals!

c. Extra information:

Can I to the White Christ or the Temple of the Moon by public transport?

Of course, you can!

  • By Public Transportation System, pay 1 Sol – one way

To go to Cristo Blanco Statue by public transportation make your way to the Bus stop located at Puente Rosario Street, which is very close to the Qoricancha Temple Garden.

Once you are at the Bus stop in Puente Rosario, ask or look for Los Buses named “Cristo Blanco”, pay 1 sol per person and after approximately 30min you can get off at the stop known as “Cristo Blanco” and if you want to go to the Temple of the Moon you must get off at the next Bus stop known as “Qenqo” from there walk for about 10min to the temple of the moon!

On the way back, please come on foot through the San Blas neighbourhood!

what can you visit in cusco for free? public transportation
Via Public Transportation System
  • By Taxi, pay 12 Soles – one way

If you wish to take a Taxi to the White Christ, take it from the Plaza de Armas of Cusco or nearby places, you will be charged an average of 12 soles (one way), if you want to go to the Temple of La Luna from the historic centre via Taxi, you will be charged an average of 20 soles (one way).

Important: Take a taxi, only one way, come back on foot or if you want, take a taxi, but another taxi, not the same taxi that took you there!. If you insist on taking a round trip taxi to either the White Christ or The Temple of the Moon, it will charge you an average of 100 soles.

what can you visit in cusco for free? taxi to white  jesus and moon temple
Taxi to White Jesus and Moon Temple

We have bike tours that go through the White Jesus statue and Saqsayhuaman, we even have free bike tours in Cusco.

What are the four temples of Machu Picchu?

The Temples of Machu Picchu — The historic sanctuary of Machupicchu is located in Aguas Calientes district, Urubamba province, in the department of Cusco. This Inca citadel houses several temples that stand out above the rest and they were used as worshiping places for their main deities such as the Sun and the Moon.

What are the main characteristics of Inca temples?

  • The worshiping sanctuaries of the Andean men from the Inca period, had an advanced architecture by perfectly interlocking the stones, roofed with straw(natural fiber).
  • Depending on the type of temple, but if it was a temple dedicated for astronomical observations, the priests in charge of those shrines had to be knowledge about the sidereal space themes in order to determine the seasons of the year and thus contribute to the good practice of agriculture.
  • Most Inca temples were built at elevated areas or visible locations to resemble domination over the other buildings and at the same time protection for the inhabitants.
  • The Inca people had many temples dedicated to the sun, the moon, the stars, the lightning, the rainbow, the puma, the condor, the serpent, the pacha mama(mother earth), the pacha tata (the father earth or the rain), etc.

Before visiting Machu Picchu, check out all the must-know information below.

1. The temple of Sun

The Temple of the Sun is definitely the most outstanding attraction in Machu Picchu citadel, it is a semicircular building dedicated to the Sun God, it was erected on a huge solid granite rock in the religious sector, and underneath the solid granite rock there is a natural cave that was also carved to convert it into the Royal Tomb.

What is the most important place of the Sun temple?

Inside the Sun temple, right in the center, there is a carved stone that worked out as a shrine to the Sun. You can also see two windows, one facing west and the other window facing north, according to researches carried out in the 20th century, the windows were built to accurately observe the Solstices and Equinoxes based on the shade they projected every June 21st and December 21st.

Only the Inca emperor, the noble family and the priests were allowed to access the Sun temple for rituals.

2. The Temple of the Moon

If you already went to Machu Picchu and you don’t remember visiting this temple, the reason is very simple, the Moon temple, is not located precisely in the Machu Picchu Inca citadel but in Huayna Picchu.

If you wish visiting this awesome temple, you will have to climb Huayna Picchu, the hike up takes about 1.5 hours – 2 kilometers – Keep in mind that this hiking Huayna Picchu is very steep.

The principle of Dualism is very popular in Andean societies, the idea of splitting almost everything in two or assuming that each entity has its opposite or complementary side was very popular for ancient Peruvians, for example almost all the mountains had their partners, the cities were divided in two ( the Hanan and the Hurin – the upper part and the lower part), the Pacha Mama (mother earth) and the Pacha Tata (the rain), the Sun and the Moon, it was believed that the Moon was the wife of the Sun god, therefore she was a deity to whom the Andean people venerate and built many temples for ceremonial purposes.

If you to travel to Cusco city, you will also explore the Moon temple located on the outskirts of Cusco, close to Saqsaywaman.

3. The Temple of the Condor

This enclosure has a unique design, the head of the Condor is carved on stone on the ground, if you wish to see the wings, just stand in front of the Cordor head (2 meters away) and look straight ahead, only in this way you will spot the wings of the Condor which formed by the two big rocks.

Keep in mind that not only the concept of duality was applied by the Incas to better understand the functioning of the world, but the Andean Trilogy was also applied, for example the Hanaq Pacha (the upper world), the Kay Pacha (this world), and the Ukhú Pacha (the lowe world), each world was represented by a God animal, for example the Condor for the upper world, this is why the Inca people built a temple dedicated to the Condor in Machu Picchu citadel.

Underneath the temple of the Condor, there is a cave that probably worked as a prison, although this information cannot be confirmed because all what we know about Machu Picchu is from researches done in the 20th century, not Spanish chronicler documents.

However in most well-organized societies there had to be laws to keep order and justice, thus the Inca people also their own laws such as “Ama Sua” (Don’t steal), “Ama Q’ella” (Don’t be lazy), “Ama Llulla” (Don’t tell a lie) and anyone violent these laws had to be condemned to prison or even to death.

4. The Main Temple or “Wayrana”

This temple is located on the highest part of the citadel, in the main plaza, this temple is known as the “Wayrana” in the Quechua language which means “a very windy place“, this is because the temple was built with Only three walls facing indoor the building, and thus leaving one of the sides without a wall where the wind enters from.

Indoor this temple there is a carved rock that could have represented the Chakana or the Southern Cross, due to the carving shape on high relief.

The temple was used to perform rituals dedicated mainly to the God Wiracocha, creator of everything in this universe.

No Inca temples or constructions were affected by earthquakes, not even Machu Picchu citadel, however there was a geological fault that happened in 600 years time and as a result of this planar fracture the “Wayrana temple” was altered

5. The Temple of the Three Windows

Templos de Machu Picchu

It is an enclosure that is located in the very heart of the urban sector and is part of the main plaza of of Machu Picchu, this construction is a wonderful Inca masonry made by perfect stone polishing so that the can be assembled and stand on the floor for humdreds of years with the help of gravity instead of using clay mortar.

6. The Intihuatana

The Intuhuatana of Machu Picchu is located in the main plaza, it is a huge carved rock that has a height of 1 meter by 2 meters in diameter with flat surfaces that has 4 sides carefully carved, each of these sides represents a cardinal point that indicated probably the solstices and equinoxes produced on the stone surface because of the shadow.

Templos de Machu Picchu

The term Inti Huatana derives from the Quechua language and translated into English means “A place where the Sun is tied“, so as per the Quechua language and researches from the 20th century we can say that, the stone worked out as an Astronomical Observatory and a Solar Clock and the priests trying to interpret or decode these events had to use the shadow projections the stone at different day times and seasons of the year.  

We’re here to help you — If you have any questions about free tours and excursions in Cusco, don’t hesitate to contact us, you can also see our comments on Facebook and Tripadvisor.

Boleto Turístico Cusco: Cusco Tourist Ticket

The Boleto Turístico Cusco or BTC is a Cusco tourist ticket-package that contains 16 most outstanding attractions of Cusco city and region, without this document you will not be able to visit most of the attractions in Cusco.

  • Boleto Turístico Cusco = BTC
  • Completo = full-priced ticket
  • Parcial = half-priced ticket

1. Types of the Boleto Turístico Cusco

Type of BTC# de attractionsPriceValidity
BTC Completo16 tourist sites130 Soles10 days
BTC Parcial: Circuit 14 archaeological sites70 Soles1 day
BTC Parcial: Circuit 22 archaeological sites
4 museums
1 cultural center
1 urban monument
70 Soles2 days
BTC Parcial: Circuit 34 archaeological sites70 Soles2 days

2. List of attractions and what I can see according to my type of BTC

AttractionsBTC CompletoBTC Parcial: Circuit 1 BTC Parcial: Circuit 2 BTC Parcial: Circuit 3
Puca Pucara
Monument of Pachacuteq
Centro Qosqo de Arte Nativo
Contemporary Art Museum
Popular art museum
Regional Historical Museum
Qoricancha On-Site Museum

3. What BTC should I buy according to my tour?

Paid Tours CuscoAttractionsBTC Parcial: Circuit 1BTC Parcial: Circuit 2 BTC Parcial: Circuit 3
City tour CuscoSacsayhuamán
Puca Pucara
Clasic Sacred ValleyPisac
Vip Sacred ValleyPisac
South ValleyTipón
Note: If you are going to combine any of the tours above, you have to buy the BTC Completo (full-priced).

If you are going to book the free tours of Cusco, you don’t need the BTC unless you will do the free tour of Sacsayhuamán, see the table below:

Free tours of CuscoAttractionsBTC Parcial: Circuit 1BTC Parcial: Circuit 2 BTC Parcial: Circuit 3
Classic Free tourHistorical Center
Free tour SacsayhuamánSacsayhuamán
Free tour Museums Inca Museum
Temple of Qoricancha

4. Discounts:

  • Students:
    • BTC Completo: 70 Soles | There is no BTC parcial for students.
    • Requirements:
      • You should be under 25 years old (you cann’t be 25 years old)
      • Bring your Original Identity Document and/or Passport
      • If you are not a Peruvian, you must have your ISIC Card
      • If you are a Peruvian, you must bring your Student Card issued by SUNEDU
      • If you are under 18 years of age, you don’t need any type of student card, but bring your Identification Document
      • Children under 10 years old: They enter for free, just bring their Identity Documents; however, sometimes it doesn’t apply because the authorities change the rules from time to time
      • * Bring always with you, your original Identity Document, Passport or Card; photocopies or digital photos aren’t accepted at all
  • Peruvians:
    • BTC completo: 70 Soles | BTC parcial: 40 Soles
    • * You have to bring your original ID, otherwise you will pay as a foreign tourist

5. Where do I buy it?

  • Avenida el Sol N° 185 — opening hours:
    • Monday to Friday: 8am to 5:30pm
    • Saturdays: 8:30am to 12:30pm
    • Sundays: Closed
  • Take cash in Soles. No other currencies or cards are accepted
  • You won’t be able to buy the BTC Online
  • It’s not mandatory to buy in advance, we suggest you buy the same day of your tour, at the attraction (at the check-point), please do always take cash in Soles.

6. It is not part of BTC

7. Faq’s

  • Can I transfer my BTC to another visitor? No.
  • Are there discounts for citizens of the Comunidad Andina? No.
  • Can I use the BTC twice? No.
  • Can I buy the BTC for one attraction only? No, you either buy the BTC Copleto (full-priced) or the BTC parcial (half-priced).
  • Can I have discounts if I buy several BTC’s? No.

8. Photo of BTC

Boleto Turístico Cusco: Guía definitiva 100% actualizada

9. Images of the 16 attractions

The Cusco painting in the XVI and XVII century and its influence in Lima and Quito

La Pintura Cusqueña
The Last Supper by Marco Zapata Sinchi Roca – In the center of the table there is a «Cuy» (Guinea Pig)

The Cusco painting is a cultural convention of full originality unparalleled in the history of pictorial art in Latin America, although the painting was developed in other Spanish colonial centers such as Bolivia, Ecuador, Mexico and in some less important places, without However, the Cusco painting school stood out, creating a very peculiar mestizo style for its formal and conceptual beauty.

From being an instrument of ideological domination to the Spaniards, the painting became a subtle form of cultural resistance by the Indians, and mestizos who appropriated European art techniques and concepts while still expressing their own ideas and experiences: From this particular amalgam emerged the School of Painting Cusco that was cultivated for three centuries (XVI, XVII and XVIII) by various authors some known and other anonymous who worked in workshops jointly under the direction of a recognized teacher .

The Highlights of Cusco Painting

Notwithstanding the remarkable thing, outside the peculiarities of the different styles and authors is the Cusco Painting as a collective phenomenon of expression of a historical era dominated by Catholic religious forms. But where native cultural elements are incorporated, thus ineffably defining the essence of what constitutes Peru today as a country. The Spanish painting of the time is characterized by the flight of the world and asceticism as the path required for the salvation of humanity, this is opposed by the indigenous pantheistic vision linked to land and nature, subtraction, rites sumptuous, to the enjoyment of life without prejudice. From this contrast, the mestizo style that incorporates elements of the Cusqueño context, such as local landscapes, animal flowers and indigenous characters with their native clothing, will gradually emerge evanescent.

La Pintura Cusqueña
Cuzqueña Painting in the Viceroyalty of Peru

The Cusco painting in the 16th and 17th century

During the sixteenth century and the beginning of the seventeenth century Cusco painting was influenced by Italian and European painters who came to Peru in search of good chances to get rich, given the economic glow in which the viceroyalty lived by the extraction of gold and silver, between We can highlight the well-known painter Alesio. In the centuries mentioned, the influence of the Jesuits who installed the painting as a systematic means to teach their doctrines is also evident. The subtlety with which the Jesuits knew how to catechize the Native Americans through the knowledge of their mentality and culture is proverbial. This perception was reflected in the religious iconography in which the Jesuits like Bitti, an immediate Mannerist master of the Baroque and others who knew us, developed in the region of Cusco this art for the splendor of the church, and as the Jesuits said its motto: ” To the greater glory of God. ” Understanding the extension and multiplicity of the pictorial phenomenon of Cusco also implies recognizing the ideology that underlies this in the history of Peru and the importance that the Society of Jesus had in its conformation.

La Pintura Cusqueña
The Mannerism of Jesuit Bernardo Bitti in the Cusco School

The Influence of Italian Painters the Fresco Cusqueños

The influences of the Italian and Flemish painting of the Jesuit school during the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries converge in the so-called baroque style, which knows its maximum splendor and development during the seventeenth and mid-eighteenth centuries and which defines a style of the Spanish Catholicism of the counter-reform. Baroque moved to America became the quintessential colonial art, introducing diagonal composition, aerial perspective and chiaroscuro between its fundamental defining elements. Finally, as a continuity of the Baroque, neoclassicism emerged in the 18th century, although without the twist and originality of the one who tried to rescue pictorially the classical Greek and Latin elements developed during the Renaissance era. In addition to Jesuit Bitti and Alesio who worked with Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel, we can highlight the presence of Indian and mestizo painters such as Basilio de Santa Cruz, Diego Quispe Tito who studied in Europe and. He created a very personal style easily recognizable by the freedom of his forms that hereafter defines Cusqueña Painting. Marcos Zapata was a prolific author of many works of very high quality. In its surroundings are other painters such as Chacón, Vilca and Tadeo Escalante who follow in one way or another their style, some with a more or less classical, academic vision, the others more influenced by the decorative model. Finally, along with Zapata, we find Mauricio García who worked by directing other teachers with assistants through a large workshop, making a collective painting that was not uncommon in the guild of Cusco painters. In a succinct introduction it is impossible to highlight all the richness and artistic originality of Cusco’s painting as well as its social and ideological connotations due to the breadth and diversity that this phenomenon acquired. There are thousands of paintings that were taken from Cusco and Peru for many years so it is impossible to make a complete catalog that broadly encompasses a qualitative and quantitative vision of this artistic manifestation. The selection of the Cusqueña Painting that we present in this publication is an evident proof that speaks for itself same and that obvious any other comment or consideration.

La Pintura Cusqueña
Return to Egypt by Diego Quispe Tito

If you want to continue knowing more about the Cusco painting and its charms in Lima and Cusco, be part of our free walking tours en Lima and Free Tour Cusco with the best guides in Spanish, fully qualified guides, see you in our next blog!

Volunteering in Cusco: Activities and community service for good hearted travelers

Cusco, called the archaeological capital of America, is a place blessed with a great culture and fascinating traditions, full of contrasts between indigenous and colonial styles, a land where the Incas built their great empire and where people lived in harmony with Mother Earth for centuries.

But it is also a department that has many disadvantaged sectors such as, Lares (Province of Calca), Omacha (Province of Paruro), Checca (Province of Canas) and Colquepata (Province of Paucartambo), Ccorca the less attended district and many others that have needs, and require social, voluntary, and solidarity commitment for their development.

We are convinced that Ayni a tradition of reciprocity that we inherit from our Inca ancestors is the best way to improve our lives.

The Team of Free Walking Tours Peru

For all these needs, all nonprofit organizations, foundations and associations require people to collaborate with them to make the organization progress and in turn provide good service to today’s society, to families that are in a situation of financial aid. or emotional Volunteering especially supports those most vulnerable groups that are at risk of social exclusion.

Volunteering in Cusco

Volunteering in Lares, Cusco

The local people of Cusco are very warm, friendly and welcoming, so many travelers are delighted with this hospitality and stay longer than planned by volunteering in different sectors of Cusco.

Volunteering in Cusco will fulfill the double objective, that of helping communities in different aspects, as well as immersing ourselves in their culture.

The community service activities in Cusco are carefully selected to generate an experience and benefit for both the good-hearted volunteer and also for the communities that receive support. The requirements of each vulnerable community are mitigated with different areas and ways of working and helping.

A social work where you will also have the opportunity to meet many foreigners from all over the world.

Volunteer programs in Cusco

Volunteering in the city of Cusco brings you several advantages and seeing how interesting its culture, tradition, custom, and history of the imperial city of Cusco is, so why not volunteer in this beautiful city?

Here are some of the most attractive programs for volunteering:

International Course

It is an international organization of Canadian origin, whose actions focus on reducing poverty and inequality through the effort to train and empower volunteers. Web: Teléfono: +1 888 434 2876.


Siglas en inglés “World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms”, sus actividades se enfocan específicamente a realizar voluntariados en granjas o programas rurales de agricultura y ganadería. permite la subscripción anual. En Cusco y sus alrededores disponen habitualmente de una gran cantidad de programas de voluntariado muy interesantes. Pero si lo tuyo no es estar en contacto con la tierra y mancharte las manos, es mejor que optes otra opción.

Exploor Peru Social Project

Its activity focuses on helping to maintain and revive traditions, values ​​and help create their own economic and educational opportunities for each peasant community for current and future generations.


This platform offers a wide range of possibilities especially aimed at volunteering in hotels, tour and adventure companies. It is an excellent opportunity to get free accommodation and to make free of charge the best active tourism tours in Cusco and surroundings.

Volunteering in Perú 

Its objective of this organization is to help in the projects in Cusco by sending volunteers to the different projects which need help. Volunteers offer an invaluable contribution to society as well as bringing the foreigner closer to the local community. Volunteers work in various fields such as childcare, health, construction, etc. Each volunteer chooses which project they want to work on.

Aldea Yanapay

This organization works with a methodology that is based on an education with love, freedom, self-knowledge, awareness, ethics and sustainability with children, adolescents, adults, families, in order to remind the human being, that all medicine, healing, motivation and development are within oneself. At the moment it has two projects: one in the city of Cusco and the other is the community in the Sacred Valley in Lamay, a place that is one hour from the city.

Human Actions

Human Actions is intended to help puppies and other types of pets in a state of abandonment. They try to improve the quality of life of these innocent creatures by keeping them in a warm and safe shelter in the district of Saylla.

The work carried out by this NGO generates awareness and improves the quality of life of the animals it hosts, but also generates a better quality of life and health for the city of Cusco, where there are about 10,000 abandoned domestic animals.

Human Actions gives the possibility to all types of people to volunteer in their shelter, supporting cleaning or interaction with these nice animals.

Tourism and Volunteering a new experience with love

The city of Cusco is open to the world to know its wonders and enjoy its warm tourism ecosystem. But, just as there are tours to enjoy from paid tours to free walking tour where financial compensation is not required for a good tourism service. There is also volunteering in Cusco.

Volunteering in an act of love, when the desire to help is stronger than height and cold, great things happen, shows a profoundly vocational work since it is a human work and that all citizens have basic needs covered which are the ones that guarantee a decent life.

Do you want to be part of a volunteer team? Ask us how it helps here.

The Pachamama deity on the Andes

What is Pachamama and what does it mean?

The Pachamama or Mother Earth is a divinity that represents nature for many Andean peoples of South America. In Inca mythology, she is recognized as a goddess associated with the feminine and fertility, as the spirit of the earth, which is why the Incas were very respectful of their environment. She is also known as the wife of lightning.

What is the Pachamama ritual?

The main ritual of Mother Earth is the “Challa”, payment or tribute. It can be done on the first Friday of any month, the best stage being the 1st of August or throughout the month. Just as it can be done on special occasions to ask the Pachamama for grace and good luck. This action includes a kind of ritual steps, which consist in the preparation of a special meal the night before and it is offered the next day in a special stone formation called the water hole or in the intake of an irrigation ditch where the main ritual is carried out. , in which the food prepared beforehand is offered together with drinks, mainly coca leaves and cigarettes.

En la actualidad el pago a la Pachamama se realiza también por familias cristianas y pachamamistas, teniendo así diferentes variaciones en la ofrenda y la comida.

Where did the Pachamama originate?

Pachamama in the legends is a young and beautiful divinity that has its origin in the Collao or Altiplano area. Since mother earth has a singular beauty, everyone wanted to marry Pachamama, one of them is Wacon, with a malevolent character, however, she chooses Pachacamac; Wacon’s brother, considered the maker of the world and the heavens. By winning the duel for the love of Pachamama, Wacon is dissatisfied and begins to create droughts and floods in the terrestrial world for which he is expelled from heaven to the caves. After this event Pachamama and Pachacamac have twin sons called the Wilcas.

What is Pachamama fed with?

  • This practice is based on the delivery of offerings in payment to the land on the day of the Pachamama celebration. The residents make these offerings as a sign of gratitude, requests or favors by delivering a payment in advance, with material elements of natural origin called dispatches.
  • The most popular and that are normally delivered together are the coca leaf, banana, chicha, wine and certain seeds from the jungle with symbolic and magical power such as the huairuro. And among some rarer we have rice, starfish, cookies, sweets, mixture; among others.
  • The offices are different according to the place, territory or ecological floor. This ritual revitalizes the energy borrowed from the Pachamama during the agricultural year.
  • In the area of Puno and Bolivia the dispatches are sweeter.
  • In Cusco they are more linked to their ecological floor in the sacred valley with products such as corn, beans, etc.
  • The dispatches are also made with the purpose of multiplying their herds. The horticulturists or fruit plantations smoke coca and dry skin of the snakes with incense in vegetable and rocoto orchards as well as offer llama and vicuña fetuses, people believe that these offerings are better received.
  • Normally these offerings are made on August 1, but they are usually made throughout that month.

When is Pachamama’s day?

August 1st is a very special date for Latin America; It is Pachamama Day. It is a day of gratitude to Mother Earth for her protection and providence, this date is characterized by an awareness of what the earth offers us as well as reminding us that we must respect and care for it above all else.

Find more information about the guided walking tours in Cusco where more about the Pachamama is explained.