Free Short Walks in Cusco

1. Walking Tour of Cusco’s Historic Center 

Cusco was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 due to its Inca and Iberian heritage. For this reason, walking through its streets and squares is a great option. You can visit the following places for free:

  • The Plaza de Armas: Here you will find the most important churches in Cusco, such as the Church of the Society of Jesus and the imposing Cathedral of Cusco. In the central part of this square, there is also a beautiful green fountain brought from New York City in the early 20th century.
  • The Plaza Regocijo: Here you will find the Municipality of Cusco and a water fountain.
  • The Plaza San Francisco: Here you can visit the Temple of San Francisco along with its cloister, catacombs, and finally, its famous bell tower
  • The San Pedro Market: If you wish to shop for handicrafts and compare prices, here you will find the best deals.
  • Hatunrumiyoc Street: Visit the 12-angle stone and discover the architectural skill mastered by the Incas.
  • The San Blas Neighborhood: Also known as the ‘bohemian or artisan neighborhood.’ Here, you can visit the Church of San Blas and its famous baroque-style pulpit. Additionally, you can walk to the upper part of the neighborhood via Atoksaykuchi Street and reach the San Blas Viewpoint, the ideal spot for a beautiful panoramic view of this district.
  • ¿How to visit the historic center? Join the best free tours in Cusco. Free tours are only for incoming tourism; if you are Peruvian, sign up for the Cusco city tour.

2. Hike to Sacsayhuamán

This hike will offer you a wonderful experience to the most famous archaeological site around Cusco. The walk is uphill and starts at the Plaza de Armas in Cusco. Head towards Suecia Street, then Resbalosa Street, and you can make a stop at the San Cristóbal viewpoint. Continue to the Inca trail, right at the entrance gate, where you make the payment and continue walking uphill until you reach Sacsayhuamán.

The entire hike to Sacsayhuamán takes 45 minutes to 1 hour. To enter, you’ll need to purchase the famous tourist ticket (bring local currency in cash).

3. Hike to Inkilltambo 

This archaeological site is ideal for a simple hike, recommended to escape the noise of urban areas. It’s a place where you can disconnect from the city and reach a marvelous destination. Inkilltambo belongs to the Sacsayhuamán archaeological park, so there are two ways to get here:

To reach this place, take the green urban bus called “Inka Express” on Cruz Verde Street in front of the “El Paraíso” shopping center. The fare is 1 sol, and you should get off at the “tienda” stop. In front of this stop, you will find the entrance gate. Then, walk for approximately 45 minutes. Along the route, you’ll encounter two paths; choose the one ascending to the top and continue walking until you reach the Inca site.

The hike is along a narrow, flat, and safe trail. Entrance to this place is generally free, but sometimes they charge 3 soles.

4. Hike along the Hydroelectric – Machu Picchu Pueblo Route 

If you wish to reach Machu Picchu by bus, you’ll have to walk from the hydroelectric plant to the town of Aguas Calientes for about 3 hours along the railway tracks. We recommend not carrying a lot of luggage, just the essentials. The walk is entirely safe.

If you are in Cusco, consider hiring a travel agency to arrange transportation on buses that will take you to the hydroelectric plant. The bus journey is a bit challenging as Peruvian drivers tend to drive fast, and the road is a bit rough (unpaved); the entire bus journey takes approximately 7 hours

5. Hike to the famous Poc Poc Waterfall

This is a new tourist attraction that you can easily reach. Head to Grau Avenue (across from Pavitos Street) and take the local buses heading to the town of Chinchero. This journey takes approximately 1 hour, and the fare is 7 soles per person. Once you arrive in Chinchero, visit the Chinchero archaeological site or join the Classic Sacred Valley tour. Then, take the ancient Inca trail to reach the Poc Poc Waterfalls.

7. Recommendations

  • Make sure to bring enough water.
  • Sunscreen.
  • Wear comfortable walking shoes.
  • Consider the weather, bring a rain poncho.
  • Local currency in soles.
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