The first thing that will strike you about Cusco is its altitude. At 3,400 metres above sea level, the air is thin and the climate cold. It takes a few days to get used to, but the views are worth it. Cusco is a stunning city, built on the foundations of the ancient Inca capital, Q’oricancha. The Spanish colonial buildings are a beautiful contrast to the red-tiled roofs of the Inca period, and the narrow streets are a maze of intrigue. Plaza de Armas is the heart of Cusco, and home to the cathedral, the presidential palace and a wealth of restaurants and bars. Don’t miss the artisan markets, where you can buy everything from alpaca sweaters to traditional Andean instruments.
Cusco is nice in itself, but the biggest draw is access to world-class attractions like Machu Picchu - the lost city of the Incas, Rainbow Mountain, and Humantay Lake.