Unique Places in Cusco

  • Temple
    Temple
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    Granary
    by JessieLang
  • Off The Beaten Path
    by JessieLang

Most Viewed Off The Beaten Path in Cusco

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    Raqchi Archaeological Site--Church

    by JessieLang Written Jan 2, 2011

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    There is a nice little Catholic Church just outside the archaeological site. It is still in use, serving the small population living by the site.

    Have a look at the church while you are visiting the ruins.

    Church interior
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    Raqchi Archaeological Park

    by JessieLang Updated Jan 2, 2011

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    The Raqchi site contains the ruins of the largest Inca temple in Peru. The temple, dedicated to the god Wiracocha, is 3 stories high and had wood beam floor supports. There were 150 granaries, which were round buildings with cone-shaped roofs.

    Other buildings housed women who took care of the temple and provided lodging for people who came to the large barter market that was held several times a year. The buildings were covered in plaster and had thatched roofs. You had to pay part of your goods as a fee for the use of the facilities.

    The architecture at Raqchi is different than at other sites.

    A giant Inca wall, made from volcanic rock, runs along the site. The wall is 3 m. high and 5 km in length, with openings for a main Inca road that crosses it.

    65 mi SW of Cusco

    Temple Granary Merchant's area Temple-Another view
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    Venture into the market - buy or explore

    by ilyathemuromets Written Nov 14, 2009

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    You can buy cheap clothing at the market in Cusco. Just to give an example, I bought a wool hat (one that is sold everywhere with the straps on the side) for 5 soles ( as compare to 10 in most other places like in Lima). One lady even wanted to sell it for 3, but I gave her 5 anyways since it seemed like a standard price. It actually looked hand-made as compared to others that definitely were factory made. The market also has all kinds of food, so if you are brave enough you can try it out. If not, its fun just to browse around.

    Market is located a few minutes off the center at Plaza de Armas near Santa Clara and Chaparro intersections.

    Entrance to the Market
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    Macchu Picchu

    by drumachn Written Jun 3, 2009

    You can make that trip although the train may fill up quickly. It gets crowded and a bit hectic in the lobby so watch your belongings. Not sure there are places you can purchase your MP ticket around AC. Once you get up to the entrance of MP, you can just pay them the fee. When I was there in Spring '07, we toured it, jumped on a shuttle, and handed over the ticket to enter that was given to us; pretty straight forward. For $5 more, go out and climb Huyna Picchu. You get to the top and the view is amazing, well worth the effort.

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    River Rafting

    by drumachn Written May 25, 2008

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    Go raft the Cusipata River. Its 20 USD and you get transporation, village stop, lunch, and all the gear you need for rafting. The teachers are super nice and the deal is unbeatable. At lunch time soup and salad is served along with chicken or veggie. After the rafting is complete, you can sit in a sauna-like hut and relax. They have this trip well organized. Unfortunately not sure of the agency but it is located in the main square on the side were the money exchange room is. Another great highlight of my trip to Peru

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    Racchi

    by K-nalla Written Jun 19, 2007

    Se puede hace turismo vivencial en Racchi. Se vive y se trabaja con la comunidad de campesinos. Nada lujoso ni majestual, simplemente se vive de la misma manera q los campesinos. Profesores y profesionales pueden ayudar en las escuelas, mujeres ayudan con los quehaceres y los hombres al campo a arar. Tremenda experiencia. Si tienen ninhos los pueden traer tambien, ellos iran a la escuela con los ninhos de la zona. Para hacer los contactos requeridos tiene q acercarse a la misma poblacion y hablar con el presidente (asi le dicen al encargado del pueblo) o con el senhor Wilfredo Aymar Blanco (el me ayudo a mi) y ahi pueden hacer los arreglos para su estadia. Definitivamente diferente.
    Las manhanas son espectaculares pues se ve salir el sol detras del Apu Salkantay y atardece detras de las cadenas montanhosas creando lindos colores. La comida q uno cultiva definitivamente sabe mejor.

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    Qenko

    by Paul2001 Written Sep 9, 2006

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    Qenko is an Inca huaca located a short walk east from Sacsayhuaman. I saw it on a bus tour from Cusco. The word means "zigzag" in Quechua. Persumably it is called this because of the zigzaging channels cut into the limestone rock. The stone is remarkable for its carvings on the upper west end of the rock. These carvings and channels were used as part of rituals involving the upcoming growing season. Llambas blood would be poured down the channel and depending upon which way it flowed, it would indicate whether or not the locals could depend upon a good growing season or not. Beneath the main rock is a large tunnel where there is a huge rockcut altar. On the northside of the rock there is also a rockcut amphitheatre that was probably used for holding audiences for the rituals.
    Qenko is open from 7am to 5pm and admission is included on the Cusco tourist ticket. The site is saturated by bus groups like the one I was on although to be honest it is only a relatively minor attraction.

    Tour Group going beneath the rock. Altar in the tunnel beneath the rock.
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    Lares Hot Springs

    by centerofgravity Written Sep 8, 2006

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    You can take a bus to Lares from Calca, and if you are really daring you can hike to Lares from Calca. Either way, Lares is a very small town and at the edge of the town there are some quiet hot springs and a little hotel. When I was there they were building a fancy hotel at the hot springs which might be finished by now, but either way, there is a small hotel just before the hot springs with warm meals, and friendly hosts. They were out of beds when I got there, so they put up a tent, and dragged a mattress into it for me. It was so cozy. You can also camp in the hot springs for a fee. The hot springs are open all night, so you can eat dinner and then go back to relax some more.

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    The Andean Explorer to Lake Titicaca

    by kucha Written Jun 8, 2006

    This spectacular rail journey begins in Cusco and travels south to the beautiful city of Puno, on the shores of Lake Titicaca.

    On the journey, the train makes a gentle climb to higher, and cooler, altitudes. The first half of the journey is dominated by the magnificent Andean mountains which tower over the deep valleys of the Huatanay River. It then reaches the gentler, rolling Andean Plains, where vicuña and alpaca can be seen. We traveled on the Andean Explorer, the glass-walled observation car provides the perfect opportunity to view the beautiful scenery.

    The journey is broken by a scenic stop at La Raya, which is also the highest point on the route.

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    Village life in Ollantaytambo

    by toonsarah Written Jun 6, 2006

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    Ollantaytambo is at the far end of the Sacred Valley as you travel from Cusco. If you get the train to Macchu Pichu from the Valley this is where you'll board it, and you may also come here to visit the well-preserved Inca terraced fort, but I recommend you also take the time to explore the village itself. It's built on the site of the Inca village and many of the houses are built using parts of the early Inca walls and houses. The streets still follow the Inca layout and the houses are hidden behind the walls that line them.

    We were able to go into one of the village houses. It was one of those moments you get on your travels when you question whether you're being voyeuristic and taking advantage of people's good nature to peer at them as if in a zoo, or bringing them some variety and a valuable source of income. For me the attraction of being able to see into their lives and engage with them, however briefly, plus the photo opportunity it provides, always outweigh any discomfort I may feel, but I do understand that not everyone will share this view, so you need to decide for yourself whether to accept such an invitation.

    Anyway, we did and found the experience fascinating. The house was built into the Inca village foundations, which was interesting, but even more so was being able to see how the family lived - particularly the small shrine (complete with two human skulls, which are valued in Peru as watching over the household) and the guinea pigs running freely across the floor (a future dinner of course, not pets).

    Village home interior Street in Ollantaytambo

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    Chicharia

    by lashr1999 Written May 21, 2006

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    Coming back from Ollantaytambo and heading back to Cusco we decided to ask our guide if he could take us to a Chicharia. The guide said he knew of one and would take us there since we were a good group.

    What is a Chicharia, you may ask. It is a place that sells chicha which is traditional corn liquor that people in Peru drink. Chicha sort of tastes like the liquid in a can of corn with liquor in it. It is cloudy, tart, has a big foamy head and gets it’s color from the corn being used to make it. Our guide said to find a traditional Chicharia look for a broomstick with red ribbons, flowers and corn attached to it. Newer ones have signs to tell you chicha is served there.

    When we first entered the yard area of the Chicharia we were each given a coin. We were told that Peruvians play a game to pass time. We were supposed to throw our coin into the mouth of a pig statue from far away. None of the people in our group got it in.

    When walking around the yard area we saw an area which housed guinea pigs. We were told that on special occasions cuy (guinea pig) was served with the chicha. When I saw what a guinea pig looked like at this place, I no longer had a desire to eat one. They looked kind of like a fuzzy tribble or mouse. I would forever equate eating cuy with eating a poor Peruvians family pet, after that.

    Next, we went into a room with a few wooden benches and tables. There were a few older ladies holding pitchers of chicha. Our guide told us that the recipe for chicha is passed on by oral tradition from mother to daughter. We were each given a glass and pitchers of chicha were handed around. Before we drank, we were told we had to give thanks to the earth god for giving us the chicha to drink. This is done by spilling a little chicha in four corners in the form of a square. I drank a cup or 2 after that. We encouraged our guide to chug a pitcher of Chicha. He did so after we cheered him on.

    Chicharia Chicharia guinea pig Chicharia Chicharia-peruvian corn
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    Tipon Ruins

    by JohnMJ Written Mar 23, 2006

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    The Tipon inca ruins make a very nice half day or day excursion from Cusco. To get there you take a collectivo (catch a taxi and ask driver to take you to Tipon collectivo). The town of Tipon is about 25 km (past San Jeronimo), but it takes almost an hour via collectivo. At Tipon stop, there will be taxi's waiting which can take you to the Tipon ruins. It cost us s/8 round trip for taxi and s/8 to have driver wait for you (highly recommended). What I liked about Tipon is that it is rarely visited, and there are virtually no tourists, only locals. No vendors. No facilities except bathrooms. It cost about s/6 to get in the park.There are beautiful terraces with many water irrigation channels. It is a great place for a picnic. It is believed this area was once used for experiemental agriculture. You can easily see the ruins in an hour, but it is a great place just to relax. Once back in Tipon, there are many restaurants specializing in coya al horno, baked guinea pig. Try it!

    My adopted son and his family at Tipon Tipon ruins Tipon has very interesting and very old irrigation Kids playing futbol in the ruins site.
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    The Tipon Ruins

    by Paul2001 Written Jun 29, 2005

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    Probably one of my great surprises was my visit to the shamefully overlooked ruins of Tipon. These marvelous Inca ruins are among the most spectacular in the Cusco region but during my visit few if any foriegn tourist were there other than myself. There were lots of Peruvian school children however.
    Tipon is the location of agricultural terraces that are watered by a small stone carved channel. Construction of these terraces was so well managed that that one cannot believe that they were completed without modern machinery. Once walking along the perimeter of the terraces you can make your way up the mountain ridge to some small Inca temples. From here there are superb view of the ruins and of the surrounding valley.
    To reach the ruins at Tipon, you should rent a taxi like I did with a visit to the ruins of Pilkillacta included. The taxi will proceed 4km up a dirt road that leads off of the main road to Puno. This a windy road that involves dodging livestock along the way.
    Admission to Tipon is included on the Boleto Turistico which makes me wonder why more tourist do not make the effort to come here. The ruins are open from 7am to 6pm.

    Agricultural terracing at the Tipon ruins Tipon as seen from it's base.
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    The view from Hostal Resbalosa

    by SirRichard Written May 11, 2005

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    From the terrace of the Hostal Resbalosa ((Resbalosa street, 494) you can enjoy a wonderful view of the Plaza de Armas and some other roofs of Cuzco.
    You don't have to sleep there to enjoy it, you can go and have a coffee there, or even just enter the place and go to the terrace, take the photo and leave, nobody will stop you.

    View from the terrace
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    Coricancha siege museum

    by SirRichard Written May 10, 2005

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    Just below the Coricancha is this little archeological museum, not often visited. I entered as it is inckuded in the Boleto Turístico, and I had already bought it for some Inca ruins outside Cuzco, so I had to use it.
    Is not a Top5 museum here in Cuzco but has got some interesting sights and is rather small. You exit the museum by the grass field in front of the Coricancha and can have a walk by the ruins then.

    The museum is at the right
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Cusco Off The Beaten Path

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