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How to Spend 3 Days in Cusco

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How to Spend 3 Days in Cusco
With three days based in Cusco, you have time to explore the city from top to bottom, visit the famous ancient site of Machu Picchu, and even embark on a bonus excursion. Here’s how to do it. 

Day 1: Experience the city from morning to night
Begin your day in Cusco among the locals at the bustling San Pedro Market, where you’ll find a huge variety of foods and gifts. Join a morning cooking class, learning about local ingredients before preparing a 3-course lunch. Afterward, set out on a private or group tour of the city’s many historic attractions, including the fortified Incan complex of Sacsayhuaman and the Temple of the Sun (Qorikancha), which showcases the extraordinary engineering skills of the ancient Incas.

At night, Cusco’s buildings take on a new character. Nighttime guided tours provide illuminating insights while leading you through the streets and into little shops selling handicrafts and street food. Alternatively, gaze at the stars at Planetarium Cusco.

Day 2: Head for Machu Picchu
The main draw for many visitors to Cusco is the city’s proximity to Machu Picchu, the sacred citadel constructed in the 15th century when the Inca Empire was at the height of its powers. Skip the hassle of travel planning by booking a package that includes round-trip train tickets from Cusco to Aguas Calientes, round-trip bus tickets from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu, and a guided tour of Machu Picchu. You’ll also have time to wander around on your own. Several train options are available, from the luxurious Hiram Bingham Pullman to a local train.

Day 3: Explore surrounding landscapes
Stick around town if you need some downtime—or venture out on another day trip. Go to the Sacred Valley on a private or group tour that visits Pisac, home to Incan ruins and a vibrant Indian market; stroll the archeological sites of Moray and the Ollantaytambo Fortress; or marvel at Maras, where the community harvests salt in a cooperative fashion. 

Energetic travelers shouldn’t miss Rainbow Mountain, whose distinct colorful stripes come from mineral deposits. Accompanied by a guide, hike to the summit for sweeping views including snowcapped Ausangate mountain—or rent a horse to take you there. Tours typically provide breakfast and lunch.

When you’re back in Cusco, relax over a traditional Peruvian meal in the artisans’ quarter of San Blas.
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Cusco Tours & Activities (10)
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Machu Picchu Day Trip from CuscoDay Trips

Machu Picchu Day Trip from Cusco

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Spend a day exploring the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu during this all-inclusive day trip leaving from Cusco. Discover this renowned mountaintop Inca site with a guide, learning about its construction, history, and what daily life was like for its residents. The trip’s relaxed, non-strenuous pace is a great option for first-time visitors, families, and solo travelers alike, and features three different train ride options. The trip also includes round-trip hotel transport, transfer from Cusco to Machu Picchu (via train and bus), and the site entrance fee.
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  • 14 hours
  • Taking safety measures
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$339.00 
From  
$339.00 
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  • 14 hours
  • Taking safety measures

Machu Picchu Tour from Cusco Full DayFull-day Tours

Machu Picchu Tour from Cusco Full Day

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Spend a full day exploring Peru’s star attraction, the UNESCO-listed Machu Picchu, on a guided tour from Cusco. Climb up into the mountains on a dramatic train journey to Agua Calientes and continue by bus to the mountaintop citadel. Then, explore the fascinating ruins of the Lost City of the Incas or join a guided trek to the Sun Gate for an unforgettable view over Machu Picchu.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
$340.00 
From  
$340.00 
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Hiram Bingham Luxury Train to Machu PicchuDay Trips

Hiram Bingham Luxury Train to Machu Picchu

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Travel back in time aboard the elegant Belmond Hiram Bingham train, enjoying the ultimate in luxury train transportation on a day trip to the world-famous Machu Picchu. Climb aboard the train’s richly appointed 1920s Pullman cars to enjoy fabulous views of the Andes, white tablecloth dining, and high-end wine. Then explore Machu Picchu with an expert guide, followed by afternoon tea at the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge. This VIP Machu Picchu experience also includes welcome drink at the station, appetizers, lunch and dinner, full drink service, entrance fees at the site, live on-board entertainment, and round-trip hotel transport.
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  • 13 hours
  • Taking safety measures
From  
$1,081.00 
From  
$1,081.00 
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  • 13 hours
  • Taking safety measures

Rainbow Mountain in One Day from CuscoFull-day Tours

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Rainbow Mountain in One Day from Cusco

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Travel for a few hours from Cusco through the rugged mountain countryside of Peru to reach the aptly named Rainbow Mountain, striped with colorful mineral deposits and located far off the beaten path. Hike with a guide to the summit for a once-in-a-lifetime wilderness adventure, or rent a horse (own expense) for easier access to the same incredible views.
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  • 12 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From  
$38.25 
$45.00
$6.75 savings
From  
$38.25 
$45.00
$6.75 savings
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  • 12 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures

Peruvian Cooking Class and Local Market in CuscoDining Experiences

Peruvian Cooking Class and Local Market in Cusco

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Explore a local market in Cusco, then take a workshop on Peruvian cuisine during this 4-hour culinary experience. Learn about the functions of traditional Andean kitchens and local specialties from a professional Peruvian chef. Tastings, meal, and drinks included.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
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$70.52 
From  
$70.52 
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures

Cusco by Night: Planetarium Cusco, Dinner, and Pisco SourAttraction Tickets

Cusco by Night: Planetarium Cusco, Dinner, and Pisco Sour

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If you’ve already ticked off the sights by day, see a different side to Cusco on a nightlife tour that includes dinner and a drink. In an intimate group limited to eight people, you’ll go stargazing at Planetarium Cusco; admire illuminated landmarks in Cusco Historic Center; and enjoy a traditional Peruvian dinner accompanied by a Pisco Sour cocktail. Hotel pickup and drop-off are included for added convenience.
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From  
$78.00 
Price varies by group size
From  
$78.00 
Price varies by group size
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures

Half Day Cusco City SightseeingHalf-day Tours

Half Day Cusco City Sightseeing

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Immerse yourself in the grand colonial majesty of Cusco on a half-day guided sightseeing tour of the city. Wander winding Incan streets to discover the ancient Temple of the Sun, the sacred Convent of Santo Domingo and the colossal Cusco Cathedral. Gain insight into the fascinating history of the city with an interesting and informative guide as you explore one of Peru’s most treasured places on foot.
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  • 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From  
$49.60 
From  
$49.60 
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  • 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures

Half Day Cusco City Tour and Archeological Park of SacsayhuamanHalf-day Tours

Half Day Cusco City Tour and Archeological Park of Sacsayhuaman

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Marvel at the architectural and archeological majesty of Cusco on a half-day tour of the city’s most significant sites. Accompanied by a knowledgeable guide, visit fascinating ruins of Qenqo; the sacred temples of Puca Pucara, and the ecclesiastical structure of the Cusco Cathedral. Admire exquisite architecture and gain insight into Peru’s alluring history on this enriching excursion.
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  • 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From  
$40.00 
From  
$40.00 
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  • 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures

Cusco Night Walking Tour and Pisco Sour LessonPrivate and Luxury

Cusco Night Walking Tour and Pisco Sour Lesson

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Discover the architectural majesty of Cusco and sample Peru’s tantalizing national drink during a night walking tour of the city. Marvel at Cusco’s charming colonial buildings and impressive historical monuments; absorb the bohemian ambience of San Blas Square; and immerse yourself in the convivial vibrancy of a local bar to sample the legendary drink of Pisco. Select your favorite Pisco flavor then combine it with fruity juices and tangy mixers to create your perfect cocktail. A personalized experience is guaranteed on this small-group tour, with numbers limited to 12 people.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
From  
$51.00 
From  
$51.00 
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes

Sacred Valley Tour from Cusco with Moray and PisacDay Trips

Sacred Valley Tour from Cusco with Moray and Pisac

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Don’t let limited time in Peru stop you visiting the magnificent Sacred Valley. See more of the region in less time on a private full-day tour from Cusco, ideal for travelers short on time. With a private guide, you visit Pisac, home to the Pisac Indian Market and Inca ruins; marvel at the archeological sites of Moray and Ollantaytambo Fortress; and learn about pre-Inca industrial processes at Salineras of Maras. Hotel pickup and drop-off are included.
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  • 9 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From  
$166.67 
From  
$166.67 
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  • 9 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures