"How Tourism Works in Cusco" Cusco by AlbuqRay

Cusco Travel Guide: 1,092 reviews and 2,384 photos

Cusco - Fascinating Place But Too Many Tourists

Little did I know as I flew from La Paz to Cusco on 11 Oct 2003 how different my four day tour of the Cusco area would be. In Bolivia there are few tourists and, since I was on a custom tour, the biggest group I had been in was four people.

As one of the world's top tourist destinations, Cusco is busy! It is difficult to go anywhere without lines of tourists being there. Also, there is always someone trying to sell you something or asking for a handout. It is also expensive relative to Bolivia. However, there are fascinating things to see that everyone should visit at least once in their lives.

Fremen Tours had subbed me out to Raices Turismo in Cusco. The organized tours there use small buses which they fill with 20-25 people. Like other tour agencies, Raices only had 4-5 people per day, so we spent each morning picking up small groups of people from various hotels (and agencies) until the bus was full. This takes a while since everyone is not always ready. Only then would you depart for your destination. The guide on the bus was different each day.

My four day tour of the Cusco area was pretty standard. It included a half day city tour (Convento de Santa Domingo, La Cathedral, Sacsayhuaman, Tambomachay, Pukapukara, Q'enqo and a weaving shop), a full day in the Sacred Valley of the Incas (Pisac Sunday market, Ollantaytambo, and Chinchero) and a half-day tour of Machu Picchu after a four hour train ride plus a 25 minute bus ride to get there ($58 roundtrip for the train). This is not even close to the amount of time you need to really see these sights. You could easily spend 2-3 days in and around Cusco, and the same for the Sacred Valley. Overnight at Machu Picchu would be nice.

Cusco Area Tourist Ticket

You can get an excellent tourist ticket called the Boleto Turistico for $10 that allows admission into many of the Cusco sights over ten days. You sign it and they punch it when you visit a particular sight. It makes a good souvenir too, since it has a picture of each location. Strangely, it is not good for one of the main attractions, Covento de Santa Domingo (6 Soles).

Hard to Find But Superb Inca Trail Travelogue

There is also an excellent travelogue by VT member, Hopkid, about his Inca Trail and Machu Picchu trip that should not be missed, especially if you are going to hike the Inca Trail. It is well written and loaded with information. Not many people are finding it though, so I am referencing it here.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Fascinating sights and history
  • Cons:Too many tourists and vendors
  • In a nutshell:A wonderful place that is overwhelmed by too many people
  • Last visit to Cusco: Oct 2003
  • Intro Updated Jan 10, 2013
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Reviews (18)

Comments (12)

  • AngMimi's Profile Photo
    Jul 9, 2013 at 3:30 PM

    Nice and interesting page of Peru, Ray. Thanks for sharing.

  • kathymof's Profile Photo
    Aug 19, 2008 at 3:24 PM

    Hey we have some of the same pictures - didn't you just love this area? And yes the street vendors got a little old pretty quickly.

  • Pawtuxet's Profile Photo
    Apr 2, 2007 at 5:12 PM

    Peru is fascinating to me. Love those big open markets. always interesting to try and find the true local stuff.

  • Wann's Profile Photo
    Mar 14, 2005 at 5:45 AM

    Hi Ray, Great page ! Thanks for sharing, it is unknown place for me...

  • rogdias's Profile Photo
    Feb 9, 2005 at 4:52 AM

    Hei, I had Geovana as guide also, some years ago. She´s so fine!

  • Maria_75's Profile Photo
    Oct 2, 2004 at 6:19 PM

    Great page! I would love to go to Machu Picchu once!

  • keeweechic's Profile Photo
    Aug 26, 2004 at 7:56 PM

    Good tips on how long to spend here. Great history of the Inca's, fascinating areas you visited. Obviously a good guide is essential. Good warnings on the shopping..lol

  • JetlagCity's Profile Photo
    Jul 3, 2004 at 9:01 PM

    Lots of valuable info here and great pictures. Very interesting about the llama wool & dirt foundations, & also that you had some entertainment on the train!

  • Sharrie's Profile Photo
    Jul 1, 2004 at 11:11 PM

    I love your night pix. Charming! Yes, I do agree about heading for Machu Picchu at least once, perhaps even the Inca Trail!

  • jackfruit's Profile Photo
    Feb 14, 2004 at 4:41 PM

    Thanks for visting my Cusco page - You have a very informative page here with some wonderful pics!


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