he tour begins in the city Centre with visits to the impressive Colonial Cathedral and the remains of the Inca temple Qoricancha. From here we will visit the down town important avenues and the traditional local market (Mercado de san pedro), lunch around the main plaza.
* The exact program is subject to change, due to weather and other unexpected circumstances.
The Cathedral dominates Cusco’s Plaza de Armas and covers the remains of the famous Inca Viracochas Palace. Construction commenced in 1559 and it took almost a hundred years to complete the work.
The Cathedral contains one of the city’s greatest collections of colonial art with nearly 400 colonial paintings including ´The Last Supper” by Marcos Zapata which depicts Christ and the Apostles having a typical Cusqueñan supper of guinea pig with a glass of chicha! In the sacristy there is a painting of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, attributed to the Flemish painter Van Dyke. Ten smaller chapels surround the nave – the Chapel of El Señor de los Temblores (The Lord of the Earthquakes) and Immaculate Conception are worth a look.
Qoricancha / Santo Domingo Church. The Colonial Church of Santo Domingo was built over the ruins of the Inca Temple of the Sun – the Qoricancha. The temples primary purpose was for Sun worship, though it also housed an observatory from which priests’ monitored celestial activities. The uninspiring Baroque decoration of Santo Domingo creates an incredible contrast to the superbly crafted Inca masonry – the best example of which can be found in the curved wall beneath the West End of the Church. Since its construction in the Seventeenth Century the church has twice been almost completely destroyed by earthquakes, leaving the immaculately constructed Inca walls standing tall.
Qoricancha means ‘golden courtyard’ and Conquistadors documented that during Inca times the walls of the temple were indeed lined with some 700 solid gold sheets! The temple was reportedly full of gold treasures; the most famous of all was the huge “Golden Sun Disc” – the holiest religious symbol in the empire. It was positioned to reflect the morning sun’s rays, filling the golden temple with a bright light and illuminated the mummies of the dead Inca rulers, who were seated in niches along the walls. Its existence was documented by the first Conquistadores to arrive but it mysteriously disappeared soon after and remains lost to this day.
El Boleto Turístico (tourist ticket)
The best way to visit the highlights of Cusco and the Sacred Valley is to buy a Tourist Ticket! This ticket gives you entry to a huge range of sites within four tourist circuits. It can be bought in the main tourism office. A few other tourism offices in the centre and almost all the included sites. Or if you prefer Pumatrails can purchase it on your behalf. Adult and student tickets is valid for 10 days and can be extended by 2 days free of charge at the Office in Avenida El Sol.
Please ask for up to date Boleto Turistico prices.
Please bring your passport & ISIC card as ID is required both to purchase and use the ticket.
- Professional bilingual English-Spanish guide.
- Entrance fee to Catedral.
- Entrance fee to Koricancha temple.