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7 Coolest Day Trips from Cusco, Peru (with Maps and Photos)

 

7 COOLEST DAY TRIPS FROM CUSCO, PERU
(WITH MAPS AND PHOTOS)

 

There is a lot to do in Cusco. And, you could easily spend a few days exploring this incredible place.

However, sometimes it is nice to take a break from the busy city life and discover some places around it. There are plenty of rewarding and easy day trips from Cusco.

Plus, Cusco makes a great home base to explore Sacred Valley of the Incas.

Here are 7 coolest day trips from Cusco, Peru!

 

 

NUMBER 1

DAY TRIP FROM CUSCO TO

RAINBOW MOUNTAIN

 

Image Credit: Map data ©2020 Google

 

Day trip from Cusco to Rainbow Mountain is on the best day trips you can take!

Until just recently, it was only possible to access Rainbow Mountain via a difficult seven hour hike. A new road has opened it up in 2018. And, a staggering number of visitors (3,000 – 5,000 visitors per day in high season) head to Rainbow Mountain on a day trip from Cusco

You will need to join an organized tour to get to Rainbow Mountain. Or, rent a private 4×4 vehicle/driver.

 

 

It takes about 3 hours to get to the trailhead.

Next, you hike for about 2 hours (moderate hike) until you reach the summit.

Be prepared to brave the crowds and patiently wait to be able to take some pictures.

However, you will be rewarded with the most amazing views!

 

Day trips from Cusco
Until 2018, it was only possible to access Rainbow Mountain via a difficult seven hour hike.

 

In addition to the tour fee, you will need to pay a 10 soles entry fee.

 

 

NUMBER 2

DAY TRIP FROM CUSCO TO

LAKE HUMANTAY

 

Image Credit: Map data ©2020 Google

 

Day trip from Cusco to Lake Humantay is one of my favorites!

Sitting right off of the Salkantay glacier and close to the Inca Trail, Humantay Lake can only be accessed via hiking.

But, first things first, you need to get to the traihead and in order to do that you need to join an organized tour. Honestly, I do not think there is any other way.

 

 

It takes about 3 hours to reach the trailhead leading to Lake Humantay from Cusco. Next, you hike for about 1.5 hours. However, keep in mind that it is a strenuous, unrelenting up the hill hike. So make sure you are up to it.

You will be rewarded with the most amazing views of snow-capped mountain peaks, and stand on the edge of a turquoise lake. 

 

Day trips from Cusco
Sitting right off of the Salkantay glacier and close to the Inca Trail, Humantay Lake can only be accessed via hiking.

 

 

Don’t have time to read it now?

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Day trips from Cusco

Day trips from Cusco

 

 

NUMBER 3

DAY TRIP FROM CUSCO TO

MACHU PICCHU

 

No doubt, day trip from Cusco to Machu Picchu is the most popular day trip! And, you can totally do it yourself. There is no need to join any organized tours.

In order to get to Machu Picchu, you can either hike or you can take a train (and then a bus). There is no other way to get to Machu Picchu.

Majority of the visitors to Machu Picchu take the train.

 

Day trips from Cusco
In order to get to Machu Picchu, you can either hike or you can take a train (and then a bus).

 



INTREPID SCOUT’S TIP:

READ: How to Get to Machu Picchu by Train (and then a short ride on a bus) –

Everything You Need to Know

CLICK HERE



 

Once you get to Machu Picchu, my recommendation is to hire a guide right at the entrance. Usually, the guided tour takes about 2 hours. It will give you a good overview of the place. Afterwords, go ahead and explore Machu Picchu City of the Incas by yourself.

There is a lot do and see. So, check out my post to give you some ideas.

 

Day trips from Cusco
Make sure to start your day by hiring a guide and getting an overview of the place. Afterwords, go and explore the place by yourself.

 



INTREPID SCOUT’S TIP:

READ: 17 Unmissable Things to Do at Machu Picchu City of the Incas

CLICK HERE



 

To help you with the planning process, make sure to read my guide to visiting Machu Picchu. It covers all the details.

 

Machu Picchu is a 15th-century Inca fortress, imperial retreat and a ceremonial site. It sits on a 2,430-meter (7,970-foot) mountain ridge and covers an area of 80,000 acres (32,500 hectares).

 



INTREPID SCOUT’S TIP:

READ: Machu Picchu, Peru – Top Tips for Visiting the City of the Incas.

CLICK HERE



 

 

NUMBER 4

DAY TRIP FROM CUSCO TO

MORAY

 

 

Image Credit: Map data ©2020 Google

 

Honestly, you should not miss day trip from Cusco to Moray!

Moray is an Inca engineering wonder! It has captivated and puzzled researchers and travelers since it was first photographed during an aerial survey of the Sacred Valley by the American geologist Robert Shippee in 1931.

Shippee’s photographs revealed the striking concentric stone rings descending into a concave  hollow in the ground. The images resembled an ancient Greek Amphitheater.

 

Day trips from Cusco
Moray has captivated and puzzled researchers and travelers since it was first photographed during an aerial survey of the Sacred Valley by the American geologist Robert Shippee in 1931.

 

 

It takes about 1.5 hours to get to Moray and my recommendation is to either get a taxi or hire a private vehicle/driver. By the way, it is the fastest and the easiest way to get to all the sites in Sacred Valley of the Incas. Also, get all the details about Moray. Read my guide before you go.

 



INTREPID SCOUT’S TIP:

READ: Guide to Visiting Moray on a day trip from Cusco

CLICK HERE



 

 

NUMBER 5

DAY TRIP FROM CUSCO TO

MARAS SALT MINES

 

Image Credit: Map data ©2020 Google

 

I have to confess that the view of Maras Salt Mines is off the charts.

Maras literally took my breath away!

 

Day trips from Cusco
The sight of 4,500 glittering pools is absolutely jaw-dropping!

 

Salt Mines of Maras are a long way from the ocean. They are situated at an altitude of 3,380 meters. Once, this area was a part the sea floor. The movement of tectonic plates pushed the seabed up to form the Andes and the sea salt was locked into the rocks.

The highly salty Qoripujio subterranean stream emerges at the top of the canyon. The saline spring water is tepid with temperature of approximately 25 C. Its flow is guided into an intricate system of a myriad of tiny channels. The channels run steadily down into the ancient terraced ponds.

 

 

It takes about 1.5 hours to get to Moray and my recommendation is to either get a taxi or hire a private vehicle/driver. By the way, it is the fastest and the easiest way to get to all the sites in Sacred Valley of the Incas. Also, get all the details about Moray. Read my guide before you go.

 



INTREPID SCOUT’S TIP:

READ: Maras Salt Mines – Must-See Attraction is Sacred Valley

CLICK HERE



 

Maras Salt Mines are open daily. The entrance ticket is 10 soles.

 

 

NUMBER 6

DAY TRIP FROM CUSCO TO

OLLANTAYTAMBO

 

 

Image Credit: Map data ©2020 Google

 

Ollantaytambo is a hidden gem in the Sacred Valley of the Incas that not very many visitors to Sacred Valley know about. However, it is one of the best day trips from Cusco to Ollantaytambo.

 

Day trips from Cusco
Day trip from Cusco to Ollantaytambo is one of my favorites.

 

Ollantaytambo was the royal estate of Emperor Pachacuti. Under Pachacuti’s ownership, town of Ollantaytambo went through an extensive rebuilding and improving process starting with the construction of elaborate terraces and superior irrigation system.

 

 

Take the path (on either side of the massive terraces) to the top. The path will lead you to the Sun Temple. Its main feature is a massive structure called the Wall of the Six Monoliths.

The wall is composed of the massive blocks of stone. Interestingly, the blocks are united by slim spacer stones. It is an unusual feature in Inca construction that has long puzzled the archaeologists.

 

9 Reasons to Visit Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley of the Incas
The main feature of the Sun Temple is a massive structure called the Wall of the Six Monoliths.

 

It takes about 1.5 hours to get to Ollaytantambo from Cusco and my recommendation is to either get a taxi or hire a private vehicle/driver. By the way, it is the fastest and the easiest way to get to all the sites in Sacred Valley of the Incas. Also, get all the details about Moray. Read my guide before you go.

 



INTREPID SCOUT’S TIP:

READ: 9 Reasons to Visit Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, Peru

CLICK HERE



 

Ollantaytambo is open daily from 7 am till 6 pm. Make sure to buy Cusco Boleto Turistico in order to enter Ollantaytambo Inca ruins, since individual tickets are not sold at the site.

 

 

NUMBER 7

DAY TRIP FROM CUSCO TO

PISAQ

 

Image Credit: Map data ©2020 Google
 

If your time allows, then you should most definitley go on a day trip from Cusco to Pisaq.

It takes no more than an hour to get to Pisaq if you take a taxi or hire a private vehicle/driver.

Pisaq is most known for its Inca ruins and large market which takes place every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday.

The Inca ruins are situated atop a hill at the entrance to the valley.

 

1-Week Peru Itinerary
If your time allows, then you should most definitley go on a day trip from Cusco to Pisaq.

 

The most impressive is a group of ruins called Inti Watana. It includes the Temple of the Sun, baths, altars, water fountains, a ceremonial platform.

The agricultural terraces cover the steep hillsides as far as you can see.

Do not miss the cliff-side that looks like it is riddled with holes. These are some of the Inca tombs long since looted by the grave robbers.

Most people visit Pisaq to see the market on Sunday.

Originally, it was a local affair with farmers coming into town to trade and sell their produce.

Now, the market has evolved into a huge crafts market where you can buy all kinds of souvenirs.

 

Day trips from Cusco
Most people visit Pisaq to see the market on Sunday. Originally, it was a local affair with farmers coming into town to trade and sell their produce.

 

The entrance to Pisaq Inca ruins is included with the Cusco Tourist Ticket (Boleto Turistico). The opening hours are Monday through Sunday from 7 am till 6 pm. 

 

 

INTREPID SCOUT’S POINTERS FOR DAY TRIPS FROM CUSCO

That is quite a few day trips from Cusco, right? What if you only have time to do a couple of trips?

No problem!

  • Hands down, the number one day trip from Cusco is Machu Picchu City of the Incas. However, some advance planning is recommended. First of all, the number of visitors is limited per day and you need to purchase the tickets to Machu Picchu before you do anything else.

My recommendation is to review my posts about Machu Picchu and start planning.

Also, have you thought about seeing Machu Picchu at sunrise? It is a bucket list experience!

  • The number two day trip from Cusco should be to your preference. If you like nature and hiking, then head to Raindow Mountain or Lake Humantay. If you want to learn about Inca history and culture, then head to Ollantaytambo.

 

 

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7 Coolest Day Trips from Cusco, Peru (with Maps and Photos)

7 Coolest Day Trips from Cusco, Peru (with Maps and Photos)

 

 

Now, it is your turn, I would like to hear back from you!

Are you planning your trip to Peru?

Please let me know! Drop me a quick comment right below!

Also, click on any of the images below to get inspired and to help you with the planning process with your trip to Peru!

 

 

 

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