Many people think of Cusco, Peru as just a stopping point on the way to Machu Picchu, but it’s so much more. Whether your perfect day involves shopping for souvenirs, trying the local cuisine, sightseeing or just exploring the area, these top 4 Cusco Peru attractions are packed with so much to see and do that you’ll wish you’d planned to have more than just a couple of days there!
Top 4 Cusco Peru Attractions
For foodies: take a chocolate making class at the chocolate museum
With every inch of space covered in handcrafted chocolate bars, delicious chocolate drinks and cute chocolate-related trinkets that will leave chocoholics broke, Choco Museo just up from the Plaza de Armas is a great place to while away a few hours. But if you’re looking for something more immersive, consider signing up for one of the chocolate classes. Not only will you get to learn all about how chocolate is made and have a go yourself, but you’ll also get a bag full of your very own chocolates to nibble on at the end.
For animal lovers: visit an animal sanctuary
The Santuario Animal de Cochahuasi is located in between Cusco and Pisac, but free transport to and from the sanctuary is included in the cost of your ticket so you don’t need to worry about that. This family-run private organisation rescues animals that have been mistreated and takes care of them at the spacious outdoor sanctuary. Because the family takes in all animals it can, you never know what you’re going to see. But usual residents include a black bear, condors, llamas, alpacas, lynx, bobcats and native Peruvian dogs. There’s also an onsite gift shop where you can pick up a memento and help support the sanctuary at the same time.
For star gazers: sign up for an astronomy tour
If the usual landmarks and excursions don’t interest you, a tour around Planetarium Cusco might be more your style. The planetarium is situated just outside the centre of Cusco and, again, transport is included in the cost. The tour begins with a brief history of astronomy and how the Incas used to predict practically everything from what they could see in the sky. You then move into a different room for some indoor stargazing as all the constellations are projected onto the rounded ceiling. The evening ends outside where you peer through telescopes to admire various planets and stars.
For shopaholics: pick up some souvenirs
Cusco is one of the best places in Peru for shopping, so make the most of your time there by picking up souvenirs and gifts. There are so many shops and indoor markets scattered throughout the city that there’s almost literally one everywhere you turn. But for the greatest range of products and cheapest prices, you can’t beat the Mercado Central de San Pedro which is the best Cusco Peru attractions for shopping. Here you can buy everything from fresh meat, produce and grains to colourful ponchos, soft toys and artwork. If you want to mix with the locals, head to the food court for lunch and order the daily special.