A virtual tour and travel guide of Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail in Peru. Travel resources for the traveler.
Many travelers think of Cusco Peru as the gateway to Machu Picchu, but the truth is that this city is also so much more. Cusco is home to its own archaeological treasures, as the city was once the most significant in the Incan empire. Cusco is the continent's oldest continually inhabited city, and as a result offers a distinct blend of cultures to travelers. The city has coped well with a major increase in tourist traffic in recent decades, and it has comfortable hotels and tasty restaurants to choose among. You might arrive in Cusco wondering only how to get to Machu Picchu, but you'll leave with a new appreciation for this destination.
Today, everything tourists need will be found in Cusco Peru. This city has developed in recent decades to include travel agencies, Internet cafés, and other attractions that appeal to the needs of tourists. While it can be easy to breeze right through Cusco, you will also be surprised when you stop and look around. Visitors love the charming, narrow cobblestone streets and are surprised to learn that the massive walls lining the streets were actually built by the Incas. Although Cusco and the surrounding region were conquered by the Spanish in the early sixteenth century, there is still a great deal of information to be learned about the Incas here.
Along the way to Machu Picchu, be sure to stop and explore the history of the region. Cusco is the perfect place to begin-this city is full of opportunities for curious travelers to begin to understand of the Incan people, as it was once the capital of the empire. This education will only increase your appreciation for experiencing the sacred Incan city of Machu Picchu. The best place to begin your tour of the city is the main square, the Plaza de Armas. Since Incan times, this square was the location of parades and important assemblies. The most striking feature of the square is its cathedral, which was built in the mid-seventeenth century and contains a vast collection of art and sculpture.
There are many other churches to see in Cusco Peru, but if you're interested in history, check out the museums instead. The Museum of Religious Art is home to an impressive collection of colonial artifacts and paintings. Beyond the history and churches, one of the most notable features of Cusco is its elevation. Located more than 11,000 feet above sea level, Cusco is situated deep in the Andes Mountains, and many visitors find that the mountains provide a gorgeous backdrop to the ancient city. Instead of asking how to get to Machu Picchu via train, many travelers choose to join a historical tour or hiking expedition to the archaeological site.
Cusco is a main gateway to Machu Picchu. Some travelers choose to take a train directly to a small town outside of the historic site, called Aguas Calientes, to get an early start on visiting Machu Picchu. Other, more adventurous travelers often choose to begin their journey in Cusco on foot. Tours are offered along the Inca Trail that connects Cusco to Machu Picchu. You can choose a variety of hiking tour options, including trips that last two, three, or five days, depending on your fitness level and how long you want to spend on the trail. Arriving at Machu Picchu after a few days of hiking and camping might make the experience even more memorable for you. No matter how you get there, a trip to the fascinating archaeological ruins typically begins in Cusco.