The Alejandro Velasco Astete international Airport (CUZ) is the main aviation hub for the city of Cusco, and the mysterious ancient site of Machu Picchu. You’ll find that the airport is fairly well equipped, with ATMs, foreign exchange services, a decent duty-free area, several restaurants and cafes, car hire desks, and lots of tour operators.
There is a bus service that goes into Cusco, or you can hop in a taxi, with the journey taking around five to ten minutes, as the city is situated only 4km from the airport. The fare should come to approximately 35PEN ($14).
There are several airlines that will fly you to Cuzco from Australia, and these include LATAM, Qantas, Delta, Air New Zealand, United, American Airlines, Avianca, and China Airlines.
Why visit Cusco?
The jewel in Peru’s richly decorated crown, Cuzco is a must-see. Once the capital of the Incans, this city is the oldest continuously inhabited city on the American continent, and boasts historical treasures that range from the ancient engineering of the Incas, onto the colonial architecture of the Spaniards, and modern pieces created by the city’s contemporary population. Tour the fantastic museums and galleries, gaze in wander at the UNESCO-listed landmarks, shop in the colourful marketplaces, and indulge in the Peruvian cuisine in this golden city of wonder.
Things to do in Cusco
Stepping into Cusco means stepping back into time, and it is worth starting with the most ancient attractions. Sacsayhuaman is maybe the most astounding of all the highlights of Cusco; a winding fortification complex that forms the gaping maw of a cougar, and was built by the innovative Incans. The enormous, irregular stones fit together like a completed puzzle, and the ingenuity of this site will give you a sense that perhaps a little magic was rolled into the engineering of this site.
If you can, visit Sacsayhuaman in close conjunction with the Museo Inka, which puts a spotlight on the indigenous Incan civilisation, and will give you an insight into how they lived, and how much they contributed to the fabric of Peru. The Pre-Colombian Art Museum is also an important attraction if you want to be inspired by the aesthetics of the Incans.
But beyond Sacsayhuaman, you can find Incan walls all over the city, surrounding and bisecting Cusco. In particular follow Hatrunmiyoc right into the Plaza de Armas, the heart of the city, and is home to the cathedral. This directly blends the pre and post Colombian periods this city has seen. Visit this cathedral that was finished in the 1660s, and evokes a Renaissance style. Then duck into the impressive Santo Domingo church, built on the ancient Incan Temple of the Sun, which was dismantled and used as a foundation for this colonial structure.
And then there is Machu Picchu, Peru’s most famous attraction, and within easy reach from Cusco. Seeing this incredible, lofty, ancient city will be something you remember for the rest of your life, do not for any reason give this site a miss.
Best time to visit Cusco
· For visiting both Cusco and the magical Machu Picchu April-May and September-October are ideal. These shoulder the dry winter season, which also happens to be the most popular, and the most expensive time to go to this city. Expect the days to come to highs of about 18-19°C.
· December through to March is very rainy, and can make any trekking treacherous and muddy.
Arriving in Cusco by plane
· Most flights to Cusco will fly via cities like Los Angeles (LAX), Auckland (AKL), Santiago (SCL) and Lima (LIM).
· Peruvian Sol (PEN).
· Australian citizens do not need to apply for a visa before they travel to Peru, and should be granted a 6 month stay on arrival. It is worth double checking all requirements on the Smart Traveller advice website before you travel to this country.
Please note that information is correct as of December 2016
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