You'll be missing out if you skip Cusco on your way to Machu Picchu or the Sacred Valley. This city is a mix of new and old: ancient inca walls holding up baroque colonial buildings,inside of which lie some of the city's most contemporary restaurants and shops. Colonial churches and cultural museums dot the plaza, while funky modern cafes sit side by side with traditional galleries of cusqueñan art in San Blas.
Inca gems are everywhere, even along the traffic heavy business distric of avenida el sol, home of Cusco's star attraction, the Qorikancha sun temple.
What really made the inca civilization so successful?. Their appreciation of a good view and gorgeous andean landscapes characterize almost every important inca site in the area surrounding Cusco.For a bird's-eye perspective on the city, head uphill to the second most famous inca the site of them all-the "sexy woman" herself, Sacsayhuaman.
The Urubamba river meanders through a tranquil valley between the towns of pisac and Ollantaytambo north of Cusco, which offers a good selection of hotels and restaurants, stunning views and a stower pace of life than the big city. An uncontested hot spot for nature lovers and outdoor anthusiasts, the valley's lower elevation and warmer temperatures are added bonuses, especially for acclimatization.
There are many original Inca Trails in the Andes, but the most famous section, simply known as The Inca Trail, is the original route to the breathtaking ruins of Machu Picchu. Spread over 4 Days hiking to Inca Trail, the 44 km trail starts at kilometre 82 (as it is 82 kilometres along the railroad from Cusco) through the Andes crosses three stunning high passes and encounters many ancient archaeological sites including Wilkarakay.