One of the best things about going on a G Adventures trip is meeting our tour leaders — we call them CEOs (Chief Experience Officers), since they're so integral to the G experience. Not are our CEOs equipped with all the knowledge and know-how to help you get the best out of our tours — they can also recommend some of the best locals-only hotspots for amazing eats. With that in mind, we asked CEOs from some of the regions to which we travel to give us their top picks for great food in their respective countries of origin. Here: the Top 10 things to do in Cusco, Peru, courtesy of CEO Chocho Nunez.
1. Trek to Rainbow Mountain
The Rainbow Mountain of Peru — also known as Winicunca — is stunning. A trip that allows you to see the Rainbow Mountains requires a trek of at least five hours — 2.5 hours each way.
2. Visit the Sacred Valley
The Sacred Valley of the Incas was a key area of settlement to the ancient people. Its agreeable climate and fertile plains make a rare and fruitful combination in the high Andes. It was also the route to the jungle and therefore an area with access to the fruits and plants of the tropical lowlands. The Sacred Valley served as a buffer zone, protecting Cusco from incursions of the Antis, the fierce jungle tribes who from time to time raided the highlands.
3. A city tour
The blend of the Inca and Colonial architecture in Cusco give it charm and character.
4. A visit to Moray, in Maras
This tour introduces to some of Cusco's most interesting Inca sites. It starts with a visit to the Colonial town of Maras and its church. From Maras, continue to the nearby Inca site of Moray, a magnificent series of terrace circles set into the ground that were once used by the Incas for experimentation with crops. The final destination is the salt mines, which have been in use since Pre-Incan times. Water from a subterranean stream is channelled through pools where it evaporates and leaves behind pure salt crystals. With thousands of stark white pools stretching down the valley, the views are stunning.
5. Hike a via ferrata and go zip lining
Climb 400 meters of via ferrata —a protected climbing route — and descend the mountain via zip line. It's a true thrill.
6. Try horseback riding
Our trips to Cusco offer two different half-day horseback riding tours to choose from. Each tour is approximately four hours long, and includes a professional, English speaking guide and well cared-for horses.
7. Go river rafting
It takes an hour and a half to arrive at the best point for rafting near Cusco, but it's worth every minute.
8. Go biking or ATV riding
Visit the tourist destinations of Maras, Salt mines, Tiobamba and Moray — all in a half day.
9. Check out the South Valley
South Cusco, there are stunning valley landscapes and memorable archaeological sites.
10. Pop into the Planetarium
Here, you'll find a cultural Interpretation Centre focused on Inca astronomy, which will help you understand why the ancient residents of Peru observed the skies as they did, and understand the relationship between the universe and day to day life during the Inca Empire.
Ready to check out Cusco? G Adventures can get you there. Check out our small group tours to Peru here.