What to visit in Cusco with only 1 day available?

Cusco is a destination that offers many tourist attractions. Some of the most famous are: Sacsayhuaman, Coricancha, Pisac, Ollantaytambo, Chinchero, the Humantay lagoon, the 7 colors mountain and, of course, Machu Picchu. But what if you only have one day to get to know Cusco. What places can you visit in such a short period of time? Find out which itinerary you can choose for the 1-day trip.

Main square Cusco
Main square of the city of Cusco

1 day trip to Cusco

Whether for work, study or whatever, Cusco is a destination worth visiting even if you only have one day of travel.

During this short period of time you can do one of these tours of only 1 day: tour Machu Picchu Full Day, tour Sacred Valley of the Incas Full Day, tour Mountain 7 colors Full Day or tour Laguna Humantay Full Day.

Most of these tours start very early, averaging 6 in the morning (the tour to Machu Picchu starts at 4 in the morning) and ends between 6 and 8 at night.

If you do not have that time, or it can be very exhausting, it is best to visit the tourist attractions near the city of Cusco. These are: the Cathedral, the Coricancha, Sacayhuaman, Qenqo, Pucapucara and Tambomachay.

There are also inexpensive options to visit some free sites in Cusco such as: the Main Square, the Stone of the 12 angles, the archaeological site of Inkiltambo, the popular market of San Pedro, the Cristo Blanco and more.

In the article you will also know some options for restaurants and accommodation that you can use during your short stay in the city of Cusco.

What places can I visit?

Laguna Humantay
Humantay Lagoon – Cusco
  • Machu Picchu – One day is enough to visit the Inca city of Machu Picchu starting from the city of Cusco. The tour starts at 4 in the morning and ends at 8 or 9 at night. Includes: transportation by bus, train, entrance fee, tourist guide and, in some services, lunch. If you are traveling on your own, you must buy your tickets and train ticket online in advance. If you organize your trip well, you can also do it in just one day.
  • The Sacred Valley of the Incas – A few kilometers from the city of Cusco is an immense area of ​​mountains, fields, rivers, lagoons and towns with many traditions . Its main tourist attractions are the archaeological sites of Pisac, Ollantaytambo, Chinchero as well as the circular platforms of Moray. These sites can be visited in a single day, either on your own or within an all-inclusive tour.
  • The Rainbow Mountain – This destination is considered the second most visited tourist attraction in Cusco (the first place is occupied by Machu Picchu). It is a mountain slope that, as a result of its mineral-rich soil, acquired the tonality of up to seven tones. To visit this destination it is advisable to hire a tour in the city of Cusco. Going on your own is not recommended due to the few transportation services available.
Mountain 7 colors
Hike to the mountain 7 colors
  • The Humantay lagoon – The Humantay lagoon offers one of the most beautiful landscapes in all of Cusco. Its turquoise waters are at the foot of the high snow-capped Salkantay. The visit to this destination can also be done in a single day. Tours include what you need: transportation, breakfast, lunch, entrance fees, and tour guide service. The tour can be hired in the same city of Cusco.
  • The city of Cusco – The city of Cusco is the starting point of all tours. Visitors who decide to stay there can visit important tourist attractions such as the Cathedral, the Coricancha, Sacsayhuaman, Qenqo, Pucapucara and Tambomachay. All these places are included in the half day tour ‘City tour Cusco’. If you want to know these sites on your own, you must buy the Cusco Tourist Ticket in the authorized offices (cost of 70 Peruvian soles).
  • Free sites in the city of Cusco – The city of Cusco was the capital of the Incas. There the main palaces and temples of the entire Tahuantinsuyo empire were built. That is why today there are numerous historical sites to visit, some of them are free. It should be noted: the Main Square, the Coricancha (exterior view), the Inca site of Inkiltambo, the Temple of the Moon, the White Christ, the Stone of the 12 angles and more.
Cristo Blanco - Cusco
Cristo Blanco – Cusco

Price of the 1 day tour

These are the (approximate) prices of the 1-day tours in Cusco:

1 day tour
Approximate schedule
Approximate price *
Tour Machu PicchuFrom 4 am to 8 pm.245 USD
Sacred Valley TourFrom 7 am to 6 pm.75 USD
Tour Mountain 7 ColorsFrom 4 am to 6 pm.40 USD
Tour Humantay lagoonFrom 4 am to 6 pm.40 USD
City Tour CuscoFrom 1 pm to 6 pm.60 USD
* Prices vary depending on the tourism agency you choose.2

What clothes to wear for that day?

If you visit Cusco, even for a day, you must bundle up for the night. That is why your clothing should not be missing: a jacket, a sweater, a chullo and thermal pants.

During the day a polo shirt, a light jacket and good shoes are enough to visit the tourist attractions of the place. It is also recommended to bring sunscreen, a cap (or hat) as well as a poncho in case of rain.

Where can I eat?

These are some of the most recommended restaurants in Cusco:

Gourmet restaurants

  • Chicha by Gastón Acurio.
  • Tunupa Restaurant.
  • Limbus Restobar.
  • Incanto Restaurant.
  • Cicciolina Restaurant.
  • Pachapapa Restaurant.

Cheap restaurants:

  • San Pedro Market.
  • San Blas Market.

Where can I sleep?

These are some of the most recommended tourist accommodations in Cusco:

5-star hotels:

  • JW Marriott El Convento Cusco.
  • Hotel Palacio del Inka, a Luxury Collection.
  • Monasterio Belmond Hotel.

4-star hotels:

  • Sonesta Hotel Cusco.
  • Hilton Garden Inn Cusco.
  • Novotel Cusco Hotel.

3-star hotels:

  • El Mariscal Cusco Hotel.
  • Maytaq Wasin Boutique Hotel.
  • Royal Inn Cusco Hotel.

Budget hotels:

  • Kokopelli Hostel Cusco.
  • Loki Hostel Cusco.
  • Kurumi Hostel Cusco.

Recommendations for the 1 day trip

The city of Cusco is 3,399 meters above sea level. Due to this altitude it is common for visitors to suffer from the symptoms of altitude sickness such as: headache, nausea, fatigue. To reduce these symptoms, and make the day trip pleasant, it is recommended: avoid alcoholic beverages, avoid fatty foods and drink plenty of water. A good option is to try the coca tea.

Public transportation within the city of Cusco is fluid and comfortable. The average price of tickets to different parts of the city is 1 Peruvian sol. Taxi services are also of good quality. Prices are negotiable with the taxi driver. They vary from 4 to 15 Peruvian soles.

During your visit to Cusco, be sure to try some of the typical dishes of the region. The most famous are: the baked guinea pig, the chiri uchú, the fried trout, the bean kapchi, the baked pork or the crunchy corn with cheese.


By Machupicchu Terra – Last updated, October 29, 2021

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