Cusco is an enchanting introduction to the Andean culture and the jumping-off point for both Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley. Browse our complete travel guide below for essential facts, travel tips, and top attractions to explore on your trip to Cusco.


Once the capital of the mighty Inca Empire, Cusco (also spelled Cuzco) holds a unique charm that’s hard to put into words. Exquisite churches, fantastic museums, and narrow cobbled streets in the historic center merit at least a few days’ worth of exploration. Add to that stunning Inca ruins both within the city and in the surrounding hills and you’ve got a recipe for travel magic.

Cultural festivals throughout the year, including Señor de los Temblores and Inti Raymi, highlight the region’s mixed Spanish-indigenous heritage and illustrate the continual renewal of the community’s long-held Andean traditions. This fascinating and historically-rich city is sure to be one of the most memorable places you’ve ever set foot in.

Climate & Weather

The highland climate of Cusco has a rainy season and dry season with gradual weather and temperature changes in between. The mountainous geography of the Cusco region has a wide variety of microclimates, with drastic temperature differences between the warm and humid valleys and the frosty high altitude plains. Generally, as elevations climb higher, temperatures drop.

Rainy Season

The rainy season in Cusco is from December to March and coincides with summer in South America. Rainstorms are unpredictable, though heavy rains are usually brief and episodic. January and February typically receive the most rainfall. Cloudy skies are typical throughout the rainy season, but patchy sunshine comes through on some days. Average temperatures are around 60°F (16°C) in the day and 46°F (8°C) at night.

Dry Season

The dry season is from June to August when it’s winter in South America. During these months in Cusco, it’s typically beautiful and sunny. The average daytime temperature is around 65°F (18°C), but if you’re in direct sunlight it can feel a lot hotter. At night, without cloud cover to create an insulation effect, the temperature dips down to a chilly 25°F (4°C).

Geography & Map

Cusco is located in the Huatanay valley in southeastern Peru and surrounded by Andean peaks. The city is the capital of the province and region of Cusco, and a principal hub for travelers heading to and from Machu Picchu.

ELEVATION11,155 ft (3,400 m)