Cusco (Cuzco) is a very beautiful city at an elevation of 3360 meter and is often referred as the "Archaeological Capital of the Americas" and the "Navel of the World". It is riddled with contrasts between the modern western world and the indigenous styles. Its rare beauty has been given by these contrasts.
If you come for the first time, you will first be hitten by the Inca walls. These famous walls consist of enormous granite blocks carved to fit together perfectly without the aid of mortar beds. During the construction of a new Spanish city, many of the walls were simply built upon.
The population of Cuszo is around 300.000.
When you arrive in the city from the coast you will immediately notice the thin clear mountain air, a result of the city's high altitude. Take it easy on your first day and gently acclimatize. Plan to spend at least 3 days in and around Cusco before starting any trekking adventure such as the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. This is an ideal opportunity to see the highlights that Cusco has to offer.
You can visit the nearby Inca Ruins of Sacsayhuaman, Tambomachay, Pucapucara and Qenko and make a day trip out to the Sacred Valley of the Incas including a visit to the traditional Indian market at Pisac, the beautiful villages of Ollantaytambo and Chinchero.