Top 10 Places to visit in Cusco - Most Instagrammable Spots

Posted by Oliver Eberlein on

City: Cusco // Activities: Pictures // Reading time: 9 min

 

Before organizing your itinerary in Cusco, you will want to know what the top places to visit are so you can make sure you and your camera visit the right spots.

Snow-capped mountains, beautiful valleys, Inca ruins, friendly locals and cute alpacas - doesn’t that sound amazing? 

 

colorfoul rainbow mountain and travelers takes photo of it

 

If you think about Cusco, you most likely think of Machu Picchu first, but you should be aware of all the other beautiful destinations this city offers. That’s why the choice of what places to visit in Cusco isn’t that easy. 

It obviously depends on how much time you have and how much money you want to spend, but we made sure to come up with a short list of places worth visiting

These places are proven to be rockstars on Instagram, as their photos all have earned tons of likes.

With Instagram becoming more and more popular these days, knowing which photos perform well and which ones don’t is a good indicator.

But don’t worry, Cusco has so many different faces that actually all of the places get a lot of likes.

However, there is one winner that is the most popular tourist attraction on the app. Can you guess which one? Read on to find out…

 

List of the most Instagrammable spots in Cusco:

10) Cristo Blanco

White Jesus Christ statu with extending arms

 

The Cristo Blanco is a large statue (8m/ 26 feet) of Jesus Christ watching over Cusco. The statue was built in 1945 by Francisco Olazo Allende, a local artist, who also designed the Santa Clara Archway

The white Jesus Christ looks similar to the Cristo Redentor in Rio de Janeiro (Brasil) - but it is a smaller version

Cristo Blanco is located next to Saqsayhuaman and from this spot you will have an amazing view over the entire city of Cusco.

Both are very worth visiting when you are in Cusco. Especially at night you will be fascinated by the magical view over the city!

 

9) Plaza de Armas 

Cuscos Main square at a sunny day

 

The Plaza de Armas (main square) of Cusco is the central nucleus of the city, where you will be able to take one of your best pictures in Cusco. 

There are many different celebrations and parades taking place here, such as Easter celebration, Corpus Christi, Inti Raymi and new years eve.

Besides that you are able to find many different restaurants, cafes, banks and much more there. 

We recommend you to go to one of the cafes that have a balcony facing the Plaza de Armas so you can enjoy this beautiful view.

 

8) San Blas Neighborhood

Girl in a orange skirt walking through the colorful streets

 

You will find the San Blas Neighborhood in 5 minutes walking distance from the Plaza de Armas. It is one of the most beautiful areas in Cusco and it is known as the artisan’s quarter and also for its narrow streets.

In fact, it is one of the most picturesque sites in all of Cusco which is why it is so famous among influencers visiting Cusco. When we visited it with our friends from Salt in Our Hair, they absolutely loved it (and took some amazing shots as you can see above).

Apart from the narrow streets and the artistic neighborhood, you will find many nice cafes, restaurants or bars and also some beautiful viewpoints.

 

7) Huayna Picchu

Huyana Picchu and in the background mountains

 

Huayna Picchu (2693 m/ 8835 ft) offers an incredible view of the ruins at Machu Picchu and also of Machu Picchu mountain.

The hike to Huayna Picchu takes around 1.5-2 h each way. The path is steep and narrow so make sure you don’t have a problem with that before reserving your ticket.

Therefore, we only recommend it if you aren't afraid of heights and if you are in a good physical condition

Apart from that, make sure to reserve your tickets 6-8 weeks in advance to make sure that you are one of the 400 daily travelers that will be allowed to climb the mountain. 

If you have the chance to make the hike to Huayna Picchu, don’t miss it! We at Exploor think that it is an amazing experience.

 

6) Moray 

Terraces of Moray and in the background are huge snowed mountains

 

Moray is an incredible site in Cusco’s Sacred Valley of the Incas. As you see, the mighty circular Inca terraces are really impressive and look just like a Roman amphitheater. 

Due to their design, depth and orientation towards wind and sun there can be a large temperature difference of up to 15 C° between the top and the bottom parts of the terraces...crazy, right?

This difference allowed the Incas to plant different crops on each level and to test what grows best.

We offer two tours that include a visit of Moray: Our Sacred Valley day tour or an adventurous ATV tour

  

5) Rainbow Mountain Palccoyo 

colorful rainbow mountains and no one around

 

The Rainbow Mountain Palccoyo is located at around 4900 m (16.076 ft), 3.5 hours south of Cusco. It is one of our favorite tours as the 45-minute hike is a very easy one.

During the hike, we often have an alpaca or llama accompany us and we get astonishing views of three different rainbow mountains. 


The best of all is that it’s still not that famous in comparison to the Vinicunca rainbow mountain. That’s why with our tour you will be the first ones to arrive without having other tourists around you

As said, you don’t need to be an athlete to complete this trek but you should definitely be acclimated in order to avoid altitude sickness.

You can take amazing photos with all three rainbow mountains in the background, especially together with the alpaca or llama we bring.

 

4) Salt mines of Maras

guy with sunglasses is holding his wife in the arm and is standing in front of the salt mines

 

The salt mines of Maras is another highlight in Cusco. The ponds have been in use since pre-Inca times by evaporating salt water from a water stream under the earth. This process has been performed for over 500 years.

This incredible place is one of many sites which we will visit during our Sacred Valley day tour. At the end of the guided tour you can buy delicious chocolate with salt and different kinds of salts, which are great for cooking.

But now listen up: Since middle of June, it’s not possible to walk among the salt mines anymore and you can only go to the general viewpoint. But no worries, you can still get amazing pictures!

 

3) Humantay Lake

girl standing in front of the blue lagoon and mountains in the background

 

After a 90-120 min hike, you can be one of the first travelers to visit the beautiful Humantay Lake on over 4.200m (13,779 feet) with us.

If you are worried about the altitude or whether you can make it to the top, you will have the option to rent a horse for around S/ 70 ($21). 

Once you made it to the crystal-clear lake, you will have around 60 minutes to take photos, walk around and to just enjoy the crystal-clear lake. Our guide will make sure to show you some amazing spots where most tourists don’t go.

With some luck, you will be able to see the Salkantay mountain (6.271 m / 20,574 feet), one of the highest mountains in Cusco.

If you opt for the Salkantay trail, you will also see the Humantay lake on your first day. Don’t miss that unique place where you will see a breathtaking lake surrounded by enormous snow-capped mountains.

 

2) Rainbow Mountain Vinicunca + Red Valley 

Rainbow mountain in different colors and some traveler in front of the pic

 

The Vinicunca Rainbow Mountain is one of the most famous Instagram spots ever. Often, the photos are heavily edited in order to make the mountain shine even more in its rainbow colored dress. Edited or not, the place is definitely very special. 

In the recent years, Vinicunca has gained a lot of popularity and meanwhile there are 1000-2000 tourists visiting per day. The hike takes about 90-120 min to the top and is more difficult than the hike to the alternative Rainbow Mountain Palccoyo.

For more info, check out our comparison of the two rainbow mountains.

Instead of other agencies that only hike up to the viewpoint of the red valley, we hike all the way through it.

The beauty about it is that there are almost no other tourists around and it’s an entirely red landscape with alpacas and llamas around.

 

1) Machu Picchu 

Ruins of Machu Picchu view over the whole area and in the background is the huge huayna picchu mountain

 

The legendary Machu Picchu is the most instagrammable spot in Peru. This doesn’t come at a surprise, as it’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in all of South America.

But first of all, how will you get to this magical place?

Normally, you will go from Cusco to Poroy/Ollantaytambo by bus and from there you take the train to Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu town).

Once you have arrived in Aguas Calientes, you have to take a shuttle bus to the entrance of Machu Picchu or you can hike up. If you opt for a guided tour of Machu Picchu, it takes around 2-2.5 hours to visit the most important spots.

Machu Picchu posts always receive the most amount of likes and comments, especially if you are able to do them with your partner in a romantic pose

Other famous spots are Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain or the Sun Gate Inti Punku. All of these are hikes you can do at Machu Picchu.

 View from above on the main square of Cusco

 

Cusco has a large variety of popular places to visit and Machu Picchu is by far not just the most popular but also the most instagrammable place!

In the city of the Incas, you will find a great balance of artistic streets and breathtaking mountain landscapes, such as the Humantay lake or the famous Rainbow Mountains. 


So make sure to always have your phone or your camera ready to capture the most important moments. 

Did we miss one of your most instagrammable spots in Cusco? Let us know in the comments! :)

 


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