Top Day Trips from Cusco, Peru

When you're planning a trip to Cusco, there are many places that should be added to your travel itinerary for your time in this beautiful town. Cusco makes the perfect spot to go on numerous day trips.

For all guided tours below except for Machu Picchu, you can expect the drive to get to each to take at least 2-3+ hours. Most options come with at least one meal included, and none of them have tips included.

Here are the top day trips from Cusco, Peru:

Machu Picchu

As the most sought-after attraction in the region, Machu Picchu is a place you cannot miss on your trip to Cusco.

Because of its popularity, it sells out very far in advance, sometimes as early as 4-6+ months ahead of time, especially during the dry season. The rainy season is less likely to be fully booked. 

While I didn't book a day trip, and instead planned and booked the visit on my own, you can easily book a group tour for your visit. Here are some options from Get Your Guide:

 

Rainbow Mountain AKA Vinicunca

At over 5,000 meters above sea level, this beautiful mountain is more than worth the day trip. 

For my hike in mid-February, it was snowing on the way up, so my first view of Rainbow Mountain was snow-covered. While I was at the top, the snow melted and the fog cleared, so I was able to see the beautiful colors of the mountain, although it didn't appear as bright as you see on social media because it was wet from the snow melt.

Rainbow Mountain, Peru with alpacas Standing in front of Rainbow Mountain, Peru

Pro tip: there are actually 3 different "rainbow mountains" in the area, and each has its own full-day guided tour. The most popular is also called Vinicunca, which

 

Lake Humantay

While I didn't go on this tour myself, it is known to be a top day trip in the Cusco region. I actually booked a day trip here and then decided not to go because I was exhausted from all the 4am pickups.

If I go back to the Cusco region, this is the first guided tour I would book.

Here are some options to take a day trip to this magnificent lake:

 

Sacred Valley

The Sacred Valley day trip is an incredible experience, and I'd recommend going on it earlier in your trip so that you have a better understanding of the history and the culture of the region.

Here are several options to explore the many areas of the Sacred Valley:

 

7 Lagoons of Ausangate

A lesser known hike in the Cusco region is the 7 Lagoons of Ausangate, or 7 Lakes of Ausangate. This was a moderately challenging hike with many stunning viewpoints.

7 Lagoons of Ausangate

With the day trip, you can also go to the hot springs after lunch in the town where you will have lunch. You will have to pay for that separately. I did not go to the hot springs because of two reasons - 1) I didn't bring anything to wear in the hot springs and 2) it rained and hailed at the time I would have gone.

If this hike is something you're interested in adding to your Cusco itinerary, here are some options to choose from:

 

Waqrapukara

A much less popular and much less well-known hike in the Cusco region is the hike to Waqrapukara. This site has 3 different entrances, and depending on which guided tour you book, the tour will take you to a different one. The tour I booked took us to the one with the shortest hike, although they are all similar in length.

On the day I went, we were the only tour group headed out to the site, and we only passed a handful of people on the way back out. When we were at the site, our small group of 6 people had the site to ourselves plus the one local person who monitors the site (kind of like a park ranger).

This site, in my opinion, is one you can't miss. It's not near as touristy as many of the other sites, although as more people come to the region for all Cusco has to offer, it will probably gain popularity. But for now, I would call this a hidden gem in the Cusco region.

Here are some full-day tour options to choose from:

 

If the city of Cusco or the country of Peru is on your travel bucket list, you can learn more about the area, the culture, day trips, and more here.

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