If you are coming to Peru to visit Machu Picchu, it is a good idea to spend a few days in Cusco to explore the city and acclimatize to the altitude before taking on any treks or more strenuous activities. If you want to visit the archaeological sites around Cusco, you will need the Boleto Turistico or Cusco Tourist Ticket. The Boleto Turistico Cusco ticket gives you access to several key sites in and around Cusco, so you can explore most of the Sacred Valley on just one ticket.
Where Can You Get the Cusco Tourist Ticket?
The Boleto Turistico can be bought at any of the sites themselves (except for the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Pachacutec Monument).
You can also buy the Boleto Turistico Cusco Tourist Ticket from these tourist offices:
The Central Counter Tourist Office – 103 Avenida del Sol Tourist Galleries in the centre of Cusco.
Monday to Sunday 8:00 to 18:00 Hrs.
DIRCETUR Tourist Information Office – Mantas 109, close to the Plaza de Armas
Monday to Saturday 08:00 – 12:00 Hrs. / 14:00 to 18:00 Hrs.
How Much is the Boleto Turistico Cusco?
There are four different types of Cusco Tourist Ticket, each one including access to various sites in different circuits.
There are three separate circuits which include access to different sites grouped together depending on their location. Each of the three different circuits costs 70 soles (about $20 USD) and the ticket is valid for just 1 or 2 days depending on the circuit.
Alternatively, you can buy the full tourist ticket which covers all three circuits. The full Boleto Turistico Cusco tourist ticket allows access to 16 different Inca ruins and museums in & around Cusco, covering everything in each of the three different circuits. The ticket is valid for 10 days to give you plenty of time to visit all the sites you want. The full ticket currently costs 130 soles (approximately $40 USD), or 70 soles for students with a valid student ID or ISIC card.
Children up to the age of 10 go free, ages 10-18 can show a valid form of ID and be issued the student price ticket. Everyone over 18 will have to pay the full price of the ticket unless they are students aged 18 to 25 with a valid ISIC student card. There are discounted rates for Peruvian nationals and residents.
What is Included in the Boleto Turistico Cusco?
NB: The Boleto Turistico does not include entry to Machu Picchu. If you want to buy tickets to Machu Picchu, you can do that separately here.
Here is a quick checklist of the sites included in each circuit, plus more detailed information below.
Boleto Turistico Cusco Parcial I (Partial Cusco Tourist Ticket I)
A tourist ticket for Circuit 1 includes the following sites and is only valid for one day.
- Puka Pukara
Boleto Turistico Cusco Parcial II (Partial Cusco Tourist Ticket II)
This ticket includes the sites and museums in Circuit 2 and is valid for 2 days.
- Museo de Sitio de Qoricancha (the museum of Qoricancha, not entrance to the temple itself)
- Museo Historico Regional (Regional History Museum)
- Museo de Arte Contemporaneo (Contemporary Art Museum)
- Monumento a Pachacuteq (Pachacuteq’s Monument)
- Museo de Arte Popular (Popular Art Museum)
- Centro Qosqo de Arte Nativo (The Qosqo Centre for Native Art)
- Parque Archaeológico de Tipon (Tipon Archaeological Site)
- Parque Archaeológico de Pikillacta (Pikillacta Archaeological Site)
Boleto Turistico Cusco Parcial III (Partial Cusco Tourist Ticket III)
This ticket includes the following Sacred Valley archaeological sites in Circuit 3. It is valid for two days.
Boleto Turistico Cusco Circuit I
The four archaeological sites included in this ticket are all quite close together, 10-30 minutes’ drive outside of Cusco city centre. Often at least some of the sites are included in the Cusco city bus tours, or you could visit them en route to Pisac, which is on the same road. If you enjoy walking, a nice idea is to take a bus or taxi to Tambomachay (the furthest site) and walk back to Cusco, visiting the other sites along the way. If you are short on time, Sacsayhuaman is the closest to Cusco, and the most popular to visit.
Nearby, Sacsayhuaman (we pronounced it Sexy Woman, as I’m sure all English speakers do) is an impressive Inca site, a short taxi journey or 30-minute walk uphill from the Plaza de Armas. The huge fortress was constructed at the head of the puma shape that Cusco is designed around. Its Quechua name means ‘satisfied falcon’, and it proudly overlooked the city below.
The huge walls surrounding the fortress are constructed from immense blocks of stone, fitted together with absolute precision. The Spanish used the smaller stones to build their colonial town, so only the larger rocks remain in place today, and have been strong enough to withstand several earthquakes which rocked Cusco over the years. In the centre of the site lies a huge plaza, still used today for performances and celebrations such as the Inti Raymi Festival of the Sun, a theatrical reconstruction of the religious ceremony the Inca performed on the winter solstice, which takes place on 24th June.
While you’re there, check out the Christ Statue which overlooks Cusco for more beautiful views of the city.
Looking for a Cusco City Tour including some of these sites? Check these out from GetYourGuide:
Qenqo or Qenko means labyrinth in Quechua and is an archaeological site just outside of Cusco. The site is unique as it was carved entirely out of a single huge rock, and the Inca made tunnels, channels and chambers in the rock. Close to the site is a Eucalyptus forest with VERY tall trees which people on Instagram seemed to prefer more than the site. There are great views of Cusco from up on the hill, and it is about 20 minutes’ walk from Sacsayhuaman. Qenko is often included as part of a city tour, or other guided tours like horseback riding. Check the reviews here.
Puka Pukara and Tambomachay are further along the road to Pisac and are situated opposite each other so you may as well visit both while you’re here. Puka Pukara means Red Fortress, and this was the military fort and where the soldiers’ quarters were. The rock turns a reddish colour at dusk, and although the site isn’t mind-blowing, it is worth a look if you are in the area, as a comparison to some of the other sites in Cusco. Check the reviews.
Tambomachay is also known as the ‘Bath of the Inca’ and is made up of several aqueducts, canals and waterfalls which run through the rock terraces. There are varying theories about its original purpose, it may have been used as a military outpost or as a kind of spa resort for the Incan elite with several water temples. Check the reviews.
Boleto Turistico Cusco Circuit II
These are the museums and cultural centres in Cusco, plus Pikallacta and Tipon Archaeological sites in the South Valley of the Inca outside of Cusco. The city centre inclusions on the ticket I have to say weren’t the most impressive attractions I’ve ever visited. But they are free with the ticket, so some are worth visiting, and some are best skipped if you are short on time.
Museo de Sitio de Qoricancha (the museum of Qoricancha, not entrance to the temple itself)
The Museo de Sitio del Qorikancha was tiny and didn’t include many explanations in English. For me, that was the most disappointing. It is worth paying the extra entry fee to go to the actual Qoricancha Temple, then you could pop in here afterwards to see some of the original artefacts. If you haven’t visited the Temple, I wouldn’t bother coming in here.
Museo Historico Regional
The Museo Historico Regional was much more interesting. It is based in the original home of writer Garcilazo de la Vega and includes exhibits on how the Incas lived after the arrival of the Spanish and those who rebelled against them such as Tupac Amaru. I joined a tour of the museum (in Spanish) but it is also worth spending more times in the rooms to see all of the exhibits, as the guide just focused on a few key items.
Museo de Arte Contemporaneo (Contemporary Art Museum)
This is another small museum which you could probably skip unless you have time to kill or a real interest in art. It is located in a colonial building with a nice terrace area, and there are sometimes interesting temporary exhibitions but don’t fret if you miss it. Read the reviews.
Monumento a Pachacuteq (Pachacuteq’s Monument)
This monument was built in 1991 to celebrate the most powerful Inca emperor Pachacuteq or Pachacuti, who grew Cusco from a hamlet to the centre of the Incan empire. Some archaeologists believe that Machu Picchu was built as an estate for Pachacuteq, so a stop by his monument is a fitting beginning or end to your visit to Cusco. It is out of the town centre, near the bus station, so you will probably pass by it as you come into Cusco from the airport or bus station. It might not be worth a special trip, but the museum inside has more information about the emperor, and there are decent views from the top of the monument.
Museo de Arte Popular (Popular Art Museum)
This is a small museum with a couple of rooms showing indigenous and ‘popular’ art. It doesn’t get very favourable reviews on Tripadvisor, so unless you are a big fan of art or have time to kill, you can give this one a miss. Check the reviews here or take a look at the website here.
Centro Qosqo de Arte Nativo (The Qosqo Centre for Native Art)
The Centro Qosqo de Arte Nativo has a performance of traditional music & dance in the evening at 7pm, although there are often queues so aim to arrive by 6.30pm. I have to admit; Peruvian singing is pretty bad. The music & dances were interesting, although sometimes repetitive, and some people thought it lacked professionalism, with a school play air to it. I enjoyed it, for free and for an hour I thought it was worth a visit. However, the lady announcer who explained each dance had a very strong accent though, and even after the Spanish explanation which I understood, I struggled to catch what she was saying in English!
Parque Archaeológico de Pikillacta (Pikillacta Archaeological Site)
Pikillacta is about an hours’ drive south-east of Cusco and often combined with a visit to Tipon which is about 20 minutes away. You can visit independently, or take a tour to include transport and a guide. This extensive and little-visited site was built by the Wari culture around 500AD and shows how the Inca learned from previous civilisations. The site is huge, and best visited with a guide who can explain the functions of the different areas. Don’t miss the views from the viewpoint at the wall above the main entrance. Read the reviews.
Parque Archaeológico de Tipon (Tipon Archaeological Site)
This site isn’t often visited by tourists, but the ones who do go love it. Tipon demonstrates the skill of the Inca’s hydrological engineering, with large terraces and lots of water channels bringing water to crops and so the Inca had fresh water to drink. The town of Tipon is also renowned for its Guinea Pig, so plan a stop for lunch there if you’re feeling brave! Read the reviews.
These tours include visits to Pikallacta and Tipon:
Boleto Turistico Cusco Circuit III
This ticket covers several archaeological sites in the Sacred Valley, some of which can be combined on a Sacred Valley day tour, or visited independently. Chinchero is the closest to Cusco and easily combined with Moray (and Maras), Pisac or Ollantaytambo. Some tours will combine Chinchero, Moray, Maras and Ollantaytambo, but that is really too much to visit in one day so you will struggle to appreciate each of the sites properly.
Pisac is a quaint little town, and definitely worth a day trip from Cusco or spending a night or two in the town. Time your visit to coincide with the huge market on Saturday, for one of the best markets in South America. There is a smaller market here every day though, so don’t worry! To visit Pisac archaeological site you can either hike up from a path at the back of the market or take a taxi up to the ruins and hike down or take a taxi each way.
I loved Ollantaytambo and would recommend spending a couple of nights here on your way from Cusco to Machu Picchu as it is mid-way between the two. However, some people choose to visit Ollantaytambo on a day trip from Cusco. The ruins here are built high up on a mountain above the town and were the site of Manco Inca’s last stand against the Spanish before he fled into the jungle. There is plenty to do here aside from the ruins, including a chocolate museum, the market and visiting local communities. Ollantaytambo is also closer to Moray and Maras, so you can visit those sites from Cusco or Ollantaytambo.
Moray, the agricultural experimentation centre of the Incas, is a unique Inca site as it was built specifically for agriculture, not as a religious or residential site. The circular terraces allowed the Inca to experiment with different plants and climates to find the perfect conditions to grow their crops. Incas were accomplished farmers, and the unique terraces at Moray show how advanced they were in farming. The site looks more like alien crop circles and is well worth a visit. You may like to combine your visit with the Maras salt ponds nearby, although this isn’t included in the Boleto Turistico.
Check out these Sacred Valley Day Tours:
The archaeological site at Chinchero is the remains of the royal hacienda of Tupac Inca Yupanqui, with a series of terraces overlooking beautiful mountains. There is also a colonial temple built on Inca foundations which you can go inside. In the village of Chinchero, make time to go to one of the many Textile Workshops where local women do demonstrations of traditional weaving techniques with the opportunity to buy the goods they make. A visit to Chinchero is usually included in Sacred Valley tours to Moray & Maras or Pisac, or you can take a collectivo from Cusco for an independent visit.
Is the Full Boleto Turistico Worth It?
If you are staying in Cusco and the Sacred Valley for more than a couple of days, then the full Boleto Turistico is definitely worth buying, as you have a lot more time to visit all of the sites on the list. For the extra 70 soles (about $20 USD) then I’d say it is worth the cost.
However, if you’re only in Cusco for a day or are backpacking Peru on a tight budget, then perhaps the cheaper tickets are better for you, you just need to decide which are worth visiting.
Where to Stay in Cusco
The central area around the Plaza de Armas is the most convenient and close to all the major attractions but it tends to be busier and noisy at times. The San Blas neighbourhood is pretty and quieter, but anywhere away from the central plaza tends to be a good walk up a hill which can be a challenge with heavy bags!
The Best Hostels in Cusco
There a dizzying number of hostels in Cusco to choose from, these are some of the best Cusco hostels for backpackers and budget travellers.
La Wak’a Perdida Hostel
La Wak’a Perdida is a small new hostel which only has one 8 bed dorm and a double room, so is cosy and quiet. The owner is friendly, and breakfast is included in the rate or there is a kitchen to cook your own food. It’s about 15 minutes’ walk from the Plaza de Armas, close to San Blas. BOOK NOW>>>
Pariwana Hostel Cusco
Pariwana Hostel is a very popular Cusco Hostel, and is a sociable place with a bar and large terrace area for ping pong and socialising. It is a borderline party place, but at the same time not crazy so you can still sleep. Breakfast is included, there is no kitchen but you can order food at the bar if you don’t fancy going out to eat. Private rooms and dorms are available. Very central, a couple of blocks from Plaza de Armas. BOOK NOW>>>
Gaia House Hostel
Gaia House is in a beautiful colonial building, close to the main plaza. There are dorm rooms and private rooms available, with breakfast included. The central terrace is great for chilling out and meeting other travellers, and they have some of the best showers in Peru! BOOK NOW>>>
There is no shortage of hotels in Cusco either, from luxury properties to family-run guesthouses. Check out the ratings for all Cusco Hotels on HotelsCombined.
Airbnb in Cusco
There are also plenty of options on Airbnb, like this charming apartment in the city centre. If you have never used Airbnb before, use this link to sign up & get up to $40 credit to use on your first trip! Read more about the Airbnb first time discount code or click below for your Airbnb coupon.
Have you been to Cusco and used the Boleto Turistico Cusco Tourist Ticket? What were your favourite sites, and what would you skip? I’d love to read your comments below.
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