Full of history and wonder, Peru is the perfect place for curious explorers. Wander through ancient Inca ruins, admire the dramatic mountainscape surrounding the cities, stroll through colorful market stalls or try a new food! It’s all waiting for your during your free time in Peru.
After a long day of hiking nothing is more rewarding than a nice soak in the natural hot springs high in the mountains. Especially in a town named after them! The sulfur in the waters has natural healing powers, that locals say is good for the bones. Take a dip and enjoy the surrounding scenery as your relax and unwind. Facilities include a changing room and small snack bar.
Hours: 6:00 am – 8:00 pm; hours are subject to change
Location: About a 10 minute walk up the hill from Plaza de Armas, along Avenida pacacutec.
|Museo de Sitio Manuel Chavez Ballon
Small in size but full of information, this museum is the perfect stop before visiting the ruins of Machu Picchu. There are no museums once you get to the ruins, so this is a great way to spend your free time in Aguas Calientes. Read about the history of the Inca Empire and Machu Picchu. Then when you visit the ruins you’ll know what to look for, getting the most out of your visit.
Hours: 9:00 am – 4:30 pm
Location: About halfway between the center of Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu, on Sendero al Museo.
|Plaza Manco Capac
Centrally located in Aguas Calientes, this park is a great place to relax. Either pick a bench and enjoy people watching in the main plaza, or venture to one of the many street-side cafes and restaurants nearby to enjoy a meal al-fresco. Many of the restaurants have table games to play while you eat, like jenga, turning meal-time into hours of entertainment.
|FREE – $
Hours: Accessible 24/7!
Location: Centrally located, across Rio Aguas Calientes from the Peru Rail station.
Looking for an authentic souvenir from your time in Peru? Look no further than Mercado Artesanal – a large market full of stalls run by locals, selling everything from authentic alpaca wool to wooden trinkets and toys. You could spend hours wandering through this colorful, covered market, trying out your bargaining skills and admiring the handiwork.
Hours: Hours will vary; typically open dawn to dusk.
Location: Easily accessible inside the train station.
|Plaza de Armas
At the center of Cusco both physically and culturally, you won’t want to miss a visit to Plaza de Armas. Pick a spot to relax and watch the locals, travelers and stray dogs mingle. Admire the architecture from outside, or venture into the Cucso Cathedral for a closer look.
Hours: Accessible 24/7! Cathedral hours will vary.
Location: Main square of Cusco.
|San Pedro Market
No trip to Cusco is complete without a visit to San Pedro Market, a covered market selling fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh meat and fish, chocolate treats and traditional prepared meals to enjoy. The delicious smells and colorful stalls will give your senses a thrill as you wander through. Even those not looking to grocery shop can enjoy tasting an exotic fruit or hot empanada.
|FREE – $
Hours: 6:00 am – 8:00 pm
Location: About a 10 minute walk from Plaza de Armas, down Mantas (which turns into Calle Marquez, and then Calle Santa Clara).
|Try the cuisine!
Cusco is a catch-all in terms of cuisine. From Paddy’s Irish Pub located right off Plaza de Armas, to hole-in-the-wall Italian and Japanese restaurants, to Morena Peruvian Kitchen with a contemporary twist, there is no shortage of delicious foods to try. The more adventurous eaters may even try Cuy, a Peruvian classic of guinea pig, offered in most traditional Peruvian restaurants in Cusco.
|$ – $$
Hours: Restaurant hours will vary.
Location: Throughout Cusco, many on or around Plaza de Armas.
With narrow, cobbled streets and tall stone walls, you’ll feel as if you’re in a different realm while strolling through the Old Town of Ollantaytambo. Admire the impressive architecture and wonder how these buildings were even constructed in ancient times. If the altitude is getting to you, rest and people-watch from a plaza bench, or go inside a cafe to enjoy a cup of traditional coca-tea.
Hours: Accessible 24/7!
Location: Center of Ollantaytambo.