1st Day in the Inca Capital

The cab dropped us off at the small hostel. The hostel was located near the old city centre and the cobbled stone roads made the walk down the narrow lane to the hotel bumpier than normal for our luggage.

Simple hotel

The hostel catered to backpacker travelers and had both dorms and small bedrooms with attached washrooms. We opted for the private bedrooms. It was a cheaper accommodation than our hotels of the past few days but acceptable for the one night we’d be staying in Cuzco city.

City centre

The choice of hotel was more on location to sights of interest rather than comfort as we aimed to be within walking distance to most of the sights and avoid cab-use (more on this in the crime article).

Tour bookings

We booked a full-day Cuzco tour covering all the major sights outside Cuzco via the Hostel at very good price. It was a group tour but at the price of only 10USD per person it was a good deal and it could be entirely settled via the hostel. We also got a free tourist map of Cuzco from the hostel just incase we didn’t want to flash our mobile phones on a crowded street.


We dropped off our bags at the room and headed out for a late lunch.

Rice seemed to be as popular as native quinoa in modern Peru. Peruvian cuisine has been recommended as the finest culinary option on the continent due to a rich fusion of Andean , European and Asian cooking.

The Plaza

Statue of the founding Inca emperor of Cuzco

We started our walk from the city center, the plaza and then made our way along the Avenue of the Sun to Qurikancha , the Inca Temple of the Sun (now the site of the Monastery of St Domingo).

Qurikancha temple

A composite of 2 completely different templates is what best describes this building. Originally one of the most important temples in the Inca empire, the Spanish used the foundations as the site of a grand Catholic monestary.

As you approach the building you can notice the stark difference between the Spanish monastery above and the Inca foundations below.

We purchased entry tickets and proceeded to explore the excavated foundations of the complex.

inca stonework

There best preserved artefacts from the Inca period was in fact their amazingly high quality stone masonry.

model of incan drain Actual photo of the drain

You can actually see this laser-precision in other parts of Cuzco city, with many of the original Inca walls still standing.

Later tour guides would insist they kept the highest quality masonry for religious buildings, military forts were rougher in build quality.

Inca artefacts

Apart from masonry other remnants of Inca culture remained in the form of murals and astronomical plans.

The temple had plenty of exhibits in English describing the Astronomical significance of some the structures we saw.

Temple within a Temple

Next to the Inca excavations you find the very ornate Spanish Monestary which is still in active use by the Catholic church.

Tourists had an option of visiting the Monastery itself but it was getting dark and we opted to return.


There are many museums and Inca-era sights around the city though I thought Qurikancha to be one of the largest & finest examples of Inca craftsmanship in the City. No doubt there are larger and more impressive complexes outside the city (we’d cover a handful of them the following day), but this temple was by far the most accessible to us in the short time we had left on our 1st day (Thanks to the airline delays from La Paz). I thought it the best use of the time available.

We’d have a full day of touring the sights outside Cuzco tomorrow, followed by a cab ride to Ollyantambo, our gateway to Macchu Picchu.