Two days in Cusco give you plenty of time to explore the city’s historic attractions and pay a visit to Machu Picchu, one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world. Here’s the best way to spend 48 hours in the former Inca capital.
Plaza Santo Domingo, Cusco
Qorikancha, which means “Court of Gold” in Quechua, was once covered in gold, both inside and out. Although the ruins are no longer golden, they’re still a worthy destination best visited as part of a half-day, full-day, group, or private tour that incorporates Cusco’s historic center. Alternatively, multi-day tours often feature stops at Lake Humantay, Machu Picchu, and other key attractions within the Sacred Valley of the Incas. For ease, most tours also include round-trip transportation.
Things to Know Before You Go
Qorikancha (Coricancha) is ideal for history, art, archaeology, and architecture buffs.
There is a small admission fee to enter.
Wear comfortable shoes for exploring, as well as sun protection.
Parts of Qorikancha are wheelchair and stroller accessible.
How to Get There
Qorikancha (Coricancha) is situated on Plaza Santo Domingo, a couple of blocks southwest of Cusco’s historic city center. The best way to reach the temple is to walk down the pedestrianized streets of Loreto and Pampa del Castillo or visit as part of a guided tour or excursion.
When to Get There
The temple ruins are open from the early morning until the late afternoon, Monday to Saturday; and from the mid-afternoon until the evening on Sundays. Beat the crowds by showing up early. The temple is best seen during the day while the sun is out. Cusco is enchanting any time of the year; for the best weather, visit between June and mid-September.
According to Inca mythology, the first Inca ruler, Manco Capac, built the Qorikancha (Coricancha) temple complex in the 12th century. During the Spanish conquest, the gold and silver wall plates and statues were looted, and some were removed to pay the ransom for the Incas’ captured leader, Atahualpa. Instead of freeing him, however, Francisco Pizarro murdered him, and the structure eventually passed to the Dominicans, who constructed a church using stones from the temple they destroyed.
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