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Cusco City Tour: Sacsayhuaman

01 September 2014

Sacsayhuaman is often overshadowed by Machu Picchu, but this towering ancient Incan fortress—filled with exquisite stone masonry and dramatic vistas—is worth a visit. Giant carved stone blocks form zig-zagged rows of walls, prompting visitors to question how these bricks were crafted and how they were placed here. During your visit, check out the speculated Inca throne as well as the foundations of the fortress' three towers that have since fallen. Also, take a few moments to walk around the Explanada, a parade platform where revelers gather for the Raymi Festival of the Sun. Another interesting feature is Tambomachay, a nearby spring that served as a bathing site for the Incan elite.

Recent travelers remark that the ruins are not only an eye-catching spectacle but also a pleasant place for a leisurely stroll with arresting views of Cusco. "It would be easy to go to Cusco and never even know that this extraordinary Inca site exists, but don't miss it. The base stone walls are incredibly impressive," says one TripAdvisor user.

You'll find Sacsayhuaman located approximately two miles northwest of Cusco's city center. You can reach Sacsayhuaman on foot via a strenuous 25-minute walk from the Plaza de Armas. There are two clearly marked entrances, but don't expect much direction once you start exploring the grounds. To hear the legend behind Sacsayhuaman's fascinating stonework, join a guided tour. Tours cost roughly 30 PEN (about $11 USD) and depart from the site's entrances. You can explore Sacsayhuaman every day between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. Guards at the site's entrance will ask you to show your Boleto Turístico. This "tourist ticket" is a required to enter Sacsayhuaman; it costs 130 PEN (about $48 USD) and provides admittance to 15 other Cusco's attractions. You can pick one at the main tourist office or at OPEC (located north of the historic center), which opens its doors from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

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