If you’re heading to the Cusco area on your trip to Peru, chances are you’ll have more than just a few sights to tick off on your travel itinerary. After all, this region is home to some of Peru’s top tourist destinations, including Machu Picchu.
Working out where to stay and your itinerary, however, can be a little difficult. But also before you head out on your trip you’ll need to work out the best way to get tickets for the sights you want to see. And many travelers to the area use the Cusco Boleto Turistico. This system was implemented by the Peruvian Government a few years ago – it was not a thing the first time I visited Peru, but I had to get one when I visited again a few years later.
This ticket is something that you’ll become more than familiar with once you’re in the region. A lot of people use it as it allows access to some of the best Inca ruins and cultural sights in the Cusco area.
But what exactly is it? Basically the Cusco Boleto Turistico is a sightseeing pass that covers a selection of sights, and adds value to your trip. Instead of turning up and paying the entrance fee at every sight, you purchase one single ticket in advance that gives you access to such sights as Pisac ruins and Ollantaytambo; there are 16 in total covered by the pass.
It pretty much works as a city pass, much like you’d get in Rome, Paris or New York. You will have several options to pick from, for different prices, different durations and to access different sites.
It’s also very important if you are keen on visiting these famous locations as you cannot actually enter the sights without a valid Boleto Turistico. Simply put, you need one. However – as I have already stated – there are various types of this special ticket that you can choose from.
It can seem a bit inconvenient at first, especially if you’re just used to turning up, buying a ticket and going with the flow. But taking some time to work out what you want to see, and studying the map, you’ll soon realize that the Boleto Turisto is really worth it.
In this post, I will tell you everything you need to know about Cusco tourist ticket, including information on the packages available, the sites that you can visit, and where to get it.
Make sure to read my post The Best Things To Do In Cusco.
How Much Does The Cusco Boleto Turistico Cost?
The cost of the Cusco Boleto Turistico varies, depending on the type of ticket you opt for. This can seem a little complicated, but all you need to know for now is that there are four types of Boleto Turistico on offer. All have different prices, are valid for different lengths of time, and each include access to a combination of different sights. Here’s the details down below.
The Cusco Boleto Turistico Integral is the name given to the full ticket. That means that you’ll have access to all 16 sights offered by the pass. The price for this level of access costs 130 Peruvian Soles (PEN) (around $35 USD) for non-Peruvians; for students under 25 and children between the ages of 10-18, it’s 70 PEN ($18.50 USD); children 10 and under go free.
This ticket is valid for 10 consecutive days. This means that if you are in the area for more than a couple of days, and you want to take time exploring, this is the ticket for you. The ticket starts when you purchase it – not when you first use it – and will expire after 10 days, no matter whether you use it or not.
Note that Machu Picchu is not included within the Cusco Boleto Turistico Integral. You’ll need a separate ticket for that.
If, like most people, you don’t actually have the full 10 days to spend exploring the Cusco region, then don’t worry: there are other options available to you. These last up to two days, but they’re cheaper and allow you to pinpoint your sightseeing a little more. Here are the Partial options broken down below.
The Cusco Boleto Turistico Circuit I includes access to four archeological sites: Sacsayhuaman, Qenqo, Puka Pukara, Tambomachay. This is valid for one day only and costs 70 PEN (around $18.50 USD) for non-Peruvian adults.
If you want access to the Cusco cultural sights and various Cusco Museums, then Circuit 2 is for you. You’ll have access to Museo de Arte Contemporaneo, Museo Historico Regional, Monumento Pachacuteq, Tipon Archaeological Site, Museum of Qoricancha (not entrance to the temple), Museo de Arte Popular, Centro Qosqo de Arte Nativo, and Pikillaqta Archaeological Site.
The price of Circuit 2 is also 70 PEN (around $18.50 USD). It is valid for two days.
Circuit 3 is arguably one of the better options. Valid for two days, the Cusco Boleto Turistico Circuit 3 covers some big-hitting sites, but it can mean that time is tight if you want to visit each one thoroughly within the space of two days.
It gives you access to archeological sites of Ollantaytambo, Pisaq, Chinchero and Moray. It costs 70 PEN (around $18.50 USD).
What’s Included In The Boleto Turistico Cusco?
There’s a lot of value in getting a Cusco Boleto Turistico – the amount of sights on offer for you to see is pretty amazing. But the only real issue is the time limit that you have, especially with the partial Boleto Turistico. However, if you know more about what you want to see, then you can hone your itinerary and really make the most of your money. Let’s go into more detail on what you’ll be able to see with the Integral and the various Partial Cusco Boleto Turisticos.
The majority of the sights in the Cusco and Sacred Valley area are included in the Integral Boleto Turistico. This means that you’ll have access to sights including the Cusco Ruins, the museums and monuments of Cusco itself, and sights in the Sacred Valley.
I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: Machu Picchu is not included on any of the Cusco Boleto Turisticos. Nor is Cusco Cathedral, the Maras Salt Mines, and Rainbow Mountain. This means you’ll have to pay a separate entrance fee for these sights, as well as for a selection of Cusco’s top museums and other sights.
Head over to my post A Guide To Visiting The Sacred Valley.
What’s included in Circuit 1?
If your time is limited and you’re wondering what to opt for, then Circuit 1 might be a good idea. This ticket is especially good if you don’t want to travel around too much. The four sites that are included within the ticket are located fairly close together – all within half an hour’s drive from Cusco city center.
Much of the time, sites can be visited using city buses, or you could add them into your itinerary en route to Pisac as they are located along the same road.
The furthest site from Cusco proper is Tambomachay, whereas Sacsayhuaman is very close to Cusco and subsequently very easy to visit, too.
Sacsayhuaman is practically in the city of Cusco itself. It’s one of the most popular sights in the city, and is situated on the northern outskirts of the city – around half an hour’s walk from the Plaza de Armas. This enormous fortress was built in the 15th century by the Incas, and overlooks the city of Cusco from up high.
In 1983, together with the city, Sacsayhuaman was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s not hard to see why: the fortress is made up of gigantic stone walls, constructed miraculously and carefully fitted together without mortar.
Make sure to read my post A Guide To Visiting Sacsayhuaman.
This archeological site is situated northeast of Cusco, and is known for being originally carved out of one, huge single rock. Even tunnels and passageways were carved into this natural location, once one of the largest holy places in the whole region. It’s thought that sacrifices and mummifications occurred here at Qenqo during its heyday.
Located along the road to Pisac, Puka Pukara is just opposite Tambomachay. The name translates to “Red Fortress” in Quechua. It’s made up of hulking walls, terraces and staircases, all amounting to a defensive stronghold for the Inca Empire. Here you’ll find soldiers’ quarters, walls still intact and – as always – stunning views of the surrounding Andean landscape.
Also known as the Bath of the Inca, Tambomachay is easily reached from Cusco by local bus. Nobody really knows the precise reason for the existence of this historic site, but it’s often considered to have been a ceremonial site. Tambomachay is home to what used to be canals and aqueducts, pointing to the Inca’s skill for engineering. It’s even thought to have been a spa resort for the elite.
What’s included in Circuit 2?
The Cusco Boleto Turistico Circuit 2 is made up of museums and monuments around Cusco. The museums on this ticket are not the most incredible museums in the area, however, and some can easily be skipped over if you don’t have time to see everything.
But this ticket is good if you like museums, obviously, and want to get a more in-depth understanding of not only Cusco’s past, but its contemporary culture too. Here’s an overview.
Museo de Sitio de Qoricancha
Located in Cusco, this museum is part of the Qoricancha site. The most important thing to note is that the ticket doesn’t give you access to the temple itself. It’s not the most impressive museum, and if you aren’t visiting the temple this one can be easily skipped over.
Museum of Contemporary Art
For those who are into art, this small museum – situated in a pretty colonial building – is a decent place to visit if you have the time. There’s often some interesting exhibitions being held here. A must for art fans, basically.
Museo Historico Regional
This fascinating museum is situated inside the former home of writer Garcilazo de la Vega, and is the place to come to see Incan art and finds from throughout the area. Here you can learn about how the Incas’ lives changed after the Spanish invasion.
Built in 1991 in honor of Pachacuteq – a powerful Inca emperor from Cusco – this monument is located just out of town, close to the bus station. There’s a museum included on the site where you can learn more about the emperor’s life. Good views can also be had from atop the monument itself.
Centro Qosqo de Arte Nativo
At this museum you can get a close-up look at Cusco’s indigenous culture. Regular performances are put on in the evenings here, so you can see traditional dance and music, too.
The early 15th-century archeological park of Tipon is located 20 kilometers southeast of Cusco. At this large site you can wander and explore a collection of ruins, all set inside an impressive defensive wall. Here you can see fountains, irrigation canals and residential areas.
An hour’s drive from central Cusco, Pikillaqta is easily combined with a stop-off at Tipon. The site is sprawling, and was originally built by the Wari culture. It is one of the more ancient sites included in the Boleto Turistico Cusco, having been occupied between 550 to 1100 AD.
Museo de Arte Popular
This is a small museum in Cusco itself with a handful of rooms dedicated to indigenous and “popular” art. It’s nice enough, but is another museum that can be skipped if you don’t have time.
What’s included in Circuit 3?
Circuit 3 is all about ruins and archeological sites in the Sacred Valley, so if that’s your main interest it’s a good option for you. In fact, Cusco Boleto Turistico Circuit 3 is a popular option for many travelers to the region. And what’s more, many of them can be easily reached from Cusco.
Pisac is a village with a bustling market, but the ruins are what people come to see here. These comprise one of the most intact Inca sites in the whole country. You’ll find it situated high up in the mountains, overlooking the small village of the same name.
Another popular destination in the area, visiting Ollantaytambo is quite literally like stepping back in time. Ollantaytambo was originally a royal estate of the emperor. What’s most amazing about Ollantaytambo is that the present-day village is set out on the original Inca plans, and features winding streets with high walls. Many people start the Inca Trail from here, too.
Check out my post A Short Guide To Ollantaytambo.
Chinchero is known as the “Birthplace of the Rainbow” and is known as the center of weaving in Peru. Its location, around 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) from Cusco, means that you can visit easily on a day trip. However, I recommend visiting on a Sunday, as this is when the vibrant market can be seen in all its colorful glory. Entry to the historic part of the village, the church and the museum, are included within the ticket.
For some Inca engineering combined with sublime mountain views, Moray is the place to come. Located 50 kilometers (31 miles) northwest of Cusco, Moray is known for its mysterious interlocking terraces, designed in concentric circles that descend to the middle. Though no one is quite sure exactly what these circular terraces are for, it is theorized that the Incas used them to experiment with growing crops in controlled conditions.
Nearby you’ll find the interesting Maras Salt Ponds, which can easily be visited while on a trip to Moray, but note that this is not included within the Boleto Turistico.
Make sure to read my post The Best Day Trips From Cusco.
Where To Buy Cusco Boleto Turistico
You can buy the Cusco Boleto Turistico from a few different locations, but the most convenient location is the Galerias Turisticas in Avenida El Sol 103 next to Plaza de Armas in Cusco. You can also pick up whichever Cusco Boleto Turistico suits you at the DIRCETUR office on Calle Mantas, a short walk from the Plaza de Armas, or at COSITUC, in Alejandro Velasco 7 – a 20 minute walk from Plaza de Armas.
Remember to bring your passport or some sort of ID when you buy the ticket: your boleto turistico will have your name written on it. Only cash payments in Peruvian Soles are accepted.
You can also purchase the ticket at almost all of the sites on the list, which actually would be a good option as the ticket is validated from the time of purchase and not when you first use it – this is especially important in case you are buying one of the partial tickets, which have a relatively short duration.
Finally, you now have the option of getting your boleto turistico online via third-party reseller sites such as Viator or GetYourGuide. If you purchase it online, the ticket will be delivered to your hotel or – in case you are staying outside of the historic center of Cusco – you will be able to pick it up from the office in Plaza de Armas. Boletos turisticos purchased online have a 24 hour cancellation policy, which makes them very convenient.
Are you planning a trip to Peru? These posts will come in handy:
- The Best Cusco Travel Tips
- A Guide To Visiting Pisac Ruins
- How To Get To Machu Picchu
- How To Get Machu Picchu Tickets
- A Guide To The Inca Trail
- The Best Inca Trail Packing List