Hiking to Cristo Blanco: One of the Best Views of Cusco

Last Updated on June 3, 2022 by admin

High on top of a hill overlooking Cusco is the statue of Cristo Blanco, which is a statue of Jesus Christ with outstretched hands. Hiking to Cristo Blanco is a must-see experience while you’re in Cusco. Not only will you be able to see the statue up close, you’ll also have one of the best views of Cusco! In this post, we’ll share everything you need to know to visit Cristo Blanco.

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How to Get to Cristo Blanco

 

It’s very easy to reach Cristo Blanco while in Cusco. There are two primary options for reaching the ruins from downtown Cusco. You can walk to the ruins, or you can take a taxi

When we visited Cristo Blanco, we chose to hike to the statue. The walk was a bit uphill, but it was manageable even though we were still adjusting to the altitude. We thought it was a great warm-up for our upcoming hike on the Inca Trail!

The Cristo Blanco statue is located adjacent to Sacsayhuaman, so we recommend combining both sites in the same day to be the most efficient. We easily visited Cristo Blanco after seeing Sacsayhuaman by walking east. As I recall, there was easy signage showing the way. The trail was fairly short, perhaps a 10-minute walk.

When we visited, we walked from the Plaza de Armas to Sacsayhuaman. After exploring the ruins, we then walked to Cristo Blanco before walking back to our hotel. You could also easily take a taxi to Cristo Blanco if you don’t want to walk up the hill from the Plaza de Armas. (And it would be a lot easier walking back down if you still want to see that route!)

Need a rental car? You can use our link: Best car rental prices – Guaranteed. RentalCars.com

Planning a trip to Peru? See our guide to planning the best Peru itinerary!

 

Hiking to Cristo Blanco
This is the trail we took to reach Cristo Blanco from Sacsayhuaman

What to Bring

  • Phone Charger Power Bank: Make sure that your phone battery doesn’t lose its charge while you’re out exploring. We always carry a charged power bank with us, so that we can charge our phone on the go. We use our phones heavily for navigation, communication, and photos, so we don’t want our phone to die while we’re out and about.
  • Filtered Water Bottle: You won’t have to worry about water quality when you bring a water bottle with its own filter. (Bring it with you to restaurants or while you’re out hiking.)
  • Tennis Shoes: We didn’t feel the need to bring hiking boots for our excursion to Sacsayhuaman, but a comfortable pair of tennis shoes is a must. I’ve been wearing Brooks brand for the last several years and love them. I’ve linked them here for women, and here for men.) 
  • Day Pack: Bring a day backpack with you so that you can pack all of your souvenirs, extra clothing layers, and snacks.
  • Rain Coat: This packable rain coat easily fits into a backpack. You never know when it will rain, so it’s good to be prepared! (Linked here for women, and linked here for men.)

(Click on any of the above images for current pricing and shipping information.)


About Cristo Blanco

things to do in Cusco
A view of Cusco from Cristo Blanco!

 

Cristo Blanco was constructed on Pukamoqo Hill, which means “red hill.” The Inca considered Pukamoqo Hill sacred. The hill overlooks the entire city of Cusco. It’s believed that the Inca transported soil from all four regions of their empire (what they called suyos). The Inca named their empire Tawantinsuyo, which roughly translates to 4 suyos (or 4 regions). 

After World War II, Arab-Palestinians gifted the statue to the city of Cusco out of gratitude for allowing them to seek refuge in Peru during the war.

Construction for the Cristo Blanco statue began in 1944 and it was completed in 1945. It was created by Francisco Olazo Allende, who was a sculptor from Cusco. Cristo Blanco is approximately 26 feet tall. (For comparison, the Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil is 98 feet tall.)

The view from Cristo Blanco is one of the best views you’ll find of Cusco. From its position high on top of the hill, you can see the entire city below you.


Visiting Information

Cristo Blanco is open every day of the year. During the evening, it is lit up. The best time to visit the statue is at sunset, as you’ll be able to have a clear view of the city during golden hour.

Visiting Cristo Blanco is completely free. There is no entrance ticket. (Admission is required, however, at the nearby Inca ruins of Sacsayhuaman.)


Tips for Visiting Cristo Blanco

  • Be mindful of the altitude: If you just recently arrived in Cusco, it’ll take time for your body to adjust to the altitude. If you choose to hike to the statue, take your time and rest often.
  • Bring water: Keep yourself hydrated as you explore. 
  • Make sure your phone is fully charged and download offline maps: You’ll want to use your phone for navigation and photos. It helps to download offline maps ahead of time so that you can use your phone for navigation even if you don’t have cell service or WiFi.
  • Bring soles with you: Make sure that you bring small change in the local currency (soles). If you want to purchase snacks or souvenirs along the way, many businesses only accept soles.
  • Save time for Sacsayhuaman: The Cristo Blanco statue isn’t far from Sacsayhuaman. It’s only about a 10-15 minute walk. We recommend visiting both in the same day. To make the most of your visit, we recommend setting aside a few hours in order to be able to see both Sacsayhuaman and Cristo Blanco.

Guided Tours of Cusco

Here’s some tours to consider:

 

 

 


Nearby Attractions in Cusco

Sacsayhuaman

Sacsayhuaman ruins in Cusco, Peru

Sacsayhuamán, also sometimes spelled Sacsaywaman, is a citadel of Inca ruins located within the city of Cusco. The fortress is located a couple of kilometers north of Cusco’s central square. Sacsayhuaman is the largest structure the Inca ever built, so it’s definitely worth a visit! We wrote all about our experience at Sacsayhuaman here if you’re interested in learning more.

Plaza de Armas

Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption of the Virgin in Cusco Peru

Plaza de Armas is located in the heart of Cusco. This plaza was built by the Spanish to replace the Inca’s Great Inca Square, which was twice the size of the current plaza. In the center of the square is a statue of Tupac Amaru II, who led an uprising against the Spanish and was later executed for his efforts. There are two churches in the square: Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption of the Virgin (known as the Cusco Cathedral) and the Church La Compañía de Jesús. 

Hatun Rumiyoc Street

This narrow cobblestone street was one of the Inca’s original roads. The road is a pedestrian street and cars are not permitted on it. As you walk down the street, you’ll see large stones that were once part of the Palacio Inka Roca. The street is especially famous because it houses the 12-Angled Stone, which was a heavy stone that the Inca carved with 12 different angles to perfectly fit the wall.

Qoricancha Temple

Qoricancha, also spelled as Coricancha, is the Inca’s Temple of the Sun and was dedicated to Inti, the Sun God. It was constructed in about the year 1200 and was the most important religious site in Cusco. The name Qoricancha means “Walls of Gold.” The temple walls were lined with gold, and many gold statues and artifacts filled the temple. 

San Pedro Market

San Pedro Market Cusco

The San Pedro Market is less than a 10-minute walk from the Plaza de Armas. At the market, you’ll likely see Peruvians dressed in traditional clothing. There are tons of vendors at the market, selling everything from produce to souvenirs. There’s lots of fresh-made juices at the market, so be sure to try several different flavors. 


Lodging in Cusco

Booking.com  

Here’s our recommendations for the best places to stay in Cusco at different price-points.

Luxury | Inkaterra La Casona

The Inkaterra La Casona is conveniently located adjacent to the Plaza de Armas. It was the first boutique hotel in Cusco, and it’s located within a colonial house from the 16th century. The 11 suites are located around a courtyard and have chimneys, heated floors, and extra-large bathtubs. Many also have balconettes overlooking the courtyard. You can book your hotel reservation here

Address: Next to the Museum of Pre-Colombian Art, Plaza, Nazarenas 211, Cusco 08002, Peru

Upscale | Palacio del Inka, a Luxury Collection

The Palacio del Inka is a 5-star hotel located steps away from Qoricancha. The hotel is located in a mansion that is over 500 years old. The hotel is home to an on-site restaurant called Inti Raymi, as well as the Andes Spirit Spa mentioned earlier in this post. You can book your hotel reservation here

Address: Santo Domingo 259, Cusco 08002, Peru
 

Moderate | Apu Huascaran Hostal

This 3-star hotel is located in the San Blas neighborhood. It’s a quick walk to the Plaza de Armas, but you’ll also be in a more quiet neighborhood filled with artisan shops. This is the hotel we stayed at when we visited Cusco. Breakfast is included, and all of the rooms face an inner patio. We would recommend this hotel to others. You can book your hotel reservation here

Address: Carmen Bajo 257, Cusco 00800, Peru

Budget | Dragonfly Hostels Cusco

The Dragonfly Hostels Cusco is located only 5 minutes away from the Plaza de Armas. The hostel has a mix of rooming arrangements. You can reserve a bunk in a mixed-sex dorm room, or you can book a private room with a double bed. You can make reservations here

Address: Siete Cuartones 245, Cusco 08002, Peru

For a full list of accommodations available in Cusco, click here to view over 1,500 options.


Restaurants in Cusco

Some restaurants to check out include:

  • Yaku Restaurant: Serves Peruvian dishes that are beautifully plated (perfect for Instagram photos!)
  • Rucula: Organic fusion restaurant with excellent views of the plaza. Also has a vegetarian and vegan menu.
  • Chicha: This upscale restaurant is a great place to try local delicacies, like cuy (guinea pig). It’s one of the nicer restaurants in Cusco, so feel free to explore the menu!
  • Ceviche Seafood Kitchen: Located in the Plaza de Armas, this is a great place to try ceviche.
  • Inkazuela Restaurant: This restaurant is located in a colonial home with beautiful views.
  • Museo del Pisco: As mentioned earlier, this bar has dozens of different types of pisco. Head there if you want to try a pisco sour or another unique pisco creation!
  • PERUK: This restaurant has Peruvian fusion dishes that are beautifully plated. 
  • Republica del Pisco: This is an excellent bar with good food, drinks, and often live music. 
  • Cappuccino Cusco Cafe: This cafe has beautiful views of the Plaza de Armas. Be sure to take photos of you drinking a coffee with the picturesque background!
  • La Cusqueñita: A lot of local dishes are served here. 


Summary

If you’re planning to visit the Inca ruins at Sacsayhuaman, you can easily walk east on a short trail to see the Cristo Blanco statue. From the viewpoint, you’ll have one of the best views of Cusco!

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