Last Updated on January 20, 2024 by Kelly
High on top of a hill overlooking the city of Cusco is the statue of Cristo Blanco. The statue depicts Jesus Christ with outstretched hands. Walking the short trail from Sacsayhuaman to Cristo Blanco is a must-see experience while you’re in Cusco.
We didn’t realize that the Cristo Blanco statue was right next to Sacsayhuaman, and we were really glad we were able to combine both visits in the same day.
When you take the trail to see Cristo Blanco, 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 in Cusco.
How to Get to Cristo Blanco in Cusco
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 Cristo Blanco, or you can take a taxi.
When we visited Cristo Blanco, we chose to walk 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 the Cristo Blanco statue, 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!)
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About the Cristo Blanco Statue in Cusco
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. (They called this 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 of Cusco below you.
Visiting Information for Cristo Blanco
Cristo Blanco is open every day of the year. During the evening, Cristo Blanco is lit up. The best time to visit the statue is prior to sunset, as you’ll be able to have a clear view of Cusco 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 walk 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.
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Attractions Near the Cristo Blanco Statue
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!
Plaza de Armas
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, 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
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.
Summary: Visiting the Cristo Blanco Statue in Cusco
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! We were so glad we took the time to walk to the statue.
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