The South Valley of Cusco

The South Valley of Cusco is a geographical area located southeast of the city of Cusco, in which there are archaeological sites, Andean towns and incredible landscapes that are very attractive to visitors. It stands out for the Inca site of Tipón, the Wari site of Piquillacta and the church of San Pedro de Andahuaylillas. These places are included in the half-day ‘South Valley of Cusco’ tour. Learn more details and tourist attractions of this place.

Church of Andahuaylillas
Church of Andahuaylillas – South Valley Cusco

The South Valley of Cusco

The South Valley of Cusco is actually located southeast of the city of Cusco. For commercial reasons, this is the name given to an entire geographical area of ​​several kilometers where there are archaeological sites of the Incas and other civilizations. It also stands out for its colonial temples located in Andean towns with a long tradition. Finally, it is famous for its beautiful lagoons, wetlands and mountain landscapes.

A large part of this geographical area is comprised of the province of Quispicanchis. The Vilcanota River runs through its valleys and ravines. At the top rise the snowy Pachatusan, Huaypun, Pumacancha, Curi and Wiraqucha. Lagoons like Huacarpay are home to different types of birds and fish.

The most famous tourist attractions in the South Valley are: the archaeological site of Tipón, the archaeological site of Piquillacta and the church of San Pedro de Andahuaylillas. These places are included in the half-day tour to the ‘South Valley of Cusco’.

The average height in the valley is 3,200 meters above sea level. The most famous towns are: Oropesa, Huasao, Huaro and Urcos. There you can enjoy the delicious cuisine of Cusco with dishes such as: fried guinea pig, baked pork and more.

The valley is very close to the city of Cusco. Huasao, one of the first of its towns, is only 19 kilometers from Cuzco. There are public transportation services that can take you there.

Its main tourist attractions

These are the most famous archaeological sites in the South Valley of Cusco:

  • Tipón – This archaeological site was built by the Incas in the 15th century as a religious site for worshiping water. This is demonstrated by its canals and water sources, the most perfect of Inca manufacturing found to date. The function of the water was for the irrigation of gardens and terraces. However, it also had a purifying function. Tipón also has enclosures, temples, paths, stairs, squares and viewpoints. It is 25 kilometers from the city of Cusco.
  • Piquillacta – This archaeological site was built by the Wari civilization, which inhabited the coast, mountains and part of the jungle of Peru between the centuries AD 100 and 1,200. DC In Cusco they built this city with a capacity for 10 thousand people. It is famous for its long and narrow streets as well as for its adobe enclosures up to three levels high. Its name comes from a Quechua word that means ‘small town or town of fleas’. It is 33 kilometers from the city of Cusco.
  • Church of Andahuaylillas – In the traditional town of Andahuaylillas is this colonial temple famous for housing murals and canvases that incredibly decorate the place. It was baptized by tour guides as the ‘Sistine Chapel of America’. On the outside it has a simple architecture. It is part of the ‘Circuit of the Andean Baroque of Cusco’. The ticket is purchased at the same place.
South Valley Cusco
Tipón – South Valley Cusco

Its peoples and traditions

These are the most famous towns in the South Valley of Cusco:

  • Oropesa – This Andean town has long been known for its delicious breads and snacks made in artisanal ovens. It also offers a dinosaur-themed children’s park. Also some large swimming pools. The town is located 25 kilometers from the city of Cusco.
  • Huasao – This Andean town is recognized as the town of sorcerers since there are many shamans who offer their services in this place. One of its most famous sites is the ‘Huedales de Huasao’. It belongs to the district of Saylla. It is located 19 kilometers from the city of Cusco.
  • Huaro – This Andean town is famous for the bread that bears its name, distributed throughout the Cusco region. In its small but small square, the Temple of San Juan Bautista stands out, a colonial construction of architectural beauty. The town is 43 kilometers from the city of Cusco.
  • Urcos – The city of Urcos is one of the most commercial places in southern Cusco. It is famous for its colonial streets where the colonial church of Canincunca stands. The beautiful Urcos lagoon, home to birds and fish, also stands out. This city is located 46 kilometers from the city of Cusco.

Its landscapes

These are the most beautiful landscapes of the South Valley of Cusco:

  • Huacarpay Lagoon – This lagoon belongs to the district of Lucre, at an altitude of 3,050 meters above sea level. It is made up of three permanent lagoons, one seasonal (in the rainy season), three swamps and the Lucre river that supplies its waters. There it is possible to appreciate up to 108 species of birds. There are also different species of fish and even mammals that live there.
  • Huasao Wetlands – In the town of Huasao there are these wetlands where species of birds and fish live. However, the great attraction of this recreational park is the carved wooden sculptures in the shapes of ‘Groot’, ‘Baby Groot’ and ‘Ents’. The objective is to provide a message of care for nature. The wetlands are 19 kilometers from Cusco.
  • Urcos Lagoon – This wide lagoon has the shape of the national coat of arms of Peru. It is home to different species of plants such as totora. Also ducks, fish and birds. Its green waters are a sight to behold. It offers boat rides and viewpoints. The lagoon is located 44 kilometers from the city of Cusco.
Huacarpay Lagoon
Huacarpay Lagoon – South Valley Cusco

Its weather

The South Valley of Cusco has a temperate climate that varies according to the town and the altitude at which it is located. In general, the temperature can reach a maximum of 23ºC. and a minimum of 2ºC. The rains are more constant from November to April (especially in January, February and March). The dry season, with little rain, occurs from May to October.

More information about the South Valley of Cusco

The South Valley of Cusco is famous for the delicious Cusco cuisine that it offers in its farmhouses and chicherías. Dishes such as fried guinea pig, suckling pig, baked pork, chiriuchu and more stand out. The towns of Saylla and Tipón are the most famous and recommended to enjoy breakfast or lunch.

To visit the towns of the South Valley on your own, it is possible to take a public transport bus (the Saylla – Huasao company). The price of the trip is only 2 Peruvian soles. The buses can be boarded at the bus stops on La Cultura del Cusco avenue.

There are two tours to visit the tourist attractions of the valley. The most famous is the half-day ‘South Valley of Cusco’ tour that offers a visit to: Tipón, Piquillacta and the Andahuaylillas temple. Includes transportation, tickets and tour guide. It costs 30 dollars on average. The other tour is the ‘Andean Baroque Circuit’ which includes a visit to: Temple of the Society of Jesus in Cusco, the Church of San Pedro Apóstol de Andahuaylillas, the Temple of San Juan Bautista de Huaro and the Chapel of the Purified Virgin. of Canincunca. The tour includes transportation, tickets and a tour guide. It costs 30 dollars on average.

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