“OOMPA LOOMPA, DO-BA-DEE-DEE. If you are in Cusco, Listen to me, Cause I’ve got a golden ticket, I’ve got a golden twinkle in my eye…”
That’s the song you will sing in the streets of the Imperial City of Cusco once you purchase the Boleto Turístico de Cusco (or Cusco Tourist Ticket).
The Cusco Tourist Ticket is a paid ticket that allows visitors entry to the main archaeological sites and museums in Cusco. But before we continue with the explanation, I need to make the following disclaimer: as a Cusco native I’ve never had to pay for entry to any of those places. I know, you must be dying with envy. But it’s just one of the many perks that comes with being born in such a great city. And as we all know, with great power comes great responsibility. So, that’s my golden ticket.
However, I happen to have guided most of my foreign friends through this affair and so it is only natural that I guide you. Here’s what you need to know. The first thing you should be aware of is that there are different types of tickets. To be specific, there are four types: a complete ticket and three partial ones. You can purchase the ticket at the COSITUC (Cusco Tourism Committee) office located in the El Sol Avenue, which is the main street in Cusco and anybody should be able to direct you there.
The complete ticket grants entry to sixteen sites in and around the city of Cusco. Among the most popular attractions included you’ll find: the citadel of Sacsayhuaman, the fortress of Ollantaytambo, the Qorikancha museum, as well as the Pisac, Chinchero and Piquillacta ruins. The complete ticket has a cost of S/. 130 soles (around $45 dollars) and a validity of ten days. So, if you are planning on visiting Cusco and will most likely be there for a week or two. This is definitely the best option to get.
Next, we have the three partial tickets. Each of these tickets has a price of S/. 70 soles (around 25$ dollars) and is valid for a few days. These are probably your best option if you only have a short time to spend in the city or maybe just want to target some specific sites.
The first partial ticket covers the circuit of sites around Sacsayhuaman. The Sacsayhuaman citadel was built in the outskirts of the city and overlooks the ancient Inca capital of Cuzco. This specific circuit will cover your entry to the citadel, and the archaeological sites around: Qenqo, Tambomachay and Puka Pukara. This circuit is perfect for those who like to hike and take their time to enjoy the sites. It is very likely that you will also be able to visit them all in a day as they are located quite close to each other.
Next, we have the historic center circuit. This partial ticket will let you access all of the attractions found around the historic center of the city. For the most part, this circuit consists mainly of museums with exhibits of archaeological pieces, but also artisanry and contemporary art. They are eight in total: Regional History Museum, Artisanry Museum, Contemporary Art Museum, Native Art Museum (traditional music and dance show), Pachacutec Monument, Qorikancha Site Museum, Tipon and Pikillacta. These last two, are archaeological sites outside the city which is why this ticket is valid for two days. If you just got to Cusco but want to visit some sites and not die because of the altitude, this circuit could probably be a good idea.
Finally, the third partial ticket consists of entry to the most important attractions in the Sacred Valley of Cusco: Pisac, Ollantaytambo, Chinchero and Moray. This ticket is also valid for two days and you need to hire a tourism agency to help you get to them. There is some hiking involved in these, so make sure to bring comfortable shoes and appropriate clothing.
And there you have it! Keep in mind, that all these documents have to be purchased in person with proper identification (passport). Also, if you are a student and have a valid ISIC card then you are going to pay about half price for whatever option you purchase.
Now, let’s say you hired a tourist package, are headed off to a site, but forgot to purchase the ticket. Oh no! Will they make you walk back all the way to Cusco to purchase it? While it would be great, because exercise is good for you. You can purchase the individual entry ticket that every site offers. However, that will not happen because by then you will have gotten your “golden ticket”, right?