Many people when they decide to visit Peru will be headed to Cusco. It is a great town that was the capital of the Incan Empire many years ago. With loads of hikes, including Machu Pichu, there’s no question it is the place to be. The best thing to do when arriving in Cusco is to do the Cristo Blanco hike to the viewpoint of the city.
This is a very short hike but the altitude will be the most challenging part. Cusco sits at 3,400 meters and will be the highest many tourists have ever been. Take this hike slowly and it will help you to get acclimated to other hikes around the area.
In this guide, I will show you how to reach Cristo Blanco from the city center. The route we take will bring you past the famous Saqsaywaman archeological site in Cusco.
Where is Cristo Blanco Hike Located in Cusco?
The main starting point for this hike will be in the main square of Cusco. This area is called Plaza de Armas. This means “Main Square” in English. Find the big Church in the North and you will be starting close to here.
Cristo Blanco in Cusco can either be a loop hike or an out & back.
How to Get to Cusco, Peru
There are many different ways of getting to Cusco from throughout the country. Many people fly straight from Lima as it is their first stop. Below I will give the other options from different towns.
Lima to Cusco
This is a long bus ride from Lima to Peru. It will end up taking you around 22 to 24 hours in total. I highly recommend that you pay the extra money and get the VIP seats. These will be better for sleeping and overall make it a much more enjoyable ride.
- If you don’t want to go to the bus terminal, you can order your ticket on Redbus. This is the go-to for online bus tickets in Peru.
- Julio Ceasar is one of the highest-rated bus companies but they are all pretty good.
- Terminal Plaza Norte and La Victoria are two good stations
- The bus ride is around 22 hours. If you buy early you can get tickets as cheap as $30.
Arequipa to Cusco
Arequipa is located southeast of Cusco and is much closer than Lima is. The prices also reflect this and it is a much more doable bus ride.
- Once again I suggest looking on Redbus to get an idea of where to look and the price.
- This bus ride is around 10 hours long and only costs $14.
- I would suggest taking the night bus as you will save money on accommodation for that night.
My Suggested Hiking Gear
Below is a list of some of my favorite hiking/travel gear I bring everywhere. Everything below is something I currently use and never leave my house without.
- KEEN Durand II Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots: I finally upgraded my hiking boots in 2022 and these are fantastic. They have top-notch ankle support and are super durable.
- Petzl Tikka Headlamp: A headlamp for hiking is a must if you’re like me and love sunrise hikes. This is a great price for a quality headlamp and also has a good red light to not disturb others in the morning.
- Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Cushion Socks: I originally got these as a present but I had to buy more because these are the most comfortable hiking socks I’ve ever tried on.
- Grayl GeoPress Water Filter Bottle: You will never have to rebuy plastic water bottles. This is the best water filtering device on the market. It is excellent for hikers and travelers alike.
Best Places to Stay in Cusco, Peru
- Kokopelli Hostel Cusco: This is the most popular hostel in all of Cusco. It’s not the cheapest place but the atmosphere makes up for that.
- Wild Rover Cusco: If you’re looking for a more social atmosphere with partying, then Wild Rover is your choice.
- Intro Hostels Cusco: With free breakfast and only $8 a night, the Intro hostel is a great choice for backpackers and travelers alike.
Cristo Blanco in Cusco Hike Details
- Distance: Criso Blanco viewpoint is a 1.9 mile loop hike that can be turned into an out & back.
- Duration: On average it will take people 1 to 1.5 hours to finish the day hike. This depends on your fitness level as well.
- Difficulty: I’d rank this hike as easy to moderate. The main challenge will be getting used to the altitude.
- Incline: The elevation for this hike is 547 feet or 166 meters.
- Hiking Guide: A guide is not needed for this hike and is easily accessible by the public.
If you want more details and reviews of this hike then you can check it out on Alltrails
My Experience Hiking to Cristo Blanco in Cusco
When we first arrived to Cusco, I was blown away by how big it was and how old it looked. It was different than what I thought it would be like but I loved it. The best way to see a new city is, you guessed it, find the best viewpoint in the town! And that’s what we did.
There are some reviews of this hike being steep and it is in a few sections. Cristo Blanco isn’t a super long hike but it is excellent to get acclimitzied to the high altitude of Cusco.
City Center to Cusco Blanco
We started around the main church and hiked through some cool streets. These streets gave us feels of the old Incan towns but also felt very well taken care of.
There were some steps at the end of these streets with a shop at the top that we decided to fuel up at. We were taking the route that goes past the Saqsaywaman archeological site.
Once we arrived at this site, we crossed a bridge and hiked up the side of a small mountain. We were only on this trail for another five minutes or so until reaching the Cristo Blanco.
Final Thoughts on the Cristo Blanco Hike in Cusco
This is a popular tourist attraction, as are many viewpoints of a popular town. Like in all of Cusco, it was not hard to find an Alpaca sweater up here as well. This was a great first hike in Cusco that got us well prepared for the altitude we would be reaching in the coming days. I highly recommend this hike to anyone visiting as it is short and takes you right back down to the city center!
Thank you for reading my guide on the Cristo Blanco hike in Cusco! I hope this helps you with getting acclimitzied when visiting.