Cuzco is the hub for all those who take the Inca Trail or venture out to visit any of the ruins in the Valley of the Incas.
Cuzco is a little bit of a tourist trap. Since it is the epicenter or intersection for travelers flocking to see the Inca ruins, the locals hustle to make their living off of the tourist—as they should.
Other than the constant negotiations with local vendors and shop owners, there are some really cool parts of Cuzco. Cuzco has its own ruins on the mountain overlooking the town. There are also really interesting Spanish Catholic cathedrals built around large Catholic-style gathering squares. There is an abundance of handmade crafts to buy, and restaurants to relax in.
It is necessary to spend the first two days of your trip in the mountains at Cuzco before venturing to higher ground. Spending those first two days in Cuzco helps you acclimatize to the 10,000-foot elevation before you head out exploring the region. If you don’t acclimatize, you can get a really gnarly, long-lasting headache and become sick.
Cuzco is pretty interesting and not bad for a necessary stop in and out of the Inca Valley.