Peter Frost’s Exploring Cusco was first published in 1979 and is now in its sixth edition, having been revised and updated repeatedly since then. His book is now known as the essential guide to Peru’s most famous region for visitors: Cusco, Machu Picchu and the former Inca heartland. Every page is infused with the author’s personal knowledge and experience, which includes many years of exploration and discovery in remote areas of the Andes. Exploring the region with this book is like having a private guide at your side.


Exploring Cusco focuses on the fascinating history, archaeology and folklore of the Cusco region. It also features numerous walking tours of Inca sites, both famous and obscure, along with many local hikes. You’ll find countless recommendations for hotels, restaurants and tour operators, plus information and suggestions on how to get around. Much of the book is dedicated to the city of Cusco and the Sacred Valley, including Machu Picchu, the main areas of interest to tourists; but the complete book covers an area ranging from the city of Sicuani to Espiritu Pampa – the last refuge of the Incas – a distance of some 265km (166mi). Those seeking pre-trip insights, those curious about Inca history or simply inclined to wander and explore, will find no better companion. Additional information and resources are available on this website.



Exploring Cusco is not only the best guide to Cusco and the Sacred Valley, it is arguably the most insightful, intelligent and useful such book ever written about any major cultural centre of the world. A highly accomplished archaeologist, National Geographic explorer, and resident of Cusco for more than 40 years, Peter Frost wastes few words on the mundane challenges of travel. Rather he takes you beneath the surface of every major site you are likely to explore and then some, providing explanations for all of the mysteries that enchant true travellers to the region, even as he lays the history of the Inca and the Conquest before you as a gift. I own every edition of Exploring Cusco, which for me has always been as much a research tool as a guidebook, and I am delighted that a new updated edition is now available to fire the hearts of a new generation of scholars and travelers, adventurers all.”

Wade Davis, National Geographic Explorer, anthropologist, author of The Serpent and the Rainbow, One River and Into the Silence.


Exploring Cusco is the definitive guide to Cusco and its surroundings. Peter Frost has lived much of his life in the former capital of the Incas, has been walking the Inca Trail since 1976, has a profound knowledge and love of both Inca and colonial art and architecture, writes delightfully, and caters for both first-time visitors and experts, young and old. I thoroughly recommend it.”

John Hemming, author of The Conquest of the Incas, Monuments of the Incas and Tree of Rivers: the Story of the Amazon, and director emeritus of Britain’s Royal Geographical Society.


Exploring Cusco has always been a ‘must read’ for anyone visiting Cusco and its surrounding region. The latest edition continues to provide the most important and up-to-date information based on Peter Frost’s decades of experience. It is a pleasure to see this invaluable guidebook once again in print.”

Johan Reinhard, National Geographic Explorer, pioneer of high altitude archaeology and author of The Ice Maiden, and Machu Picchu, the Sacred Center.



-Step-by-step walking tours and maps for the Cusco region’s most famous ruins, plus many lesser-known ones:

  • The ruins in and around the historic center of Cusco, including the Inca ruins of Sacsaywaman and Cusco’s impressive baroque Cathedral
  • The major ruins in and near the Sacred Valley: Pisac, Ollantaytambo, Chinchero and Moray
  • A detailed guide to the sites along the Inca Trail
  • A chapter devoted to Machu Picchu, its history, and the theories behind what it was
  • The little-visited ruins along the South Valley Road, the highway between Cusco and Puno
  • The remote and historic region of Vilcabamba, the last refuge of the Incas, including the famous Choquequirao

-In-depth discussions of Inca history which no other guidebook offers, all woven seamlessly into the walking tours of the ruins

-Recommendations for hotels, restaurants, tour operators, souvenirs and practical items, and much more

-Sections on medicinal plants, including coca leaves, ayahuasca, and the San Pedro cactus

-Selected hikes, plus many more on this website