Perched high above the colonial centre of Cusco, Cristo Blanco is a large statue of Jesus Christ that can be seen across the city. Towering some 8 meters (26 feet) high the white structure was a gift from Arabic Palestinians who sought refuge in Cusco after World War II. The statue depicts Christ extending his arms outwards, very similar to Rio´s Christ the Redeemer, but in miniature format.
Cristo Blanco was designed by local artist Francisco Olazo Allende, who also designed the Santa Clara Archway, leading into Cusco´s San Francisco square. The various parts of the statue were fabricated on the street of Siete Angelitos in the San Blas district of the city before being erected on Pukamoqo hill, a vantage point high above Cusco.
According Inca legend Pukamoqo Hill was a spiritual location for the Incas. Local myth says that the hill holds soil samples from all the 4 quarters of the Inca Empire or what the Incas called Tawantinsuyo.
Located a 10 minute walk from the Inca archaeological site of Saqsayhuman, Cristo Blanco offers panoramic views across Cusco´s main square – Plaza de Armas, the entire historic centre of the city and as far as the residential district of San Sebastian.
At night time Cristo Blanco is artificially lit and glows brightly above the city. It is a constant reminder of the hospitality and friendliness that the Cusqueñan people extended the Arabic Palestinians.
A visit to Cusco wouldn’t be complete without a photo at Cristo Blanco. At the most, you`ll need 15 – 20 minutes to appreciate the statue and the spectacular views across the city. To get the most out of your visit, try to combine Cristo Blanco with a tour of Saqsayhuman.
There is currently no entrance fee to visit Cristo Blanco.
Visiting Cristo Blanco
From Cusco´s Plaza de Armas to the main car park of Cristo Blanco, the journey by taxi takes approximately 15 minutes. Local taxis will charge a premium to take you there as it is all up hill and it is a tourist attraction. Expect to pay S/. 15 (U$ 5.50) for the journey there, and a little less for the return journey. If you don’t plan on walking back to Cusco or vising Saqsayhuman, you might want to ask the taxi to wait.
By Open Top Tour Bus
From Cusco`s Plaza de Armas, open top buses include a visit to Cristo Blanco as part of their Cusco City tour. Buses leave approximately every hour, and offer a fun and cost effective way to see Cusco`s main highlights. Take note that the tour bus stops for a few minutes at Cristo Blanco to allow you to take photos.
From Cusco´s Plaza de Armas the walk to Cristo Blanco takes around 30 – 40 minutes. Click here to see our article on visiting Saqsayhuman that includes a detailed direction map.
Visiting Cristo Blanco at Night
Although the experience of visiting the statue of Cristo Blanco is pretty much the same whether it is day or night, the views across Cusco at night are possibly more spectacular! After sunset (around 6pm), Cusco takes on a magical feel as the historic centre and surrounding mountains light up.
Depending on the time of the year, the sun sets in Cusco from 5:30 pm – 6.30 pm. Be aware of your surroundings after dark and ask your taxi to wait.