Mystic sacred city, considered the capital of the Tahuantinsuyo Empire with a great historical and architectural legacy. Surrounded by green valleys with imposing tourist attractions, culture, tradition and faith still dormant. Known as the navel of the world for being the political and territorial center of the Inca Empire, the department of Cusco shows a striking geographical variety from natural mountain ranges and reliefs, to rivers like the Urubamba.
The city of Cusco, located in the Andes mountain range at 3 399 m.s., was declared the Historical Capital of Peru, being an impressive sample of high Inca engineering whose main tool was stone. As well as places like Choquequirao, Sacsayhuaman, Qenko, Tambomachay, Ollantaytambo and especially Machu Picchu, architectural jewel built with the wisdom of the ancient Incas that served as political, religious and administrative center of the time.
Cusco is fascinating because it is a destination where you will find history, nature, adventure, art, gastronomy and customs that are kept alive. Come to enjoy the warmth of a village the warmth of a town that enjoys visitors, Cusco waits for you. You can not miss the opportunity to meet her!
Day 01: City Tour
Day 02: Sacred Valley of the Incas
Day 03: Rainbow Mountain Trek
When you arrive in Cusco, one of our representatives will wait for you to take you to your hotel. Arriving at the hotel, after check-in, you will have the morning free to rest a little after the flight and drink a coca tea to prevent altitude sickness.
At the afternoon, your tour guide will pick you up from your hotel to start the city tour, starting with a visit to the Cathedral located in the Main Square. Then, you will visit the Qoricancha, the golden temple of the Incas that was once the main temple of the Inca Empire and was dedicated to the sun god. Here ends the journey within the city.
Afterwards, our bus will take us to the outskirts of the city, specifically to the enormous Inca fortress of Sacsayhuaman. Here we will find some Inca stone walls that weigh up to 130 tons. The stones come together with absolute perfection!
Later, we continue to a nearby Inca labyrinth and a ceremonial site: Qenqo. After the guided tour, we take the bus again to head to Puca Pucara.In the end, the last stop is Tambomachay, an aquatic temple of the Incas.
At the end of the day and return to Cusco, arriving approximately at 6.30. We leave you at your hotel so you can rest and prepare for the Sacred Valley tour the next day.
After your breakfast, the guide will pick you up from your hotel at approximately 7:20 am, to begin the tour to the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
The Sacred Valley is an exuberant agricultural region that continues to supply the city of Cusco with much of its production. We visit the majestic ruins of Pisaq, as well as its famous craft market today. Then, we stop in Urubamba, considered the capital of the valley, to have a buffet lunch that offers Andean cuisine.
After, we continue to the picturesque town of Ollantaytambo with its Inca fortress. The city and the fortress are strategically located overlooking the beautiful valley of the Urubamba River. The fortress is admired for its huge steep terraces that protect the fortress, besides being one of the few places where the Spaniards lost a great battle during their conquest.
In the afternoon we start returning to Cusco making a last stop on the way to receive a guided tour in the archaeological site of Chinchero that served as an astronomical center and Moon worship during the Incas times. We arrive at Cusco at 7 pm approximately.
We will pick you up from your hotel in Cusco at 4am and go to the South Valley.
The trip to the beginning of the trail in Quesiuno (4,326 masl / 14,189 feet) lasts 3 hours. Once we get to the Inkintuyoc bridge, we will have a continental breakfast.
Then we start our hike, following a beautiful stream. You will be literally surprised by herds of alpacas and llamas. We will walk through the villages and interact with local residents. We will make a stop for a luxury lunch on the way. Back on the road, we find more of the traditional elements of this walk. This includes potato fields and unique fauna. We have the possibility to see chinchillas and vicuñas. The vicuñas are the only undomesticated animal of the llama family in Peru.
After a total walk of about 5 hours, we finally arrived at our destination, the Rainbow Mountain (5,020 masl / 16,466 ft). You will have time to explore the area and take some photos. We will stay approximately 30 minutes at the summit.
At this point, it's time to go back down. We walked downhill where we arrived. The walk will last from 4 to 5 hours. Our private van will be waiting for us when we return. We will embark on the 3-hour trip back to Cusco and leave it at your hotel in Cusco. The approximate time of arrival is between 8 and 9 PM.
Lower elevation: 4,326 masl / 14,189 feet
Highest elevation: 5,020 masl / 16,466 feet
Walking distance: 15 km / 9 ¼ miles
Approximate walking time: 5 to 6 hours above; 4 to 5 hours down
Level of difficulty: challenging
In times of the Incas it was called "Awqaypata", Quechua word that means place of the warrior. It was an important ceremonial place where the Inti Raymi or Fiesta del Sol was celebrated every year. It was the place where Francisco Pizarro proclaimed the conquest of Cusco. With the arrival of the Spaniards, the plaza was transformed; stone arches were built and the constructions that surround it until today were erected.
During the Inca period it was called Huacaypata or "Plaza del Guerrero" and constituted the religious and administrative center of Cusco. Every year the Inti Raymi or "Fiesta del Sol", the victories of the Inca army and the main fairs were celebrated in it.
It was the scene of several key events in the history of the city, such as the proclamation by Francisco Pizarro of the conquest of Cusco or the execution in 1781 of Túpac Amaru II, leader of the indigenous resistance.
When the Spaniards arrived in Cusco, they stayed in the Inca palaces. Then they built colonial mansions, cathedrals, temples and chapels on them. They also surrounded the square with a stone arcade, which lasts to this day.
In the Plaza de Armas of Cusco is the Cathedral and the Church of the Company, as well as other minor churches.
Koricancha is an exceptional witness of the fusion of the Inca and western cultures, being one of the most important temples of Tahuantinsuyu, its finely polished stone walls served as a foundation for the construction of the Convent of Santo Domingo. The temple, whose sumptuous walls are said to have been covered by sheets of gold and silver, was dedicated to the cult of the sun, sometimes housing images of Thunder and Wiracocha, deities brought from different regions and mummies of rulers. The cult in the interior of the temple was restricted to the highest personalities of the time and even from far away representatives of the non-Inca populations from all over the Empire arrived to render worship and tribute to the Tahuantinsuyu gods. The famous Temple of the Sun of Qosqo was a synthesis of the Inca organization of architecture and religion, which had already reached the peak of its 1438 level. Possibly, it represents the "Navel of the World", therefore, the center of the The world is the Andean pre-Hispanic worldview.
According to our story, it was the first Inka, Manko Qhapaq who built the original temple. But, it was the ninth Inca Pachakuteq, which since 1438 rebuilt, enlarged, improved and modernized the most important religious complex of the extensive Inkairo Empire.
There are certain discrepancies about the original name of the complex and although they are not mutually exclusive, they cause relative confusion. Frequently in the chronicles and treaties of history of the Intiwasi this name is found, (Inti = sun, wasi = house) which means "Sun House", also the name Intikancha that would mean "Sun Palace". While its most popular name is Qorikancha it would mean "Golden Palace". Maria Rostworowski suggested that the ancient temple was known as "Intikancha" and after Pachakuteq as "Qorikancha".
The Sacred Valley of the Inkas or Valley of the Vilcanota, is located between the towns of Pisaq (Calca) and Ollantaytambo (Urubamba) is beautiful, suggestive and was much appreciated by the Inca, due to its special conditions such as beneficial and generous climate fertility of their lands.
This tour begins with the pick-up of the passengers of the hotel to go then through a paved road to the town of Pisaq in Calca located 32 km from the city of Cusco Historical Capital of Peru; where you can appreciate and do some shopping in the Artisan Market (Main Square), you will see the typical craft work in ceramics, leather and looms made by the craftsmen of the place.
The excursion will continue through the villages of Coya, Lamay, Calca, Yucay, Urubamba, where beautiful flora and fauna can be observed during the tour that lasts approximately 45 minutes until arriving to the city of Urubamba where they usually have lunch in a restaurant. typical food or in any case international food; in the afternoon the tour continues to the town of Ollantaytambo, the only inhabited Inka City, where the normal tour includes a visit to the Archaeological Complex of Ollantaytambo. If there is time, it is recommended to take a tour of the same town whose Inca streets are very beautiful.
This typical Inca town, located 93 km northeast of Cusco, was named in honor of the cacique Ollanta, who according to oral tradition, fell in love with a princess daughter of the Inca Pachacutec and was harshly punished for fixing on a deity, his eyes of simple mortal. In the complex, located on the hill that dominates the town, include buildings such as the Temple of the Sun, the Mañaracay or Royal Hall, the Incahuatana and the Princess Baths.
At the top is a fortress consisting of a series of terraces of carved stone and which was built to protect the valley from the possible invasions of jungle ethnic groups. One of its best preserved areas extends to the north of Hanan Huacaypata Square: a total of 15 blocks of mansions built on carved stone walls.
Then and back to Cusco, we visit the Chinchero Complex, an indigenous village built on Inca constructions. There is an important archaeological complex and a colonial time.
The Rainbow Mountain or Winikunka Mountain is behind the imposing Ausangate, which is part of the Vilcanota mountain range in Cusco. It is a valley irrigated by the Pitumarca River that is born, precisely, in the lower part of the Ausangate and that flows into the great Vilcanota River.
The massifs of Winikunuka belong to the peasant community of Pampachiri, which borders the districts of Pitumarca and Cusipata, in the provinces of Canchis and Quispicanchi.
We start from the city of Cusco and pass through the towns of Andahuaylillas, Quiquijana and Checacupe. This last town preserves an interesting Inca bridge and in its church there are pictures of the Cusco school, especially one of its highest representatives: Diego Quispe Tito. Unfortunately, the temple is not always open to the public.
At the request of the community of Pitumarca, the Direction of Culture in Cusco, developed a study to obtain technical information about these mountains and offer them to tourists. The report revealed that the colors of the mountains are due to the mineralogical composition that has: the pink color is for red clay, fangolitas (mud) and arilitas (sand). The whitish, for the white quartzose sandstone. The brown and purple, by limonitas and margas, rich in calcium carbonate. The red one made up of the claystones (iron). The green is due to the compound of phyllites and clays rich in ferro magnesian. The earthy brown is the product of the fanglomerate composed of manganese rock belonging to the Quaternary era. And the mustard yellow color for the calcareous sandstones rich in sulfur minerals. All these colors are a marvel of nature product of geological formations. At the same time, it is a magical spiritual place, surely admired as a sacred place by the inhabitants of the area.
Many tourists see Cusco as the highest representation of Peru. And it has a lot of culture, tradition and tourist sites that do not disappoint any traveler. Know some other reasons why it is the ideal destination:
This will depend on the type of climate that you like the most. The rainy season in Cusco goes from November to April, while from May to October is the dry season; But no matter what time of year you decide to come, you should always be prepared for the weather, since isolated rains can be given at any time of the year. Cusco can be visited throughout the year, but the months of June to October and the weeks leading up to Christmas and the New Year are usually the busiest times for travelers from all over the world. Given that Cusco is a tourist city, has many festivals and celebrations, you should plan your trip very well either to include them or to avoid them.
Buses leave every day from Cusco to all the cities of the Sacred Valley. You will find buses that leave every 15 minutes heading to Ollantaytambo. However, an organized tour will allow you to save the time you spend making transportation connections; In addition, it will travel safer. Getting to Pisac by bus will take you 45 minutes to an hour.
From Pisac, you can pass to Urubamba in 30 minutes, or to Ollantaytambo in one hour.
Collectives are a popular and profitable way to reach the Sacred Valley. Small cars or minivans leave Cusco once full; this service can cost between 15 and 20 soles per person. You will be able to find buses in several points in the city of Cusco.
In an organized tour
Joining a group on a pre-organized tour is the most popular way to tour the Sacred Valley of the Incas. In addition to acquiring the Machu Picchu Tickets for you, we can organize your entire itinerary and transportation through the Sacred Valley. This guarantees qualified guides, reliable drivers and greater comfort. It also means that you will not waste "valuable" time making the transport connections yourself. In most cases an organized tour begins in Cusco, with stops in Pisac, its market, Urubamba, Ollantaytambo and the town of Chincheros returning to Cusco.
On a private tour
Exploring the sacred valley on a private tour gives you more flexibility in the schedules and itinerary of your route. You can decide in which sites you want to spend more time, such as the Pisac market or somewhere that draws attention to others.
You leave the city in a vehicle, the estimated travel time is 3 hours, when you arrive in Chilca, you will start the 3-hour walk towards the mountain of colors (you walk about 4 km ½ aprox.). It can be done in a private car or by hiring a tour. The road to Ausangate is one of the most amazing experiences you can have, enjoy the scenery, be accompanied by birds and native animals during the trip is only part of what this great opportunity offers, you can find yourself, where you will receive the protection and wisdom of what was once sacred to our culture.
Depending on the month and place you visit Cusco, you can expect from very heavy rains to intense heat. In addition, temperatures are often different in the day and at night. It can be very hot at times and quite cold for the night, so it's good to have some clothes for both types of weather.