CUSCO & SURROUNDINGS
Cusco is located in the southern part of the andes of Peru at 3400m, which was the former capital of incas (Tahuantinsuyo). UNESCO declared Cusco a World Heritage Site in 1983. Besides the remains of Sacsayhuaman (Inca military architecture), Qenqo (ritual site ), Puca pucara (military installation), Tambomachay (Inca baths) still standing. When the Spaniards arrived in 1533, many inca structures were destroyed, and used as foundations for new structures, which included churches, convents and mansions built in Baroque or Renaissance styles. There are 17 colonial churches around Cusco also Korikancha (temple of the sun), all of them built above Inca ceremonial temples. The city served as a hub for a network of roads interconnecting South America.
MACHUPICCHU The Lost City of Incas
Discovered by Agustin Lizarraga in 1902, perhaps before by local people, and re-discovered by Hiram Bingham en 1907. Machupicchu Inca ancient town was built in stone in the middle of the XV century on the top of mountains of Machupicchu and Huaynapicchu. This citadel would have been the residence of the Inca Pachacutec 1438 – 1470 first Inca emperor; which was a religious shrine, military, astronomical and residential. Today the fortress of Machupicchu is considered a masterpiece of architecture and engineering Inca still survives. In order to reach Machupicchu we take the train a journey from Ollataytamto station through Urubamba River, then a bus to climb 400m by a zigzag road up to Machupicchu, known as the Lost City of the Incas.
SACRED VALLEY or Urubamba Valley
Pisac: vilage located 33 kilometers from the city of Cusco via a paved road, in the Sacred Valley of Incas on the Vilcanota river, where on top of a mountain lies a set of enclosures that may have been houses, aqueducts, trails, bridges and big areas of agriculture terraces. This village has an authentic Andean market with special themes on Sundays. Urubamba: Town located 57 kilometers away from Cusco, considered as the biblical paradise. Urubamba was one of the major agricultural centers of the Incas, likewise famous for its chicha de Jora drink made based on fermented corn. Urubamba currently produces the best corn in the world (about 50 types of corn). Ollantaytambo: A typical Inca community located 21 km from Urubamba and 90km from Cusco. Town built by Inca pachacutec to watch over the entrance to the valley and protect it from possible invasion from the tribes of the jungle. Ollantaytambo also features an extensive archaeological site located on the imposing hillside overlooking the town. This place is the only town of the Incas of Peru which is still inhabited by local people.
Maras: A small village 40 kilometers from the city of Cusco, where its main attraction are the 3000 small wells, which are filled with salt water that comes from a natural spring, and when it evaporates becomes solidified salt, this process takes about a month to reach a volume of 10 cm in height, then salt is hit and milled, to be bagged in plastic sacks and sent to the regional markets for consumption. Moray: This community was an important center of Inca agricultural research on crops, where these giant natural depressions at various altitudes on the ground surface were used to build circular agricultural terraces, with their irrigation canals, that served for the domestication, acclimatization and hybridization of species native to the region that have adapted to the site. Chinchero: The village is located 28 km from Cusco on the paved road to Urubamba. Here lies the remains of a beautiful colonial temple built on Inca foundations, also the royal country-house of Tupac Inca Yupanqui, as well its main attraction the sunday market, which was originally dedicated to the barter of products for the people of the valley.
Tipon: This picturesque set of terraces, long stairways and stone canals is located 20 km south from the city of Cusco. Evidence suggests that Tipón was part of a royal hacienda that belonged to Inca Yahuar Huaca, as well as a place of worship and agricultural research, including aqueducts, waterfalls and gullies, indicating the Inca’s knowledge of hydraulics. Piquillacta: It is located 32 km away on the route Cusco to Puno where is located a large urban center for the Wari Empire (750-1100 AC). Currently the archaeological complex of Piquillacta shows more than 700 buildings, as 200 canchas (stone walls in a square shape) and 504 colcas (food stores), houses and streets. Andahuaylillas: Typical Andean village from colonial time and unique architecture located 40 km away from the Cusco on the Vilcanota river. In andahuaylillas stand out its Catholic church from the colonial time with a beautiful decoration and murals from XVII and XVIII century known as the Sistine Chapel of America.
INCA TRAIL & OTHER ALTERNATIVE TREKS
The Inca Trail is considered one of the world’s best trekking and camping routes, starting from 2,600 meters (8,528 feet); until 4,200 meters (13,776 feet). The Incas built a vast network of roads to be able to communicate with the four regions (tawantinsuyo). The network was known as Qhapaq Ñan (inca road). It was built of stone pathways and hanging bridges, suitable for the traffic of people with a herd of llamas. Besides trek Salkantay to Machupicchu, trek to Ausangate mountain including the rainbow mountain, and Lares community, up to 4650m (15,250 feet). Ask to travelers about Inca trail, ¿how was the journey? Perhaps they will respond to you that Inca trail and other treks were the top ten treks in the world. Currently, hiking the Inca Trail allows visitors to step back to incan time and walk through a variety of eco-systems. It includes unforgettable views, archaeological remains; 400 different species of orchids, species of fauna in their natural habitat alpacas, llamas and vicuñas.
|GENERAL INFORMATION OF CUSCO & SURROUNDINGS|
|CUSCO||ALTITUDE||3,4OO m / 11,150 f|
|WEATHER||Rainy season (december to march) Rainy days & cold nights
Dry season (may to october) Sunny days & cold nights (winter)
|POPULATION||400, 000 Inhabitants|
|ACCESS ROUTES||By plane, train & bus (Tourist & local transportation)|
|HOTELS||In Cusco, Sacred valley, Machupicchu|
|TOURS / EXCURSIONS||Private tour & Group tours (shared basis)|
|CLASSIC TOURS||City tour & surroundings, Sacred valley, Machupicchu, North valley & South valley|
|TREKS||Inca Trail, Choquequirao, Salkantay, Lares, Aunsagate, Huchuy Qosqo & Vilcabamba|