CITY TOUR – HALF DAY
13:00 Pick you up from Hotel in Cusco and start the tour. We´ll visit the following places:
Cathedral of Cusco.- The Cathedral was built between 1560 and 1664 out of large slabs of red granite taken from the Inca construction of Sacsayhuaman. It houses important collections of gold and silver work of the colonial period, elaborately engraved wooden altars and a beautiful collection of oil on canvas paintings from the Escuela Cusqueña.
Koricancha an the Convent of Santo Domingo.- The convent was built on the spectacular Coricancha ‘site of gold’. This was the most important temple dedicated to the worship of the Sun and whose walls were lined with solid sheets of gold. All that remains now is the fine stonework, the conquistadors took the rest. Coricancha was also an observatory, where priests kept track of major celestial events. Today it houses an impressive collection of canvas paintings from the Escuela Cusqueña.
Sacsayhuaman.- Sacsayhuaman (which means ‘satisfied falcon’) is one of the most impressive sites built by the Incas. It is generally referred to as a fortress, however it is not certain what its main function was. Current research suggests that it was more likely to be used as a temple, as Inca tombs have been discovered in the area.
The site is a marvellous archaeological feat, even now after it was destroyed, one can only imagine its greatness when it stood in full glory. The stones in the wall are incredible and the largest weighs in at over 300 tonnes.
The Incas envisioned Cusco as having a puma shape – Sacsayhuaman was the head. The magnificent zigzag walls are the major attraction. The grounds surrounding Sacsayhuaman are still used today for the colourful festival of Inti Raymi which is held on the 24th June every year.
Q’enqo.- The site of Q’enqo (meaning ‘zigzag’ or ‘labyrinth’) contains the most impressive carved rocks in the Cusco area. There are carvings everywhere, although some are a little indistinct: a llama, a condor and snakes have been identified. There are many zigzag channels on top of the rock, probably used for pouring sacrificial chicha (a local wine made from maize). Inside the rock there are a number of caves and passageways and an alter which was used for the sacrifices of llamas.
Puca Pucara.- Puka Pukara translates to ‘the red fortress’. This is a small site and although the name suggests that it was a fortress, it does not appear to have any defensive purpose.
Tambomachay.- This site was thought to have been used as a Temple to the Water. There are some very impressive aqueducts, canals and cascades carved in stone, designed to channel water flowing from a nearby stream.
CITY TOUR & SACRED VALLEY
08:30 h. You will be picked up from your hotel in Cusco by our representatives. On this tour, we will take a road that winds around the mountains north of Cusco. On the way we will stop at a famous point known as El Mirador, from there we will be able to see the whole Sacred Valley and gain an insight to the Inca history. The Sacred Valley was undoubtedly a key area of settlement to the Incas; it’s a combination of agreeable climate and fertile plains bestowing an unusual abundance for the high Andes. Here the Incas sculpted the mountain flanks with vast contour terracing and irrigation channels. Our driver and guide will be ablke to suggest good views from which you can take photos. Later on, we will drive towards the ruins of Pisac. At the ruins you will see and learn about different aspects of Inca culture. You can see amazing art works in the stone and impressive agricultural terraces After exploring we will drive back to the modern town of Pisac, where there is a unique market that shouldnt be missed. At the market you will have free time to walk around and do some shopping. Afterwards we will meet for lunch in a nice local restaurant where we will enjoy delicious Andean food. After lunch we will continue our tour. We will drive along the Urubamba River towards the town of Ollantaytambo. Once we reach Ollantaytambo, we will visit the ruins, which is an area of important Inca construction built during the Inca’s heydays. This is an extraordinary Inca site where besides the ruins you will also find an amazing rock formation representing the Inca god Wiracocha. Afterwards, we will return to Cusco and will drop you off at your hotel.