DISCOVERING THE INCA EMPIRE

Discovering the Inca Empire

7 DAYS / 6 NIGHTS

Get to know the Inca Empire from its origins in the Peruvian highlands to the Archaeological Capital of America in Cusco. It is the best way to get to know the southern Andes, natural habitat of llamas and alpacas. Along the route, we will see Andean towns and archaeological sites. You will be taken on a unique trip through time learning about Peruvian history.

DAY 1: CITY TOUR LIMA

The city of Lima is also called (The City of Kings) founded by Francisco Pizarro in 1535 during the viceroyalty. It was the most important city in South America for being the financial and political center, and one of the most populated cities in South America. The tour starts with the visit of Lima’s historical center, where we see colonial monuments and buildings such as: La Plaza de Armas, the town hall, and La Plaza San Martin, which was declared as world cultural heritage in 1988. We will also visit San Francisco convent which holds the biggest collection of art in South America, as well as the catacombs.

Finally, we will visit the districts of Miraflores, and San Isidro passing La Huaca Pucllana (Inca shrine), a ceremonial center made of mud. The modern structures are: Parque Kennedy, el Malecon Cisneros, El Parque del Amor and Larcomar shopping center.

DAY 2: CITY TOUR CUSCO

Cusco is the historical and archaeological capital of South America, a title awarded by UNESCO to preserve its archaeological monuments and to keep their customs that come from the time of the Incas. Their great archaeological monuments defy time with huge complex which now amaze all visitors.

This is a half day tour starting with a visit the Santo Domingo Convent, famous for being built on the Incan sun temple structures, the main religious building of the Incas dedicated to the worship of the Sun. When the first Spaniards arrived they were amazed to see that the walls of the great temple were covered with gold plates. Following that tour, we will visit the Cathedral, a colonial religious monument of extraordinary artistic value with its fabulous paintings with a carved wooden frame, and the beautiful Church of the Company.

Continuing the tour, we visit the archaeological complex of Sacsayhuaman, where you will appreciate large terraces which overlap in zigzag formation surrounded by enormous stone walls well fitted with stone blocks exceeding 6 meters high and weighing over 120 tons. Simply a magnificent work of Incan architecture most worthy of being admired. You will also visit Q’enqo, which means “Labyrinth”. This place is a stone shrine that was used for ritual purposes. Also Pukapukara, which means “red fortress” because the calcareous stones with which is built have acquired the reddish color of the ground. And finally Tambomachay which was a sacred center of worship of water, that were also known as Incan Baths.

DAY 3: SACRED VALLEY TOUR

The Sacred Valley runs along the Vilcanota River basin. You will witness amazing archeological towns built by the Incas. This valley was appreciated by the Incas due to its special geographical and climatic qualities, becoming one of the main places for agricultural production, besides its spiritual significance for the inhabitants of the area.

We start the tour visiting the archaeological complex of Pisaq, characterized by the harmony of its time-resistant and rugged terrain- resistant buildings. It is represented mainly by its amazing system of agricultural terraces, and its traditional market in Pisaq village located on the main square and surrounding streets. A very colorful place demonstrated by the diversity of the handcraft products. After this we will head straight to Urubamba to enjoy lunch.

We will rejoin the bus ride to the archaeological complex of Ollantaytambo. An Incan site that was a strategically based military center constructed to protect the city of Cusco from possible invasion. It is also regarded as a religious and agricultural center for enclosures to worship the sun and water, as well as its impressive system of agricultural terraces. Finally, we will go to Ollantaytambo station to board the train to Machu Picchu town (Aguas Calientes) where we will stay overnight.

DAY 4: MACHU PICCHU

Machu Picchu is known as “The Lost City of the Incas”, considered one of the new 7 wonders of the modern world. It is a masterpiece of Incan architecture and engineering, and has unique architectural and landscape features. Machu Picchu has become one of the most popular tourist destinations on the planet, and has been recognized as cultural heritage of humanity by UNESCO. Visiting this place you will certainly find the greatest historical legacy of the Incas. We start early boarding the bus up to the citadel. Upon your arrival, your guide will take you on a walking tour through impressive buildings that blend perfectly with the natural landscape of the area. The site has three main sectors of construction. The agricultural sector, characterized by the imposing terraces that rise from the base of the mountains. The religious sector, full of imposing temples and shrines that were finely crafted. Finally, the urban sector, where the ancient Peruvians lived. At the end of the guided tour, you will be able to explore the citadel on your own. Finally, you will take the bus down from Machu Picchu to board the train back to Cusco.

DAY 5: DEPARTURE TO PUNO

Puno is one of the most spectacular places to explore the “Ruta Del Sol” with stops at strategic locations to discover the diversity of Andean landscapes, towns and archaeological sites. Incas settled in the corridor of Cusco to Puno.

DAY 6: PUNO – UROS FLOATING ISLANDS & AMANTANI ISLAND

Puno is the gateway to Lake Titicaca and its unique islands, which are the main attraction of this region. These islands are ideal for exploring the flora and fauna of this amazing place. Most economic activity takes place around the lake. Puno can be compared to the Himalayas for being unique places in the world where agriculture flourishes on the heights of the mountains.

Puno sits on the shores of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. We will take a tour of the lake by slow motorboat, stopping off to visit the Uros floating islands located 6 km from the port of Puno. The Uros people built these islands to isolate themselves from rival tribes in ancient times. They’re built completely from multiple layers of totora reeds, which grow in the shallows of the lake.

In the evening, upon your arrival, you will be welcomed by our host family who will take care of your accommodation, food and company and you will get to enjoy a homestay in a local community of Amantani on one of the lake’s non-floating islands. Your homestay is in a mud-brick house, with shared drop-toilets but no shower. It can get quite cold here. The homestay will provide plenty of blankets, but remember to pack thermals and plenty of layers. Help your host family with their daily activities or perhaps play a game of soccer in the village with the local kids.

DAY 7: TAQUILE ISLAND & DEPARTURE TO LIMA

After breakfast, we ride to Taquile Island on a boat. The inhabitants are dedicated to farming, fishing and producing textiles. After you will be transfered to Juliaca airport for Lima.

INCLUDED

  • Accommodation + breakfast: 1 night in Lima, 2 nights in Cusco, 1 night in Machu Picchu town, 1 night in Puno and 1 night in Amantani Island.
  • Airfares: Lima-Cusco & Juliaca-Lima.
  • Entrance tickets for all tours.
  • Round trip train Tickets.
  • Bus tickets, up and down.
  • Bus ticket from Cusco to Puno.
  • Guided tours with official tour guide.
  • Lunch for Sacred Valley tour.

NOT INCLUDED

  • International flights.
  • Pick up from Lima airport.
  • Additional meals.
  • Drinks and tips.
  • Tickets to the mountains of Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu.

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