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Haukaypata - Main Square

Haukaypata - Main Square

Kusipata - Regocijo Square

Kusipata - Regocijo Square

Compania de Jesus Church

Compania de Jesus Church

Cuzco

The city of Cusco is located 3400 m/ 11,154 ft above sea level, at the upper limit of the Quechua ecological level, the perfect setting for the development of agricultural activities as a means of sustaining a civilisation such as the Incas, who exercised their control and influence over almost all of South America.

The history of the city of Cusco goes back to pre-Inca times; when the Incas arrived in the region they found a functioning city, called Akhamama, referring to “chicha de maíz” or corn beer, an ancient drink which has always accompanied Andean man.

The surprising thing about the city of Cusco is that the Inca constructions are better preserved than those built more recently by the Europeans.

When the Incas arrived, it was the Inca Pachacutec who after his victory over the Chankas ethnic group, began the rebuilding and remodelling of the city of Cusco, which took approximately 40 years.

The Incas maintained their search for balance between the three worlds which make up the Andean cosmovision, and for this reason the city was called the “Navel of the world” by the Inca chronicler Garcilazo de la Vega, as the dominant religion and knowledge of the time radiated out from here. It is worth emphasising that in their understanding of the universe, Andean people believe that there are three worlds: Hanaj Pacha or the heavenly world; Kay Pacha or the earthly world, and Ukhu Pacha or underground world. These worlds were represented by the condor, the puma and the snake respectively. For this reason the city of Cusco was built in the stylised form of a puma, in honour of the sacred animal representative of the Kay Pacha or earthly world; the point of balance between the Hanaj and Ukhu worlds.

The Plaza de Armas, known to the Incas as Waqaypata, is surrounded by what used to be the palaces of the Inca rulers, today we see the Cathedral, the Compañía de Jesús Church and the famous “portales” or archways, which are currently named according to the economic activities which took place in them during the Colonial era. Waqaypata means “Crying Plaza”, for the crys and protests of the ritual sacrifices made by Andean priests. Its dual plaza is the Kusipata or “Celebration Plaza”, where festivals were held for the Pachamama or for battle victories over the ethnic groups which were integrated into the Inca confederation.

The Qoriqancha temple, today the Santo Domingo convent, can be considered as one of the best examples of Inca architecture, the exactitude of the calculations they used to build this type of construction (dedicated to the principal Inca deities) is of a very high standard, and based upon mathematics that we still do not totally understand.

The city of Cusco keeps ancestral secrets and invites us to discover them through its mysterious past. We are invited to enjoy its magic and charm; its past and present; its history and tradition. And of course, its charming and friendly people.

Outside the city of Cusco, we can appreciate:

Choqekiraw

Choqekiraw is a magnificent archaeological site built by the Inkas in the Vilcabamba mountain range. Built by the governor Tupaq Yupanqui Inka, this site possibly received the influence of the Chachapoyas ethnic group, as there are architectonic similarities between the two construction styles. It is worth pointing out that the Chachapoyas ethnic group was incorporated into the Inka empire by Tupaq Yupanqui, the son and heir of the legendary Pachakuteq Inka. Years later, this mountain range would serve as a place of refuge for the last rebel inkas under European invasion.

The meaning of this name comes from the Quechua language. Choqe, meaning unworked gold, and Kiraw, meaning cradle. “The Cradle of Gold” would therefore be the meaning of the name Choquekiraw. The origin of the names of the surrounding area suggest the same.

Located in the Vilcabamba mountain range, to the south east of the Apu Salkantay mountain and bordered by the Apurimac river, Choquekiraw was built under the same concept of sacred geography as Machu Picchu, as this magnificent citadel was also built on the same Salkantay mountain, but towards the north. Both cities have similar characteristics, with Choquekiraw standing out as more extensive than Machu Picchu.

In Choqekiraw, the Inkas demonstrated a high level of hydraulic engineering, architectural and agricultural development. Among the uses of this site, it was an important ceremonial center for the Inkas. It has ceremonial squares, doors and double-jamb doors, Yanantin stones, ceremonial terraces and terraces decorated with llamas. All this in the middle of an enchanting environment where depth takes on a new perspective. History, geography and a challenge provide the backdrop for the trek to Choqekiraw.

From Choqekiraw we can start a spectacular trek which leads us to Machu Picchu through the mountains. We will climb and descend into valleys; we will cross rivers and high-mountain passes; we will enjoy the high mountains and the warmth of the high jungle. A trek which will let us understand the greatness of Andean civilization. The flora and fauna will leave us impressed with every step in the different ecological levels that we will cross. The scenery will quite simply take our breath away.

The incredible Inka history and its spectacular surroundings make a trip to Choqekiraw a must on your trip to Peru.

Machu Picchu

Built by the Inka Pachacuteq, this archaeological site was not known to the common people in the Inca empire, instead it is considered to be a secret place, possibly for the education of new priests and carriers of Imperial knowledge.

In this archaeological complex, there are sectors where the ritual and astrological observation functions are clearly established, being located among four sacred mountains, the Salkantay, Pumasillo, Wakay Wilka and Wayna Picchu. This supports the theory of “sacred geography” where the Inkas built their most important constructions.
Monuments such as the Inti Watana, Sun Temple, Pachamama Temple, Moon Temple, and Condor Temple among others, allow us to glimpse something of Andean cosmo-vision and of the sacred relationship between Andean man and his environment. There is evidence that Machu Picchu was a place of astrological observation, where astrological cycles were measured, which are important for the development of agriculture.

The environment surrounding Machu Picchu is spectacular, as its geographical location in the cloud forest makes the area the natural habitat of flora and fauna emblematic of Peru. We have for example nearly 3000 species of plants, of particular interest are the 500 varieties of orchids in the sanctuary. We can also see the Inka Wren (Thryothorus eisenmanni), a bird native to the area, the Cock of the Rock (Rupícola peruviana), Peru’s national bird, and the Andean Bear (Tremarctos ornatus) which is now in the process of recuperation, as it was in danger of extinction.

Machu Picchu is part of the Vilcabamba-Amboro Corridor of Conservation, an ambitious project which includes natural protected areas in Peru and Bolivia, as they contain great natural and historical treasures.
Machu Picchu, one of the New Seven Wonders of the world, awaits you so that you can discover the greatness of Andean man as represented by the Inkas.

Salkantay

The Apu Salkantay is one of the sacred mountains which has been worshipped within Andean Cosmo vision throughout time. The name Salkantay is a quechua word meaning the rebel father. The mountain reaches a height of 6270 meters above sea level, and provides the last mountain barrier before the Amazon forest.
In this way this mountain is used as a reference point on the mountain range, together with the Apu Ausangate, as they are the main mountains of Cusco. These two mountains find their center in the town of Huasao, to the south of the city of Cusco, where shamanism is a traditional practice.

In the same mountain chain which is dominated by the Apu Salkantay, various archaeological complexes are located, among them Machu Picchu, Choqekiraw and Vilcabamba. The dominion of Salkantay over these sites supports the concept of sacred geography, under which the Inkas built their most important sites.

The scenery will simply take our breath away, with the principal ecological levels of quechua, suni, puna and high jungle. Glaciers; high Andean lakes; spectacular flora capable of living at an incredible altitude; high jungle forests and spectacular fauna such as condors, are all ingredients which make this destination highly recommendable. To feel closer to heaven.

Tipon

Possibly built by Amaru Inca (Inka Pachacuteq’s first-born child), Tipon shows a very high level of development in hydraulic engineering. Lateral terraces keep the central platforms in a magnificent state of conservation, with water channels running through these symmetrical terraces.

When we talk about Tipon we have to go back to its original name, Timpuj Puqio which means “where the water springs from”. This name is clearly justified as its principal ritual fountain to worship water, is fed by a spring which comes up from the earth from an underground channel. This fountain represents the figure of Pachayachachiq (who can be understood to be the designer of the universe), showing the importance of this huaca or sacred place. At the top of the huaca we can find petroglyphs which are proof of previous occupation of the site. This fantastic archaeological complex is located at the base of the Apu Pachatusan, the protector mountain of the city of Cusco.

Chronicles from the conquest describe Amaru Inca’s ability to develop agriculture, which allowed the royal stores of agricultural produce to last through times of draught or other natural disasters.

In this archaeological site Inca history is combined with Colonial history; as well as visiting the Inca site we can also appreciate the colonial buildings such as the Hacienda del Conde de Valle Umbroso and the Hacienda Pitu Puqio. An Inca trail leaves from this hacienda, crossing the wall, and leading towards the magnificent archaeological site.

Our programs in Cuzco

Long Treks : Lodge to Lodge Apu Ausangate 5d/4n

A five day breathtaking trek in the Cordillera Vilcanota, on a route we call the “Camino del Apu Ausangate” located in close proximity to the highest, sacred mountain in the Cusco region. The “Apu” is the bearer of life and the guardian of one of the most pristine mountain ecosystems in the world.

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Traditional Tours : Cultural Cuzco 4d/3n

The city of Cusco is located 3400 m/ 11,154 ft above sea level, at the upper limit of the Quechua ecological level, the perfect setting for the development of agricultural activities as a means of sustaining a civilisation such as the Incas, who exercised their control and influence over almost all of South America.

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Traditional Tours : Sacred Cities Cusco - Machu Picchu 3d/2n

If you do not have too much time, this option fits your needs.
In this program we offer to you the opportunity to visit the most representative sites in Cusco and know one of the new seven wonders: Machu Picchu

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  • Click to enlarge - Pachatusantrek - Cusco, Peru
  • Click to enlarge - Pachatusantrek - Cusco, Peru
  • Click to enlarge - Pachatusantrek - Cusco, Peru
  • Click to enlarge - Pachatusantrek - Cusco, Peru
  • Click to enlarge - Pachatusantrek - Cusco, Peru

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