The Secret Of The Inca Empire: Culture & Tradition (7n/8d)

Machu Picchu was the centre of the Ancient Incan Empire

Machu Picchu was the centre of the Ancient Incan Empire

Day 1: Arrival in Lima
Upon arriving in the city of Lima, you will be welcomed by one of our representatives, who will give you a brief introduction to the city and to our services while en route to the hotel. You will have the afternoon free.

Day 2: Lima city tour
At the scheduled time, you will be picked up at the hotel to begin a tour of the city’s main avenues, boulevards, and squares. The tour will begin with an exploration of Colonial Lima. First, you will stop off at the Plaza de Armas (Main Square). There, you will explore the square by foot and admire the exteriors of the Palacio de Gobierno (Government Palace), the Cathedral of Lima, and the Municipalidad (City Hall), all examples of Lima’s still-present colonial architectural opulence. Afterwards, you will visit La Casa Aliaga, a colonial mansion that currently holds the distinction of being the oldest continuously inhabited private residence in the Southern Hemisphere. Next, you will make your way to the Convento de Santo Domingo (Santo Domingo Convent), a religious and architectural gem that houses holy paintings, images, and relics of Peruvian saints, as well as written accounts of the endeavors of the Dominican Order across the country. Finally, you will leave behind Lima’s Historic Center and begin your journey through the streets of modern Lima as you head toward the most traditional of the residential zones of the capital: San Isidro and Miraflores. In San Isidro, you will pass through the heart of the city’s financial district and then enjoy a panoramic view of the Huaca Hullamarca Pyramid, an important pre-Inca and Incan ceremonial center and cemetery built out of adobe mud bricks. Soon afterwards, you will travel to the district of Miraflores, a perfect spot to enjoy wonderful views of the Pacific Ocean. You will complete your tour of Lima with a visit to the Bohemian neighborhood of Barranco, a neighborhood called home by countless artists, photographers, and authors. Walk along peculiar streets lined with Republican houses, admire the splendid views, and visit the Puente de los Suspiros (Bridge of Sighs), witness to untold numbers of past and present romances, and source of inspiration for one of Peru’s great composers, Chabuca Granda. Remaining day at leisure.

Day 3: Arrival in Cusco and transfer to the Sacred Valley
Upon arriving in the city of Cusco, you will be welcomed by one of our representatives, who will assist you in and will provide a few guidelines for your stay. As you begin the journey toward Valle Sagrado (Sacred Valley), you will enjoy the beauty of the Andean landscape along the way. Brief stop to visit Awanakancha, a charming place where you can learn about the various types of camelids (Llamas, Alpaca, Vicuña, and Guanacos) that live in the Andes region. Additionally, the local villagers will teach you about the ancestral methods and techniques used to produce their textile art. A few more miles will bring you to Pisac, a beautiful place where Incan and Colonial influences have reached a perfect balance and created a unique way of life among the local inhabitants. You will get a chance to explore this quaint town, famous for its artisan markets where you can find extraordinarily fine jewelry and ceramic and textile craftwork. You will have the rest of the afternoon free. Stay the night in Valle Sagrado.

Day 4: Chincheros – Maras, Moray, and Ollanta
Early in the morning, you will set out for the district of Chincheros, a place which is famous for the extraordinary beauty and quality of its textiles, and for its Sunday fair, where local people dress in traditional colorful outfits and travel down from their villages to trade their goods. After walking along its traditional alleyways, you will visit the weaver’s workshop of Nilda Callañaupa, who 28 years ago decided to bring together like-minded women who shared her passion for weaving, and in time was able to motivate younger women who had lost interest in weaving to learn from their elders and connect once more with this ancestral art. This initiative became the Centro de Textiles Tradicionales de Cusco (Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco), a strong organization dedicated not only to the preservation, but also the commercialization of beautiful, high quality textiles. You will resume your journey by visiting Salinas de Maras (Salt Pans of Maras). The sight of this still-operating salt mine, in use since Incan times, will amaze you–the stark white of its steeply descending salt pans juxtaposed against the green of the surrounding mountain slopes. Your journey will continue on until you reach the archeological site of Moray. Used as an agricultural testing ground, the site’s system of circular terraces descends 490 feet (150m) from where you will be standing, serving as a perfect testament to the level of advancement achieved by the Incas, who excelled at building masterful constructions in harmony with nature. You will have lunch at a local restaurant. In the afternoon, you will visit one of the last remaining Incan towns, Ollantaytambo, which was once fiercely guarded by a massive fortress. Discover the large archeological complex of what used to serve as a wayside inn for royal delegations on long journeys. Surviving structures here include multiple walls and towers that were used to protect the citadel from possible invasions. Time permitting you will get a chance to mingle with the locals at a typical Peruvian Andes establishment, either at a “chichería” (establishment for the brewing and sale of chicha, the famous traditional Andean drink made of germinated corn) or a bakery with still-functioning traditional ovens. Stay the night in Valle Sagrado.

Day 5: From the Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu
On the second day, you will visit the Santuario Histórico de Machu Picchu (Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu). At the Ollanta train station, you will board a comfortable train that will take you to the town of Aguas Calientes. Upon arrival, you will transfer to a bus that will take you to the entrance gate of the citadel of Machu Picchu. Rediscovered by Hiram Bingham more than a century ago, Machu Picchu is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Its architectural beauty, spectacular natural landscapes and the energy held in its enigmatic structures will take your breath away. You will follow in the footsteps of the ancient Incans as you explore this magical citadel along with your guide. After the tour, you will stop at a local restaurant for lunch. Time permitting you will be able to head back to the site for a second visit. At the scheduled time, you will be picked up and taken to the Aguas Calientes Station. From there, you will return to the hotel. You will have dinner and spend the night in Aguas Calientes. Cena y pernocte en Aguas Calientes.

Day 6: From Aguas Calientes to Cusco
Your morning will be free. You will have the option of visiting the citadel again on your own, if you like. If you are feeling adventurous, you can climb Huayna Picchu*, where you can visit the Templo de la Luna (Temple of the Moon). At the scheduled time, you will board the return train at Aguas Calientes Station. Upon your arrival at the station just outside of Cusco, a private transfer service will be waiting to take you back to your hotel in the city.
*Please keep in mind that there is a maximum daily number of visitors allowed to climb Huayna Picchu. It is essential that you buy your entry ticket in advance.

Day 7: Cusco city tour
You will begin your day by enjoying the best view of the city of Cusco from atop Cerro Pukamoqo (Red Peak), a natural scenic overlook from which the outstretched arms of Cristo Blanco, a massive white statue of Christ, embrace the city in a benevolent gesture. You will then visit the nearby Fortaleza de Sacsayhuamán (Fortress of Sacsayhuamán), a colossal structure of enormous stones, carved and fitted together with incredible precision. As you return to the lower part of the city, you will stop off at the Mercado de San Pedro (Market of St. Peter), which being the city’s main street market, will give you an opportunity to get to know the products of Cusco, overwhelming you with the sights, aromas, tastes, and colors of the region. Just a few blocks away, you will discover one of the most impressive buildings of Incan Cusco: the Korikancha (the Golden Temple): a temple dedicated to the worship of the Sun God, whose interior walls were said to have been covered in gold. You will complete the day with a stroll through the Cusco Plaza de Armas (Main Square), where you will visit the Cathedral and admire its exquisite vestibules and priceless paintings from the Cusco School of the 17th and 18th centuries. You will have the rest of the afternoon free.

Day 8: Cusco departure
At the scheduled departure time, you will be met by the transport service and escorted to the airport or station, as needed.

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