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Cusco has gained its fame as a world class destination. Inside and beyond the city limits lies a collection of attractions such as ruins of the Inka empire, the imposing cathedral, sumptuous mansions and beautiful colonial churches. The architectural contrast is fitted between the modern urban form that now connect the city together. This mix of Pre-Hispanic, colonial and republican times are combined together in a fascinating patchwork of plaster, metal, adobe bricks and stone.
We pick you up at your hotel with your guide and private transportation – be ready to enjoy a fully guided tour inside the Cathedral.
The Cusco Cathedral is located at the main square of Cusco, the Plaza de Armas. A square considered as one of Peru’s greatest collections of colonial art for its combination of artists of the Escuela Cuzqueña (the Cusco School) of the European 17th Century with the color illustrations of indigenous Andean artists. A clear example is the portrait of “The Last Supper” displaying Jesus Christ and the Apostles having the last supper with a guinea pig, chicha (Inca corn beer) and Francisco Pizarro (famous Conquistador who killed one of the Inca kings) as Judas.
Once we leave the Cathedral, we head towards Koricancha and Santo Domingo Monastery while your guide gives a wide explanation about the Main Plaza de Armas of Cusco. Thereafter you enter Loreto Street. The fascinating walls of Loreto street was once Amarukancha, an Inca palace, built for one of the Inca kings. This palace was probably restricted to admitting only the royals.
Moving on, you will soon see the back of our next site, The Koricancha, including a nice view over the city. Heading to the doorway of the complex, you will have a full explanation about this Inca marvel.
Koricancha was intended to house the temples of the sun, Venus, lightning, the moon and the rainbow. The stone walls were covered with gold plates of 3 feet, the interior of the principal chamber, the room for the sun, was covered with gold and had a massive plate image of the Sun. The soldier Pedro Cieza de León mentioned Koricancha as “The Golden Garden” and he described it having “… a garden where the earth was swelling of fine gold, and it was carefully planted with golden stalks and leaves of corn. There were statues of golden llamas with their lamps plus a metal guardian shepherds”.
Next we jump into our bus taking us on a 20 minutes drive with great vistas of Cusco to one of the most iconic sites in all Cusco city – Sacsayhuaman. Your guide will walk you through the fortress and will answer questions and describe the history behind this astonishing fortress. Sacsayhuaman is an impressive construction built with giant carved rocks attached to each other with perfect accuracy. The primary walls are made with stones, of which some weighing more than 200 tons and measuring 2.5 meters – 8.2 feet width and 5 meters – 16.4 feet height.This monumental Incan fortress is without doubt one of the greatest construction works of the whole Inca Empire.
After having fully enjoyed Sacsayhuaman, we will drive for 4 minutes to the enigmatic temple of Qenqo. This place is a unique site composed of tunnels, platforms, stairs, a semicircular amphitheater and one peculiar zigzagged canal carved out in the rock that possibly served to carry water, chicha (Incan beer) or blood used for rituals. The main piece of Qenqo is an elevated sculpted rock with the shape of a puma and measuring more than 5.5 meters – 18 feet. Because of its form, Qenqo is named as the amphitheater.
Ten minutes from Qenqo is Puca Pucara, a quechua word that means Red Fortress. Some archaeologists believe that this place was a hunting shelter or storage-house used by the Inca king while others understand the complex was a fortress. However, this place has the characteristic of a fort because of its location overlooking the valley below, also having defensive walls shaped using the natural characteristics of the place.
Walking a few minutes further from Puca Pucara, your guide will take you to Tambomachay, better known as the Inca’s Bath. It is composed of two fountains with constant running water, building walls connected by a stone stairway, and 4 compartments of 2 meters – 6.6 feet. Some archaeologists believe that this complex was a special bath for the Inca and the Ñusta (the queen).
On the way back to Cusco, we will stop at the Cristo Blanco (White Jesus) that offers panoramic views of Cusco including the Plaza de Armas (Cusco main square), the Cathedral and the districts that surround the historic center of Cusco.
The 3 hour tour of Cusco’s fascinating history and culture ends. Drop-off at your hotel.
. Private transportation.
. English speaking guide
. Entrance fees to all the sites
Water, snacks, tips.
Shoes for walking, hat, sun block, warm jacket, rain coat, sun glasses, water, snacks.
Avoid large number of people in a group. If you want to learn about Cusco, choose a service with small group. Minimum number of people per group guarantee a a better personal service.
Check the companies profile before choosing a company.
Book your tours in advance.
Make sure your guide speak fluently whatever language you have chosen.
Don’t go with the cheapest.
Daily departures at 1 pm. Flexible departure for private groups.
Guarantee departures with a minimum of 2 people.
Season: All year round.