Discover the distinctive history and culture of Peru with six fascinating days exploring its main attractions including an immersive homestay experience. Explore Cusco, known for its Inca history, impressive archaeological centers, and its beautiful colonial heritage seen in its churches and mansions. Marvel at the ruins of Machu Picchu and learn about the role it played in Inca history. Learn about the living Indigenous culture in towns that preserve their heritage and keep ancient Andean traditions alive. This journey will deepen your appreciation for the Indigenous cultures of Peru, which are alive and thriving and part of what makes this nation so culturally rich and unique.
Discover the Unesco World Heritage site in Peru
Explore Pre-Columbian and Spanish colonial sites of Cusco
Experience the unique culture and traditions of Huilloc
Experience the lost city of the Incas, Machu Picchu
At arrival in Cusco you will be transferred to your hotel. In the afternoon, enjoy a guided tour of this charming city, which was the capital of the Inca Empire. The journey begins by visiting the Santo Domingo Convent that was built on the Inca temple of the Coricancha, one of the essential enclosures dedicated to the cult of the sun. The ancient chronicles say that its walls were covered with gold leaf and full of golden representations of nature. Then, visit the Cathedral, the most imposing monument of the Plaza de Armas. Head towards the Cusco hills where the fortress of Sacsayhuamán is located, whose imposing walls offer an impressive panoramic view of Cusco. Continue to Qenqo, an archaeological complex of religious use where it is believed that the Incas practized rituals related to agriculture. Your tour ends in Puka Pukara, in Quechua "strong red," an architectural complex of supposed military use, with multiple environments, plazas, baths, aqueducts and towers. It is believed that the Inca entourage used it while the leader rested in Tambomachay. After finishing the visit, return to your hotel in Cusco for the evening.
A vehicle will pick you up from your hotel in Cusco to take you to Huilloc, a community in the province of Urubamba. Dive in and participate in a traditional Inca practice called Kusi Runa, where you will be part of the group of people in charge of work in the land or "chakra." Before the day's work, visit the house of the owner of the chakra next to an interpreter to taste an infusion of muña, a well-known Andean medicinal plant, and to dress in the typical costumes of the members of the community (ponchos for men and blankets for the women). The men will then go to the field for planting, and the women will stay at home to cook, learning to prepare dishes with local organic ingredients. After the work of the day is completed, men and women gather in a ritual full of music and dance, an excellent opportunity to see up close the lifestyle of the Andean man.
In the morning, enjoy breakfast and participate in a fascinating local tradition. The tarpuntay (ancestral Inca authority) is in charge of preparing the khipu (sacred message) in an environment shrouded by spirituality and mysticism. The chasqui is chosen among the visitors and will be in charge of carrying the divine message in their chuspa or purse. Alongside the tarpuntay, the chasqui will deliver the sacred word, going through the Sutuq Mach'ay cave and the fields of culture, surrounded by native plants with healing properties. The sound of the pututu announces their arrival at the archaeological center of Aya Urqu, where the khipu is delivered to the hamawta or interpreter. The other attendees wait at the top of the ritual when the high priest performs the condor dance.
At the end of the ceremony, take some time to photograph the beautiful place before returning to town. In the afternoon, meet with the community authorities to participate in the Yanapanakuy. Before starting, thank Pachamama (Mother Earth) with a payment to the land. After completing the tasks--which may be repainting the facades of the school or the medical center, arranging furniture or planting trees--there is a moment to rest and refresh before enjoying some traditional songs and dances. Obtain a souvenir to remind you of all you experienced when you return home.
Leave the community of Huilloc to depart for Ollantaytambo. Your visit to Machu Picchu begins with an hour and a half train journey through spectacular Andean landscapes to Aguas Calientes, starting from the Ollanta station. From here, you will make a 25-minute bus tour to Machu Picchu, the 'lost city of the Incas'. It is believed that the archaeological site was built around 1450 by the Inca Pachacútec as his holiday residence. However, a century later, the city was abandoned after the Spanish conquest, saving itself from the destruction that reached other Inca settlements. Instead, the jungle slowly swallowed its stone constructions and hid it, protecting it. During the guided tour, you will learn about the origins of this impressive citadel, presenting its most outstanding monuments such as the main square, the royal rooms, the temple of the three windows, the circular towers, the sacred clock and the cemeteries. At the end of the tour, return to Aguas Calientes to have lunch and enjoy the rest of the afternoon free.
Spend a relaxing free morning in Aguas Calientes. Optionally, you can return to Machu Picchu and visit the attractions that the citadel houses. We recommend you get up early and watch the sunrise over the mountain. It is an unforgettable experience! The best views are both the Huayna Picchu and its complex of underground temples, such as the Inti Punku, both more than 300 meters above the citadel itself. Another option to visit is the Inca bridge, a secret military road that controlled access to Machu Picchu. In the afternoon, board the train back to the Ollanta station and, from there, a vehicle will take you to your hotel in Cusco.
Everything was amazing! The planning with Adventure Life went smoothly. The actual trip was fantastic! One of the best trips I have experienced. The cruise staff members were knowledgeable and attentive. I will be writing more about this on the blog!