Why did the Inca believe that the long valleys in the Andes were sacred? This tour explores many fascinating ruins and developments of the ancient Inca and their modern descendants. You begin the journey with a visit to the Larco Museum in Lima which chronicals 3000 years of civilisation in Peru. You then fly to Cusco and the Sacred Valley to continue the exploration seeing some less visited sites as well as the amazing citadel of Machu Picchu. Your visit will also be directly helping local people in protecting cultural heritage and biological diveristy.
Day 1: Arrival in Peru
You will arrive at the airport and be met by our local representative and transferred to your hotel in Miraflores.
Day 2: Larco Museum
Mid-morning your guide will take you to the Larco Museum. This private museum opened in 1926 and features the finest gold and silver collection from Ancient Peru and the famous erotic archaeological collection. After a visit here you will be taken back to the hotel for some free time.(B)
Day 3: Flight to Cuzco and City Walking Tour
According to the legend, the city was built by Inca Pachacuti, who transformed Cuzco from a sleepy city-state into the vast empire of Tahuantinsuyu. The first Spaniards arrived in 1533, and undertook the construction of a new city on the foundations of the old Inca city, replacing temples with churches and palaces with mansions for the conquerors. Your guided walking tour will include:
1. KORIKANCHA or Temple of the Sun. As Cuzco was the center of the Tahuantinsuyo (Inca Empire), this is one of the most important of Inca temples.
2. CUZCO CATHEDRAL: The Cathedral was finished in 1664, more than one century lafter constuction began on the site of and Inca palace. Balance of day is free. (B)
Day 4: Urubamba
Today we will have a full-day tour of Urubamba and the Sacred Valley to see two of the Inca’s most generous gifts to the world: beautiful hand made weavings and potatoes. We will start with Andean Weaving Village. Textile production has profound historic and cultural significance in the Andes, and this community is part of a highly successful National Geographic Society-supported project to rescue and revive this way of life. Women are the owners and drivers of this activity, and we will see how their gregarious processes of spinning, the gathering and use of natural dyes, the setting up of looms and the creation of designs, are fundamental to the family and social bonds of these highland communities. Next you’ll visit the Potato Park Indigenous Bio-cultural Heritage Area: The Potato Park focuses on protecting and preserving the indigenous bio-cultural heritage by showcasing sustainable use of agro-biodiversity. Lunch included at the Potato Park. We then continue to the town of Ollantaytambo for the night.
Day 5: Machu Picchu
This morning you will embark on one of the most exciting journeys in the world – the train to Machu Picchu. Not known to exist by the Spaniards, Hiram Bingham brought Machu Picchu to world attention in 1911, when he was searching for the last Incan stronghold of Vilacamba. You will have the balance of the day to explore the citadel of Machu Picchu after your guided tour. Late in the afternoon you board the last train to Ollanatytambo.(B,L)
Day 6: Ollantaytambo, Maras and Moray. By now it will be clear why the Inca called this area the Sacred Valley. The ability to grow crops was a gift from Pachamama and the Inca used this gift in the most ingenious ways. Ollantaytambo is called a fortress, but its not. Its an agricultural terrace and the structures at this site outlast the ones built by the Spanish. At Maras and Moray you’ll more ingenuity. The first site is a series of concentric terraces that grow vegetables and crops in varying elevations and microclimatic conditions. By carefully noting the crop maturity in the terraces Inca farmers were able to predict the harvesting times of similar crops planted elsewhere in the valley. The second site is a salinera where a series of terraced evaporation ponds extract salt from the trickling water as it makes its way through the system. After here you will be overnight in Cusco.(B,L)
Day 7: Tipon
This morning you will see the great water fountains and canals of Tipon. During the rainy season, these fantastic structures really show how clever the ancient Inca were at adapting their environment. In fact there have been research projects done to understand just how the managed this. Return to Cusco for the balance of the day. B,L
Day 8: Transfer to Aiport and flights out. (Note that many international flights leave Lima very late in the evening.)
INCLUDED: Accommodation in Lima, Cusco, Sacred Valley & Machu Picchu town. Private English- speaking, registered guide, private transport, the vistadome train & bus transfers to Machu Picchu. Entrance to all Cusco & Sacred Valley Inca Sites, Korikancha, Cathedral, and Machu Picchu. Meals only as indicated: B- Breakfast, L- Lunch, D- Dinner.