Day 01: City Tour Cusco
You will be picked up from your hotel in Cusco at 13:20 - 13:50 hrs to begin your City Tour. First, we will visit the main Cathedral in the Plaza de Armas where you will have the opportunity to see a wide range of paintings from Cusco’s School of Art, old writings, and works in gold leaf and embossed silver. Once finished, you will continue on to Koricancha or the ‘’Temple of the Sun’’ to appreciate its architecture and perfect stone constructions only seen in Inca temples of high importance. Continuing on, we will head outside the city to visit the archaeological circuit of 4 sites: Sacsayhuaman, Q’enqo, Puca Pucara, and Tambomachay. At Sacsayhuaman, you will see its famous stones all carefully carved and enormous in size. At Q’enqo, you will learn some more about this archaeological site’s religious importance in the Inca times. At Puca Pucara, you will see an ancient military construction, part of Cusco’s ancient defense system. Lastly, at Tambomachay, you will see a temple dedicated to the Water Cult with fountains that still work in today.
Cusco´s Cathedral: Located in Cusco´s Main Square, the cathedral is a colonial monument of great artistic value. It was built on top of the Wiracocha Inca Palace and houses works of carved wood such as the choir, pulpit and altars, beautiful paintings from the Cusquenian School of Art (including a Last Supper painting in which Christ and His disciples eat cuy – guinea pig!) and works of embossed silver. This cathedral flanks the grandiose Plaza de Armas – the historical and cultural heart of Cusco.
Koricancha Temple Koricancha Temple and Santo Domingo Convent: This religious center was built to worship the Sun, the most revered deity during the Inca Empire. Inside the temple, you will find smaller temples dedicated to the sun, moon, stars, etc. Outside are beautiful, regal gardens and fountains on the grounds of the monumental temple. Here, the combination of the extraordinary Inca architecture and the Spanish colonial architecture is what stands out the most. In addition, the Cusquenian School of Art´s gallery offers you the opportunity to appreciate some of their colonial art pieces.
Saqsayhuaman Saqsayhuaman: Located 2 km from Cusco City, this fortress was built using enormous carved rocks joined with compelling precision. It is composed of three overlapping platforms with an average length of 360 meters. In its construction, you can see stones as big as 9 meters in height! From here, you can enjoy a spectacular view of Cusco city along with the beautiful landscape formed by the surrounding mountains.
Q`enqo Q`enqo: Located 1 km from Sacsayhuaman, this complex was an Inca ceremonial cult center. The most prominent feature of this complex is an open space called the amphitheater. Back in its day, you would have found Inca mummies in the 19 trapezoidal niches found here. Today, the amphitheater is half of its original height.
Puca Pucara Puca Pucara: This complex is known as the ´´ red fortress´´ due to its reddish tints resulting from the vast amounts of iron in its rocks. It is thought that this fortress was perhaps an old tambo (dairy farm?) that served both as a resting and guarding spot to protect Tambomachay. Here you can see attractive architecture, fountains, aqueducts, and several Incan enclosures.
Tambomachay Tambomachay: This complex is made up of a combination of finely carved stones, waterfalls, and aqueducts to carry water coming from nearby springs and hot springs. For this reason, Tambomachay is associated with the water cult. In front of this construction, there is a tower that is said to have served as a guarding post and communication tower.