Cusco Discovery

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Overview

This itinerary is replete with family-friendly activities that reflect nature, culture, cooperation, and community.

Learn about the ancient weaving arts, where the interdependent relationships among humans, plants, and animals are emphasized. You will be introduced to four types of camelids, learn how their fiber is made into yarn and then textiles, and dyed using natural plant dyes. You’ll observe the artistic designs and patterns used for centuries in Andean textiles. Visit local ruins and learn how the ancients lived, and then participate in a community day, joining the modern-day residents of Lamay for an exchange of cultural activities and ideas. Visit the Salt Farms of Maras and the Plant Laboratories of Moray, and pay a visit to the thriving Pisac Market, where communities come together to sell and trade their colorful produce and artisanal crafts. Optional activities include a family cooking class, a day hike, or a visit to the Inkariy Museum, where your family will learn about the variety of pre-Inca cultures that throve in Peru. You and your loved ones will awaken to a constellation of cultures, activities, and diverse points of view during this unique family-centered adventure.

Location

Cusco

Duration

7 Days / 6 Nights

Season

All year

Group Departures

Last Sunday of every month between March and December

Minimum

2 passengers

Private Departure

On request

Itinerary

Day 1Transfer In - Awanacancha - Pisac

We will warmly welcome your family as you arrive in Cusco and transfer you to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. On the way, we´ll enjoy a delightful visit to Awanacancha, a “Living Museum” and collaborative weaving project that brings together weavers from different communities around the Sacred Valley to promote and educate the public about their art. Located between Cusco and Pisac, this interactive center offers a deeply enjoyable introduction to the weaving arts. You will meet weavers, both women and men, and the animals that contribute their fiber to this time-honored historical craft. On display are the four camelids: alpacas, guanacos, llamas, and vicuñas. You’ll have a chance to feed and pet the animals and to learn about the differences between the four species. You will also see Huacaya and Suri, two types of alpacas that provide diverse types of wool that result in differently textured products.

When you are in the animal display section, you will learn facts about the animals, including their history, personality differences, origin, and development. You will get a “feel” for their different fibers, and then observe the hand and wheel spinning techniques that convert those fibers into yarn. An amazing plant and dye demonstration describes how plants are gathered from the field, converted into natural dyes of subtly beautiful hues, and utilized to color the yarn. Also, see and participate a bit in the weaving process and learn about the different designs and their meanings. Folks in the know can distinguish which community a weaving emerged from by simply examining its designs.

The retail section of the museum displays the many gorgeous textiles that are available for purchase. Over 400 families from 14 rural communities participate in this cooperative project. This is a thrilling experience for animal lovers, art and craft aficionados, and families with kids.

Afterwards, we´ll explore the Pisac Ruins and enjoy the bustling and colorful open-air market. After a winding, ascending 45-minute drive passing through serene Andean mountain countryside, our vista suddenly opens up to reveal the historical village and surrounding farmland of Pisac stretched out far below us. We will get our first view of Pisac’s impressive ruins on the mountain across from us.

Passing through the village, we’ll drive up to the Inca citadel and explore some of the most impressive ruins in the Sacred Valley, whose structures are in excellent condition, although the original purpose of the site remains a mystery. It has been speculated that the ruins were part ceremonial center, part residential site, and part military fortress. Climbing to the high point of the ruins, we will be greeted with an amazing view of the Sacred Valley and its surrounding peaks, or Apus. Their names are Apu Linli, Apu Intihuatana, Apu Chiwuanco, Apu Ventanayoc, and Apu Ñusta, and they stand as guardians and protectors of the valley and its inhabitants.
From here, we’ll return by the same road we came up, or, time permitting, we may choose to take a leisurely hike down to the village on a well-maintained trail that winds its way through extensive Andean agricultural terracing (still in use today) and stunning mountainside vistas. Now we’ll have the chance to explore the picturesque and welcoming Andean village of Pisac. The village is known for its large open-air market, where vendors sell everything from local crafts of all kinds to semi-precious stones, hand-woven garments, sweaters ponchos, jewelry etc. Tuesdays and Sundays are Pisac Market Days, when villagers from miles around arrive with colorful fruits and vegetables, fresh herbs, flowers, and many varieties of Andean potatoes for sale or barter. There are also food booths on market days, where you can try traditional Andean meals, like Caldo de Pollo, a hearty and comforting chicken and vegetable soup, or fried Andean trout accompanied by potatoes and rice. Once we arrive at the hotel, we´ll help you check in.

Duration transportation: 1:30 hours
Duration of the activity: 4 hours

Overnight: Nunu or similar

Day 2Community Day Lamay

Join us on a visit to the mountain community of Huama and participate in the “La Base Lamay” Project. We’ll meet at La Base, where the community will welcome us and include us in their daily life, agricultural activities, and colorful traditions for the day. We’ll participate in a “Faena Agrícola” (Community Labor Day) and hang out with the villagers, observing how the members assist one another with their labors. Marvel at these industrious, resourceful villagers as they demonstrate the traditional farming techniques used to produce a variety of local crops, including corn, potatoes, quinoa, tarwi, beans, legumes, and more. After the agricultural portion of the activity, we’ll enjoy a typical lunch made from the fresh ingredients produced by the community. In the afternoon, the women will demonstrate their skill at the ancient art of weaving, using natural, plant-dyed yarn from alpacas and sheep, and discuss the very important place weaving holds in village life. Our visit contributes to the sustainability of this community’s nature-based lifestyle.
(B / L)

Duration transportation (RT): 15 min
Duration of the activity: 6 hours

Overnight: Nunu or similar

Day 3Visit Inkariy Museum, Join Us For a Hike, or Attend a Cooking Class

Today, we are offering a variety of activities to choose from. We can visit the Inkariy Museum, take a half-day hike, or participate in a cooking lesson. You could also choose one of the first two options and still enjoy a cooking class in the afternoon (there will be an additional cost for the cooking class if it is added on top of one of the morning activities). You can choose whether to be driven, bike, or walk to the museum as well.

About the Inkariy Museum: Although much information about the Incas is emphasized when you travel to Peru, other significant cultures pre-dated the Inca. The Inkariy Museum was opened in 2002, and its exhibits consist of materials relevant to the most important pre-Columbian cultures of Peru, including the Caral, Chavin, Moche, Nazca, Wari, etc. The founders of the museum wished to present information about these societies to fill in the blanks regarding the diversity of cultures in Peru and show what made each one unique.
(B / L)

Duration transportation: 40 min (depending on activity)
Duration of the activity: 5-7 hours (depending on activity)

Overnight: Nunu or similar

Day 4Moray and Maras - Train to Machu Picchu Village

Join us as we ride through the Sacred Valley to begin our full-day guided tour at Moray, where you will have the privilege of exploring one of the earliest agricultural experimental “labs” in existence on the planet. It is believed that the beautiful and elegantly constructed descending circular terraces were used to support a variety of microclimates, encouraging the growth of specific crops that are attuned to each climate. The temperature difference between the uppermost and lowest levels can vary by as much as 15°C (59 °F). Plants that thrive at the deepest level of over 30 meters (98 ft) are different species from those that thrive at the uppermost levels. To think that indigenous Peruvians used experimental techniques to nurture diverse food crops, centuries before modern greenhouse techniques were invented, is truly impressive!

We’ll next enjoy a picnic lunch surrounded by spectacular mountain scenery. We’ll shortly arrive in Maras, famously known for its spectacular mountainside salt ponds. Here residents “mine” 3000 bright white and multicolored salt pans, which are divided among local families. You will be able to observe the saltpans from a viewpoint and taste the famous Maras salt, known for its beneficial health properties. You’ll get a glimpse into a lifestyle very different from your own, as you learn about the techniques used to extract this mineral-rich condiment. Purchasing a bag of the precious salt will help support this community in maintaining their centuries-old traditional way of life.

In the afternoon, we´ll take the train to Machu Picchu Village.
(B / L)

Duration transportation: 2 hours
Duration of the activity: 4 hours
Train ride: 1:45 hours

Overnight: Inti Punku Boutique or similar

Day 5Machu Picchu Visit - Huayna Picchu - Train to Ollantaytambo - Cusco

After an early breakfast, we’ll hop on board the bus up to the ruins, a half-hour ascending ride. Your English-speaking guide will accompany you as you explore the breath-taking ruins and learn about the various structures and buildings and the lifestyles of its former inhabitants. You’ll be immersed in the sheer beauty of the complex and its verdant surroundings, as you breathe in the rarefied air of the cloud forest.

Just behind the Machu Picchu Citadel and overlooking the torrential Urubamba River stands Huayna Picchu Mountain, which means ‘Young Peak’ in the Quechua language. (Machu Picchu means “Old Peak.”) The Incas laid an ascending trail that climbs up the side of Huayna Picchu, and constructed temples and terraces at its peak, which is about 2720 masl (8924 fasl). The Inca high priest and local sacred virgins once resided here. Every morning before sunrise, the high priest would walk with a small contingent down to the Machu Picchu Citadel to signal the coming of the new day.

There is a trail descending from Huayna Picchu that leads to the rarely visited Temple of the Moon, one of three major temples in the Machu Picchu area. It is nestled against the side of Huayna Picchu Mountain below the elevation of Machu Picchu, inside a large cave that was denominated the “Great Cavern” by explorer Hiram Bingham. This sacred temple boasts exquisitely crafted lithic work. The Inca considered caves to be entrances to other worlds. A throne-like surface sits at the center of the cavern, which may have been used for sacrifices.

We will enter Machu Picchu with the guide and our group at 07:00 hrs, and at the end of our tour around the citadel, our guide will leave us at the entrance to Huayna Picchu, where you´ll show your passport to gain access. It will take approximately one hour (maybe a bit less) to climb up to the top, from where we´ll enjoy a spectacular view of the entire Machu Picchu citadel. After time to gaze upon and photograph the jaw-dropping view, we will descend by the same trail and meet up with the rest of the group at the exit.

Return to the village below in the afternoon, where we´ll enjoy lunch and then board a train back to Cusco.
(B / L)

Duration by bus to Machu Picchu (RT): 1 hour
Duration of the activity: 5 hours
Train ride: 1:45 hours
Duration transportation: 2 hours

Overnight: Abbitare or similar

Day 6Walking City Tour Cusco - Optional Afternoon Tour

Spend a delightful morning wandering around the ancient city of Cusco and visiting its main attractions. You’ll be struck by the unlikely yet intriguing combination of ancientness and modernity in this urban wonderland, as you traverse its streets and feast your senses on its eclectic sights and sounds. A city replete with history on every corner, the ancient Inca capital is among the most visited urban areas in South America. Fashionably dressed modern Cusqueñans stride down the streets, intermingling with campesinos, or country folk, often dressed in traditional garb and leading alpacas or donkeys, while carrying great bundles on their backs.

During this half-day tour, we’ll visit the most important sites of this folkloric Andean city. You’ll traverse cobblestone streets lined with original Inca walls on the way to the ancient Inca Temple of the Sun (Qoricancha) found inside the Church of Santo Domingo. Once completely covered in gold, and housing hundreds of golden artifacts, the sight of Qoricancha so excited the lust of the conquistadors that they had thousands of irreplaceable artworks and sculptures melted down so that they could send the gold to the king and queen of Spain.

Visit the Plaza de Armas, once the Inca’s main city center, and learn about its dramatic and sometimes violent history. Two churches stand on the Plaza, the Cusco Cathedral, the mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cusco, dating from 1654; and the even more ancient Church of the Triumph, which was built on top of the Suntur Wasi, an Inca religious temple. Note the significant works of art depicting Mary and the infant Jesus, saints, and apostles from the Cusco School of Painting, There is a “Last Supper” painting that depicts the main course in the center of the table as a guinea pig or cuy; it was painted by Quechua artist Marcos Zapata in the 18th century.

The Plaza de Armas is a gathering place for locals, especially on weekends, and boasts lovely flower gardens, benches for the repose of locals and tourists, and central statuary.

The tour will proceed at a gentle pace to give you time to acclimatize to the high- altitude and to present questions to your guide.
Today, feel free to enjoy an afternoon on your own. However, in case you wish to participate in an arranged activity, we can offer you a variety of enjoyable options.
(B)

Duration of the activity: 4 hours

Overnight: Abbitare or similar

Day 7Transfer Out

We’ll pick you up from your hotel and bring you to the airport, where you will take your leave of Cusco and the magical Sacred Valley of the Incas.
(B)

Photos
Included
Not Included
What to take

– Hotel accommodations
– Transportation
– Professional bilingual guide
– Train tickets
– Entrance tickets
– Meals as detailed

B – Breakfast / L – Lunch / BL – Box Lunch / PL – Picnic Lunch / D – Dinner

– Personal travel insurance
– Laundry service
– Airline tickets
– Personal gear
– Alcoholic beverages
– Additional services
– Tips
– Extras

– Short-sleeved shirts or t-shirts of breathable fabrics, like nylon
and polyester
– Light insulation long sleeve jacket
– Rain jacket
– Light cap
– Multifunctional headwear (for example, Buff)
– Day Pack (preferably with rain cover)
– Sunglasses, sunblock, lip balm, and repellent
– Reusable water bottle
– Good walking shoes

Dates
Tour dates not found..