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Home > Andes

| The Andes |

Essential, the Andes in southern Peru are iconic with sites like Machu Picchu or Lake Titicaca.


The city of Cuzco (meaning Navel of the world in quechua) was the capital of the Incan Empire and was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site by the United Nations in 1983. Incan monuments are littered throughout the city and without a doubt some of the most impressive in Peru. It is a beautiful city with well-preserved colonial architecture, evidence of a rich and complex history. Spanish colonial buildings erected directly a top Inca walls line the square, while the modern tourist nightlife flourishes in their midst. There are still remains, however, of the palace of the Incas, the Temple of the Sun and the Temple of the Virgins of the Sun. The Inca building remains and foundations have proved to be stronger than the foundations built in present-day Peru. Among the most noteworthy buildings of the city is the cathedral of Santo Domingo. Plaza de Armas which was named "Huacaypata" a Quechua word signifying “Place of lamentation or meeting place. It was an important ceremonial site where the Inti Raymi or Sun Festival was celebrated every year. La Merced Monastery, one of the most spectacular monasteries in the city. Plaza San Blas, one of the most picturesque areas of Cuzco also Called "T’oqokachi or the “Salt cavity”. The archaeological Complex of Pukapukara, Tambomachay, Pukapukara and Qenko are great sites to visit too.


Sacred Valley

The valley of the Urubamba River was a sacred place to the Incas. Its proliferation of springs, streams and wildlife of all kinds showed the Incas how special this place was to Pachamama, or Mother Earth and the Urubamba itself was held to be an earthly representation of the Milky Way, symbolizing the flow of life from the heavens to earth. This is where the Incas built many of their famous towns such as Pisac and Ollantaytambo. This was the heart of the Inca Empire in economic terms as well. The sacred valley was the Incas’ breadbasket, providing maize and other crops to feed Cuzco and an ever-growing empire. The sacred valley is probably the best place to see how the Incas worked in concert with the natural world to develop complex irrigation and agricultural systems that could actually add to the incredible beauty of the landscape around them.



Puno was the territory of the Tiahuanacos (800 A.D. – 1200 A.D.) who were the highest cultural expression of the Aymara people that established themselves in what is today Peru and Bolivia. The Incas took over these lands in the fifteenth century, and the Spanish, attracted by the mining industry developed there, left an important Colonial legacy throughout the entire area. Today, the city of Puno (3,287 m.a.s.l.), which lies on the shores of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world, is the folklore capital of Peru and the site of the Feast of the Virgen de la Candelaria. In the outskirts, you can visit the spectacular Chullpas de Sillustani, a complex of impressive burial towers built by the Kollas, Juli, famous for its beautiful Colonial churches, Lampa with its vice royal church built between 1675 and 1685, Llachón, a community that still maintains its centuries old customs and cultural expressions, and Pucará, known for its pre-Inca pottery and for the “toritos de Pucará” that the artisans of today create from clay.


Lake Titicaca and its islands

Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world, contains numerous islands whose inhabitants continue to live as their ancestors have in custom and tradition. The Uros are an example of this; this people group lives on “floating islands” that they have artificially made entirely of totora reeds, and they navigate in their traditional boats also made out of totora reeds. Taquile, Suasi, and Amantaní are known for their kindness of their residents, their ancestral skill in weaving, their pre-Columbian constructions, and lovely countryside. The Titicaca National Reserve (36,180 hectares) protects extensive stretches of totora reeds and various species of plants and animals.

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