Around Cuzco City
Besides the beauty of the landscape in the towns located in the " Valle Sagrado de los Incas" (Sacred Valley of the Inca), near Cuzco, other towns are located, that also because of the importance of their archaeological locations, beauty of their fields and landscapes, are an excellent destination. We recommend the visit to the places that are described next.
On the highway that joins Cuzco with the northwestern part of "Valle Sagrado de los Incas" (Sacred Valley of the Incas), with a beautiful view of the Mountain Range of Urubamba, with beautiful snowy peaks, and some lagoons, we can visit:
Located at the northwest of Cuzco, at 28 Km. (17.4 miles), called "El Pueblo Del Arco Iris" (the town of the rainbow), it is located in a valley, the town of Hispanic architecture is built on old Inca constructions. Its people are the most conservative of the Inca traditions, wearing picturesque clothing. Every Sunday they carry out the "catu", exchange fair of agricultural products, in which the use of the currency is discarded and everything is made in exchange. Also outstanding the textile crafts (crafts as well as local produce). Archaeological locations, Inca palaces, "andenerías" (terraces), and a great fortress in the place that they attributed the appearance of the rainbow. The town, has a beautiful colonial church, with famous paintings of the Escuela Cusqueña. Beautiful Andean landscapes surround the town, outstanding the beauty of the snowy mountains Chicón and Verónica of the Mountain Range of Urubamba. (Chinchero Photo Gallery).
This is a strange place. Area located at 53 Km. northwest of Cuzco, highlights an admirable Inca experimental farm, where a natural depression has been transformed in enormous terraces superimposed in concentric form with a shape of a great coliseum, achieving up to 150 meters in difference of height levels. This technology allowed the old Inca farmers to study the effect of altitude on different plants and create diverse weathers, to experience and to obtain varieties of plants that improved their crops. It was a great laboratory. Each terrace possesses contention walls and they are connected by a complex system of artificial channels of irrigation that are a sample of the high hydraulic technology that the Inca also reached. (Moray Photo Gallery)
48 Km / 30 miles northwest of Cuzco (1 hour by car). During the Vice royal period, it was a very important town. This can be seen in the church and mansions that feature the coats of arms of the Indigenous nobility on their fronts. Farming is the main economic activity.Maras Salt-mines 10 km / 6 miles from Maras (30 minutes by car or 2 hours on foot) Also called Salinas de Maras, these salt-mines have been used since the Tahuantinsuyo. The people channel the salt water that bubbles to the surface from a spring called Qoripujio towards men-made wells. From the exposure to the sun, the water evaporates and the salt remains on the surface to be transported later to the market to be sold. The view of this complex of nearly 3000 wells is spectacular. The local people happily demonstrate the ancient techniques to visitors, even allowing them to participate in them. (Maras Photo Gallery)
The following places and towns are in the route and to the margin of the train line between Cuzco and Juliaca - Puno (Lake Titicaca) on the valley of Huatanay. This train route was awarded such as second rout most beautiful of world.
Town located at 5 Km. (3 miles) southeast of Cuzco, in front of their Main Square highlights a beautiful colonial church, with facade of carved stone and richly ornamented, of Baroque style, beautiful collection of paintings with Saint John the Baptist's life. Their two towers are identical, in spite of the fact that they were built with a 155 year-old difference. Very near this church, is located the "Capilla de San Lázaro" (the chapel of San Lázaro), where numerous Spaniards were buried death in the "Guerra de Las Salinas" (War of Las Salinas), in the battle that was sustained between the Spanish conquerors Hernando Pizarro and Diego de Almagro for the domain of Cuzco in 1538.
Inca archaeological area, located at 23 Km. (14 miles) southeast of Cuzco. According to legends, Tipon is one of the royal gardens that Wiracocha ordered to be built. It is made up of twelve terraces flanked by perfectly polished stonewalls and enormous agricultural terraces, canals, and decorative waterfalls that, along with the native flowers of the area, offers the visitor a stunning vision. The site is composed of different sectors: Tipon itself, Intiwatana, Pukutuyuj and Pucará, Cruz Moqo, the cemetery of Pitopujio, Hatun Wayq'o, among others. (Tipon Photo Gallery).
25 Km from Cuzco, an early-rising community whose forty-seven bakeries have provided Cuzco with its daily bread for generations.
Small town located at 35 Km. (22 miles) southeast of Cuzco, beautiful Andean landscapes, and a beautiful lagoon, where families living in Cuzco go on Sunday for walks, vacation and recess center.
Inca archaeological area, located at 38 Km. (23.6 miles) southeast of Cuzco, remains of a city that occupied an area of 50 hectares, big buildings, some of two floors, embankments, big walls that reach up to 7 m height, aqueducts. Also highlights the great quantity of colcas (deposits of grains), and the style of their construction, with small stones, put together with mud. This location is a place where you can also magnify the reach achieved by the Inca in the architecture and urban organization. The historians attribute to this place a character of military defense and center of supplies, for the big deposits of agricultural products, tools, dresses and war weapons that have been found.
Inca archaeological area, located at 39 Km. (24.2 miles) southeast of Cuzco and at 1 Km. (0.62 miles) of Piquillacta. It constituted the main and obligatory entrance to Cuzco in the route to the Collasuyo (county of the south, in the Tahuantisuyo), with functions of customs. A great and imposing cover built in carved stone, surrounded with high walls in which inferior vertex a water channel runs, also a great aqueduct that was used to take water to the population of Piquillacta.
Town located at 45 Km southeast of Cuzco; it has a church with humble external aspect that keeps one of the most valuable jewel of the colonial art in Peru, denominated the "Capilla Sixtina del Peru" (Sistine Chapel of Peru). The interior of the Church of San Pedro Apóstol of Andahuaylillas is an explosion of Baroque art with great quantity of decorations. It was built in 1631, and according to the Spanish tradition, about an Inca temple, it has numerous and beautiful paintings of the Escuela Cusqueña; its altars and wood carvings are beautiful pieces elaborated in leaf of gold, its colored roof is a perfect beauty. San Pedro has been under restoration since 2009, but its doors have stayed open. Locals trained at the fine arts school in Cuzco are cleaning the walls, conserving the paintings and strengthening the facade and roof. The roof of one of the side chapels had collapsed from water damage, destroying sections of the murals. The conservators have painted over the damaged portions in blue, so the remaining figures of angels and Christ peek out as if through a smudged window. The restoration, funded by the World Monuments Fund and the Spanish petroleum company Repsol, it has been completed in November 2012 (Andahuaylillas Photo Gallery)
117 Km (73 miles) from Cuzco. Built in the fifteenth century, it is considered by the historians to be one of the most audacious Inca constructions. The remarkable Wiracocha temple, 100 meters (328 feet) long and 20 meters (66 feet) wide is made of adobe walls built on top of volcanic stone foundations. The complex also includes a residential area made for the Inca nobles and dozens of circular warehouses to store food. (Raqchi Photo Gallery)
Town of Spanish Colonial and Inca (mestizo) architecture, 4,300 meters above sea level (14,107 feet). It is located northeast of the city of Cuzco, on the Andean area, with beautiful landscapes, and it is the entrance door to the forest area of Cuzco. It has rich Inca archaeological locations in its periphery. Known as the folkloric capital of Cuzco, for the abundance of autochthonous dances of Inca origin that are conserved in this region. Special celebration of feast of Virgen del Carmen (July).
109 Km (68 miles) southeast of Cuzco, take the partially tarred highway (3 hours by car) to the Paucartambo from where you must travel 45 Km / 28 miles to the Tres Cruces Lookout (2 hours and 30 minutes by 4x4 vehicle on a rough road). Tres Cruces is a natural lookout located on the edge of the Manu Biosphere Reserve. This place is famous for the so-called “white ray” phenomenon that occurs when the sun rises over the horizon during the winter solstice (June, July). The light shines through the humid atmosphere and is distorted as if going through a prism. The effect causes three suns to appear, one of them seems to be jumping from one side to the other. From Tres Cruces the road continues toward the deep valley of Kosñipata and the Alto Madre de Dios River, that passes through the lush cloud forests of the Manu National Park, one of the world’s most diverse paradises