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PERU – Highlights of Peru and the Inti Raymi Festival 11 days



Inti raymi

 Inti Raymi Festival



  Sillustani                                      Machu Pichu                                   The Altaplano



The departure of the tour will coincide with the Inta Raymi Festival (the Festival of the Sun). The  Festival is celebrated every year on June 24th and was once the most important festival of the Incan empire - Tawantinsuyu.


A religious ceremony of the Inca Empire in honor of the god Inti, one of the most venerated gods in Inca religion. According to chronicler Garcilaso de la Vega, Sapa Inca Pachacuti created the Inti Raymi to celebrate the winter solstice and a new year in the Andes of the southern hemisphere. Since 1944, a theatrical representation of the Inti Raymi has been taking place at Sacsayhuaman (two km. from  Cusco) each year, attracting thousands of tourists and local visitors.


During the Inca Empire, the Inti Raymi was the most important of four ceremonies celebrated in Cusco, as related by Inca Garcilaso de la Vega. The celebration took place in the Haukaypata or the main plaza in the city. The ceremony was also said to indicate the mythical origin of the Incas, lasting nine days, with colorful dances and processions, as well as animal sacrifices to ensure a good cropping season. The last Inti Raymi with the Inca Emperor's presence was carried out in 1535, after which the Spanish Conquest and the  Catholic Church suppressed it. Some natives participated in similar ceremonies in the following years, but it was completely prohibited in 1572 by the Viceroy  Francisco de Toledo, who claimed it was a pagan ceremony opposed to the Catholic faith.


In 1944, a historical reconstruction of the Inti Raymi was directed by Faustino Espinoza Navarro and indigenous actors. The first reconstruction was largely based on the chronicles of Garcilaso de la Vega and only referred to the religious ceremony.






Day 1       Arrive  Lima


Met at the airport and transfer to hotel.


The rest of the day is free to relax and get acquainted with Peru’s bustling capital city which overlooks the Pacific Ocean.


Day 2    Lima

A morning city tour will include the Plaza de Armas in the centre of Lima and a visit to the Larco Museum, an 18th century mansion which now houses Peru’s ancient gold and silver collections which span more that 4,000 years.


Afternoon at leisure


Day 3      Lima – Puno    


Transfer to Lima Airport for the flight to Juliaca. From here, drive across the stark altiplano to Puno. Along the way,  visit the ancient burial ground of Sillustani. The tombs are built above the ground and the inside of the tombs are shaped like a womb: the ancient Peruvians believed that Mother Earth created and regulated life.


Upon arrival in Puno, check into the hotel and acclimatize to life at nearly 4,000m/13,000ft.



Day 4       Lake Titicaca   


Spend the day on the world's highest navigable lake, Titicaca. Firstly, the opportunity to visit the unique, man-made, floating reed islands of Uros to obtain an impression of how the Aymara-speaking locals have lived for centuries.


Later, continue to Taquile Island, where time appears to have stood still. Around 350 families live here, operating a collective agricultural system dating from the 14th Century and renowned for their textiles - beautifully woven chumpis  (belts), chullos (caps) and ojotas (sandals). The views of the snow-capped Cordillera Real mountains in Bolivia overlooking the lake are the icing on the cake!


Upon return to Puno, the evening is free for the brave to sample some local cuisine: guinea pig (known locally as cuy) perhaps? Or maybe an alpaca steak?



Day 5       Puno – Cusco   


 After breakfast, today is spent on the jaw dropping ride across the altiplano to Cusco, the ancient capital of the Inca Empire.

This drive will take us through sleepy Andean villages, past spectacular snow capped mountains, sheer cliffs and rampaging rivers.


Stops along the way include the atmospheric towns of Pucara and Andahuaylillas, and the pre-Inca ruin of Raqchi.


Arrive in the famous city of Cusco in the early evening.


Please note that on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday it is possible to upgrade to the Andean Explorer first-class train service. 



Day 6       Cusco: City Tour


A gentle wander through the cobbled stoned streets is recommended during the morning, to appreciate fully the magnificent blend of Colonial and Inca influence on the city.


During the afternoon, a guided tour of the city, visiting the Cathedral, the Rock of the 12 Angles, and Inca ruins such as Sacsayhuaman, Qenqo and Koricancha.



Day 7      Cusco: Sacred Valley      


Today, explore the "Sacred Valley of the Incas". This fertile river valley was home to many important sites for the Incas, both strategic and religious.

The first stop is the village of Pisac, with its famous market, where you can pick up a bargain! You have free time to wander the colourful market stalls before a typical Andean lunch at a local restaurant.

Continue along the River Urubamba to Ollantaytambo, the best surviving example of Inca town planning and dominated by a giant Inca fortress, which was the scene of a famous victory for the Incas against the invading Spanish Conquistadors.

Return to Cusco in the late afternoon. 



Day 8      Cusco: Inti Raymi Festival    


Full Day at the Inti Raymi. You will be collected from your hotel and transferred to Qoricancha, where the Inti Raymi begins.


Inti Raymi is re-enacted on the Saqsaywaman fortress, with a small ceremony held in the courtyard of Koricancha Temple.


After the colourful Ceremony, transfer back to Cuzco.



Day 9       Cusco: Machu Picchu


After an early breakfast, leave the hotel to take the train to Machu Picchu. After an impressive train ride of 4 hours through mountain valleys, cloud forest, and high rainforest, reach this wonder of the world. Here the ’Lost City of the Incas’ occupies a ridge spur high above the raging Vilcanota River.


Enjoy a guided tour of the site, as well as some free time to appreciate this amazing place. For the energetic, there is the chance to climb the emblematic Huayna Picchu (Little Mountain).


At the end of the day you descend to the small town of Aguas Calientes to take the train back to Cusco.


Optional: Overnight in Machu Picchu.



Day 10       Cusco – Lima


Transfer to Cusco airport for the flight back over the Andes to Lima, and upon arrival in Lima, transfer to your hotel.


This afternoon, a tour of Lima, the Colonial ‘City of Kings’, to get a first hand glimpse of  the city’s majestic past. Visit sites such as the Cathedral and Presidential Palace overlooking the Plaza de Armas, and the Catacombs beneath San Francisco Convent. get to see, first hand, Lima's magnificent Colonial architecture as well as vignettes of its pre-Colombian past.


By the way, don’t leave Lima without sampling some of its excellent seafood.



Day 11      Depart Lima


Transfer you to the airport.


This suggested itinerary can be tailored to suit your own requirements. It can also include other destinations in Peru or elsewhere in South America.




Please request further details, if required, by using the CONTACT US link, or if you would like to make a booking or want more information about this holiday idea.