Cusco: an encounter with a pre-Hispanic empire

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The great Peruvian mountains hide the ruins and heirs of the ancient Inca empire. Here we show you 5 places you can visit

Cusco: an encounter with a pre-Hispanic empire

Europeans arrived in America 527 years ago, first to the islands of the Caribbean and then expanded throughout the continent, as they invaded existing indigenous populations. One of these populations was the great Inca empire, whose main center was in the current region of Cusco in Peru, but its extension ranged from southern Colombia to northern Chile.

Leer en español: Cusco: un encuentro con un imperio prehispánico

A force of such size does not pass through the world without a trace: there are ruins of its architecture, old parts of its technology and oral tradition about its customs and history. Because of the above, Cusco is one of the places where you can learn most about Latin America and enjoy an incredible landscape of its mountains and the beauty of its ancient temples.

You may be interested in reading: Patagonia: 3 national parks that you must visit

1. Mountain of seven colors


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This mountain, also called Vinicunca, has a very particular color due to the minerals that began to settle millions of years ago and that until recently are visible, since before they were covered with ice. This causes the rainbow effect of the mountain, which is 5200 m high.

As it is about 100 km from the city of Cusco, it is necessary to arrive by car or bus on a journey that lasts approximately 2 hours. According to Ticket Machu Picchu, for the tour, you can hire a guide that will offer you to walk or ride, or you can also go on your own. Also, wear clothes suitable for the cold of that height and try to have acclimatized one or two days before in Cuzco so that you do not get altitude sickness (soroche). Finally, enjoy the landscape where you can find llamas, alpacas or vicuñas.

2. Machu Picchu


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Machu Picchu, or the 'Old Mountain' in English, is an Inca citadel built in the fifteenth century by Pachacuteq, who brought together the experts in architecture, astrology, and engineering of the time to create this city in the middle of the great mountains. Although not as tall as Vinicunca, Machu Picchu remains at the respectable height of 2450 m.

According to the Peru Travel portal, this citadel is 110 km from the city of Cusco. The place is divided between the agricultural and the urban zone. The first is formed by platforms and artificial terraces to grow and transport food. The second consists of buildings and plazas such as the Temple of the Sun, the Temple of the Condor or the main Temple. Get ready with warm clothes and a good camera to capture the landscape.

3. Wayna Picchu


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This mountain is behind the citadel of Machu Picchu, which usually appears at the bottom of postcards. Its height is 2693m and the route through it is 2km, which is approximately 2 and a half hours of travel.

This mountain is much steeper than that of Machu Picchu, so it is necessary to be very careful and avoid it if you are afraid of height or vertigo. If you finally decide to go through it, you can see buildings such as the Temple of the Moon, inside a cave, and Andenería.

4. Humantay Lake


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Located in the Anta province of the Cusco region, this lake is 4200 m high, which turns its crystal clear water and turquoise color. This place is perfect for nature lovers looking for a different landscape in the middle of just mountains.

The excursion to the lake lasts one day and it is advisable to hire tour guides since to arrive at the start of the tour it is necessary to stock up in the town of Mollepata and then advance to Soraypampa, the first station of the trek.


5. The Sacred Valley of the Incas


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Located 15 km from the city of Cusco, the Sacred Valley is the valley of the Urubamba River, 'Wilcamayu' for the Incas. The tour to the entrance takes about 40 minutes where you can start to explore the different towns that make up the valley.

This valley was the heart of the Inca empire and a large part of their agriculture and technological advances that allowed them to reach the north of Chile and the south of Colombia. The villages of Pisac and Ollantaytambo are the best known in the area.


LatinAmerican Post | Juan gabriel bocanegra

Translated from "Cusco: un encuentro con un imperio prehispánico"

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