Empire of the Incas: Peru & Bolivia
Explore the world of the ancient Incas on our popular 12-day tours of Peru and Bolivia, and witness the impact of the Spanish conquistadors on cultures from out of the mists of history... from Pizarro's colonial Lima and Cusco, to the Sacred Valley of the Incas and Machu Picchu to Lake Titicaca to La Paz. Discover Inca strongholds and sacred sites surrounded by the Andes... admire the skill and craftsmanship of ancient artisans whose true medium was gold... learn the secrets of the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu, and have your journey blessed by a local shaman. Attend a folkloric performance based on Inca mythology... take a boat to meet locals living like their ancestors did on floating reed islands on Lake Titicaca... see famous Peruvian Paso horses demonstrate their skills... and discover the cultural and architectural diversity of La Paz, highest capital city on Earth.
A spectacular rail journey to Machu Picchu; dine at a private Lima hacienda with an eclectic art collection, a Peruvian ranch and local restaurants; visit the floating islands on Lake Titicaca; enjoy a Paso horse show, a private folklore performance, nature walks and a blessing by a local shaman
Lima, "the City of the Kings," became the effective capital of the Viceroyalty of Peru, established 1560. Today, a visit to Lima may serve as a unique Peruvian experience that offers a glimpse into the Andean world, Spanish tradition and the country's modern aspect. Visit handsome old buildings and baroque churches that testify to the city's religious background and the Plaza de Armas, shared by the realms of the Catholic church, municipality and national government. The pre-Inca ruins of Pachacamac lie a short distance south of the city. Once a ceremonial site, Pachacamac has been the most important religious center of the Andean world since before the age of Christ. Stop and admire The Temple of the Sun and the Moon, Lima's outstanding museums, and Machu Picchu - a "Jewel in the Mist."
The Cuzco (Cusco) region of Peru combines Inca legacy with Spanish colonial architecture in an atmosphere at once provincial and sublime. The chaotic marketplaces where campesinos barter grain or potatoes for multi-colored fabric belie the mute spirituality of the Lost Cities, where Inca stonework conveys order and balance. Such diversity enhances this inspiring nine-day adventure. The blue sky radiates with an intensity achieved only at high altitudes (the city of Cuzco lies 11,150 feet above sea level), while the landscape offers its unique pattern of exacting agricultural grids and tangled jungle masses.
The Urubamba valley is also named the Sacred Valley. It begins in the Urubamba's village and continues to Macchu Picchu.
Machu Picchu is a fortress city of the ancient Incas, in a high saddle between two peaks 50 miles NW of Cuzco, Peru. The extraordinary pre-Columbian ruin consists of five sq. miles of terraced stonework link by 3,000 steps; it was virtually intact when discovered by Hiram Bibghan in 1911.
Puno lies on the shores of Lake Titicaca. This area is the cradle of the Aymara civilization and the birthplace of the Inca Empire.
La Paz, Bolivia
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