Located in the most important valley to Incan civilization, Cusco is surrounded by beautiful scenery and some of Peru most important tourist sites — including Machu Picchu. For those who find themselves with a few extra days and an itch to get out of the big city, here are a few worthy days trips.
Forming the base of the colonial Church of Santo Domingo in Cusco, the Incan site of Qorikancha, or ‘The Coricancha’, was once the most important temple in Incan society. It was dedicated primarily to Inti, the Sun God.
Peru’s Cruise Portao at Callao Port, located approximately nine miles west of Lima, is the capital city’s center for cruise passengers. Callao itself contains no tourist attractions, but the city of Lima is a colorful, historic and cosmopolitan place that attracts visitors from around the world.
The heart of downtown Lima (‘El Centro’), is the Plaza de Armas, aka ‘Plaza Mayor’. The oldest part of this impressive square is its central bronze fountain, erected in 1650. Of the structures that surround it, not a single original building remains.
The temple of Pachacamac is an archaeological site 25 miles southeast of Lima in the Lurín River Valley. Although it was an important Inca site and a major city when the Spanish arrived, Pachacamac had been a ceremonial center for 1000 years before the Inca. When the Inca arrived, the valleys of the Rímac and Lurín harbored a small state called Ichma. The Ichma used Pachacamac primarily as a religious site to worship Pacha Kamaq, their creator god, whose wooden two-faced image can be seen in the museum near the ruins. The Inca absorbed this deity into their pantheon, but considered him a lesser rival of the Incan creator god Viracocha. Pilgrims traveled to visit the temple from all over the region, and its cemetery was considered sacrosanct.
Peru has a very limited train network, but the lines that do exist offer a great alternative to domestic flights and long-distance buses. Tourists can travel with PeruRail throughout the year, but the wet season can bring mudslides that may shut down services. Due to this problem, Ferrocarril Central Andino offers services exclusively during the [...]