A short flight from Lima brings you over the highest mountain range in the tropics, the Andes. You arrive in Cusco city , tucked away in a valley.
You see small houses on the slopes, and some taller buildings. At first, on your ride from the airport to the historic downtown, it looks like a typical small Latin American city.
You notice the fresh mountain air, and the city is likely to be bathed in brightly shining sun.
Approaching downtown stands a broad tower with the statue of Inca Pachacutec- the greatest of Inca kings. Downtown is bustling- people going about their business, tourists, taxis and buses.
Traveling along Av. El Sol, Sun Avenue, suddenly you see the most important temple of the ancient Incas- Coricancha , the Temple of the Sun, topped by the colonial Church of Santo Domingo.
The historical Plaza de Armas
Soon you see colonial arches, many stores and the charming Plaza de Armas, Cusco’s main square, surrounded by blue balconies, many cafes and restaurants, and two impressive churches, Cusco’s Cathedral and the Church of the Compañia. It’s a perfect place to hang out.
By now, you know this is a very special city. Cusco is an amalgam of the ancient and the modern. It’s flourishing economy is based on welcoming visitors from around the world who come here for its exciting experiences, its unique culture, art and architecture, delicious culinary treats, endless shopping opportunities and for the romantic ambience of its hidden corners.
Small plazas provide wonderful places to relax, unwind and people-watch. Excellent restaurants and bakeries serve delicious dishes and scrumptious treats.
The Religious Landmarks
And visits to colonial churches, Inca temples and museums are learning experiences that will fascinate you.
But Cusco is not only this busy, magical city. Cusco is also an entire vast region of wonders. Of course, most visitors will travel to see Machu Picchu , and rightly so, since the Inca citadel is an Ancient Wonder of the World.
The Sacred Valley is also a key destination, and the beauty of its landscapes is legendary. Andean markets in the ancient towns of Pisac and Ollantaytambo are well-worth in-depth exploration, and their adjacent Inca archeological sites should not be missed.
So far, we’ve explored what makes so many visitors fall in love with Cusco city and its surrounding region. But, many travelers are looking for more adventure, more pristine nature, and a deeper connection to the ancient land of the Incas.
A place for adventure
For those adventurers, the perfect option is trekking in the Ausangate region, named after the highest, most beautiful snowcapped mountain in southern Peru.
Ausangate is in the Vilcanota Range, about 130 km. from Cusco city. It’s a splendid massif of snowy peaks, glaciers, lakes, and unique geological formations, connected by high valleys and grassy meadows where hundreds of llamas and alpacas graze.
Hikers especially enjoy visiting Mt. Vinicunca , Rainbow Mountain, where the soil strata display amazingly unique colors.
Experience Andean Lodges
Without a doubt, the best way to visit the Ausangate region is with the best, most experienced adventure outfitter in the region, Andean Lodges.
We specialize in treks on the Route to Ausangate, with overnight stays at our four cozy ecolodges. Each lodge (some of the highest in the world and far from populated areas) is ecologically designed and offers amazing views.
Ausangate’s native Quechua people live much as their Inca ancestors did, caring for their animals, weaving beautiful alpaca wool textiles, and more recently, working in hospitality services and guiding travelers who discover their magical land.
Local people are the heart of Andean Lodges– they’re involved in all aspects of our operations. You’ll enjoy their welcoming, friendly services, and your visit will benefit their families and the local economy.
Our trekking programs are top-of-the-line. Highly experienced professional guides, fully equipped for any emergency, lead the way, and llama caravans accompany you with the gear. You just hike and enjoy the spectacular views, knowing that you’re in the best hands, and that each evening at our charming lodges will be restful and unforgettable.
We also offer acclimatization programs, with shorter hikes and fun activities around Cusco. And we are the only adventure travel company in the Cusco region that is fully committed to social development and environmental sustainability in all of our business practices.
Indeed, come spend some time here and we’re sure you’ll fall in love with Cusco- the city, the region, and its magnificent sacred mountain, Ausangate. To find out more, check out our website at andeanlodges.com and please contact us to arrange your trip to Cusco. It might just change your life!
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Operation team made up of community members trained as guides, kitchen staff, housekeeping, guardianship and maintenance.