• Inti Raymi Festival

    Cusco Peru

  • Cusco


  • Machu Picchu

    Cusco Peru

Inti Raymi Festival

June 20 ~ 25

Quechua speaking descendants of the Incas fill the streets and markets, colonial churches sit atop bases of smooth stonework laid centuries before the Conquistadors, and campesinos (Peru's rural farmers) in colorful dress move busily back and forth across the plazas.

Following the June 21st winter solstice the Inti Raymi ceremony calls upon the sun to return, with the people of Cusco celebrating with music, dancing, and actors playing the roles of the Inca and his royal entourage. The Festival of the Sun begins in front of Santo Domingo church, and then continues in a procession to the ancient fortress of Sacsayhuamán. The streets are covered in flowers and people preparing the way for the procession. Here crowds gather to watch the 5-6 hour performance of brightly dressed actors and dancers reenacting this ancient Inca ceremony.


Inca ceremonial fortress Sacsayhuaman

The complex overlooking the city of Cusco, was built by the Inca in the 15th century.

Inti Raymi Festival & Machu Picchu

Inti Raymi
Machu Picchu
inti raymi machu picchu
Inti Raymi Festival



Machu Picchu

Cusco, a city in the Peruvian Andes at 11,000 feet elevation (3350 m), was once capital of the Inca Empire, and is now known for its archaeological remains and Spanish colonial architecture. Plaza de Armas is the central square in the old city, with arcades, carved wooden balconies and Incan wall ruins.

The baroque Santo Domingo Convent was built on top of the Incan Temple of the Sun (Qoricancha), and has archaeological remains of Inca stonework.

Sacred Valley of the Inca at 9000 feet (2750 m) elevation is a region in Peru's Andean highlands and the gateway to Machu Picchu. The steep Inca ruins at the Ollantaytambo Fortress loom over the north side of the town of Ollantaytambo. They are famous for being one of the few places where the Incas defeated Spanish conquerors in a major battle.

Machu Picchu is an Incan citadel set 8,000 feet elevation (2,500 m) in the Andes Mountains in Peru, above the Urubamba River valley. Built in the 15th century and later abandoned, it’s renowned for its sophisticated dry-stone walls that fuse huge blocks without the use of mortar, intriguing buildings that play on astronomical alignments and panoramic views.

It was probably the most amazing urban creation of the Inca Empire at its height; its giant walls, terraces and ramps seem as if they have been cut naturally in the continuous rock escarpments. The natural setting, on the eastern slopes of the Andes, encompasses the upper Amazon basin with its rich diversity of flora and fauna.

The approximately 200 structures making up this outstanding religious, ceremonial, astronomical and agricultural centre are set on a steep ridge, crisscrossed by stone terraces. Following a rigorous plan the city is divided into a lower and upper part, separating the farming from residential areas, with a large square between the two. To this day, many of Machu Picchu’s mysteries remain unresolved, including the exact role it may have played in the Incas’ sophisticated understanding of astronomy and domestication of wild plant species.

Inti Raymi Festival

Inti Raymi begins at Qoricancha, the Temple of the Sun. As the sun’s first rays emerge, the Inca (the emperor of the Quechua people) announces the beginning of the festival as the armies from the four suyos (regions) of the Inca Empire, Collasuyo, Contisuyo, Antisuyo, and Chinchaysuyo, converge upon the temple grounds.

In the next phase, the procession, along with the Inca, the Qoya (the main wife of the Inca) and the nobility carried by dozens of porters on separate elaborately decorated litters, head to the Plaza de Armas, the main square, where the coca leaf prophesy is performed. The sacred coca leaves are read for clues about the coming year. In “the meeting of the two times,” the Inca advises the modern-day Mayor of Cusco on what to expect and what actions to take in the coming year.

During the third phase, the procession moves to Sacsayhuaman, the imposing ruins overlooking Cusco. Here, three rituals are performed: the Chicha ritual, the Fire ritual, and the Llama ritual. Brilliantly costumed dancers come together and dance in celebration of their Andean heritage to the music of the pinkullo and the tinya (instruments similar to the flute and a small drum, respectively). The ritual ends as each of the brilliantly colorful armies form an enormous contingent and march together, signaling the end of the elaborate ceremony.

June 20

Sacred Valley: Afternoon arrival Cusco airport with 1-hour road trip to the Sacred Valley of the Inca.
Evening free for music and city exploration.
Overnight Ollantaytambo hotel.

June 21

Pisac & Ollantay Fortress: Morning trek to Pisac archaeology site and visit Pisac village and market. Afternoon guided tour of the archaeological complex of Ollantaytambo Fortress.
Evening train from Ollantaytambo to Machupicchu village (Aguas Calientes).
Overnight local hotel.

June 22

Machu Picchu: Sunrise bus (6am) up to Machu Picchu; guided tour of ruins followed by free time to explore the site.
Afternoon train back to Ollantaytambo and a bus to Cusco.
Overnight Cusco hotel.

June 23

Cusco: Exploration of city archaeological attractions and markets.
Evening music festivities.
Overnight Cusco hotel.

June 24

Inti Raymi Festival: VIP seating at the Inti Raymi Festival.
Evening music festivities.
Overnight Cusco hotel.

June 25

Cusco: Morning free; preparation for international connecting flight.

  • inti raymi

    Inti Raymi
  • machu picchu

    Machu Picchu
  • Ollantaytabo Fortress

    Ollantaytabo Fortress
  • Qoricancha Temple

    Qoricancha Temple
  • inti raymi

    Inti Raymi
  • Pisac Ruins

    Pisac Ruins

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