Peru: A Passion for Culture

LIMA, Peru´s capital, is a cosmopolitan city with an enormous cultural heritage, and the starting point of your amazing voyage through thousands of years of Peruvian history.
During the visit to the Lima´s historic city center, we will discover masterpieces of colonial architecture. We will then receive an intensive yet slow-paced class on the evolution of Peru. At the Larco Herrera, the museum´s curator will guide us through thousands of years of pre-Columbian history.

Our trip through Lima continues with a visit to Casa Luna, a beautiful house full of tradition, where we find Peru’s largest collection of Nativity scenes from all over the world.
During our second day, through art, we will learn about the late colonial period while visiting what is Peru´s largest private collection of colonial art.

In the afternoon we stroll around Barranco, Lima’s bohemian district, where we’ll visit a beautiful early-republican house where MATE, a cultural institution specializing in the work of the photographer Mario Testino, is located. Here we’ll find the most extensive collection of photographs by this renowned artist. Our next stop is the Lucia de la Puente art gallery, an open space for both new and established artists.

CUSCO, political and religious capital of the Inca Empire, is the oldest inhabited city in the Western hemisphere.
We will visit the San Pedro market, a place that will allow an understanding of how life is for modern-day Cusqueños, Sacsayhuaman, an impressive archaeological structure, and the Almudena cemetery, built in 1845, where we will learn how 21st century Andeans deal with death through a mix of Catholic and native religious beliefs.

We will discover Cusco Cathedral, the most important religious monument in Cusco’s historic city center. It houses an impressive collection of art, which narrates the city’s history from the Spanish conquest to the middle of the colonial period. Here we will find clear examples of religious syncretism, combining Christian and indigenous iconography.

We will travel through the mythical Sacred Valley from end to end, enjoying a close encounter with nature, history and culture. We will visit several towns that still keep their ancestral traditions alive.

Our first stop is Nilda Callañaupa´s Center for Traditional Textiles. A child prodigy and now a world-renowned master weaver, Nilda is the keeper of her people´s millenary weaving techniques, a tradition she preserves through a project co-funded by National Geographic.
Wayra ranch embodies the very essence of the Sacred Valley. Here we will have lunch while enjoying a show of Peruvian Paso Horses and a traditional dance, the Marinera.

After getting set up at the hotel, we will be part of an ancestral ceremony, the “Tribute to the Mother Earth” – in Andean cosmo-vision, this ceremony is an act of reciprocity towards Pachamama (Mother Earth), a deity associated with fertility. A “pacco” or Andean priest, who acts as a link between the spiritual and earthly worlds, conducts the ceremony.

We will also discover the Maras salt mines, which have been exploited since Incan times, as well as Moray, which is believed to have served as an agricultural laboratory. As we visit these places, we will understand the broad scope of engineering knowledge possessed by ancient Peruvians.

Lunch in Casa Hacienda Huayoccari, an estate built in the 17th century, where we will find the family´s collection of Peruvian art.
One of the most important sites in the Urubamba Sacred Valley is Ollantaytambo, the only town in the area to still maintain the Inca system of urban planning. As we return to our hotel we will stop at a local “chichería”, small locales where “chicha”, or corn beer, is prepared and sold.

A bit over a century ago Hiram Bingham made the scientific discovery of Machu Picchu, a site he though to be the lost city of the Incas. Accompanied by an expert guide, we will learn about its meaning and place within the Inca Empire. The beauty and complexity of the architecture, the spectacular natural landscapes, and the energy contained within its structures will for sure take your breath away.

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