If you’ve been following our Puno travel guide, you must already know about the different archeological sites spreaded across the region. In case you haven’t, here we’ll show you one of the easiest ways to visit these ancient locations on the way to Cusco.
Our country has an extensive historical heritage that can be traced back to thousands of years ago, starting with Caral - the oldest civilizations of the Americas. However, the southern Andean region in our country was the birthplace to many civilizations including the Incas.
Likewise, these cultural identities made their way across the Peruvian highlands, leaving a legacy that has prevailed until the current date, while even influencing the development of the succeeding societies.
There’s so much more to know about Puno that - unfortunately - not many travel operators talk about. We want you to have all the options so you can explore Peru in a more intimate way. For that reason, our team has created these travel guides and itineraries to help you organize your trip.
Ruta del Sol is the best way to get to Cusco from Puno since it takes you through a back in time journey across the most beautiful natural sceneries of the region. Continue reading and learn everything about it!
On the way from Puno to Cusco, you’ll get to experience different settlements belonging to different important times in our country. However, that’s not all you’ll get to see since the beautiful natural scenery of the region will leave you breathless.
You’ll find yourself in a small town called La Raya, located above 4,000 of elevation, where you’ll get to glance at the towering Chimboya snow-capped mountain. Likewise, Ruta del Sol will take you to an authentic city within the Andean highlands called Sicuani. The adventure continues through several attractions such as:
1. Archeological Site of Pucara
Also known as Kalisaya, it is a ceremonial and administrative center located a few kilometers from the city of Puno, near the Pucara town. The site is a pre-Inca structure built by the ancient Pucara culture, which dates back to 400 B.C. and 200 B.C.
Unfortunately, there is not much information about the site besides what can be deducted by its architectural style. Likewise, Kalisaya is composed of two sectors, one with predominant ceremonial functions and another with a more rudimental structure that is believed to have served as a residential area.
In the area were found several sculptures and monoliths that seem to be objects with ceremonial purposes. Apparently, the Pucara civilization used to perform beheading rituals as performed in these art pieces, they also were dedicated to agriculture and other commercial activities. Find out more about it here.
2. Raqchi: The Wiracocha Temple
The Archeological Site of Raqchi is another sacred site of the Inca civilization since according to historians it held a great importance to the Andean cosmovision. It is believed that the site was the worship center of the God that “created the universe,” which is why it is commonly known as the Wiracocha Temple.
However, like most Inca structures, the site was destroyed by the Spanish conquerors to build the colonial Cusco. Nowadays, only a huge wall remains along the foundations of some pillars. The real purpose of the site remains a mystery, though some archeologists say that there was a close relationship between its use as a worship center and the production of ceramic and woven objects.
We encourage you to read this exclusive blog, If you wish to learn more about the impressive structure of Raqchi.
3. Andahuaylillas: San Pedro Church
Although there is no actual record about the construction of this religious building, it is believed that it was built in the late XVI century. It is one of the most important churches within the region of Cusco due to its impressive baroque-style architecture, thereby, it is considered the Sistine Chapel of America.
The San Pedro Apostol Church gathers a collection of colonial art, including murals used to educate the native Peruvians about the principles of the catholic religion during the colonization era. It also holds several paintings made by the Cusquenian School.
Apparently, the site was constructed on top of an Inca structure, which is currently unknown since there is no documentation of such. However, the famous church does maintain part of the Inca foundations of the ancient structure.
On this opportunity, you’ll get to experience the best sites within Ruta del Sol. We want you to feel comfortable, so we have prepared an exclusive itinerary where you’ll get to visit each site calmly so you can fully appreciate everything.
06:20h - 06:30h | Pick up at the hotel - Transfer to bus terminal
Here is when your adventure starts! Our team will pick you up from the hotel and take you to the bus terminal, where you’ll have a briefing about the activities to cover during the day.
08:15h - 09:15h | Pucara Archeological Site
Following the itinerary, the so-called Kalisaya ruins await to be discovered! The complex was built by the ancient Pucara civilization, which preceded the Incas and still left a mark in the vast Peruvian highlands.
09:15h - 10:45h | La Raya Viewpoint
Now it’s time to appreciate the exuberant nature of the region. La Raya is located at 4,335 meters above sea level and it offers an outstanding view of the valley and the imposing Chimboya snow-capped mountain. Here you’ll also find an authentic artisan market with the best options for souvenirs!
11:15h - 12:15h | Buffet lunch at Sicuani
After a morning full of history and adventure, you’d surely be hungry! Sicuani is a small town located on the way to Cusco, where you’ll have a buffet lunch and a well-deserved rest before heading out to your next stop.
12:45h - 13:45h | Raqchi Archeological Site
The so-called Temple of Wiracocha is one of the most impressive structures along the route. It had a significant meaning to the Inca people and occupied a large territory with walls that reached over 10 meters of height.
13:45h - 14:15h | Raqchi to Andahuaylillas
Finishing the tour in San Pedro Church, you’ll be headed to Raqchi, an important Inca settlement a few hours away from Cusco.
14:15h - 16:45h | Andahuaylillas & San Pedro Church
The last stop of your excursion is in Andahuaylillas, a small town full of history and an impressive colonial architecture present in its streets. The San Pedro Church is the main attraction here, a beautiful church structured with a unique baroque architecture and beautiful religious paintings and murals.
17:00h - 17:15h | Arrival in Cusco - Transfer to hotel
After a day of adventure, now it’s time to continue to our last destination. The city of Cusco, the Imperial City of the Incas, will receive you with open arms! Our team will be waiting for you at the bust terminal to take you to your accommodation.
- One day before, our team will give you a briefing about your activities for the tour, including important information on what to wear and what to bring.
- This is a group service for about 40 people.
- The guide will speak in English and Spanish since it is going to be a bilingual group.
- You’ll have onboard service throughout the bust ride, everything is included in your travel package.
Route of the Sun is certainly one of the best ways to travel from Puno to Cusco, where a combination of history and natural wonders will leave you captivated and totally in love with the Peruvian highlands before reaching the so-called Capital of Folklore.
If you wish to experience this tour at its fullest, we have the perfect adventure for you. Keep in mind that you can organize your trip according to your interests, we are here to help you with any inquiry you may have, including assistance during your travel planning process.
The Ruta del Sol excursion is included in our Wonders of Peru travel package. However, if you want to include it in your customized travel itinerary, please contact us. Our local expert team will make sure to optimize your time and experience with a tailored-made travel itinerary for you.
- Duration: 11 hours approx.
- Entrance: All entrance fees are included in our travel packages.
- Included: Transport, entrance fees, english speaking guide, pick up at the hotel, buffet lunch.
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