LOOK TO THE STARS
Join us on a fascinating adventure during the autumn or spring equinox in Cusco to study the sacred sites of ancient Andean civilizations and their architectural alignment with the constellations that transformed them into living stone calendars. This journey of breathtaking vistas, exciting excursions, visits to unique archaeological sites, and lectures led by experts in the field will give you an in-depth understanding of Andean archaeoastronomy as a foundation for the history, mythology, symbology, and architecture of the Incas.
Two exclusive departure dates in 2020: March 14th and September 17th
Journey leader: Andres Adasme, Archaeoastronomer and MLP Director of New Program Development.
Your journey begins in Cusco with an introduction to this magical city, the historical center of the Inca Empire.
- Arrival in Cusco and hotel check-in
- Lunch at leisure
- Afternoon walking tour of Cusco: ancient temples, historical streets, and more
- Early evening lecture: Andean Cosmology—Delve into the Mythology and Use of Symbology in this Diverse Andean Region - led by Andres Adasme, MLP Archaeoastronomer
- Welcome dinner at El Mercado
Overnight: El Mercado - Cusco
Connect the dots between your new understanding of Inca/Andean philosophy and the architectural elements in the sacred sites that you will visit throughout the journey.
- Morning excursion on the outskirts of the city to visit Sacsayhuaman, considered the most revered Inca site in Cusco, and the Bohic-Ruiz ‘Chinkana’ archaeological excavation area
- Lunch at Pachapapa - Cusco
- Early afternoon visit to the Koricancha, the sacred ‘golden temple’ of the Incas in the center of Cusco, and the site of significant archaeological excavations that have confirmed the correlation between Incan architectural planning and the sun, moon, and stars.
- Visit to the Cusco planetarium and lecture: Why the Incas Looked to the Sky—an Introduction into Andean Astronomy and the Notable Constellations that Defined Inca Civilization - led by Erwin Salazar, planetarium director
- Dinner at Incanto - Cusco
Overnight: El Mercado - Cusco
Your journey continues on a mountaintop in the Sacred Valley with a visit to the town of Viacha, followed by a downhill hike to the Pisaq archaeological site for an exploration of the fascinating ceremonial, agricultural, and residential architectural features that make it one of the most comprehensive sites in the region.
- Morning visit to Viacha
- Downhill hike from Viacha to explore the Pisaq archaeological site
- Optional drive and visit to the town of Pisaq
- Scenic drive to Lamay Lodge
- Traditional Pachamanca late lunch at the lodge and afternoon at leisure to relax in the Lamay gardens and outdoor hot tub
- Early evening lecture before dinner: Ancient Cusco and the Bohic Ruz Explorations—the Symbology and Intentions Behind the Design of Ancient Cusco and Alignment of the Sacred Temples on the Planetary Axis - led by Andres Adasme
Overnight: Lamay Lodge (9,721’/2,963m)
Begin your day exploring Ancasmarca in the Calca region, once the most important grainery and storage site for food and other goods on the Antisuyu Trail from Cusco to the jungle, followed by a scenic drive to the Lares town of Choquecancha for lunch alongside members of this remote Andean community. Afterwards, embark on a thrilling (optional) hike that follows the footsteps of the Incas along part of the original ‘Qapaq Ñan’ (Inca trail network), also known as the ‘Road to Paititi’, the legendary lost ‘city of gold’.
- Scenic drive from Lamay to Ancasmarca
- Guided exploration of the Ancasmarca archaeological site
- Lunch in Choquecancha
- Optional afternoon hike from the trailhead in Choquecancha to Jaukani
Overnight: Huacahuasi Lodge (12,599’/3,840m)
Along with the importance of the stars in Inca culture and mythology, so too was their connection to the ‘apus’, or earth gods, especially Pachamama (Mother Earth). Today you will have the opportunity to participate in a traditional Pachamama gratitude ceremony alongside members of the remote Marcacocha community, followed by visits to two significant archaeological sites during your journey back to the Sacred Valley.
- Scenic morning drive to Marcacocha through the highland lagoon region surrounded by breathtaking mountain peaks
- Pachamama ceremony in Marcacocha
- Drive to the pre-Inca Pumamarka archaeological site for lunch and guided exploration
- Continue on to Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley for an optional visit to Quellorakay, an original royal Inca residence
- Evening lecture at hotel : The Archaeoastronomical Design of Ollantaytambo and Pakaritampu - led by Andres Adasme
- Dinner at hotel
Overnight: Kuychi Rumi Lodge - Sacred Valley
The pyramid of Pakaritampu is arguably the most significant Inca structure related to the equinoxes and solstices. Today you will witness the effect of the equinox sunrise over the pyramid, followed by an exploration of the fascinating and enigmatic structures of the Ollantaytambo archaeological compound.
- Uphill hike at dawn to explore the Pakaritampu Pyramid, followed by a comprehensive tour of the Ollantaytambo fortress
- Lunch in the town of Ollantaytambo, the oldest ‘living city’ in South America
- Afternoon train to Aguas Calientes at the base of Machu Picchu
- Early evening lecture: Machu Picchu—Unravel the Secrets of this Mysterious Citadel- led by Andres Adasme
- Dinner at hotel
Overnight: Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel - Aguas Calientes
Your archaeoastronomy journey culminates today with an exploration of Machu Picchu. Delve further into its history, purpose, and subsequent discovery after hundreds of years, and learn why this ‘jewel of the Inca Empire’ is the basis for the Andean people’s profound connection to the cosmos.
- Early morning shuttle bus ride to Machu Picchu (approximately 20 mins)
- Hike to the Sun Gate and visit to the Inca Bridge
- Lunch at Sanctuary Lodge
- Guided exploration of the citadel
- Afternoon train ride to Ollantaytambo followed by a scenic sunset drive back to Cusco
- 7D/6N round-trip itinerary starting in Cusco
- Rate is per person based on shared accommodations
- Single traveler accommodations: subject to a 50% supplemental fee
- Single traveler willing to share: subject to a 25% supplemental fee; in the event that the roommate of a guest willing to share cancels fewer than 60 days prior to departure, the remaining guest will not be charged the supplemental fee.
- A non-refundable deposit of $500 USD is required to confirm a reservation.
- We recommend arriving in Cusco 1-2 days prior to your departure for altitude acclimatization; please ask your MLP travel specialist for help with booking additional accommodations.
- Cancellation policy:
- 30 days prior to departure date: 50% refund
- Fewer than 30 days prior to departure: No refund
- All transportation during the programmed itinerary
- All lodging during the programmed itinerary
- All meals except (Breakfast and Lunch on Day 1 and Dinner on Day 7); at MLP lodges, this includes soft drinks and a house selection of beer, wine, and spirits.*
- Service of a bilingual guide; tours of archaeological sites are led in English
- Entrance fees and permits to points of interest and archaeological sites
- Guided visit to Machu Picchu
- Gratuities for MLP staff at the lodges and in the field**; gratuities for guides are not included and are at your discretion. In general, we suggest $10-$20 USD/day (per person) for lead guides and $5-$10 USD/day (per person) for assistant guides.
*In consideration of the adventurous nature of the MLP experience, the risks associated with alcohol consumption, and the importance of maintaining positive group dynamics, we encourage guests to enjoy alcoholic beverages in moderation. In accordance with company policy, MLP guides and/or other company/lodge representatives may modify or suspend a guest’s access to alcohol and/or trip partially or entirely if the guest’s health or safety may be at risk due to excessive alcohol consumption.
**Gratuities at MLP affiliate hotels (El Mercado, Kuychi Rumi, and Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel) are not included.