Cusco & Inca Sacred Valley
Once called the "Navel of the World" by its Inca rulers, Cusco remains today a city that blends colonial Spanish charm with older, more austere remnants of pre-Columbian glory. One can see the foundations of Inca structures on many of its city streets today.
Located 350 miles SE of Lima in the Andes Mountains at 11,024 feet elevation, Cusco the "Archaeological Capital of South America" that was once the capital of a vast Inca empire and was also known as "the City of the Sun".
Major earthquakes struck Cusco in 1650 and 1950, destroying many of the colonial and republican buildings. Only the original Inca structures remained intact...a monument to works bordering on eternity.
A journey across the Andes mountains from Cusco leads to the Amazon rainforest of Manu. Amidst spectacular forest and incredible scenery, the density and diversity of animal and plant species reach a peak in the extreme western Amazon, near the foot of the Andes, in what is called the Manu Wilderness.