40 minutes by road from Cusco is Pikillacta - a huge sprawling site that represents a rare example of of a pre-Inca city in the Cusco region. It is attributed to the Wari culture, which emerged in the central highlands near present-day Ayacucho, flourished around 1000 AD, and may ultimately have been overwhelmed by the Incas.

Continuing on, you reach Andahuaylillas village, surrounded by mountains and the Vilcanota river - known as the Urubamba river in the lower sections. The undoubted highlight here is the visit to the famous colonial church known as the "Sistine Chapel of the Americas" and in whose interior you will be astounded by the ornate gilded decorations and magnificent mural paintings. It was built by Jesuits in the 16th century and has a ceiling in the traditional Mudéjar style.

The third part of the excursion is Tipon, a National Archaeological Park located to the east of Cusco in the Sacred Valley, covering a territory of about 2,200 acres. Tipon is generally lesser-visited than many of the other Inca sites of the region and evidences traditional terracing and water channels, used for irrigation in agriculture.

Some of our favourite places to visit and things to do in and around Cusco
What to do in and around Cusco

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