All of us, groggy and tired, boarded the bus to Cusco before sunrise. This was a long day of driving, so we hit the road early so we could make a few stops to stretch our legs along the way. Our first stop was in a small town called Pucara, which our trip manager explained was a traditional small Peruvian town. We had about 10 minutes to explore the main square of the town and grab snacks, but my eye was drawn to the beautiful church overlooking the square, Templo Santa Isabel. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to go in, but the building was beautiful and imposing when compared to the rest of this small town.
After another few hours of driving, we stopped at the side of the road and were treated to a beautiful scenic vista. There was a lake nestled in the mountains & another snow covered mountain in the distance. It was a beautiful site to see & again reminded me how diverse the country of Peru is.
After another few hours, we grabbed lunch and stopped at a local hotel which had a courtyard filled with alpacas, llamas & vicunas! We were able to get up close to them, take a lot of pictures, feed them & pet them.
After a much needed lunch break, we continued onto Raqch’i which was a very important city during the Incan Empire, but may have been built even prior to the Incans came to power. The city was believed to be built to honor Wiracocha, the god of the world according to the Andeans, during the 15th century. The most famous part of the ruins is the Temple of Wiracocha which was a monumental feat to construct at the time at nearly 300 feet long, 80 feet wide & two stories high.
The site is also believed to have sacred water, so there were a significant amount of manmade fountains and water features throughout the ruins.
After our tour of Raqch’i concluded, we boarded our bus to head to Cusco!