CUSCO - INTRODUCTION
Our Spanish School is located in the centre of Cusco, cultural heart of the Peruvian Andes. Cusco is situated at 3.400 meter above sea level, surrounded by mountains and valleys. It has a population of 300,000 inhabitants - most of them indigenous - and has much beauty to offer: the panorama of the Andes, famous Inca ruins and the magical town of Machu Picchu.
Information about Peru
Everyone who visits Peru inevitably comes to Cusco, one of the most fascinating cities in the world. The city was founded around 1100 AD. According to the Inca creation myth, the sun sent his son, Manco Capac, and the Moon her daughter, Mama Occlo, to spread culture through the barbaric lands. They emerged from the waters of Lake Titicaca and began their journey in search of the place where they would found their kingdom. When they reached the site of present-day Cusco, Manco plunged his golden staff into the ground in order to test its suitability and it sank deep into the fertile soil. This was the sign they were looking for. They named this place Cusco, meaning "the navel of the world'.
After the conquest, the Spanish built their colonial churches and houses on top of the Inca foundations and this fascinating mix of architectural styles is still much in evidence. The city, the former capital of the Inca empire, has enough to hold the interest of even the most demanding of tourists: the convents, the churches, the museums, the Temple of the Sun, the Cathedral and the ruins in and around Cusco (Sacsahuaman, Kenko, Puca Pucara, Tambomachay). Almost every street has remains of Inca Walls, arches and doorways.
The Sacred Valley of the Incas and Machu Picchu
Just outside of Cusco lies the Sacred Valley of the Incas, with its picturesque villages and colourful traditional Indian markets. In the heart of this valley is Pisac, where our school offers the opportunity to study and get immersed in traditional, Peruvian life, far away from the tourist centres. Visit the beautiful market and superb ruins in Pisac, the well-preserved Inca town Ollantaytambo with its impressive fortress and the authentic market at Chincheros.
The Valley runs west all the way to Machu Picchu, Peru's best known archaeological site. This ancient citadel remains the most spectacular sight in all the Americas! For centuries it was buried in the jungle, until this lost Inca town was discovered in 1911. It's the combination of Inca ruins, unforgettable views, magnificent mountains, exotic vegetation and extraordinary ecological variety, which make the Machu Picchu national park truly an experience!
Excursions and Trips
The four hour Spanish Program will give the students more than enough opportunity to enjoy sightseeing in and around Cusco. Also the other School locations, Urubamba and Tambopata provide endless opportunities for exploring the region.
For more information on excursions and trips, please visit the section Excursions and Activities.
The Tambopata Biosphere is a protected area which still retains healthy populations of jaguar, tapir, anteater, black caiman, giant otter and 13 species of monkey. Its low human population and their continued use of traditional hunting techniques...