Inca Express – Cusco – Puno
The bus journey with the so-called Inca Express over 390 km from Cusco to Puno (or vice versa) starts early in the morning.
The Inca Express makes its first stop after less than an hour in the small village of Andahuayllilas. Its church San Pedro de Andahuaylillas from the early 17th century (1570 – 1629) is often called the Sistine Chapel of South America. Behind the largely unpretentious exterior a true baroque orgy awaits the visitor as well as a beautiful, painted Artesonado wooden ceiling in the so-called Mudejar style. Both were threatened by decay. Especially the ceiling was in a precarious condition, caused by leaks in the roof, wood pests and earthquake damage.
A lack of funds had repeatedly prevented urgently needed restoration work. In April 2009, with the support of the World Monument Fund, specialists from Cusco began with conservation measures that were completed in 2012.
Soon thereafter Urcos is reached, a small agricultural community, where barter trade is still practiced on the Sunday market.
After 218 km the next stop is in Raqchi, whose attraction is the Temple of Wiracocha. Legend has it that it was here where the son of Inca Yahuar Huaca met the god who warned him of the danger his father was facing in Cusco from the Chancas. The son gathered an army around him, went against the Chancas and saved his father. In gratitude, he had a temple built for Wiracocha in Raqchi.
After lunch the journey continues in Sicuani, where the landscape becomes increasingly barren and soon the highest point of the route is reached with the La Raya Pass (4338m).
Finally the last stop before Puno is Pukara, which is known for its ‘toritos’ – painted ceramic animals. The programme includes a visit to the ‘Museo Lítico de Pucara’, which exhibits mainly stone tools from the formative period (around 1000 BC) from the nearby archaeological site.
The arrival of the Inca Express in Puno is expected at 16.30h.