Blog | Sumaq Hotel Machu Picchu (English)

IMG_0214Exploring the Inka Trail safely is the most impressive and unforgettable way of reaching Machu Picchu. This is the very same trail that was used by the Inkas over 500 years ago! The incredible trekking along the Inka Trail goes through gravel roads and galleries that lead to the Urubamba River and all the way to the peak of the Andes.

We must be prepared before facing this 43km trekking experience! We will now look at the necessary equipment to explore the Inka Trail, which clothes to take, how much food to carry on your backpack and which is the best time to do it.

Equipment for trekking the Inka Trail

Since this is a 4-day trekking experience, it is key to plan which equipment and clothes and how much food to take.

  • Abackpack or big bag for personal equipment.
  • A small backpack, a sleeping bag and a thermal mat.
  • A tent if the trail is to be done independently.
  • Bottled water, water purifying tablets, flashlights, matchsticks and bags to carry any trash.
  • Sunglasses, hat, sunscreen, mosquito repellent, first aid kit, swimwear and toiletries.

Which clothes to take for the Inka Trail

It is advisable to take at least two changes of winter clothes, as well as a short and a few short-sleeved shirts to wear during the day. For the nighttime you will need a warm hat, scarf, socks, gloves and a thick mid-weight goose coat (or similar) as well as a raincoat in case it rains. Trekking shoes or boots and wool socks.

How much food to take to explore the Inka Trail

You will need to take food for the 4 days of the journey.

Which is the best time to explore the Inka Trail

The best time to explore the Inka Trail is from May to October. The rest of the year there are less tourists due to the humid, cold and constantly rainy climate. Some parts of the trail become too slippery and dangerous.

It is advisable to acclimatize in Cusco, one or two days prior to starting the trail. For a good acclimatization it is essential to have a good rest on the first day, eat little and drink lots of liquids, especially coca mate, which is known for its healing and digestive properties.

Is it safe to explore the Inka Trail on your own?

Most tourists that decide to explore the Inka Trail do so through a travel agency or an adventure tourism company. These companies offer all the necessary conveniences for the expedition, such as cooks, porters and professional guides

editada wawa

The best way to become involved in the culture of Cusco is to understand and experience some of the frequent religious celebrations held in the city and throughout the region. Cusco is known as one of the cities with the most celebrations linking the past and the present.

Ancient Inca traditions, together with more modern ones established by the Spanish conquerors during colonial times, make Cusco’s celebrations unique.

Travelers can find many celebrations in Cusco on certain dates. Among the most important of these are Inti Raymi (June 24), Corpus Christi (May-June), Santurantikuy (December 24), All Souls’ Day (November 1?) and, lastly, All Saints’ Day (November 2?). All Saints’ Day (November 1) and, lastly, All Souls’ Day (November 2)*

November 1 – All Saints’ Day Celebration in Cusco

On this day, families gather together and assemble an altar with their deceased loved ones’ favorite foods and beverages. According to tradition, on November 1 at noon, the deceased return from the beyond to visit their relatives and to see if they are still remembered in the world of the living.

Hope in the afterlife is what makes relatives of the dead continue their tradition of gathering every year to celebrate All Saints’ Day.

November 2 – All Souls’ Day in Cusco

This is the day when cemeteries in Cusco and throughout the region are filled with relatives and friends of those who are no longer living.

Throughout All Souls’ Day, visitors to the cemeteries of Cusco bring flowers, food, beverages, and even clothes to the graves in memory of the deceased.

In Cusco, groups of relatives of the deceased can be seen eating and drinking near the graves of their loved ones to honor them on All Souls’ Day.

Halloween in Cusco

Cultural syncretism arose not only in colonial times; it continues to be seen in the noteworthy influence of other cultures. As a cosmopolitan tourist hub, the city of Cusco has not escaped this influence.

These days, on October 31, one can see children and teenagers in costumes celebrating Halloween on the streets of Cusco. Every year, the city of Cusco gets into the Halloween spirit!

Visiting the city at this time of year is worthwhile and very entertaining. Once the Halloween celebrations are over in Cusco, the city’s residents return home to continue with their traditions on November 1 and 2.

All Saints’ Day 1 de noviembre

All Souls’ Day 2 de noviembre

intiwata foto

To this day, one of the most enigmatic features  within the Lost City of Machu Picchu is the Intiwatana Sundial. In the Quechua language of the ancient Incas, Intiwatana loosely means “ Where the sun is tied down”. It´s no wonder that this monolithic structure truly lives up to its name.

The Intiwatana structure has a broad base, from which a short, four faced small pillar protrudes upwards. The pillar itself is no taller than a foot, and the whole area is barely 5 feet tall. What makes it stand out is the fact this Inca sundial was actually carved out of one solid piece of granite. Having four sides that are perfectly aligned to the four cardinal  points, the Intiwatana was used in religious  ceremonies to track the path of the sun, as well as predicting solstices and equinoxes.

It´s worthy to note that Inca cosmology was deeply involved with dealing with the Mother Earth, Father Sun, the wind and the water. Thus, being synced with these elements was crucial in their beliefs, since  their relationship with nature was the basis of their success. By knowing the exact movement of the sun and being able to predict climate conditions, they could easily harness the power  of nature in order to sow better crops,and maintain a perfect balance throughout the Empire.

In every  major Inca city, it is believed there was an Intiwatana. The most famous one remains in Machu Picchu. The staff at Sumaq Hotel is ready to provide you with knowledgeable guides, who possess insider information about this fascinating Inca sundial. Since we´re sure you won´t hesitate in taking on the adventure of discovering  the ancient wisdom of the Incas through their most distinctive landmarks, our in-house specialists at Sumaq Hotel will do everything within our means to provide  you with that tailor –made visit  you´ve been dreaming of us.

templo el condor  Mapi
In the Southeast of Machu Picchu there is a marvelous rock structure with the shape of a condor with its wings fully extended. It may had been a sacred temple or the area where the urban prisons were.

The Temple of Condor forms a type of labyrinth with a rock-sculpted Andean Condor in the middle of it. It has its wings extended as if it were about to land.

The East sector of the citadel is where the major constructions of Incas’ civilization are. The buildings are pointing to the sun in order to make the stars measurements possible. The Temple of Condor is located right here, as well as the Temple of Sun, the Temple of the Three Windows, the Sacred Rock and the Aqllawasi. In the South of the Temple of Condor there is a residential area that was devoted to the upper class. This area communicated with the temple through a series of courtyards.

Many expert historians believe to have explained the location of the Temple of Condor after having discovered the Condor’s rock structure. They estimate this was the place where the Inca civilization worshiped their gods and celebrated their rituals.

What was the Temple of Condor purpose?

There are several theories about the social function of the Temple of Condor. One of these points out the religious aspect: the Condor was a worshiped sacred bird for all the Andean people.

The second theory tries to demonstrate that in this particular area the Machu Picchu prisons were located, in which the prisoners were sacrificed as an offering to the condors. The cells are located in the underground room of the Condor’s Temple.

It is indisputable that this was a place specifically built for worshiping the “Apu Kuntur” (condor), which was one of the three sacred animals in the Inca culture, as well as the puma (mountain lion) and the serpent.  Thus its function was strictly religious. The condor was and still is a very special deity in the Andes, but the ceremonies that were carried out in its honor during the Inca Empire are unknown.

35-a-pachamama3Among the many rituals that con constitute the spiritual tourism offered by Peru, the Andean Wedding and the Payment to the Earth ritual appear among the most important ones.

Payment to the Earth ceremony

The Payment to the Earth is an ancient ceremony offered to the “Pachamama” (Mother Earth) that continues to be celebrated today by actual “shamans” of the Q’ero community in Peru.  This community is formed by the direct heirs of the Incas and is located in the mountains that surround the city of Cuzco.

During the Payment to the Earth the community prepares a ceremonial space where the “despacho” is prepared. The “despacho” is a combination of stones coming from the Sacred Mountains, tied together and wrapped in cloth. The stones are disposed in a way in which they hold energetic relations between each other.

The “despacho” is the essential offering made to the Pachamama. It is composed by many elements such as different types of food, beverages, stones, etc. But the most important gift included in it is the “kintú”: a mixture of three coca leaves.

The Andean Wedding in Cuzco                                      

The Andean Wedding establishes close ties with nature aiming to achieve its blessing. The Andean Union is performed in specific spots in Cuzco through a traditional countryside ritual.

For a long time the ancient people have maintained the sacred ritual of the Andean Wedding inherited from their ancestors. This represents a perfect bond between a man and a woman that allows them to prosper and achieve complete happiness with the protective blessings of the Mother Earth.

Spiritual Tourism in Machu Picchu

The Sumaq Hotel offers you the chance to celebrate these rituals (Payment to the Earth and Andean Wedding) in.

The Payment to the Earth ceremony organized by our hotel provides the possibility to take part in this old Andean ritual accompanied by an actual Shaman of Peru. Our hosts will enjoy a profound emotional experience of spiritual healing.

The Sumaq Hotel Machu Picchu also counts with the Andean Wedding ceremony or “Arac Masin”. This symbolic ritual is perfect for those single or married couples who wish to renew their vows. It is a unique private experience in the middle of the incredible nature that surrounds Machu Picchu.


The Inti Raymi was the most important celebration in the Inca calendar. Back in those days it used to point out the beginning of the year, and it was held in honour of the Sun God, to whom the Incas asked for abundance in their harvest for the starting season. Today it is celebrated every 24th of June and it represents a significant tradition for the city of Cuzco.

Inti Raymi during the Inca Empire

The Inti Raymi is a celebration taking place every 24th of June to worship the Sun God. Formerly it was the most majestic festivity of the now lost Inca Empire.

This ceremony was the Inca equivalent to what is now our New Year’s Eve. This solar celebration was actually a ritual through which the New Year was inaugurated and the past year was put to an official end. This corresponded to the beginning of the new agricultural cycle.

Inti Raymi nowadays

Cuzco is ready for this party many days before the actual 24th of June, and when the day finally comes, people from all over the city form a crowd around the terrace in front of the Saksaywaman fort.

The most typical music takes over the Plaza de Armas square of Cuzco and many young bands exhibit proudly the inherited dances from their ancestors.

Surrounded by the music, four actors representing the four areas in the Inca Empire walk by showing the typical clothes. Finally an actor appears on the scene; he represents the ancient Inca governor and is carried over a litter made of gold and silver, accompanied by an entourage symbolizing the nobles and senior officials of the Empire.

The staging is fantastic and manages to stay realistic. The show represents a very important part of the history of Peru and gives a little something extra to the Inti Raymi ceremony.

Where does the Inti Raymi take place?

The Inti Raymi takes place in the Plaza de Armas square in Cusco, although the main stage is the Saksaywaman Fort, located in the northern area of the city, 3650 meters above sea level.

How to get to Saksaywaman?

It is a 10 minute ride from the road heading to Saksaywaman. Since it is one of the most tourist points in Cuzco it is very easy to find. Another easy way to get there is simply to take the public bus towards Saksaywamanand stop along with the many tourists.

The Inti Raymi has become the most important festivity in Cuzco. It has transcended the Peruvian frontiers and it is now an excuse for many foreign visitors to visit the city during this time of the year.

IMG_2765 cirsto blanco

Located only 5km. away from Cuzco, this impressive statue opens its arms as if it were protecting the city. Not only the white Christ of Cuzco but also the place where it is raised have mysteries and legends of the old Inca times waiting to be revealed.

Cuzco’s White Christ: the best panoramic view of Cuzco.

Ten minutes away by car, on top of the Pukamogo hill (meaning “red hill” in Quechua) raises this amazing monument. The piece was donated in 1945 by the local Israeli-Palestinian community. It is an astonishing spot from where to have the best panoramic view of Cuzco.

It was built by the local sculptor Francisco Olazo Allende, author of many renowned pieces in the city such as the Sculptures of the Santa Clara’s Arch located in the San Francisco square.

The White Christ was actually constructed by local workers in a very traditional handmade style, it was a long process until it got the characteristic white shining color that has nowadays. The head of the statue was modeled first, then the hands and finally the face of Christ.

Legend tells that the different parts of the statue were made in the Siete Angelitos street in the neighborhood of San Blas, they were made out of granite covered with plaster and marble.

The legend of the Cuzco’s White Christ and the Pukamoqo hill

The Pukamoqo hill has a legend on its own. Rumor has it that in the times of the Incas it was a sacred place because this hill guards in its soil all the lands of the Tawantinsuyo Empire. This means that there is soil brought from Colombia, Ecuador, the north and south of Peru, as well as Chile, Bolivia and Tucumán (Argentina).

During the night the statue is completely lightened and from down the hill you can watch it contrasted with the dark background of the night. This makes it looks as if it were floating over the city. It is a most beautiful picture that every tourist will surely remember.

How to arrive to the White Christ of Cuzco

You can get there taking the road that goes to Saksaywaman. It is a 10 minute ride from Cusco. Another easy way is to take the public bus also heading to Saksaywamanand stop along with all the tourists.

  • Address: Cerro Pukamoqo, Cuzco.
  • Opening hours: The piece is located in the open air and has free access.
  • Ticket price: Free.


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