Tags Posts tagged with "cusco"


In the village of Challabamba, a 2,5 hour drive from Cusco, live around 30 local families without a home. There was a big collection organised with urgent goods for these families and the students at our school helped out as well. The Cusco fire brigade made sure all the goods arrived safetly at the village.

A big thank you to all our students in Cusco for their generosity!

Did you know… that the largest indigenous festival in the Americas, Quyllur Rit’i takes place this Sunday the 27th until Wednesday the 30th of May. The centuries-old festival celebrates the stars, the start of the harvest season, honors Jesus Christ, and also honors the local glacier, which is held to be sacred.

The festival gathers more than 10,000 pilgrims each year. Each pilgrim carries with him an image of Christ to the sanctuary, and there they honor the Lord of Quyllur Rit’i in one of the greatest religious activities that takes place in Peru. This celebration unites Catholic rites with indigenous history in the most remote Andean valley.

Dancers in multi-layered skirts and musicians with drums and flutes perform. Ukukus (men dressed as mythical half-man, half-bear creatures) used to cut blocks of ice from the glacier to share with the community, believing the melted water had healing powers, but have now stopped because of a decline in the size of the glaciers because of warming trends.

The Sinakara Valley is a 2,5 drive from our Spanish language school in Cusco. There are trekking companies in Cusco to offer you the opportunity to do a 4 day Qollor Riti Pilgrimage.

Carnival is known all over the world as an annual feast filled with color and tradition. It is celebrated by everyone…children, youth and adults join in the play.

Indeed in Cusco it is the raining season, but it doesn’t stop the people to celebrate it and have fun in the streets.

The day of the compadres opens the festivities.  On this special day the compadres visit each other to bring a warm greeting.  They all get together to share a lunch and celebrate their ties.

Following tradition, from early in the morning, you can discover rag dolls hanging on light posts.  These dolls represent the compadres.  The same custom is celebrated on the day of Comadres, the following Thursday.

Then…comes the main day of Carnival.  This feast takes place the first Sunday after Comadres Day.

From the early morning the streets of Cuzco is full of people celebrating.  They prepare buckets of water and lots of water balloons ready to soak anyone who crosses their path. They also have trees decorated with gifts, where the couples and singles can dance and can join to cut the tree.

The celebration is held amidst laughter, water, colored talcum powder, foams, and of course a lot of noise and pleasure.

Our students at Linguaschools Cusco went to visit the Coca Museum.

This wonderful little museum, in San Blas, traces the uses of the coca leaf, from sacred ritual to its more insidious incarnations.

Just before I started working with linguaschools, I went to our school in Cusco, one of the highest city’s in the world located in southeastern Peru, to improve my Spanish. I chose to stay with a host family to emerge myself even more in the language and to make me feel at home far away from home.

After a nice welcoming meal with my new Peruvian family,  I went to bed and heard a little squeaking noise coming from the patio (terrace). I was so tired from my journey that I fell asleep without thinking about what it could be. But, after a couple of nights I realises the squeaking noise was there every evening. So I decided to ask my host mum what this noise was. She told me it where little guinea pigs (cuy) and they where not there to cuddle with. I will never forget the day when I learned about this typical tradition in Peru…

Most people see guinea pigs as fluffy sweet pets, but in Peru guinea pigs are a delicacy. The Incas have eaten them for centuries, but in the past it was only farmers in the Andes eating them. When the farmers migrated to Lima they carried on, and little by little other Peruvians from different backgrounds started to get a taste for it.

Traditionally guinea pig is served with teeth and claws, chopped up and deep fried a bit like chicken on the local streets, a method that put many people off. But there are chefs searching for a more user-friendly recipe. They take out all the bones and cook it the whole night, then they cook it.

I’m always open to try new things even though this was a bit out of my comfort zone. But, I ate a guinea pig and it was ok, a bit to much of the little bones, a bit like chicken and never again.

To end this post with a smile on your face…did you know about the Guinea Pig Festival in Peru? This is a once a year celebration where people dress up their little friends. Prizes are awarded for “best dressed guinea pig” and “biggest guinea pig”. After the dress parade, they are pampered and fed a delicious meal fit for a king!



Linguaschools Cusco offers the unique opportunity to study and learn the Spanish language while immersed in Latin American culture. Our experienced teachers utilize the most innovative pedagogic and emphasize interactive way to study Spanish, a proven methodology for foreign language learning.

Our Spanish language school in Cusco, Peru, the former capital of the legendary Inca Empire in Peru is very conveniently located. From group classes to individual lessons, from the rain forest to the Sacred Valley of the Incas, Linguaschools offers you the flexibility to study how and where YOU want. We understand that life is more than sitting in a classroom, so we have worked hard to offer you a plethora of choices to allow you to make the most of your time in South America. Our school also offers additional free cultural classes, such as Salsa and Tango lessons, traditional music instruction, and cooking tutorials. These complementary courses make our school in Cusco a distinct educational destination in South America.

Cusco is very well connected and you can travel safely to the most important places of the ancient Inca Empire with ease: Puno and Lake Titicaca, the Peruvian Amazon, the beautiful colonial city of Arequipa, elegant Lima and the impressive “Lost City of the Incas”, the ruins of Machu Picchu. Within a few blocks of the Central Plaza, Cusco remains very much a city of indigenous people and the markets are filled with bright colors and local products

Breathtaking views of the Andes greet you from the school’s doorstep. The school is only one block away from the main square, the Plaza de Armas, in an independent building with offices, multimedia classrooms, an internet café, a small kitchen, a leisure space and a lovely sunny terrace. The building also incorporates the Student Residence.The school is located in stunning Cusco, the former capital of the legendary Inca Empire, close to the world famous lost city of the Incas, Machu Picchu. Our Spanish programs in Peru run in two locations: start with your Spanish lessons in the city of Cusco, and continue in the Spanish in Sacred Valley of the Incas or in the Amazon rainforest of Tambopata. The Inca civilization lectures are field trips and videos that enable you to learn more about this incredible civilization. You can study the origins of the Peruvian culture and the development they achieved in areas such as agriculture, medicine, ceramics and architecture. The highlight of this course is, undoubtedly, the ceremony offered by an Andean priest (shaman), at the famous Inca Ruins of Sacsahuaman, close to school. This is a homage to the earth and all natural elements that co-exist with the earth.



At Linguaschools, we are like a big family. Our students tend to spend a significant period of time with us – from a few weeks up to a few months – and so our staff gets to know the students well and the students get to know the staff well. In addition, the students become very close with one another. They spend every day studying Spanish together, eating together, and sharing experiences together. The sense of community at Linguaschools Cusco is very strong, and we invite you to become a part of it.

The culture program provides a comprehensive view of the cultural area you choose to study, but we also have a range of complementary culture activities that run every evening. All free activities give you the opportunity to learn Spanish in a fun and dynamic environment while you deepen your understanding of Latin American culture.

In Cusco, many of our students live on campus while others stay with guest families and spend the day at our school. Each morning, students begin the day at the breakfast table before hurrying off to morning classes. Lunchtime is quite a social event, as well. Tables are spread over the terrace in the sunshine, and students catch up with each other’s volunteer activities and classes.


Throughout the year, we partake in local festivals, and we love being part of these customs and traditions in South America. During special times of the year, such as Christmas and Easter, our school reaches out to the community and helps those less fortunate. Past efforts have included providing gifts to local children and making special chocolate items and bread with them.

Spanish courses

Linguaschools Cusco offers a range of Spanish courses for all ages and levels. Not only do we create customized Spanish instruction at the level and pace that best suits you, our school conducts its Spanish courses using interactive, clear and personal teaching methods.

We believe the success of our interactive method relies on the personal attention our teachers are able to give you. Therefore, all of our Spanish group courses are small and are formed according to students’ abilities. The first day of the Spanish course begins with an oral and written placement test so we can assess your level as accurately as possible. This allows us to place you with other students at the same level.


© Kenneth Moore

Cusco, Peru

Cusco is a city in southeastern Peru, near the Urubamba Valley of the Andes mountain range. It is the capital of the Cusco Region as well as the Cusco Province. The site was the historic capital of the Inca Empire from the 13th into the 16th century until the Spanish conquest. In 1983 Cusco was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. There are many impressive things to see and do in and around Cusco and it is such a great place to discover heritages of the old culture of Peru with its old Inca ruins. Here is a list of the most impressive ruins:

  • Machu Picchu: The most beautiful and impressive ancient Inca ruins in the world, Machu Pichu was rediscovered in 1911 by Hawaiian historian Hiram after it lay hidden for centuries above the Urubamba Valley. The “Lost City of the Incas” is invisible from below and completely self-contained, surrounded by agricultural terraces and watered by natural springs. Maccu Picchu is 75 km north-west from from Cusco were the capital of the Incas was situated. Since 1974 it has been an archeological national park and in 1983 it became UNESCO world heritage. In addition the ruins were listed in 2007 as part of the new seven wonders of ancient world.



  • Ollantaytambo: During the Inca Empire, Ollantaytambo was the royal estate of Emperor Pachacuti who conquered the region, built the town and a ceremonial center. At the time of the Spanish conquest of Peru it served as a stronghold for the Inca resistance. Nowadays the Inca ruins of Ollantaytambo is an important tourist attraction and one of the most common starting points for hike known as the Inca Trail. It’s known as the living town of the Inca’s in Peru due to the fact that it was literally built on Incan terracing and foundations. The Incan irrigation system still works and water runs through stone canals on the sides of streets. In short, Ollantaytambo is gorgeous. With ruins not only peering down from their perches high on surrounding mountain sides, but also forming the very basis of the town center, Ollantaytambo is indeed as close as you can get to a living Incan town. You find the ruins 170 km north-west from Cusco.
© Jan Beck
© Jan Beck


  • Choquequirao: Seated on the border of Cuzco and Apurimac, Choquequirao (meaning Cradle of Gold), is located 3085 meter (10,120 feet) above sea level. The Inca ruins contain a staircase configuration, made up of 180 terraces. Built in a completely different style than Machu Picchu, Choquequirao is much larger in area. One can only travel to Choquequirao by foot or horseback, and as such, is visited much less often than Machu Picchu. Without benefit of wheels, the trek to Choquequirao from Cachora can take up to four days!


© Mark Rowland
© Mark Rowland


  • The ruins of Sacsayhuamán: The greatest and nearest to Cusco of the Inca ruins, Sacsayhuamán reveals some of the Incas’ most extraordinary architecture and monumental stonework. Usually referred to as a garrison or fortress — because it was constructed with forbidding, castlelike walls. It was more likely a religious temple, although most experts believe it also had military significance. The Inca emperor Pachacútec began the site’s construction in the mid-15th century, although it took nearly 100 years and many thousands of men to complete it. Massive blocks of limestone and other types of stone were brought from as far as 32km (20 miles) away.


Cusco seems to be full of Inca ruins – but there is much more! The old capital of the Inca Empire, offers also great options for trekking and other adventure sports such a rafting, hiking and mountain biking. Here you find 8 fun things to do in Cusco that aren’t Inca Ruins:


1) Take a walk in the typical neighborhood of San Blas.

Cusco’s most atmospheric and picturesque neighborhood, San Blas, a short but increasingly steep walk from the Plaza de Armas, is lined with artists’ studios and artisans’ workshops, and stuffed with tourist haunts  many of the best bars and restaurants and a surfeit of hostels. It’s a great area to wander around due to the fact that there are many interesting shops, galleries, restaurants and cafes. The neighborhood also affords some of the most spectacular panoramic vistas in the city. In the small plaza at the top and to the right of Cuesta San Blas is the little white Templo de San Blas, said to be the oldest parish church in Cusco. As the sun is going down the neighborhood of San Blas invites to relax with some snacks and a drink and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

2) Relax the park next to the Coricancha

Coricancha, originally named Inti Kancha or Inti Wasi (Quechua for “sun house”), was the most important temple in the Inca Empire, dedicated primarily to the Sun God. It was one of the most revered temples of the capital city of Cusco. The Coricancha (sometimes spelled Qoricancha) was the centerpiece of a vast astronomical observatory and calendric device for precisely calculating time movement. According to ancient stories the Inca took over an earlier sacred site at the center of the city, upon which they constructed their primary temple and astronomical observatory.

The temple is just 10 minutes walking down Avenida el Sol from the Plaza de Armas. Lots of local people take a break here during sunny days. It is a beautiful spot to catch some sun and chill out, maybe have an ice-cream. So plunge into a cultural time travel, relax and sunbath at one of the most important historical relics of Peru and the Inca Empire.

© Mr Hicks46
© Mr Hicks46


3) Try some typical Peruvian (street) food

In recent years, Peru’s cuisine has earned acknowledgement as one of the world’s finest. But while quinoa and pisco sour cocktails have migrated to become favorites around the world, the best Peruvian specialties are still found in their home country. Here are some to try en route to Machu Picchu that are all amazingly good, tasteful and cheap.


If Peru had an official national dish, it would probably be this preparation of raw fish marinated in citrus juice. The acid in the fruit “cooks” the fish, giving it a delicate flavor and slightly chewy consistency. The dish is usually spiced with red onion and aji pepper, and served (typically at lunch) with sweet potato or choclo, a white Andean corn with dime-size kernels.

  • Cuy: This staple meat raised in many households of the Andes goes by a different name in English: guinea pig. The meat, which is quite bony, is usually baked or barbecued on a spit and served whole—often with the head on. It has a pleasant, gamy taste like that of rabbit or wild fowl.
  • Lomo Saltado: A hundred years before anyone had heard of Asian fusion cuisine, boatloads of Chinese immigrants arrived in Peru looking for work. The ingredients and techniques they added to Peru’s food vocabulary are probably best exemplified by this hearty hybrid stir-fry, in which beef, tomatoes, peppers, and onions are blended in a pan with soy sauce and fried potatoes. It’s usually served over white rice.
  • Anticuchos: These skewers of grilled, marinated meat are served everywhere in Peru. High-end restaurants offer them as entradas, or appetizers. Street-cart vendors sell them slathered in a garlicky sauce. While almost any meat can be prepared this way, the most traditional—and best—anticuchos are made with beef heart, a practice believed to trace back to the days when Peru’s Spanish conquerors would consume a cow’s choicest cuts and leave the organs for their slaves.
  • Lucuma: Lucuma is a tree fruit that looks like a mango, but it has a custardy taste akin to maple syrup. It’s usually used as a flavoring in desserts, and is justifiably popular as a variety of ice cream.
  • Pollo a la Brasa: This Peruvian-style roast chicken is so delicious and popular that it’s now available in cities around the globe. The secret is marinating the bird in soy sauce flavored with red peppers, garlic, and cumin, which gives the meat and skin a smoky, salty taste. Outside Peru it’s typically paired with French fries, but the more traditional accompaniment is fried yuca, a waxy tuber that has a pleasant chewiness and holds its own against the spicy dipping sauces with which pollo a la brasa is typically served.
© gtitourism
© gtitourism

4) Explore and take a chocolate making class in the Choco Museo.

Everybody knows about Belgian, Swiss or French chocolate but have you ever heard about Peruvian, Guatemalan, Dominican or Nicaraguan chocolate? Choco Museo decided to make chocolate in countries where cacao grows. They source the best quality cacao beans and then process them artisanal to obtain delicious chocolate.

So why not making chocolate where cacao grows? Their mission is to promote the positive side of the coca leaf and its traditional uses. They also have an amazing variety of products made from the coca leaf. Also good to check out is the Choco museum, the museum of Scared, Magical and Medicinal Plants and the Centro de Textiles Traditionales.

The chocolate making class is a two hour workshop starting from the cocoa bean, taking you through the whole process to know how to make delicious chocolate. There is also a shop with loads of chocolate products.


5) Walk to Cristo Blanco

On a hill only a 10-minute walk from Saqsaywaman and overlooking the city of Cusco is the statue known as the “White Christ” or “Cristo Blanco.”  The towering statue of Christ greatly resembles the “Christ the Redeemer” statue atop the Corcavado in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. However, the impetus for Christo Blanco statue is a far different and interesting story. The Cristo Blanco statue was actually a gift. The statue was erected by a group of Christian Palestinians who were seeking refuge in Cusco in 1945. Cristo Blanco represents a symbol of their gratitude to Cusco for accepting them and the statue was a parting gift when they finally returned to their home country. Cusqueños believe the statue serves as a reminder “that good deeds do not go unnoticed.” To get there, walk to San Blas up the street Atocsaycuchi and just keep going up (be prepared there are a lot of stairs), you will pass a sports court and eventually reach the main road again, turn left and keep walking until you reach the statue.

© Rainbowasi
© Rainbowasi


6) Take a trip to Tipón to eat cuy

Tipón is a very important Archaeological site that has numerous impressive terraces that are still being cultivated today. Even more impressive is the irrigation system that is still serving agricultural areas nearby. It consists of carved stone channels, precisely calculated and sometimes with almost vertical falls that all together constitute a hydraulic engineering masterpiece.

Tipón is famous for its Inca ruins but also for its cuy (guinea pig, a typical Peruvian dish). It is about a 45 minute bus ride from Cusco and equipped with great restaurants to choose delicious cuys from. The “cuy al horno” meaning roast cuy will come with a heaped plate of noodles, potatoes, stuffed pepper and a blood sausage. Don’t forget to ask for it to be chopped up to make it easier to eat. Buen provecho.


© Adrián Mandado
© Adrián Mandado


7) Visit the be Inti Raiymi, the biggest festival of Peru

June is probably the most colorful month in the city of Cusco, full of events and activities. The most important day, June 24, is approaching quickly: it’s the day of Inti Raymi.

Inti Raymi is a traditional Inca festival literally translated as sun festival. It is celebrated in villages all over the old Inca Empire in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Argentina. But of course the biggest festival is held in Cusco, the former capital of the Inca Empire.

Inti Raymi was a religious ceremony which honored the sun god (Inti) at the time of the winter solstice. The ceremony was also said to tell tales of the mythical origin of the Incas. It lasted for nine days and was filled with colorful dances and processions, as well as animal sacrifices to give thanks to the Gods and to ensure a good harvest.

The first Inti Raymi was held in 1412, it was a tradition created by Sapa Inca Pachacuti to celebrate the Inca New Year. The last Inti Raymi with the Inca Emperor’s presence was carried out in 1535. After this the Spanish banned the ceremony in an attempt to kill off indigenous culture. The ceremony was re-created for the first time in 1944 mostly based on the writings of Garcilaso de la Vega – a famous chronicler, and son of a Spanish conquistador and an Inca noblewoman. Since 1944 this theatrical representation of the religious ceremony has been taking place at the Inca Fortress of Sacsayhuamán, above the city of Cusco. That’s is about 3km away from where the original ceremony would have taken place in the city´s main plaza.

Nowadays Inti Raymi attracts thousands of tourists each year, both foreign and national. Ceremonies take place at three main locations in Cusco:

  • At the Templo del Qorikancha, – which was the main temple in the time of the Inca – the ceremony will begin at 8.00am, they will re-enact the ceremony in which the Inca will make offerings to the gods. El Sinchi (general of the inca army) las accllas (the hidden women) las t’ika t’aqaqkunas (the women who lay flowers on the floor for the Inca to pass) los pichaqkunas (the men that clean the floor) and the Inca´s wife will all make an appearance. After the ceremony they will be led to the Plaza de Armas.
  • The Plaza de Armas, is where the second act takes place. More ceremonies are carried out including when the Inca would have sacrificed a llama. They are then led to Saqsayhuaman for the final part of the ceremony.
    We took the left rather than the right, though, as we wanted a short easy stroll. We walked along the dirt road on the other side of the river until the next bridge crossing back over, about 2 hours of leisurely walking. Along the whole road we saw ruins, from terracing to small complexes of buildings. The day was beautiful, and the scenery idyllic with cows grazing about us and crops bursting out everywhere, even amongst the ruins.
  • At Saqsaywaman, at approximately 1.30pm, the third act of inti Raymi will start. There is a grand ceremony, the most important and impressive of the day. Including the Inka and all his helpers plus the Inca army. All in the spectacular setting of the fort of Saqsayhuaman.


8) Zip lining in Peru in the Sacred Valley

Ever thought about zip lining in Peru? If you ever feel the urge of feeling free and you have the itch to do something adventurous during your travels in Peru, you should. The Sacred Valley Zip line will give you the shot of adrenaline you (might) need and you want to feel. So just go for it and try it yourself! The tour is safe and fun and is designed for all ages.

The spot is about one hour drive away from Cusco in the Sacred Valleys. Before you receive and revise your equipment, you get an introduction and safety talk on how everything works. In total, there are five different zip lining lines, including one for practicing. The Zip Line is a system of six or seven connecting cables for a total of 2500 meters. In addition not only zip line itself makes it an unforgettable experience, the surroundings of the Sacred Valley contribute to an amazing daytrip. Mountains covered with snow in the background, natural green mountains and fields in front as well as shrubbery and trees made make this trip in Peru even more special.





The students of our school in Santiago de Chile visited the Museo Interactive Mirador. You can play on a giant keyboard jumping back and...