Hidden Wonders Southern Cusco: Culture and Tourism

Tourism, history, tradition, and colors in the south

Cusco Culture and Tourism: Amidst the high and chilly Andean highlands of southern Cusco, there exists a paradise of customs and traditions that have endured since ancient times.

This entire southeastern region of Cusco belongs to the ancient Inca route to Collasuyo, where the Tiawanaku, Lupaqa, and Chupaychu cultures thrived. Due to an invasion by the Aymara culture, these communities had to escape these lands and reach Cusco.

The mountains and snow-capped peaks that lie between the tourist hub of Cusco and the breathtaking Puno harbor highly revered snow mountains, venerated by all the cultures of southern Peru, especially the Incas. We refer to Ausangate and the entire social, political, and religious development it generated.

That’s why Cusco Transport wishes to share the abundant cultural wealth of these places through this blog, which also aims to encourage all readers to embark on fun journeys through the southern Cusco valley and visit the colorful mountains of southern Cusco.”

Cusco Culture and Tourism


The historical significance of these valleys in southern Cusco dates back much further than the early existence of the city of Cusco.

The ancestors of the Incas originated from these lands in the southern Collasuyo!

Pre-Inca Period:

The earliest investigations into the existence of humans in the Cusco region are located to the south of the city, specifically in the districts of Yauri and Chumbivilcas, which are approximately 250 kilometers from the city center. In these places, material evidence was found belonging to humans who lived in caves at the base of the snow-capped mountains. The approximate dating of these archaeological remains is around 5000 years before Christ.

Inca Period:

These mountains and snow-covered peaks in southern Cusco gained greater importance with the arrival of Inca culture.

The Inca economy was based on herds of llamas and alpacas, as their wool could be used for textiles, their meat for human consumption, and these Andean ruminants also served to transport products from different areas and then exchange them among all the cities of the Tawantinsuyo.

For this reason, herds of llamas and alpacas were the main sources of the Inca culture’s economy. Precisely, the natural habitat of these animals is the high-altitude grasslands (up to 12,000 feet) around the Vilcanota mountain range, located in southern Cusco.

It is worth mentioning that within the Vilcanota mountain range, we can find the Ausangate snow-capped peak, which is recognized as an Inca deity, as it provides vegetation for the animals, supplies pure water to the inhabitants of its surroundings, and protects the surrounding crops from the harsh weather and hail.

Colonial Period:

When the Iberians arrived in Cusco, after conquering the city, they began to move south because a large number of ‘willac uma’ (Andean priests) had escaped to these areas in search of refuge. Since southern Cusco was a place of Inca religious resistance, the Spanish made greater efforts to evangelize these lands, constructing many Catholic temples, such as the Andahuaylillas Temple, known as the ‘Sistine Chapel of America.’

Furthermore, in these southern Cusco lands, the first desires for national freedom emerged with the rebellion of Tupac Amaru II, which began on November 4, 1780, in the town of Tinta with the assassination of the Spanish captain Arriaga.


Due to this early cultural evolution that took place in these lands, the customs and traditions of its inhabitants continue to be practiced to this day, along with ongoing research in these areas led by anthropologists, sociologists, and archaeologists.

No one knows how many mysteries are still preserved among these communities!

Some of these diverse traditions include:

The Apachetas:

Within the traditions rooted since our ancestors, the act of giving thanks to the mountains is a typical practice, and one way to do it is through the construction of ‘apachetas.’

These apachetas are small towers made of small stones that are placed one on top of the other, usually located next to trails or on the side of the mountains.

In the past, these apachetas were also used as landmarks to delineate the borders between Andean communities.

THE APACHETAS in lake humantay

Chullos and Ponchos:

Clothing is an important feature when we want to differentiate Andean societies.

Peruvian cultures used a code of colors and shapes to create their clothing and distinguish themselves from other societies.

The use of the poncho arose due to the cold climate in the mountains of these places, although it can also protect from the rain. On the other hand, the ‘chullo,’ despite not being an Inca clothing accessory, became popular from the 19th century and is now an icon of our Peruvian culture due to the variations in shape and color it has, just like the poncho.

Hats and Ponchos IN CUSCO Maravillas Escondidas del Sur de Cusco Cultura y Turismo

Moraya, Chuño, and Charqui:

In the heart of these snow-capped mountains in southern Cusco, a food technology was developed to be shared with the world.

To preserve the potatoes that were harvested in these areas, they would dehydrate these products with the help of the frost and snow often felt around the snow-capped mountains, while for dehydrating alpaca and llama meat, they used natural salt.

This way, they could preserve their food for as long as they wanted, because dehydrated foods do not spoil.

Moraya in cusco


Chuño peruano




All of this Andean knowledge and traditions are still practiced today in southern Cusco, and you can come into contact with them through our tour of the southern valley and the trips to the colorful mountain that Cusco Transporte offers.


Within these beautiful landscapes, some treasures of nature and history are hidden, such as:

The marvelous Rainbow Mountain:

The Rainbow Mountain, also known as Vinicunca, is located in southern Peru, in the Cusco region. Its geological origin is attributed to the accumulation of minerals over millions of years. The mountain is primarily composed of clays and sediments deposited in the area during very ancient geological periods. Minerals in the mountain include iron, sulfur, calcium, and other elements, which have given rise to the distinctive colors observed in the mountain’s layers.

Erosion and exposure to the elements over the years have worn down the mountain’s surface, revealing these vibrant-colored layers that make it so striking and unique. The combination of geological and climatic processes over eons has resulted in this extraordinary natural phenomenon that attracts visitors from around the world today.

the wonderful rainbow mountain

Palccoyo Mountain:

In this alternative rainbow mountain tour, you’ll have the chance to see colorful mountains and walk within the nearest stone forest to Cusco.

Located next to the snow-capped Ausangate mountain, this place is recommended for those who want an easier hike to the rainbow mountains to enjoy snowy landscapes, large rocks, and colorful mountains.

Palccoyo Mountain