There are a number of archaeological and historical sites you can visit on day trips from Cusco. On February 1, we arranged for a private tour with Lyle of Tipon, Piqillacta and San Pedro do Andahuaylillas- the Sistine Chapel of the Andes. Lyle usually only provides these tours for his guests at Gringo Wasi B&B but was able to provide us with the tour that day.
Tipon is a hilltop Inca site that may have been for agricultural experiments, or ceremonies celebrating water and sun. There are impressive terraces and water works as well as the remains of some buildings. We had the site virtually to ourselves and Lyle provided us with information on the site and explained that most of what is known about the Incas is based on archeological findings and the writings of the Spanish which may have been biased. Lyle also discussed the different theories about Tipon and the Inca. We really enjoyed having an english speaking guide with local knowledge and a critical- playful approach to history and the different theories of the inca.
Pikillaqta is a pre-inca Wari site that has fortified walls and a strategic position at a narrow point in the valley. San Pedro do Andahuaylillas appears to be a small unassuming church in a small town. However, the inside is a phantasmagoria of paintings, decoration and sculpture. We walked around in a daze in awe of the art and decoration. Next to the church there is a small museum whose claim to fame is the skull of the alien baby. The skull is cone shaped and the size of an infants skull but has full size molars.
San Pedro do Andahuaylillas