Spiritual Pilgrimage to Peru: a Travel Guide to the Sacred Sites

Anya Andreeva flying in Peru, Machu Picchu

This post is way overdue! In September 2012 I went on a spiritual pilgrimage to Peru, organised by Aluna Joy Yaxk’in, you can check out her website here. Below you will find a photo journal of the trip, with lots of images of sacred sites that I hope it will give you an idea of what you can see on your trip to this amazing country!

I will organise this journal in 2 sections: some basics about Peru (e.g. weather/food) and then will list some of the sacred sites we visited – feel free to skip straight to the fun part! There will be a couple of tourist destinations too, just because they may be close to a sacred site and worth seeing.

Anya Andreeva with alpaca, Peru, Machu Picchu

Weather in Peru in September

I’ve been to many countries in my life, but never have I seen a country with such erratic weather conditions! I carried at least 4 layers of clothing with me at all times because it could get from super hot (strap tops and sun screen) to very cold (top, two jumpers and a windbreaker) in just a couple of minutes! I often wished I had my thick winter coat, but at the same time, it would have been uncomfortable to carry.

Peru 3, Cusco (6)

Geography

Cusco is very dry and has very little vegetation. The few trees they have (mostly eucalyptus and pines) are super thin and long – very different to the thick and mighty eucalyptus we have in Spain!

The geology is quite peculiar too, nothing like I’d seen before. A kind of burgundy clay everywhere, which the locals use to make bricks from to build their houses. All of their houses are therefore that same colour – very few are painted, and if they are, only the front wall will be painted (I guess they save on paint?).

Some parts are lush in vegetation though, like Machu Picchu is in the jungle area, so you will a lot more trees there and the climate won’t be as harsh.

Accommodation

In Cusco we stayed in a hotel right in the centre called Royal Inka 1. It was quite cute though also quite cold. It was the only hotel on this trip that had a safe. It had a sweet little patio in the middle, but no mini bar (actually no hotels I’ve seen had a fridge).

Royal Inka 1 - Cusco

Royal Inka 1 – Cusco

The best hotel we had was in the Sacred Valley called Qaway Boutique Lodge. It was literally in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by mountains (Pitusarai) and corn fields on one side, and a river on the other.

Peru 7, Sacred Valley, Qwasar Lodge (21) copy

Qaway Boutique Lodge – Sacred Valley

The gardens were beautiful, and they even had a pony! The only downside were the mosquitos, there are no mosquito nets anywhere!

Peru 7, Sacred Valley, Qwasar Lodge (70) copy

Qaway Boutique Lodge – Sacred Valley

In Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu) we stayed in a little hotel called Andina Luxury. Well I wouldn’t call it luxury, but it wasn’t bad, just clean and simple.

Peru 10, Machu Picchu (24)

Andina Luxury – Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu town)

How to be a raw foodie in Peru

How should I put this nicely…being a raw vegan in Peru sucks! Actually, its pretty impossible – I lived off pasta and cheese for pretty much the whole trip and put on 5kg!

At the Royal Inka 1 – Their breakfast was decent for normal eaters, but it’s a raw vegan’s nightmare. They mostly had meat, sugar and omelettes, with one or two choices of fruit (usually watermelon and canned peaches). We decided to go for omelettes, at least those were made freshly in front of us.

In some cases they had cooked vegetables, but we were told not to eat anything raw because the water they wash food with is really bad (in the good restaurants they wash it in grapeseed extract). Actually, quite a few people got sick on that trip, I figured I’d rather stick to pasta and stay well enough to see the amazing sites!

The best restaurant we went to was called Indio Feliz in Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu), they had some yummy vegetarian options that actually didn’t contain pasta and cheese! Another place there had really good pizzas, it was called Inka Wasi – fun decor too.

Peru 10, Machu Picchu (145) copy

Indio Feliz restaurant in Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu)

Animals in Peru

ALPACAAAAS!!! Need I say more? :)) Ok so I got a slight animal obsession in Peru – it was baby season it seems, there were baby animals absolutely everywhere! And what could be cuter than an alpaca?…A BABY alpaca!

I’ve never been to a country with so many animals…everywhere! A HUGE amount of stray dogs, they were like what pigeons are to us here in Europe (in fact, I didn’t see a single in Peru). Whats curious though, the dogs were so lovely, they didn’t come begging for food, very “polite” for stray dogs I must say!

Peru 4, Saqsayhuaman (3) copy

Day 1 – Arrival in Lima

Flew London > Paris > Lima, which took pretty much the whole day. The flight over Brazil was one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen – the geographer in me was super excited to see real-life ox-bow lakes and super visible river meander depositions!! Peru had a totally different geology, all dry and yellowy-orange, but still quite fascinating as you could clearly see v and u-shaped valleys.

The only thing I saw of the city of Lima was out of the airplane window. The housing was quite shocking to say the least. All houses looked unfinished and as if they have no windows (in reality they do, but because there are no window frames, it gives that impression). Really quite awful, never seen anything like it and I’ve been to some very poor countries. Stayed in the airport hotel overnight, waiting for the flight to Cusco.

Peru 5, Moray (8) copy

Day 2 – Arrival in Cusco & meeting the group

Morning flight to Cusco. Peruvian airlines were surprisingly decent, nice beige leather seats and they even gave us breakfast (inedible, but still!). Cusco is bigger than I thought (500k people), looks interesting from the top, but again, very poor and all houses are unfinished (we were told after that thats the way they avoid taxes, if some part of your house is unfinished, you are technically still in “construction mode”).

Met the group (we had about 26-27 people) – everyone was really lovely and we still keep in touch. We had 4 guides – Aluna, her husband Raphael, then 2 locals called Willaru and Juan. Willaru is quite an interesting character, very spiritual and very knowledgeable. He has had many amazing experiences, but he could talk for hours and hours and as much as I wanted to hear his stories, I kept falling asleep…oops.

Sacred Spiritual Sites around Cusco

Peru 1, Tipon (water temple) (37) copy

Tipon (water temple)

In the morning of our third day we went to Tipon, a water temple. There was no one there but us, so we could do group meditations.

Peru 1, Tipon (water temple) (19) copy

It didn’t look like much, but the energy there was just beautiful. Personally I wondered off to be close to nature and was having a great time sitting up on those massive ancient rocks. I came down when I saw that Aluna was asking the group to get in a circle as she was channeling someone. I missed the beginning but people seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Peru 1, Tipon (water temple) (14) copy

Peru 1, Tipon (water temple) (83) copy

This was one of the few places where I really connected with nature during the whole trip, very peaceful and beautiful place. I got to touch a little lamb there too – aww!!

Saqsayhuaman (Earth temple)

Anya Andreeva in Saqsayhuaman, Peru Earth Temple

After lunch we went to Saqsayhuaman, the temple of the Earth. Besides Machu Picchu, this was my favourite place, I wish I went back there on our free day at the end. If you only have time to see one place in Cusco, this would be my recommendation!

Peru 4, Saqsayhuaman (15) copy

This place had ENORMOUS rocks that fit PERFECTLY together, like you couldn’t even stick a needle between the rocks! Willaru explained that the ancients used sound energy to levitate the rocks and atomic energy to melt them so they could fit so perfectly. Honestly now, if they didn’t have access to such methods, they could have just used smaller rocks, no need to complicate life for yourself, so I’ve got no doubt that “special techniques” were used to build this place.

Peru 4, Saqsayhuaman (30) copy

Aluna said she couldn’t quite get a clear message from her light beings that she connects with about why this place was created, I’m not sure anybody knows.

There was also a really strange alpaca here, it had these alien blue eyes.

Sacred Spiritual Sites around the Sacred Valley

Peru 5, Moray (5) copy
On our fourth day we headed off to the Sacred Valley – just look at the view from above!

Moray (satellite to the stars)

Peru 5, Moray (17) copy

Our first stop was a curious place called Moray. It had 2 circular structures, kind of like amphitheatres, but that were definitely not made for that purpose.

Aluna calls them the satellites to the stars, and it certainly looks that way!

Peru 5, Moray (24) copy

We all sat at the bottom of the smaller one and Aluna channeled some beings who said that the Ascended Masters are helping us evolve/activate something very small in our cells (changing our DNA perhaps?) and that we will begin to see the world differently.

At one point we all stood around in a circle, and suddenly one woman just fell flat on her face! The energies must have been overwhelming in that place as it was equinox and she said she saw a bright light and Lemurians standing all around us.

Chincheros (weaving village)

Peru 6, Chincheros (55) copy

This little village is absolutely adorable! We went there straight from Moray and my mum and I separated from the group as we wanted some quiet time to appreciate the nature around us. We found an incredibly beautiful spot just outside the village and I felt a really strong connection with the mountains in front. It was the perfect place for a meditation as there were no people and it was very quiet.

Peru 6, Chincheros (27) copy

I suddenly felt inspired to draw, I wish I had at least a pencil with me! I noticed that a few times in Peru, and I started bringing my journal with me everywhere so I could draw whenever it needed to “come out” of me.

When we met back with the group, we were taken to a factory where they showed us how they make all their alpaca products, like scarves, ponchos etc. It was really fascinating to see the natural ways of making coloured dyes!

Peru 6, Chincheros (60) copy

Peru 6, Chincheros (64) copy

First, they wash the alpaca fluff in soapy water – the soap comes from a local root. Then they use leaves, flowers and even cacti bugs to make colours! The girl took a bug, squished it and it went red! Then she used the red bug puddle as lipstick and blusher – wow!

Pisac – temple of the Sun

Peru 9, Pisac (30)

Get ready for some hiking for this one guys, but I promise you, it’s so worth it! It’s not even that it’s a hard hike, it’s just that because the altitude is so high, you climb 3 stairs and you’re out of breath! People here drink coca leaf tea to help with altitude sickness, I didn’t really feel ill from it, but I did struggle with this walk.

Peru 9, Pisac (56) copy

At the Sun temple there is a stone from a star/planet called Maldek. The planet exploded a long time ago and a piece of it fell to Earth.

Peru 9, Pisac (89) copy

On the way to Pisac, our guide Juan was telling us fun stories of how he’s seen UFO’s and that there are leprechauns living under the glaciers nearby. He said when people tried to put dynamite into the leprechaun’s holes, they waited for an hour but it never exploded. When they pulled out the dynamite, they saw that the rope had been cut with a knife. He also mentioned that his cousin saw a bigfoot here. I love how open people here are to these things and they don’t find it strange!

Peru 9, Pisac (78) copy

After the Pisac ruins, we went to the Pisac market. It’s really all the same stuff, alpaca throws and cheap wallets. There are lots of alpaca fakes too, I bought a real alpaca poncho and it was very expensive actually, but you could tell the difference in the quality.

Peru 9, Pisac (129)

Peru 9, Pisac (133) copy

My alpaca poncho :))

A lot of people here go to the shaman shop, it’s got lots of crystals and other “hippy things”, but I thought it was massively overpriced, although it did have some funky things.

Machu Picchu

Peru 10, Machu Picchu (59)

Ah the main attraction! We took an early train from Ollantaytambo and I was surprised at how clean the station was, they even gave us free coca tea and had wifi! The train is pretty cool too, it had windows on the roof so we could see the beautiful mountains.

Peru 10, Machu Picchu (113) copy
The town near Machu Picchu is called Aguas Calientes and we stayed here for a few nights.

Peru 10, Machu Picchu (20)

Machu Picchu is just incredible, I never realised how huge it is! The ride up there was fun too, there are busses that go up every so many minutes and you can see the town down the cliff as you drive up.

Peru 10, Machu Picchu (60) copy

We found a little shaman cave to sit in and meditate and where Aluna could “download” without interruptions from the guards. Apparently you’re not allowed to do ceremonies, meditate in a circle, hold hands or om there!

Peru 10, Machu Picchu (131) copy

Peru 10, Machu Picchu (88) copy

Peru 10, Machu Picchu (91) copy

I think Machu Picchu is one of those places that speaks to people and will guide you to where you need to be. When I went up there alone, I was very clearly guided on a path, but I had no idea where it led. Half way up I saw someone from our group walking down and she said it was the way up to Intipunku – the Sun Gate. She said it is the last part of the Inca trail and it takes 45 minutes to walk up there.

Peru 10, Machu Picchu (184) copy

Peru 10, Machu Picchu (187) copy

It was 15:15 and I figured I can make it in time to catch the last bus back at 17:30. I don’t know what happened then, but it’s like I received wings that helped me fly up that mountain. Usually I get grumpy on hikes as I don’t like walking uphill, but this time I almost ran up and made it there in about 20-25 minutes!  The entire way up I was helping myself by saying stuff like “I am strong, my body is as light as a feather, I will make it in time to catch the bus back” etc.
Peru 10, Machu Picchu (192) copy
The Sun Gate closed at 16:00 so I didn’t have much time to meditate up there, but I think the walk itself was the meditation that I needed. Although I did have a vision up there too and my Higher Self told me that this walk is what I came to Peru to do.

Peru 10, Machu Picchu (158) copy

One of the days we stayed in Aguas Calientes, there’s really not much to do there though. The only thing to see there is the market, which is overpriced because it’s a tourist hot spot, and the thermal baths. We did go there out of interest, the walk in was pretty, but the baths themselves were so gross, they were basically a bunch of dirty small pools where the locals come to take a bath…eww!

Ollantaytambo

Peru 11, Ollantaytambo (25) copy

Ollantaytambo was the last place we visited in Peru. For some reason, this bit is missing from my diary, but I remember a massive structure that we didn’t climb on, instead we went round to the right and sat there to meditate.

Peru 11, Ollantaytambo (40) copy

Peru 11, Ollantaytambo (49) copy

I also remember a really awesome rock! When you lay on it and someone bangs it with another rock, you feel the vibration throughout your entire body – it felt so incredible!

Peruvian spiritual fire ceremony

Peru 8, Pachamama & Apu ceremony with Lorenzo (10) copy

When we were in the Sacred Valley, we invited a local to come to our hotel to do a native fire ceremony. First, Lorenzo and his wife put a cloth on the ground with all of their sacred objects. Then they began choosing the largest coca leaves – the pointy ones are male, and the round ones are female.

They passed around a bag of coca leaves for us to chew on, they give quite a funny sensation on your tongue and the first time I tried it I got what felt like an electric shock through my head.

Whilst Lorenzo’s wife was putting flowers down for the offerings, he gave us each 5 coca leaves to hold, 2 in one hand to represent Pachamama (Mother Earth) and 3 in the other hand to represent Apu (the spirit of the mountain). We were told to send love to both of them through the leaves.

Peru 8, Pachamama & Apu ceremony with Lorenzo (25)

Then Lorenzo collected the leaves, whispered something to them and put them down on top of the flowers. They then put in the rest of the offerings (mostly candy), then covered it in cotton, which represents snow, and finally covered it up into a bag.

Lorenzo then played songs on his guitar in Kachina language about Pachamama and Apu, and we put the offerings into the fire. It was a really lovely ceremony, but what I remember most about that evening was the night sky – I’ve never seen so many stars in my life and it was the most incredible sight!

Aluna Joy’s talks

Amazing grace group Peru pilgrimage 2012

I won’t write about Aluna’s meditations, channelings and talks here as I would recommend going to one of her pilgrimages yourself. It will be different each time and you will receive a lot of interesting information on what is happening in the world right now. She channels other beings and will tell you all about the shift that’s happening now.

Post-trip:

Peru 7, Sacred Valley, Qwasar Lodge (104) copy

Chilling by the river in our hotel in the Sacred Valley

Aluna did mention that we may feel a little weird after the trip, due to the many downloads and energies we received, we will need time to adjust.

For me personally, the first week after the trip was rather tough. I was in a pretty depressive mood and couldn’t meditate at all, or even had the will to. I wasn’t happy with work and just didn’t want to do ANYTHING.

After a week, I decided it’s time to stop watching TV series and get out of bed…so I made it as far as my floor, where I found a nice chunk of clay sitting there under my table…and thats how my obsessive creativity outburst began!

That whole week my room looked like an artists studio, the whole floor was covered in newspapers with clay things on top, all surfaces have been overtaken by my easel, sparklies, ribbons and glue. I’ve also booked a knitting class and bought a sketchbook so I could sit at my desk at work and doodle while no one’s looking. I had dreams that I was making things and I bought paint to paint on glass! It’s like I couldn’t stop!!

Peru 7, Sacred Valley, Qwasar Lodge (38) copy

Thank you to everyone who helped organise this trip and for our beautiful group!! I’m sure we will see each other again somewhere in the world 🙂

About the Author:

Anya is a raw food chef, writer and an artisan chocolatier. Get her book with healthy vegan recipes here. Anya is also a relationship and tantric coach, helping individuals and couples worldwide (in-person or through video chat). She writes articles covering a broad range of themes, such as: love and tantra, natural health and spirituality and nutrition, as well as raw food recipes recipes! Anya is also passionate about travel and you can find her travel articles here.

One Comment

  1. Bernard Johannes Sleijster July 7, 2017 at 3:03 pm - Reply

    Wow what a trip! Thank you for such a thorough review, I will definitely bookmark this for future trips to Peru! Love the photos too!
    ~ Bernard Sleijster

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