With its striking Andean highlands and colorful handicraft markets, it is little surprise that the mysterious world of the Incan Empire continues to captivate and lure curious travelers every year.

On your journey, head to the region’s El Valle Sagrado (Sacred Valley), situated close to Cusco and Machu Picchu. It holds a number of pretty weaving villages, including Pisac. Once here you’ll join a local shaman and witness one of Peru’s oldest and most sacred rituals, a private Pachamama Ceremony, which expresses reverence to the Earth. Peruvians tend to do this ceremony at least once per year.

This age-old ceremony involves making an offering to Pachamama. The only goddess revered by the indigenous people of the Andes, she represents Mother Earth, fertility, planting and harvesting. It is believed that it is Pachamama who harvests the land so that farmers can grow their local crops. She is said to bring the rain, personify the mountains and is in charge of natural disasters, such as earthquakes.

Offerings in this spiritual ceremony come in the form of native Andean seeds, fruits, coca leaves and grains. During the ceremony, the sacred mountain deities, earth, water, air and fire are called upon.

The ceremony is a symbolic way in which men and women can give back to Pachamama what he or she has taken from it.

Continue your journey with a visit to Ollantaytambo, a national archeological site set on the Urubamba River and board first-class seats on the Vistadome train for your scenic journey to Machu Picchu village.

Related trip: Treasures of the Incas