Cuzco and the sacred valley
It’s been almost a month that we are in Peru now. We already saw so much and so many things happened! I had high expectations for Peru and it has not disappointed me. First I want to share with you what we saw in Cuzco and the sacred valley. This is where all the tourists are going, for good reasons, the area is full of archeological sites and amazing landscape. I had to make a selection of pictures, I took so many of them! Hope you like them as much as I do.
– Cuzco: the capital of the Inca empire, today there is few left from this time, the conquistadors destroyed almost everything to build churches. But still, this city is charged with history.
I can’t recommend you enough to do a guided tour of the city to try to have an overview of its history.
There is plenty of museum in Cuzco, we chose to do the one on Machu Picchu to know a bit more before visiting the site in real.
We also did a quick stop at Maximò Laura Museum. Maximò Laura is a weaver, his work is just amazing.
Finally, you can’t go to Cuzco without doing some shopping in the market. The temptation is everywhere! I was really frustrated to have a small backpack and so I couldn’t buy that much…
– Archeological sites close to Cuzco: there are 4 sites that you can do on one day from Cuzco: Puca Pucara, Tambo Machay, Qenqo and Sacsayhuaman (to pronounce like “sexy woman”). We took a collectivo (kind of minibus) to Tambomachay and then walk back to Cuzco with a stop in each site. The last one Sacsayhuaman is the most impressive. This will give you the first taste of Inca temples.
– Pisac: One of my favorite things that we did! The archeological site of Pisac is huge, we walk for approximately 5 hours and I’m pretty sure that we didn’t see everything. If you are short in time and have to do some choice, I will definitely recommend this one.
Moreover, the village of Pisac is cute with a really big souvenir market.
– Ushuy Qosqo: these ruins are not easy to reach, 2 hours walking up on the side of the mountains. The view from the top is worth it. Small misadventure on this hike, we took a thunderstorm on the head when we were walking down (hail, rain, lightning, everything…). It wasn’t really reassuring and my phone died along the way! it took some water even though my rain jacket (so carry some plastic bag with you to prevent that…)
– Ollantaytambo: A ruin really easy to access, because right in the city. Of course, it implies that it is crowded but only during the afternoon when all the tourist bus arrived. The city is really made for tourist, so of course more expensive.
We arrived on the city celebration day, a good occasion to see the traditional clothes and the Peruvian completely drunk at the end of the day…
– Machu Picchu: I will dedicate a full article on this one, so many pictures. It was amazing!
– Moray: this place looks like an alien spatial station but it is, in fact, an Inka agriculture experimentation area.
– Marras saltworks: really surprising to find that much salt so fare away from the sea. It creates an amazing landscape.
– Chinchero: a small city with some ruins that lack charms after seeing all the other ones and some weaver factory that produce amazing fabrics!
– Choquequirao: the full story of our non-visit is here
Here was everything that we did, you need to have almost 10 days (Machu Picchu included) to complete the tour. There is, of course, a quicker trip but you will only see the crowded sites that is a shame (so amazing to be alone in the mountain in the middle of ruins)
How to get to a point to another? We only used collectivo, it is the cheapest solution (less than 5 soles the travel). You just wait on the main road and raise your hand when you see a minibus.
Where to eat? We mainly eat in the local restaurant. For 5 soles you have a soup, a second course with rice, potatoes, and meat, and tea.
You also need to try Chifa that is a fusion between Peruvian and Chinese food.
For street food, Choclo con queso is a good local snack
If you dear, the local dish is Cuy meaning guinea pig…
How to visit? to visit all the archeological sites, you need to buy the “turistico bulleto” that cost 130 soles for 10 days. All the sites above are included except: Ushuy Qosqo (7 soles), Machu Picchu, Marras (10 soles), Choquequirao (60 soles)
One more thing: always go out with your rain jacket, the weather change really fast