I think this, is one of the most amazing road trips I’ve done!
After staying for a day in Cusco, we drove through the Sacred Valley, visiting various archeological parks and incredible places in the Andes of Peru.
Our first stop, was all about those little animals we’ve been seeing since we arrived in Cusco: alpacas and llamas. We learned about the process of textile and got the opportunity to feed and pet them. Sooo cute! I remember there was a small, baby alpaca running behind his/her mother because I was trying to touch him/her 🙂
We also learned, that, each tribe has a different hat. Depending on the quechua’s hat – specially the women -, they belong to a certain tribe.
Later, we stopped at a lookout where we enjoyed a delightful view to the Urubamba River and part of the Sacred Valley.
From there, we traveled to small town where a market with lots of handcrafts, silver jewelry and many other souvenir were waiting for us in Písac. I believe the market is there every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday (at least in 2012 when I visited).
Ollantaytambo was next. This town is known as the Living Inca City and the starting point for the 3 days/4 nights hike, the Inca Trail. Something I would love to do some day. We strolled the city and visited an Archeological Park with the same name of the town. Climbing up those high steps to get to the top of the park was worthy. It took us a while to get through the terraces (used to be agricultural terraces) because we wanted to capture the view from different points. Including the face of Tunupa on the mountain in front of us. Tunupa, a messenger of the gods that arrived the town many time before the creation of the Incan Empire.
After relaxing and enjoying the beautiful view from the top of Ollantaytambo, we went to the small town of Uribamba where we stayed to rest for the next adventure: Machu Picchu.
Next morning, we took the train at the Ollantaytambo station. The good thing about the train, they give you some local snacks (at least at the one we rode) and you get to see the view because of its panoramic windows. On the way back, they actually had a fashion show with items we could buy later. About 2 hours later, we were arriving to Aguas Calientes. A small town, before visiting Machu Picchu, that counts with hotels, restaurants and stores by the Urubamba River. From there, you can either walk up to the entrance of the Machu Picchu National Park or take a bus. I believe the bus ride was about 10 minutes, passing by a narrow way with lots of curves.
At last, we arrived at the famous Machu Picchu National Park. After walking few steps, and climbing others, I remember I was busy paying attention to those narrow steps we had to pass by. I’m very clumsy, so I had to be careful. Suddenly, I heard a guy telling one of the girls I had behind me “whenever you get an opportunity, take a look in front of you” and since I’m very curious, I did too. Oh my God! I actually had, in front of me, one of the most amazing views I’ve seen. I was, finally, at one of the 7 Wonders of the World. It was amazing! Obviously, I couldn’t stop taking pictures and shooting videos. But we had to move on.
We walked around the area, stopped at different points to enjoy the gorgeous view of the valley and part of the park, we walked a lot and climbed stairs. We also got to see various rooms, squares, the agricultural terraces, religious monuments and enjoyed the incredible architecture that, centuries ago, the quechuas did without any of the instruments and tools we count nowadays.
One thing I have to add. I remember hearing a lot of people saying that it’s cold in Machu Picchu. Well, it wasn’t cold for me and I actually got a not so-sexy-tan (can you see the shirt I was wearing that day?) so, as I always say, wear sunblock! Cusco is colder, it is higher than Machu Picchu.
This is, definitely, a place you have to visit. Take a tour around the Sacred Valley and get to know about its culture. And if you’re going for the Inca Trail some day, let me know 🙂
Remember to respect the nature and take care of it.
Here’s my video about this trip to the Sacred Valley: (click CC for subtitles)