722. Peru Trip | Exploring Sacred Valley

view over Ollantaytambo
On our last full day in Cusco, we joined a tour to explore the main parts of Sacred Valley: Pisac, Ollantaytambo, Maras and Moray. The valley stretches from Cusco to Machu Picchu, with many Inca ruins dotted along the way. The towns have a very authentic feel. Locals speak Quechua (language of the Incas), farm (on terraced land), raise alpacas and weave colourful textiles as their ancestors had done. Thanks to the Urubamba River, the Valley's land is fertile and perfect for agriculture. Here you can find a lot of unique types of potatoes, vegetables and fruits that are only found at high altitude places.

The winding roads through the Peruvian Andes was very beautiful and scenic but I didn't get to enjoy it in the first part of the trip. The day before our Sacred Valley tour, we went horseback riding where I fell off my horse. It was super painful and I wasn't able to sit comfortably until maybe a week after the incident. The night of the accident, I took some pills to reduce swelling. I think I may have overdosed on medication since I also took altitude pills and malaria pills the same day. The next morning (the morning of the Sacred Valley tour) I felt incredibly nauseous. Our departure time was something like 7am so I was also super tired.

The thought of just cancelling the tour and resting for the day crossed my mind a few times but I didn't want to lose the last chance of visiting these places, and we had already paid for it. In the end I'm very glad we ended up going. I felt better eventually but the first few hours I was super sick. The windy roads and super bumpy drive was so painful for my injured butt and my nausea. I did throw up a few times in the car lol.

Sacred Valley Peru
Sacred Valley Peru
Our first stop was Pisac. A lot of tourists come for the weekend market. I didn't take any photos here unfortunately since I was still feeling really sick, but there wasn't much to see besides the market.

Ollantaytambo Sacred Valley
Ollantaytambo village market
Ollantaytambo village
Next we visited Ollantaytambo which I really enjoyed and would have preferred to spend more time exploring. They are known for their archaeological site built on two mountains overlooking the village. At that point I was still feeling pretty weak and had to climb all the way up these steps..I just barely made it.

Ollantaytambo steps
leftbanked despacito Ollantaytambo
leftbanked Ollantaytambo
Peru kitchen
At some point we stopped for a buffet lunch and also visited this home where a woman made us "chicha". Chicha is a type of drink that could be fermented or non-fermented, made from variations of corn, grains and fruits. It was delicious.

Chicha Peru
Pucara Bulls Peru
Peruvian corn
Peru mother and child
Peru cooking ingredients
Peru Pucara Bulls
Peru guinea pigs
Guinea pigs there are food, not pets!

Moray Ruins Peru
Moray was pretty cool. It is a series of circular terraces believed to be used as an agricultural laboratory. Each level of the terraces have a different temperature and microclimate which could suggest that the Incans used it to experiment with different crops. It also had a unique location that prevented floods from happening there.

Maras Salt Mines
Finally, the Maras Salt Mines which have been in use since Inca times. The thousands of salt ponds now belong to hundreds of families living nearby. The salt mines were traditionally available to anyone wishing to harvest salt. The owners must be members of the community and the size of the pond assigned would be dependent on the size of the family.

Maras Salineras Peru
leftbanked despacito Maras Salineras


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