Get off the well-worn trail and journey through the small towns and archaeological sites in Peru’s Sacred Valley, and you’ll soon discover that the rich and glorious past of the Inca Empire is still alive and well.
Machu Picchu, a masterpiece of architecture, carved into the Andes Mountains high above the Urubamba River was home to 12 million inhabitants from 1400 to 1533, then inexplicably abandoned one hundred years later. Overgrown, the hidden ruins remained untouched until rediscovered by American adventurer Hiram Bingham in 1912.
Without doubt the spectacular citadel of Machu Picchu, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, is a ‘must see’. But it’s on the less travelled trails of the Sacred Valley where you’ll find yourself walking into a living history of Peruvian life. The Sacred Valley runs between the towns of Pisac and Ollyantambo. A good place to start is in the village of Urubamba, where the relatively low altitude, allows travellers to acclimatise. From here it’s easy to access the Maras Salt pools and the lesser known Inca archaeological site of Moray, where the circular terraces wind up the valley floor like an enormous spiral staircase. Imagine the thrill of hang-gliding high above or rafting in the rivers below this amazing Andean landscape.
The colonial village of Pisac, is said to have some of the finest ruins in the entire valley, to rival those of Machu Picchu. It comes alive each week when the colourful handicraft markets are held in the village square. From its hilltop citadel and impressive agricultural terraces, still fed by an ancient Inca irrigation system, you’ll see the most incredible views across Quitamayo Gorge.
Throughout this beautiful fertile Valley, surrounded by snow-capped mountains, you’ll see shepherds tending flocks of llamas and alpacas. In their intricately woven brightly coloured coats of pinks and reds they provide a striking reminder of an unspoilt landscape and a life unchanged for generations.
Walk amongst it, immerse yourself in the textures, sounds, scents and tastes of this incredible ancient culture and find yourself captivated by the magic of Peru.
The Incas used the incredible terraced agricultural basins at Moray to selectively breed crops for hardiness using the micro climates at each level. Clever folk indeed.
Luxury Bound Loves:
Sacred Valley regions amazing kaleidoscope of history, local culture and really BIG landscapes.