Machu Picchu Journals

The Secrets of the Sacred Valley

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A June 2005 trip to Machu Picchu by Zeke111

Plaza de Armas, Cusco Photo, Machu Picchu, Peru More Photos
Quote: Over the course of a week, we explored the beauty and mysteries of the Scared Valley high in the Peruvian Andes. We visited such wonderful places as Cusco, Pisac, and Ollantayambo. We also explored many Incan Ruins, culminating with the magnificent Machu Picchu.

The Secrets of the Sacred Valley

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Overview

Plaza de Armas, Cusco Photo, Machu Picchu, Peru
Quote:
Over the course of a week, we explored the beauty and mystery of the Scared Valley high in the Peruvian Andes. We visited such wonderful places as Cusco and Ollantayambo. We browsed the markets of Pisac and hiked down through the salt mines of Maras. And, of course, we explored many Incan ruins, culminating with the magnificent Machu Picchu. The people of Peru were incredible friendly and made our first South American experience wonderful. The service was great at all the hotels and restaurants, and I felt safe everywhere I went in the Valley. (Lima, on the other hand, left a little to be desired.) If you are an outdoors type of person who likes hiking and the mountains and wants a li...Read More

Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel

Hotel | "Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel"

Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel Photo, Machu Picchu, Peru
Quote:
This beautiful hotel is a great final stop on our trip to Machu Picchu. It offered outstanding, quaint rooms that let in the warm subtropical breeze. It has its own restaurant and bar, but it was also only a short walk away from the rest that Aguas Caliente has to offer, including restaurants and shops. There is a pool and a fire pit, where we sat outside and enjoyed the night air while we reminisced our Peruvian journeys. The highlight of the hotel for many is the orchid walk, a mile-long path with hundreds of species of orchids of all different colors and sizes. This hotel was a great and relaxing escape from the long hikes up at Machu Picchu, and I would without question stay th...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 21, 2005

Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel
Foot of Machu Picchu Mountain
Machu Picchu Pueblo, Peru
51 1-610-0400

Pisac Market

Attraction | "Markets of Pisac"

Pisac Market Photo, Machu Picchu, Peru
Quote:
Market day in Pisac was both fun and a little scary--you see, my wife loves to shop, and I have found myself with large bills after an afternoon of uncontrolled shopping. However, in this little village in the middle of the Scared Valley, things were a little different. Everything was cheap, if you wanted it to be. In these markets nothing was what is seems and everyone is expected to bargain the price and if you are really good at it you can get the prices quite low. Luckily for me, my wife was really good at and we came away from the markets with lots of Christmas presents for not a lot of money. What they had: pottery, Incan art, flutes and other instruments, purses, handbags, tablecloth...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 21, 2005

Pisac Market
Pisa
Machu Picchu, Peru

Maras Salt Mines

Attraction

Maras Salt Mines Photo, Machu Picchu, Peru
Quote:
In Maras, we went to the ancient salt mines that have been used for thousands of years to supply the Andean people with salt. It is still being harvested today, as it was hundreds of years ago. The mine itself has been created as a result of a stream running through a mountain. The snowmelt from this stream runs through a mountain. Inside this mountain is a large salt deposit. When the stream runs through it, the water picks up the salt and carries it out of the mountain. The Incas then created many drying ponds where they catch this salt water. They allow the water to sit in these ponds and the hot Peruvian sun causes the water to evaporate and the salt is left behind. The workers then ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 21, 2005

Maras Salt Mines
Sacred Valley
Machu Picchu, Peru

Huanu Picchu

Attraction | "Climb Huanu Picchu"

Huanu Picchu Photo, Machu Picchu, Peru
Quote:
Huanu Picchu is the mountain that you see in the back of every classic picture of Machu Picchu. There is a moderately step trail that goes up the side of the mountain to the very top. From the top you can get great views of the Lost City and see the famous outline of the condor. If you have the time to make the hike, it is definitely worth it.

If you are interested in doing this hike make sure you have done some training before you get to Peru. If you are in shape, the hike will be much more pleasant. Take plenty of water and make sure that you have good, broken-in hiking boots.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 21, 2005

Huanu Picchu
Machu Pichu
Machu Picchu, Peru

Cusco: Capital of the Incas

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Story/Tip

Cathedral Photo, Machu Picchu, Peru
Quote:
Cusco is a stark contrast from the dirty hustle of Lima. It is the second largest city in Peru and the capital city of the ancient Incan empire. Located at 11,000 feet, this Andean city is the doorway to the Quechuan culture of the Incan people. The city center, Plaza de Armas, reminds me of many plazas you will find in Spain. On one side, you will find the main Catholic church. Shops and restaurants border the rest of the plaza. In the center, you will find flowers and benches to people-watch on. Things to do: The main thing to do in this city is to tour the cathedral. Inside, you will find spectacular and ornate carvings still covered in the original gold leaf. If you look carefully, yo...Read More

Ollantayambo

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Story/Tip

Ollantayambo Photo, Machu Picchu, Peru
Quote:
Ollantayambo is another amazing city in the Sacred Valley, and our last stop before Machu Picchu. It was at this great city that Manco Inca, the last great Incan ruler, made his stand against the Spanish conquistadors. The city itself is built on the ruins of the Incan village, and you can still see the aqueducts built into the streets that the city still uses for its water supply. The fortress behind the city is made up of terraced farming land, as well as a temple at the top. The stone in the original mountain was not high-enough quality to be used to build this temple, so the Inca went across the valley and up another mountain 6 miles away to find the granite they needed. They then had ...Read More

Machu Picchu

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Story/Tip

Machu Picchu and Me Photo, Machu Picchu, Peru
Quote:
Honestly, there is not much to say here. The beauty of this place speaks for itself. But I do have some recommendations to get the most out of your experience here. 1. Make sure the group you are going with is actually going to spend some real time here. Many travel groups only spend a few hours here. You will want more time here. You have just to wander around and imagine what life was like hundreds of years ago. We arrived there midday and stayed for the whole next day and then half the day after that. It was just the right amount of time. 2. Bring good hiking boots. There is a lot of walking and some great optional hikes if you have the time. 3. Bring a good camera and lo...Read More