Peru Journals

The Sacred Valley of the Incas

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An August 2006 trip to Peru by Shady Ady

Maras Salt Mines Photo, Machu Picchu, Peru More Photos
Quote: A review of my time spent travelling around the Sacred Valley in Peru, once the home of the formidable Incas.

Maras Salt Mines

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Attraction | "Maras Saltmines"

Maras Salt Mines Photo, Machu Picchu, Peru
Quote:
There are many ancient Inca ruins to see in Peru, especially in the Sacred Valley, but the salt mines of Maras, one of the less-visited Inca sites, for me, was second in enjoyment and satisfaction only to Machu Picchu. Maras, a district of the Urubamba province, is located at an altitude of 11,090 feet above sea level and is around 50km from Cusco.These salt mines were originally constructed by the Incas and are still worked to this day by descendants of the Inca Empire. In total, there are around 200 families working over 3,000 separate salt pools, each around 5m² on the terraced mountain side. The source of the salt is a small mineral spring that bubbles out of the Qaqawiñay Mountain and i...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 2, 2006

Maras Salt Mines
Sacred Valley
Machu Picchu, Peru

Moray

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Attraction | "Moray Agricultural Inca Site"

Moray Photo, Cusco, Peru
Quote:
The Inca ruins at Moray, located 33 miles away from Cusco, at an altitude of 11,100 feet a.s.l., are one of the best-kept secrets amongst the Inca ruins, especially within the Sacred Valley. Moray is not visited much by tourists, and the drive to the ruins through the rural dirt roads, watching local farmers use their donkeys to plough the fields, is a cultural experience in itself.The Moray archaeological site is unique amongst Inca ruins and consists of two huge circular terraced amphitheatres built for agricultural purposes. Many researchers believe this site was an agricultural experimental laboratory (like a greenhouse), with each terrace having its own micro-climate. This allowed the I...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 2, 2006

Moray
13 kilómetros del Cusco
Cusco, Peru
N/A

Ollantaytambo

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Attraction

Ollantaytambo Photo, Cusco, Peru
Quote:
As we were approaching Ollantaytambo, our tour guide informed us to be ready to see some of the best preserved and outstanding Inca ruins that can still be viewed today. After seeing the delights on offer at Machu Picchu, I thought that this might be a bit of an exaggeration, but I have to admit I was totally wrong. In my eyes, behind Machu Picchu, Ollantaytambo is one of the best attractions of Inca heritage on offer in Peru.Located at a slightly lower altitude of 2,800m, compared to other places in the Sacred Valley, Ollantaytambo is around 2 hours (75km) from Cusco. The actual town of Ollantaytambo, located next to the ruins, is built upon the top of original Inca foundations, and is th...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 16, 2006

Ollantaytambo
93 kilómetros al NE
Cusco, Peru
N/A

Chinchero

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Attraction

Chinchero Photo, Cusco, Peru
Quote:
Located higher than other attractions in the Sacred Valley and well worth a visit is the charming village of Chinchero, with a population of 2,000. Chinchero is less than 30km from Cusco and is normally included in Sacred Valley tours. Chinchero was once the country estate of one of the last Incan emperors, Yupa Inca, and before Spanish rule, the village was fondly known as El Pueblo Del Arco Iris, or "birthplace of the rainbow." You can easily see why.Upon arriving Chinchero, you have to scale steep steps to get up to the huge main square, which is more than worth the effort. Entrance to the town is through the "Boleto Turistico" ticket (70 soles, approximately $25). Although the walk isn’t...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 19, 2006

Chinchero
28 kilómetros Cusco
Cusco, Peru
N/A

Pisaq

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Attraction

Pisaq Photo, Cusco, Peru
Quote:
Twenty one miles to the east of Cusco is the quaint little town of Pisaq, nowadays famous for its huge tourist market rather than the Incan fortress, perched dramatically on a mountain spur 600m above.The tourist craft market in Pisaq is held every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday, although Sunday’s are normally the biggest and busiest. Held in the main square of Pisaq underneath some very imposing ancient trees, it’s surrounded by a varied selection of restaurants. Due to the number of tourists, expect to pay higher than normal prices. You can find crafts and souvenirs of every distinction, and be prepared to get lost amongst the vast maze of stalls on offer. Many of the market traders are dre...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 28, 2006

Pisaq
Pisaq
Cusco, Peru