A relaxing tour in the serene sacred valley

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by MichaelJM on October 11, 2010

Today we are collected, by our guide, at 8.00 from the hotel and travel by road into the fertile and picturesque valley known as the Sacred Valley of the Incas. We’re away from Cuzco for a couple of nights and can only take small hand luggage with us on the train to Macchu Picchu, so we have to pack very lightly and secure the rest of our luggage with the Hotel Ruinas in Cuzco. Now when I say lightly I mean a couple of rucksacks and as mine is almost full with the technical equipment (cameras, lens, net book and battery chargers) the rest has to be rammed into my wife’s. It’s a difficult decision because we’re getting mixed messages about the likely weather so in the end we have to pack layers including waterproof gear.

The valley between the towns of Pisac and Ollantaytambo was at the heart of the spiritual and commercial heart of the Inca Empire. It is part of a long river valley that starts upstream of Cuzo in the south and continues right on into the jungle, where the Urubamba River, known to the Incas as Vilcanota, merges with the other tributaries that merge in to the mighty Amazon.

The winding and fertile section known as the Sacred Valley of the Incas lies to the north east of Cuzco and in Inca times it was is guarded throughout by ancient Inca forts set high in the sides of the mountains. And of course the main towns after Cusco were the settlements of Pisac and Ollantaytambo, which are placed at both ends of the valley.

This is a beautiful and traditional area that is over popular with tourists as many people just pass through from as they head from Cuzco and hurry on to visit Machu Picchu. We are fortunately spending a bit of time to check out the valley as we make our journey. As we enter the valley we stop off to soak in the superb visa at one of the highest spots. From here we can see right across the valley and admire the cultivated patchwork of fields. Of course at this stop off there are several colourfully traditionally dressed locals ready to sell us their handmade craft work. Our guide tells us that this traditional dress has changed little from the pre-conquest days. Just as we’re about to get back into the mini bus we spot the frantic flapping of a hummingbird. Now the challenge is to catch it on film as well as to admire the gracefulness of the bird as it flies from flower to flower and then hovers as it extracts the nectar from the flowers. It’s real precision flying!

There’s a real serenity about our trip down to the Sacred Valley and we pass through small village with bustling local markets at the side of the road and local villages setting about their agricultural business. Some are busy making adobe bricks for their houses and we are extremely conscious that work is still progressing to repair the devastating damage that had been caused by the flooding earlier in the year. Indeed it’s not difficult to understand how houses are vulnerable to heavy rain as the sun dried clay bricks would quickly be destroyed by an extreme soaking.

Farmers are tending to their fields by hand or in some cases oxen and plough, and others stand in watch over small groups of cattle. The fields that appeared as patchwork tapestry from the top come to life with this local activity. Occasionally we spot, on the edge of a village, large Spanish haciendas and see a good splattering of temples and fortresses.

Down in the valley it’s easy to why the Incas settled in this are with the rich soils of the valley and the wide plains must have made settlements much easier to establish than the more sacred site of Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu. Indeed if you have some time I’d recommend that you spend some of it in the Sacred Valley

Sacred Valley of the Incas
Valley In The Andes Of Peru
Cusco, Peru


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