Views 06 Abr The Sacred Valley of the Incas
 |  Category: Must-see Travel Destinations

After our first “lazy” day in Cusco, having drunk lots of “mate de coca” (coca tea) in order to prevent the “soroche” or altitude illness from hitting us, we were ready for our first excursion in the Cusco region: the Sacred Valley of the Incas. We had bought some notebooks and pens at a local store in Cusco so that we could hand them out to the kids that we would meet along the way. In fact, at our first stop along the road somewhere outside Cusco, children dressed up in traditional clothing were already waiting for us.

The kids try to draw the tourist’s attention with their colourful costumes in order to earn some soles in exchange for having a picture taken with them, while their parents sell handicrafts or clothing. You will come across many small markets along the route of the Sacred Valley, some only consisting of a few plaids on the side of the road with all kinds of craft products; others more “ structured” in the hope to attract big groups of tourists.

The Sacred Valley of the Incas

In fact, one of the most important cities of the Sacred Valley, Pisaq, is famous for its big and colourful Sunday market. Jewellery, beautiful handmade clothing, music, everything can be found here. After a walk through the market, and having bought some souvenirs, we visited the church which held a service that morning. The standard religious items are intertwined with Inca symbols and the people sing traditional Peruvian music. A very special mixture of cultures.

After Pisaq, we continued the bus tour through the valley, a very pleasant journey, as the views and landscapes are truly breathtaking. Our next stop was Oyantatambo, a very impressive site, not as massive and popular as Machu Picchu , but architectonically speaking very well worth visiting. We climbed slowly towards the top of the ruins, while our guide Samuel explained us the history and the significance of this Inca site. Oyantatambo is the place where the Incas retreated after the Spanish took Cuzco. The huge blocks and the fascinating structure of the construction (each rock has an independent form and volume in relation to all the other rocks) make you admire even more the Inca workmanship.

The Sacred Valley of the Incas

The end of our Sacred Valley tour came near; night was falling already and the skies started to show a pretty mixture of shapes and colours. We had arrived at Chincheros, a town on about 3.700 meters above sea level, in the middle of the highlands, surrounded by various mountain glaciers. Here you can enjoy the archaeological site, the church on the square and of course the typical market, famous for its high quality of beautiful hand made products. The friendly people of this town will be happy to show you how they weave wool, pain the fabrics, and create the most beautiful vests, sweaters and carpets. After a day of seeing so many kinds of beautiful handicrafts, it is surely difficult to return to Cusco empty handed!

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