Machu Picchu is just one of the many Incan ruins that can be found in Peru. Many remnants of the former empire can also be seen in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Sacred Valley is comprised of the villages near the Urubamba River or Willkamayu, a Quechua term which means sacred river. Think of sprawling hills, lush greeneries and majestic mountains, I felt at ease and connected with nature.
We went to a tour group traveling to Sacred Valley. Although there were few shortcomings, I think the tour went great and the guide was knowledgeable. There are lots of tour groups in Cusco but stay away from Plaza de Armas if you are looking for cheaper prices.
During some stops, I met few locals who were really nice and allowed me to take photos with them. Contrary to what I have heard, they did not ask for any gratuity but it would still be awesome if you would offer to give some tips. I even got to hold a guinea pig and a llama ( both were lovely animals!)
Our first stop was Pisac. We went there for the Sunday market but it was so crowded that our bus did not stop. Anyway, at least we were able to spent longer time in the citadel atop the hills.
The site used to serve as a guard for the Urubamba Valley and its surrounds as well as an entry to the northeastern jungle.
The citadel comprises of temples, ceremonial sites, water ducts, and several houses made out of rocks. The elites are said to live in the upper parts of the village while the ordinary ones live near the terraces. The surrounding terraces in the hillside were used for agricultural purposes.
There were also many shops selling sweater, handicrafts and other souvenirs near the ruins.
In addition, the tour took us into a jewelry shop where they demonstrated how they craft the accessories they sold. They were really pretty but a bit expensive for me.
The first half of the tour was good, the only disappointing part was the lunch. They took us to a buffet restaurant…the same restaurant where about three to four tour buses also had their lunch. I was not expecting that and I did not get to eat my lunch decently as we had to line up for quite a while to get the food and had barely the time to eat. It would have been nicer if they gave us some freedom to choose a local eatery.
The trip continues on to Ollantaytambo.