Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu

The Sacred Valley


Outside of Cusco are several valleys that were used by the Incas to cultivate crops and to mine precious metals. The Sacred valley follows the Urubamba river all the way to Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu.

Along this valley are many important Inca ruins. The first stop along the valley is the town of Pisac.

The Pisac ruins

Pisac was an important town for mining silver and cultivating food crops. The ruins of the Inca city have many terraces for growing food.

Food cultivation terraces


The town of Pisac below the ruins


The ruins also have one of the largest necropolis' in Peru. Each hole in the far bank is a grave. Unfortunately many of them have been looted for their treasures.

The necropolis


Close-up of the graves


From Pisac the Valley continues to follow the river past many inca ruins, until it reaches the fortress at Ollantaytambo.

Ollantaytambo ruins

Sadly this site has become overrun with tourists.

Hordes of tourists climbing the ruins

The Ollantaytambo ruins


More of the ruins


An aqueduct

From Ollantaytambo you can then take a scenic train journey to Aguas Calientes.

View from the train


Aguas Calientes is a small town in a valley below Machu Picchu. From what I was told it used to be a sleepy village, but a huge influx of tourists has made it more of a backpacker party town.

Aguas Calientes main square


At night


The square at night


From Aguas Calientes you can walk up to Machu Picchu or take a bus - both leave at 4 am and the number of people wanting to take the bus means it arrives at the same time as the walk.

The reason for the early start is to see the sun rise through the Puerta del Sol.

Sunrise through the Puerta del Sol


Sunrise over Machu Picchu

The rest of the day can be spent wandering around the spectacular ruins.

Machu Picchu

The ruins with Wayapicchu in the background

The ruins from the top terraces

The ruins from Puerta del Sol