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
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.
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.
Hordes of tourists climbing the ruins
The Ollantaytambo ruins
More of the ruins
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
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 ruins from the top terraces
The ruins from Puerta del Sol