CUSCO CITY TOUR:
Travelers flock to Cusco because it’s the jumping off place to explore Machu Picchu, one of the world’s archeological wonders. You can reach there either by train/bus or hiking the glorious 4-5days Inca trail, in Cusco itself, important sites to visit are: Sacsayhuaman the largest fortress built to protect Cusco city, built with giant 100 tons boulders that they fit each other with so much accuracy without any mortar, also to see the Temples of Koricancha where beautiful temples were built to worship the sun, the moon, the rainbow, the earth, the stars, etc., with the most astonishing stone work for their walls without any mortars, then, the cathedral with fantastic colonial art work in there, also to see remaining of those Inca Palaces, the twelve angle stone, very important museums too, the artist district San Blas, the main food market San Pedro and others.
THE SACRED VALLEY IN CUSCO REGION
The Sacred Valley of the Incas was undoubtedly a key area of settlement to the Incas. Its agreeable climate and fertile plains, it was the connection from Cusco to the Jungle where Coca leaf was so important for all of them, also the sacred valley which has lower elevation (9,000 ft, was a good climate for growing Corn, the staple of the Incas, also it was the main access to Cusco from the amazon where there many enemies, so they built several fortresses, outposts, check points, look out points etc., to control this valley and didn´t let any enemy to approach the sacred city of Cusco
Ollantaytambo fortress, such amazing megaproject, where they were dragging gigantic boulders up to the mountains for buildings their temples, they built a huge ramp to drag those boulders, and their complex including the agricultural terraces, ritual baths sectors, royal sector, and the villages where the commoners lived.
Pisac ruins, Pisac is perhaps best known for its Incan ruins, known as Inca Písac, which lie atop a hill at the entrance to the valley. The ruins are separated along the ridge into four groups: P’isaqa, Inti Watana, Qalla Q’asa, and Kinchiraqay. Inti Watana group includes the Temple of the Sun, baths, altars, water fountains, a ceremonial platform, and an inti watana, a volcanic outcrop carved into a “hitching post for the Sun” (or Inti). The angles of its base suggest that it served to define the changes of the seasons. Qalla Q’asa, which is built onto a natural spur and overlooks the valley, is known as the citadel.
The Inca constructed agricultural terraces on the steep hillside, which are still in use today. They created the terraces by hauling richer topsoil by hand from the lower lands. The terraces enabled the production of surplus food, more than would normally be possible at altitudes as high as 11,000 feet.
With military, religious, and agricultural structures, the site served at least a triple purpose. Researchers believe that Písac defended the southern entrance to the Sacred Valley.
Chinchero is a small Andean Indian village located high up on the windswept plains of Anta at 3762m about 30km from Cusco. There are beautiful views overlooking the Sacred Valley of the Incas, with the Cordillera Vilcabamba and the snow-capped peak of Salkantay dominating the western horizon. Chinchero is believed to be the mythical birthplace of the rainbow. Its major claim to tourism is its colourful Sunday market which is much less tourist-orientated than the market at Pisac.
The village mainly comprises mud brick (adobe) houses, and locals still go about their business in traditional dress.
The village may have been an important town in Inca times. The most striking remnant of this period is the massive stone wall in the main plaza which has ten trapezoidal niches. The construction of the wall and many other ruins and agricultural terraces (which are still in use) are attributed to Inca Tupac Yupanqui who possibly used Chinchero as a kind of country resort. Is also a village of the ladies weavers, where they do workshop of textiles using ancient Inca´s technic, In the main plaza an adobe colonial church, dating from the early seventeenth century, has been built upon the foundations of an Inca temple or palace. The ceiling and walls are covered in beautiful floral and religious designs. The church is open on Sundays for mass.
MORAY a further breathtaking 20 kms drive with the beautiful snowcapped Chicon and Veronica mountains in the Cordillera Vilcanota as a backdrop we continue through to Moray. In Moray we visit “the Inca agricultural greenhouse or laboratory”, consisting of four platforms amphitheater style or. Has a depth of 150 meters, the overlapping concentric circular stone rings widen as they rise. It was an experimental place to study the adaptation of plants to new ecosystems.
MARAS/ SALT MINES, located 7 miles from Moray at altitude of 3, 380 m is a small village, as a model of a miniature city. Famous for its salt mines, made up of about 3000 small wells with an area average size of about 5 ms ². These were already exploited since Inca times as a means of economic exchange and securities. Also used for preserving Llama meat or alpaca meat like Jerky way, and of course they also used it to mummify their authorities.
INCA TRAIL AND OTHER TEKS TO MACHU PICCHU
Those hikes are so interesting and very cultural, spending some nights in tents, including tour guide, a cook, porters, mules etc., some of them go through beautiful snowcapped mountains, lakes, some archeologic Inca ruins, a visit of the indigenous villages which are Inca´s descendants, some physical conditions needed, usually 2 or 3 nights camping, and 1 night in a hotel prior to Machu Picchu.
Specially for the classic Inca trail to Machu Picchu, you need to book very in advance to get space, for example, if you want to come for the high season: from June to September, then you need to book it since January or February.
But for the rest of the year you need probably 3 months in advance.