Cusco and the Sacred Valley Travel Guide

The next must see in Peru is the city of Cusco and the Sacred Valley. A vague recommendation but there are months worth of Incan ruins, colonial highlights, museums, adventure activities, restaurants, spas, and nightlife to soak up. This small city is one of the most beautiful cities in South America with a small Spanish colonial historic center and fashioned with clay tiled roofs for a uniformity that makes every picture turn out perfectly. Remnants of the Inca can be found literally all around you with much of the historic center built with or on top of Inca stone foundations.

It is best to start your time in Cusco with a half day city tour. You will be given a guided tour of the ruins of Q’enko, Puka Pukara and Tambomachay all of which lie just above the city. Your guide will explain the significance of each set of ruins before taking you to the fortress of Sacsayhuaman. Sacsayhuaman not only provides breath-taking panoramas of the city of Cusco located in the valley below, but it is also an impressive display of Incan architectural superiority. The stone work has yet been matched by modern technology, let alone by manual laborers.

Returning to the city center and traveling forward in time, you will visit the main Cathedral located on the Plaza del Armas, or main square of the city. You will also venture a few blocks from the main plaza to the stunning Convent of Santo Domingo, built on the Incan temple of the Sun, Korikancha. In the matter of hours you will have a true sense of why this entire city was given the title of a UNESCO world heritage site.

After you have thorough enjoyed the city of Cusco, it is essential you explore the Sacred Valley. Start with the town of Pisac’s artisan and local market before visiting the spectacular ruins lying a few kilometers above the city. The views from the ruins alone are worth the effort. Next, make your way to Ollantaytambo, where the Inca lost their last effort against the Spanish in the 16th century. Time permitting it is suggested that you stay overnight in the Sacred Valley and visit the salt pans located near Maras, the amphitheater-like terracing of Moray and the small textile village of Chinchero before you leave.

You will not regret spending a little extra time in this enchanting part of the Andes Mountains. For outdoor lovers there are hundreds of activities to enjoy – trekking and white water rafting are among the most popular although there is plenty of horseback riding, mountain biking, ATVing, camping, bungee jumping, rock climbing and more to be enjoyed as well.