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The sacred valley of the Incas

Located one hour north of Cusco at an average altitude of 2,800 m (9,184 ft), this beautiful valley is a privileged place that enjoys a mild climate all year round. Here is cultivated the best corn, the sacred food of the Incas.

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Pisac

This town of 10,000 inhabitants 33 km / 20 mi from Cusco (50 minutes) at 2,972 m (9,748 ft) above sea level, is famous for its traditional market every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. A huge handicraft market takes place every day.

Ruinas

Admission with "Boleto Turístico Integral"

Located a few kilometers (30 mn) from the village at an altitude of 3,400 m (11.150 ft), it is one of the most important archaeological sites in the country. This huge complex consists of several places scattered in the hills with a stunning view over the agricultural terraces and the valley. The original stairs let down to the village in two hours.

Ollantaytambo

 

Admission with "Boleto Turístico Integral"

The most important Inca site of the valley is about 76 km (47 mi) from Cusco (1 h 40), 57 km (35 mi) from Pisac (1 hour) at 2.792 m (9,158 ft) a.s.l. Called "fortress", Ollantaytambo was a military center built in a strategic location at the end of the valley and the entrance to the jungle and also a ceremonial and agricultural site. The bottom of the site is composed from various fountains and buildings. Most impressive are the terraces built on the hillsides. On the top you can see the Temple of the Sun and its huge monoliths

The village has preserved the original Inca structure with its narrow streets.

Today, from here most visitors board the train to Machu Picchu (40 km / 25 mi - 1 h 30).

Salinas de Maras

17 km (11 mi) from the town of Urubamba (30 mn) and 56 km (35 mi) from Cuzco (1h 10).

Admission: S/.7 - US$2.50 

Overlooking the valley at 3,000 m (10,000 ft) a.s.l., you can see 5,000 ponds built on the slopes of the mountain that people fill high salty water in the dry season from May to November, collecting the salt after several days of evaporation.

The water comes from a local subterranean stream and reaches the ponds by a complex system of tiny channels. The view of the valley is spectacular and you can walk down to the village of Yanahuara in an hour.

Moray

24 km (15 mi) from Urubamba (45 mn) and 64 km (40 mi) from Cuzco (1 h 45)

Admission with "Boleto Turístico Integral"

 

30 mn after Maras, you get an unusual inca ruins. Moray was an agricultural experiment station, consisting of several enormous circular terraces which suggest a coliseum and a sophisticated irrigation system. Each terrace has its own altitude and sunlight, the Incas could well recreate over 20 microclimatic conditions, allowing domesticate wild plant species and develop large varieties of potatoes, corn and other plants.

 
 
 
 
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