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Cusco, Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley

Nestled among spectacular snow-capped mountains and decorated with quaint Andean villages and Inca Ruins, the Sacred Valley and Cusco region tempts visitors with its cultural charms and natural wonders. Because it offers such an array of activities and attractions, this area is great for the rugged adventurer and world traveler alike. Even the briefest of excursions around the Sacred Valley area is sure to yield unforgettable images of jagged mountains, lush green terraces and ancient Inca ruins, whilst a few days in Cusco will introduce you to a world of magnificent colonial architecture, diverse museums, first-class cuisine and extraordinary nightlife.

Once you've acclimatized-altitudes in the region average 3500 meters (11,480 ft)-the hardest aspect of your trip will be figuring out how to see and do everything in the amount of time you have. The two biggest attractions drawing travelers from all over the world are the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu. While both promise an unforgettable experience, neither attraction can encompass the full scope and scale of natural beauty and cultural richness that you're sure to encounter just beyond their reach. For those in search of ruins, and everyone for that matter, the Inca's capital city of Cusco is a must, while throughout the Sacred Valley there are many opportunities to explore remarkable examples of Inca stone masonry, particularly in the charming towns of Pisac and Ollantaytambo. For those looking for something a little off the beaten track, there are a number of established alternatives to the Inca Trail that offer equally impressive trekking opportunities, without the tour groups (and at a lower price).

But it's not all about ruins and trekking. Take some time to browse the artisan markets, wander around the many museums and elegant churches or, for the more adventurous, try out some of the Sacred Valley's many activities: think river-rafting, mountain-biking, rock-climbing and horse-riding, to name a few.









27 Mar 2012

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Cusco and the Sacred Valley Historic Sites

Qoricancha Templo del Sol and Santo Domingo

Incan Qoricancha Of the numerous attractions in Cusco, this should be on the top of your list. Once home to nearly 4,000 of the Empire’s highest ranking priests and their attendants, Qoricancha was ...
Historical Building
Cusco, Peru

Museo de Arte Religioso

For art aficionados and architecture fiends alike, the Museo de Arte Religioso is one of the most interesting addresses in the city. Like many other attractions in Cusco, the museum sports a rich ...
Historical Building, Museum
Cusco, Peru

Cusco Cathedral

Located on the Plaza de Armas, Cusco’s massive stone cathedral is well worth a visit. Construction began in 1560; much of the stone used to build the cathedral was brought from Sachsayhuamán and ...
Historical Building
Cusco, Peru

Iglesia San Blas

Iglesia San Blas is just one of the Cusco attractions located in the bustling artisan neighborhood of San Blas. Built in 1563, Iglesia San Blas is thought to be one of the oldest parishes in Cusco. ...
Historical Building
Cusco, Peru

Museo de Arte y Monasterio de Santa Catalina

Built by the Spanish between 1601 and 1610 on top of Acllahuasi-where the Inca emperor once housed his chosen Virgins of the Sun-this convent and museum houses an interesting collection of colonial ...
Historical Building, Museum
Cusco, Peru

Museo de Sitio Qoricancha

Located under the garden below Santo Domingo, the Museo de Sitio Qoricancha consists of three small rooms, which contain a pre-Columbian collection, Spanish paintings from the 18th century and photos ...
Historical Building, Museum
Cusco, Peru

Museo Histórico Regional

Formerly the residence of one of Peru’s most famous writers and Inca historians, Garcilaso de la Vega, the Museo Histórico Regional now offers an excellent review of Peruvian history, from ...
Historical Building, Museum
Cusco, Peru

Raqchi

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the Raqchi ruins is the line of nearly 200 round stone houses that parallels the gigantic adobe Inca wall. At one time each one of the houses was filled to the ...
Historical Building
Cusco, Peru

The Stone Puma

110180North of Cusco’s Plaza de Armas towards Cuesta San Blas, you will come upon one of the most haunting tokens of a civilization: the foundation for the one-time palace of 14th century Incan ruler ...
Historical Building
Cusco, Peru

Hiking in the Sacred Valley

The Inca Trail

102040Characterized by rugged ascents boasting magnificent views of Andean scenery and trails that wind their way through the cloud forest and past ancient archaeological sites, the Inca Trail is perhaps ...
Hiking, Major Attraction, Trekking
Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail, Peru

Four-Day Inca Trail Trek

103226To give you a better sense of what the four-day trek involves, we\'ve put together a brief day-by-day summary of the trip.Day 1Total Distance: 10 to 11 kilometers (6.2-6.8 mi) Arrive by train from ...
Hiking, Trekking
Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail, Peru

Short Inca Trail

121084If you do not have the time or youthfulness (we are both 65 and my husband has had a knee replacement), the short Inca trail can be a most rewarding way to travel to Machu Picchu. About 11 km, a ...
Hiking
Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail, Peru

Inca Trail Porters

You\'ve waited so long to trek these rugged 43 kilometers to that Incan Holy Grail, Machu Picchu. But after two days, your feel muscles you never knew existed and another blister is welling up. As ...
Hiking, Trekking
Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail, Peru

Putucusi

This is an excellent, three-hour hike up the mountain opposite of Machu Picchu-the views are breathtaking. It can be steep and part of the climb requires ascending vertical cliff faces via wooden ...
Hiking
Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu Town), Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail, Peru

Alternative Inka Trail

116328We recently completed an alternative Inka Trek to Machu Picchu through the volunteer and tourist organisation Inka Magik, working closely with a local Quechua guide, which takes in the warm jungle, ...
Hiking
Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail, Peru

Biking and Hiking to Machu Picchu

Biking And Trekking Experience 4 Days / 3 Nights Imbued with a magical silence, 120km (74mi) from Cusco on the slopes above the Urubamba River, lies one of the world's most extraordinary ...
Hiking
Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail, Peru

Highlights of the Sacred Valley

Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail

102039Framed by spectacular Andean peaks and surrounded by verdant jungle, Machu Picchu is an eye-tantalizing tribute to man in harmony with nature. Located high above the clouds, the city\'s streets, ...
City
Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail, Peru

Cusco

101460In addition to serving as a gateway to nearby attractions like Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail, Cusco offers travelers a host of culturally enticing museums, cathedrals and markets that make this ...
City
Cusco, Peru

Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu Town)

102041The town below Machu Picchu, Aguas Calientes, is the final stop on the train from Cusco and Ollantaytambo. From here, just a few blocks from the train station, you can catch a 20-minute bus up a ...
City
Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu Town), Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail, Peru

Cusco: South of the Plaza de Armas

110014Cusco, south of its Plaza de Armas, is noteworthy for its historic houses, particularly the 16th century Valleumbroso mansion on Márquez, just before the Plaza de San Francisco, with its rows of ...
City
Cusco: South of the Plaza de Armas, Cusco, Peru

Urubamba

Located precisely in the middle of the Sacred Valley, Urubamba is an attractive little town, making it a good base for traveling around the area, exploring the countryside and visiting the Inca ...
City
Urubamba, Peru

Yucay

Located a few kilometers east of Urubamba, Yucay is a peaceful town with a few interesting colonial homes and the restored colonial church of Santiago Apóstol. Inside the church, you\'ll find ...
City
Yucay, Peru

Andahuaylillas and San Pedro

This small colonial village, located 37 kilometers (23 mi) south of Cusco, is home to one of Peru\'s most beautiful churches. Whether or not San Pedro is the \"Sistine Chapel of the Americas,\" as ...
City
Andahuaylillas and San Pedro, Peru

Ollantaytambo

102420Poised in the northeastern end of the Sacred Valley, about 97 km (60.2 mi) from Cusco, this little town is a cultural haven well worth the visit. Surrounded by snow-capped peaks on both sides, ...
City
Ollantaytambo, Peru

Pisac

102419Pisac (32 kilometers or 20 miles northeast of Cusco) is popular due to both ancient and modern attractions. The ancient ruins at the top of the mountainside-featuring a small Inca village with ...
City
Pisac, Peru

Chinchero

Located 28 kilometers (17.4 mi) northwest of Cusco, the sleepy Andean town of Chinchero is one of the best places in the valley for Andean textiles and basic goods like hats, gloves, and shawls. With ...
City
Chinchero, Peru
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