CUSCO, MACHU PICCHU & SACRED VALLEY

Cusco

Located in the Southeastern Andes Mountains, Cusco sits at an altitude of 3,400 meters above sea level (11,000 feet). Known for its incredible pre-Inca, Inca and colonial Hispanic architecture, Cusco is considered to be the gateway to the sanctuary-city of Machu Picchu and the Inca Sacred Valley, and one of the most culturally-rich cities in Latin America.

 

Machu Picchu

The ruins of Machu Picchu, meaning ‘Old Peak’ in the Quechua language, are one of the world’s most beautiful and enigmatic sites. Built in the mid-1400s for sacred purposes, rediscovered in 1911 by Yale archaeologist Hiram Bingham, declared by the United Nations a World Heritage Site in 1983, and named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World by the New7Wonders Foundation in 2007; Machu Picchu is certainly Peru’s most famous landmark.

While at Machu Picchu don't miss the opportunity to trek "Montaña" the Machu Picchu Mountain, often missed by many. The trek is considered to be of moderate difficulty with a wide and clearly marked trail. Along the trek, the views become more spectacular. The summit offers the best panoramic views of Machu Picchu citadel and the surrounding mountain scenery.

For those looking for an adrenaline rush, trek Huayna Picchu, which means 'Young Peak' in Quechua. The trek is considered to be moderate to challenging, however, unlike Montaña, the trail is narrow and steep. The summit offers impressive views over Machu Picchu citadel.

Both Montaña and Huayna Picchu require combination tickets with the entrance to the citadel as the entrances are limited.

 

Sacred Valley (Pisaq and Ollantaytambo)

What is known today as the region of Cusco is home to the ancient Sacred Valley of the Incas. Tucked between the city of Cusco and Machu Picchu, it is a stretch of virtually untouched villages and ancient ruins ranging across broad fields and mountain slopes, it drips with Andean history, culture, and beauty.

Originally formed by the Urubamba River, the valley was once the fertile and spiritual base of the Incan Empire. The Inca ruins of Pisaq and Ollantaytambo are the living testimony of the rich history and heritage of the now extinct Empire.

 

Maras & Moray

Maras & Moray are two small towns located in the valley between the more well-known towns of Pisac and Ollantaytambo and are the perfect places to get off the beaten track. The Maras salt flats are a real hidden beauty of the Sacred Valley. The sun shines brightly from the salt rocks, this natural phenomenon creates a stunning contrast against the green mountainous landscape.
The town of Moray will leave you fascinated with the genius architecture of the Inca civilisation. Although the reason behind the impressive circular terraced platforms is not known, it is believed the Incas used the land as a laboratory to test the behaviour of a variety of ingredients at different altitudes. The Incas famously lived from the earth, respecting and learning from mother nature, exploring natural ingredients for remedies and nutrition.

Enjoy exploring Maras & Moray on quad bikes, cruising through the Andes exploring the small villages, crop fields and Andean mountain ranges, limited to a small guided group to preserve the land. This journey to the Moray archaeological site is truly an unforgettable experience.

 

Rainbow Mountain

Vinucunca, commonly known as the Rainbow Mountain, is one of the 100 places you must visit before you die, according to National Geographic; and one of the multiple gifts of nature that Peru has. This majestic rock formation is located in Peru’s Cusco Region and receives its nickname from the shifting colours of its minerals - pink, green, grey or yellow minerals struck into a bank of rock protruding upward from the Earth. The famous rainbow hump is part of a whole stretch of coloured mountains, in shades of rose and blonde. The route to Rainbow Mountain is a gorgeous one, passing local stone villages, spectacular mountain peaks and river streams. The Rainbow Mountain is located at 4,400 metres or 14,400 feet above sea level, and although the trek is typically done in one day, we highly recommend the Ausangate 7-day trek to the Rainbow Mountain through the mountains and glaciers of the Cusco Region.

 

Lake Humantay

Located in between the Andes mountains at 3,800m above sea level, Lake Humantay was formed by melted glaciers giving it its turquoise blue colour. The full-day trek to this lake is one of the most picturesque treks in Peru, passing through different landscapes of lush green valleys and snow-capped mountains. A true hidden gem! 

Other options to this trek are glamping or as part of the Salkantay Trek.

 

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