Travel Peru: Cusco + Sacred Valley

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Sacred Valley Tour

Mike and I split from the LBW group to take a day trip to the Sacred Valley (also called the Urubamba Valley). It was unfortunate that the sacred valley wasn’t included with the tour price. Our LBW guide Nilo was amazing and it would have been great to get his perspective on things. Alas, it was an external excursion so we booked it. A lady picked us up from the hostel at 7am, caught us a cab and directed the driver to a bus terminal where we met our tour group.

Most people on the tour bus spoke only Spanish. The tour guide would lecture about the land and history of the area in Spanish for about ten minutes before switching to broken English for maybe three sentences before flipping back to Spanish. This was frustrating for the few of us who didn’t speak fluent Spanish because we didn’t really get anything out of the guide’s lectures.

The bus was almost full. Mike and I couldn’t sit together but I wound up sitting between four lovely Australian people who immediately began offering me their snacks and making me feel comfortable. They were so nice! They had just come from the rainforest and had a few days before heading back home.

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Pisac

Pisac was the first village we stopped at along the way. As always the drive was terrifying and I thought I’d fall off the cliff. I finally got to be up close to the green agricultural terraces I had read so much about when researching Peru. I thought the terraces would be small but they actually could be built up to three metres high! We were allowed to explore on our own which was marvellous. We did a short low intensity hike up to the top of the old ruins where we were able to look down on the valley from a lookout point.

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Confusingly, after seeing the ruins of Pisac our guide stopped at a local restaurant where we assumed we were getting lunch. We got off, but then the guide started angrily pointing at Mike & I and told us to get back on, so we did, but the tourists from Australia got let behind. I still don’t know why the bus stopped if we weren’t supposed to get off the bus!

We drove another ten minutes and stopped somewhere that we could pay for a buffet lunch. We knew there would be a buffet but had been told that we would be able to find other options nearby. The buffet was expensive so we didn’t want to pay for it. The lady huffed at us and told us to be back in 30 minutes. As it turned out, there were no options for people not fluent in Spanish. An hour later we piled back onto the bus to grumble in silence. Thankfully the bus did go back for our Australian friends!

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Ollantaytambo

Ollantaytambo was the fortress of Emperor Patchacuti during the Incan Empire in the 1400s and was one of the only fortresses to withstand the Spanish invasion for a period of time.

The ruins were much more extensive than the ones in Pisac. We were eager to explore but our guide insisted that we all stand around and wait for her to “teach” us about the history of the place in Spanish while pointing to pictures of the ruins in a book. I was miffed, we were THERE! I can look at a book or the internet at home, but it was probably going to be my only time in the sacred valley.

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Despite my annoyance with the guide the ruins were beautiful and we lived the short 35 minutes she gave us to explore to the fullest. Mike & I climbed up the stone terraces all the way up to the unfinished Sun Temple. There was a path that went even higher but there was literally no guard rail and I’m a clumsy person. We went halfway up before turning back.

Ollantaytambo Sun Temple
The Sun Temple

I could have spent an entire afternoon exploring the ruins, if not more. There were hiking trails that went even further that I would have loved to trek but those 35 minutes went fast. Finally we headed back to Cusco.

The trip was worth it for the experience of exploring the ruins and seeing them with our own eyes, but the planning & execution of the tour could have been a lot better.

Once again, I reiterate that the Sacred Valley tour was NOT related to LBW travel. Everything with LBW was really awesome, and our LBW guide even called the other tour company to make sure they dropped us off at the right place. I recommend seeing the Sacred Valley but do your research on the tour company before booking!

 

Food In Cusco Peru

Because of the elevation walking that would have been easy for us in Canada was much tougher in Cusco. Our guide, Nilo, told us that it just meant we could eat more food because of all the extra calories we were burning. I was totally down for eating more food! Our favourites place to ear was JC’s downtown. JC’s is one of the the best breakfast places I have ever had and it was incredibly affordable! We ate here at least three times. Cusco also had a lot of good dinner and lunch options, like the roasted vegetable platter and mango avocado sushi pictured above.

Have you been to Cusco? What destinations are on your bucket list!?

Next Sunday I’ll be posting my final Travel Peru blog where Mike & I hike Rainbow mountain. It was my favourite place in all of Peru so I’m really excited to share it with you! Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed this post please remember to like, subscribe, and sign up for email post notifications on the sidebar. See y’all next week! ❤

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2 thoughts on “Travel Peru: Cusco + Sacred Valley

  1. Wow, the downtown area of Cusco looks really cool. I love those buildings with the red roof!

    The part where they showed you how they make natural dyes is so riveting! lol. I would love to see that someday.

    Umm…the whole twisty winding roads in combination with video footage for possible body identification is super unsettling, LOL.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was so beautiful! And so many great restaurants too.

      The dyes were a lot more interesting than I thought they would be. A lot of alpaca textile producers are trying to keep the traditional dying and weaving methods alive, there are a lot of charities that work to pass down the art.

      So unsettling! I wish I knew if they were joking or not 😫

      Liked by 1 person

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