stunning landscapes, culture, traditions, archeology
the fortress is not open at night
Some days between the Incas
If you choose not to trek to Machu Picchu the train from Ollantaytambo is the next best choice. Peru Rail offers a number of daily departures and three standards of travel - Backpackers has standard railway seating; Expedition has four seats around a table and roof windows; Vistadome has more upmarket seats and service and roof windows. All...more
Machu Picchu would arguably be the most popular of all 'things to do' in Peru, if not all of South America. Translated as 'Ancient Mountain' it is a 15th century Inca site located at 2430 metres on a mountain ridge overlooking the Urubamba Valley.The significance of the site is not exactly known but most archaeologists believe it was built as an...more
Ollantaytambo is the name of a small town and an Inca archaeological site on the Urubamba River, about 60 kilometers northwest of Cusco. It is located at an altitude of almost 2,800 metres above sea level and is the most popular site in the Sacred Valley. It was built by the Incan emperor Pachacuti in the middle 1400's. He also constructed...more
The Ollantaytambo ruins are not far from the town. The sun temple there was being constructed of pink granite, but it was never finished. The blocks, weighing as much as 100 tons, were constructed at the bottom of the hill and then hauled up with pulleys and llama leather cables. Bark under the blocks made them easier to slide. People paid their...more
Cusco is a so interesting city that deserves its own page on VT! After visiting its main colonial spots and archaeological remains I was happy to renounce to visit other places (like Arequipa!) to see (and live) also the popular side of the city(picture 2) like the local market, smaller but also interesting museums or its off the beaten path...more
The last day you will wake up very early, still dark, to walk the last 8km to arrive at Puerta del Sol at dawn. Seeing Machu Picchu for the first time at dawn, quiet, still without tourists is a unique experience. Machu Picchu was built between the XVth and XVIth centuries and it seems it was inhabited for about 100 years. It is believed that here...more
The third day is the longest stage but it is also unforgettable. Here you will go from 3800m (paso de Runcuracay) till 2800m but the grades are not sharp. During this day you will find also the most beautiful Inca remains like Runkuracay, a circular structure discovered in 1915 by Bingham’s team and used maybe for defensive purposes (picture 1), or...more
Warning: the pictures on this tip are taken by my camera but not by me, I was too busy trying to survive :-)) The starting point is on the km 82 of the train Cusco-Quillabamba. We are at 2800m high. The first day, about 12 km and climbing only 100m, is the easiest day. The landscape is very colourful and full of broom. Having Urubamba River on your...more
The Inca Trail is the most famous trekking in America and it is easy to understand why. There are two ways to arrive to Machu Picchu: by bus from Aguas Calientes or taking the Inca Trail. Even if it was very hard to me (I had some problems due to "soroche" two days before and I was not in my best conditions) I would repeat it again: crossing the...more
The buffett at the San Augustin Hotel in Urubamba, Peru gave both my son and I food poisoning within 6 hours of eating there. We think it came from cream based dishes. We required multiple visits from the hotel employed doctor and intravenious feedings. We were sick for 3 days. The hotel manager did not accept responsibility for the problem and...more
We did try and find a pub in Ollantaitambo and we found one that served all kinds of cocktails, but it was empty and we didn't feel much like being the only ones in there. It seems the town closes shop and other than having a beer at a restaurant, there isn't so much to do. But I imagine the Incas had some fun after the sun went down....
the train has various types of services for tourists. one is called backpakers that is the cheapest, you get to seat with all the tourist in the not so confortable seats. the cost is around $15 usd from cuzco to ollantaytambo around s/50 soles.check the prices on the website below ... note the price listed there is to machupichu from cuzco and it...more
The best way to travel around el Valle Sagrado is by combi. Combis are a kind of mini buses (see the picture). It is incredible cheap and if you don’t mind strong smells :-)) this is also a good way to be in contact with local people. Always leaving from Cusco there are two main routes arriving both at Urubamba: Cusco-Pisac-Urubamba and...more
There will be street vendors but not as much as in Cuzco, thankfully. There is also lots of displays on the sidewalk for you to pay attention and perhaps go inside for more viewing. You can find pretty much everything in Ollantaytambo in terms of souvenirs and crafts and my guide Ronnie told me it's one of the best place in the area to buy at a...more
If you have chosen the tour group option to visit Ollantaytambo, there are plenty of choices for shopping. Pisaq, Ollataytambo and the "typical" andean village of Chinchero are all there for you and your dollars. When monuments are ahead of trinckets, Chinchero is the obvious choice for shopping - it comes last on the itinerary, at the end of the...more
Not only did the Incas keep their stairways clear of water with built-in channel drains but the best of their stonework is truly impressive. I was particularly amazed by the rounded sections, where a wall would wrap around a contour and also extend out at the bottom.
Ok, maybe this little tyke is not a trap, but at many of the ruins, there are people dressed in tradtional clothing. They are pose for photos for money, which is fair enough as long as they tell you ahead of time. Of course, this kid's older sister explained the fees. ;)
Luggage and bags:
Leave your big pack in Cusco and bring a small day pack. The buses are small and no room for a lot of extraneous stuff!
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: No matter how warm it is when you leave Cusco, bring warm clothing for evenings.
Photo Equipment: Wide angle with circular polarizer to cut down on the glare of the Andean sun. Zooms are great for ruins you can't quite get to.
Miscellaneous: Someone that likes to take photos too, so you don't have to walk around alone.
Moray is known as the Incas’ agricultural laboratory.For Incas agriculture was very important: working the land meant praying to Pachamama, the Mother Earth. This place is very impressive: it looks like a huge volcano crater but we are in front of different concentric circular terraces, each one having its own micro climate depending on the depth....more
Maras is a little town not far from the road Chinchero-Urubamba. It is famous for its Salinas (salt marshes). This white landscape is due to the subterranean waters that spring to the surface full of salt. Later the sun evaporates the water creating this white terraces that contrast with the ochre-coloured mountains. The salt here is still obtained...more
On the opposite hill in Ollantaitambo, there are another set of ruins which look ominous from below. You can't escape them when you are there, they always catch your eye. In fact, the first few photos I saw of the town showed these and not the more visited ones! I could see faint trails heading up that way, but there was little time to try and find...more
The Inca was the highest political and religious authority. Considered son of the Sun, we find their origins on the Sun Island, on Titicaca Lake (current Bolivia). Here you have the Incas' genealogy:Manco Cápac (1200) was the mythical founder of the Inca Empire (Tahuantisuyu)The seven Incas (1230-1438) seven Incas came after Manco Cápac but there...more
first of all,building it,inca had to divert a small river,rio patacancha!and to bring heavy and huge stones from a quarry on the other edge of urubamba river!to succeed in doing it,they had to fill up urubamba's bed to the middle of the river....then fill up the other half while diverting the stream on first half progressively liberated. on the...more