Walking in Inca Footsteps: Sacred Valley Peru
You’ve all heard of Cusco Peru and how magnificent the place is. Within the confines of Peru, there is a paradise to behold. A valley that’s survived an epoch when mighty men once trampled on earth and still blossoms with the glory fair enough to call it a safe haven. While at Peru, you can afford to skip all the other sites but one: Sacred Valley.
Sacred Valley as the name suggests is nothing short of sanctity. The valley boasts of fertile soils, cool enticing air, warm temperature and most importantly, sites exquisite enough to make you want to make memories of them. While at Sacred Valley, there is a common phrase, which is entirely based on the fact that it is the place where Inca Empire once stood, that refers to the act of touring it as Walking in Inca footsteps. Without much ado, why not walk in Inca footsteps?
An overview of Sacred Valley
Otherwise known as the Urubamba Valley, the Sacred Valley is an actual in the Andes of Peru, adjacent to the Inca capital of Cusco and the ancient city, which is now partly ruins, of Machu Picchu. Sacred valley is found in the present-day Peruvian region of Cusco. History, more so colonial documents refer to it as the “Valley of Yucay”.
Based on recent researches, Urubamba Valley is said to encompass the heart of Inca Empire and as such is generally understood to include everything between Lamay and Calca, Pisac, and Ollantaytambo.
Sacred valley thus owning the name Urubamba was formed by the Urubamba River, which is also known as Willkanota River, which in Quechua (Inca’s language) implies, “house of the sun”. There is another translation which contributes to its current name ‘sacred’ from one of the lingua franca that is still used in Inca: Quenchua, which refers to the place by the name Willkamayu meaning the sacred river. This valley is liked and appreciated by its Inca habitat owing to its special, rather unique geographical and climatic qualities. The valley was one of the empire’s core points for the extraction of natural wealth, and also one of the most key areas for maize production in great Peru northwards from Pisac. Currently, the place harbors just enough sites to qualify it as a tourist attraction site.
Unfortunately, given that it is hidden within the confines of Peru, many visitors pass through the region quickly; jumping between Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu Pueblo) and Cusco, like it even doesn’t exist. This however is not to imply that the place lacks substance; Sacred Valley is packed with an assortment of small towns and fairly enough archeological sites pretty enough to offer one a tasty glimpse into daily Peruvian life as well as a vivid picture of the accomplishments and operations of the once-mighty Inca Empire. At Sacred Valley, modernity and tradition are in equilibrium, and locals are keen on preserving their past, and as such strictly follows many indigenous practices while at the same time observes a number of centuries-old festivals and celebrations. So what interesting a thing is in Sacred Valley Peru?
Attraction Sites in Sacred Valley Peru
There are possibly plenty of ‘sacred’ places you can visit while at Sacred Valley. This article however intends to focus on three major ones that are a must visit while at Urubamba Valley. They include:
1. Ollantaytambo – Mind less about the difficulty to pronounce the name ‘Ollantaytambo’. The place is as interesting as its name. It is tranquil and note, the less trafficked Andean village and archeological site. The place serves as an equally superb base for travelers en route to Machu Picchu and is also an universal starting point for trekkers on Inca Trail, fun hikes that concludes 43km later at Picchu. Ollantaytambo was once a country retreat for Inca nobility and royalty and even interesting is the fact that the place also served as fighting grounds for a number of battles, the notable one being when they were resisting Spanish conquest from the still intact fortress. Ollantaytambo also happens to harbor the ancient village’s ceremonial center where during those times used to welcome the presence of the Incas as they worshiped their gods. Conveniently, the place also boasts of a handful of lodging options and accommodation facilities enough to accommodate all their guests. Key hotels include El Albergue Hotel and Hotel Sol. The food served in these hotels is a combination of ancient and modern with a twist of sophistication.
Pisac Ruins Sacred Valley Of The Incas
2. Pisac – Just like Ollantaytambo, Pisac is also located 40km southwest of Urubamba River. The place is both a historic site and home for a number of interesting Inca archeological site. However, Pisac is famously known for its series of steep agricultural terraces and hilltop fortifications that are visible from the town’s center plaza. Interesting things at Pisac are complemented by vendors who often peddle striking handmade pieces such as colorful, woven knits and ancient traditional Peruvian treats including one of its kind, grilled corn coated with sassy sweet cheese. Just Ollantaytambo, Pisac is also packed with several inviting inns and eateries such as Pisac Inn which is known for being rustic yet stylish, with its leafy courtyard and indigenous art flaunted throughout the lobby and restaurant.
3. Urubamba, Salineras and Moray – Last but not least on our today’s list is Urubamba. This yet another magnificent place is situated about 20km southwest of Ollantaytambo. Unlike our first two regions, this place attracts visitors mainly because of two reasons: first, it is one of the closest towns to the famous archeological sites of Moray and Salinas and second, it boasts of relatively low altitude, which conveniently speeds the entire process of acclimatization. While at Urubamba, one can trek down and around apartments, and small stands along the way sell bags of the variously toned, edible salt. Finally, like all its counterparts, there are enough restaurants within the town. Popular ones include La Alhambra, which offers a buffet with typical Peruvian dishes such as aji de gallina which is basically a nutty creamy and somewhat spicy chicken dish. There is also El Huacatay, which is known for serving Italian and Andean plates, such as gnocchi, which is made from coca flour. Otherwise, the place is serene and worth visiting.
Kindly note that these three places aren’t the only ones one can visit while at Sacred Valley, the possibilities while at Sacred Valley Peru are positively mind boggling. To know what’s best for you, there is only one option for you, which is to visit the place. As an Inca man tempted to pose the famous provocative question to you, “Why not walk in Inca footsteps?”