NATIONAL PARKS TOURS PERU

ALL CULTURAL HIGHLIGHTS COMBINED WITH FABULOUS NATURE

 

WHICH IS THE BEST TOUR IN THE INCAS SACRED VALLEY, PERU [FROM CUSCO]?

SACRED VALLEY OR URUBAMBA VALLEY

WHICH IS THE BEST TOUR IN THE INCAS SACRED VALLEY, PERU [FROM CUSCO]: SACRED VALLEY PERU / URUBAMBA VALLEY: Info & pix Saqsayhuaman, Q'enqo, Pucapucara, Pisac, Tambomachay, Chinchero, Ollantaytambo, Salinas

 

WHICH IS THE BEST TOUR IN THE INCAS SACRED VALLEY, PERU [FROM CUSCO]: SACRED VALLEY PERU: MAP.

 

Tour Through the Incas Sacred Valley, Peru from Cusco

The Sacred Valley of Peru, or, the Urubamba Valley was the heartland of the Inca Empire with a concentration of incredibly interesting Inca monuments, including those of Cusco and Machu Picchu located in the Machu Picchu Historic Sanctuary. The climate throughout much of the Sacred valley, Peru, is simitar to the climate of Cusco, albeit, temperatures vary with the elevation.

 

Why consider booking our  Peru National Parks Tour? Because for the same price, our tour gets you to ALL places Peru is so famous for. On top of that, you get to see 9 National Parks/Reserves accompanied by a naturalist guide. There is nothing similar on the market. As Peru can be combined with other countries, we organize tours in modules: Lima Cusco, Machu Picchu module, Manu National Park module, National Parks Module, All modules.

Destinations Overview:  World Heritage Site Lima,  World Heritage Site Cusco, Amazon park Manu National Park World Heritage Site Valle Sagrado/Sacred Valley, World Heritage Site Machu Picchu, Cloud Forest Machu Picchu Sanctuary, Highland wetland Titicaca National Reserve, Uros floating islands, Altiplano wildlife park Salinas & Aguadas Blancas National Reserve, World's second deepest canyon Colca Canyon, Word heritage site Arequipa, World heritage site Nazca Lines, Pampas Galeras National Reserve, San Fernando National Reserve, Paracas National Reserve, Ballestas Islands National Reserve.

 

Several ruins are only a few minutes away from Cusco, whereas others are no more than an hour's ride away. As the Andes has very little land suitable for agriculture, this valley offered the relatively mild conditions, necessary to feed the large population of Cusco and its surrounding towns.

 

The Valley was also the access route to the tropical region of the Amazon, including to the region which is now Manu National Park, from where tropical products, like fish and fruits, were being brought in to Cusco.  

 

The different monuments showcase the incredible skills in engineering, stonework, and architecture:

  • Many of the underground aquaducts actually cross valleys and some are still fuctionimng;

  • The walls from hewn stones without mortar have proven to be remarkably resilient to earthquakes;

  • The remaining buildings show that they were beautiful and harmoniously built.

 

Including the Sacred Valley into your itinerary is an absolute must, as it gives you a far better understanding of the Inca Empire that a visit to Cusco and Machu Picchu alone. Each one of the sites has an amazing story to tell and by visiting the valley's highlights, you complete your picture of what the Incas stood for.

 

Saqsayhuamán

The walls at Saqsayhuamán are famous for their gigantic as well as for some of their extremely complex stones,carved into irregular shapes that fitted with such precision that a sheet of paper cannot be inserted into most seams. The complex included two watch towers. As it was used as a defensive fort during the battle with Manco Inca, Saqsayhuamán is believed to have served as a defensive structure.

 

WHICH IS THE BEST TOUR IN THE INCAS SACRED VALLEY, PERU [FROM CUSCO]?: Saqsayhuamán wall.

WHICH IS THE BEST TOUR IN THE INCAS SACRED VALLEY, PERU [FROM CUSCO]?: The perfectly fitting twelve-sided stone is the ultimate showcase of the precision carving.

The walls at Saqsayhuamán.

The perfectly fitting twelve-sided stone is the ultimate showcase of the precision carving.

 

WHICH IS THE BEST TOUR IN THE INCAS SACRED VALLEY, PERU [FROM CUSCO]?: Saqsaywaman inca stones.

WHICH IS THE BEST TOUR IN THE INCAS SACRED VALLEY, PERU [FROM CUSCO]?: Saqsayhuamán wall with gigantic Inca stones.

Some of the walls are built with gigantic stones, some of which weigh several tons.

 

WHICH IS THE BEST TOUR IN THE INCAS SACRED VALLEY, PERU [FROM CUSCO]?: Saqsaywaman trapezium entrance gate door.

This doorway is an example of the trapezoid shape in which both doors and windows were built, a trade the Inca's had in common with the Mayas.

WHICH IS THE BEST TOUR IN THE INCAS SACRED VALLEY, PERU [FROM CUSCO]?:

WHICH IS THE BEST TOUR IN THE INCAS SACRED VALLEY, PERU [FROM CUSCO]?: Saqsayhuaman Inca slide.

The altar stone at Saqsayhuaman.

Still today the Inca slides at Saqsayhuaman have an irresistable attraction to the youth.

Tambomachay

 

WHICH IS THE BEST TOUR IN THE INCAS SACRED VALLEY, PERU [FROM CUSCO]?: Tombomachay entrance.

WHICH IS THE BEST TOUR IN THE INCAS SACRED VALLEY, PERU [FROM CUSCO]?: Antes altiplano Polylepis incana trees.

The entrance to the Tambomachay monument.

The entrance road is lined with Polylepis incana trees that are endemic in the Andes. They can grow as high as 4,000m and were important for construction and firewood.

 

WHICH IS THE BEST TOUR IN THE INCAS SACRED VALLEY, PERU [FROM CUSCO]?: Tambomachay Inca Temple wall

WHICH IS THE BEST TOUR IN THE INCAS SACRED VALLEY, PERU [FROM CUSCO]?: Tambomachay ancient Inca fountain.

Tambomachay is has several working fountains.

 

Still only minutes away from Cusco, Tambomachay is has several working fountains, fed by still perfectly functioning aqueducts. Some speculate this may served as a spa for the Inca emperor and his women.

 

Puka Pukara

WHICH IS THE BEST TOUR IN THE INCAS SACRED VALLEY, PERU [FROM CUSCO]?: Puku Pukara entrance

WHICH IS THE BEST TOUR IN THE INCAS SACRED VALLEY, PERU [FROM CUSCO]?: Puka Pukara ruins.

Puka Pukara  is believed to have been for food storage as well as a defense complex.

 

Q'uenqo

Q'uenqo - meaning red stone - may have been a sanctuary or the tomb on an important Inca.

WHICH IS THE BEST TOUR IN THE INCAS SACRED VALLEY, PERU [FROM CUSCO]?: Hidden in a cave of Q'uenco you will find the altar.

WHICH IS THE BEST TOUR IN THE INCAS SACRED VALLEY, PERU [FROM CUSCO]?: Altar hidden in the catacombs of Q'uenco.

Well hidden in the catacombs of Q'uenco you will find a fascinating altar.

   

Chinchero

Chinchero is a little village, where, as one approaches the church captures the eye. In fact, the church has been built on the walls of an Inca building, thus integrating the colonial and Inca architecture. The Plaza de las Armas show an impressive inca wall, lining the courtyard of the church.

WHICH IS THE BEST TOUR IN THE INCAS SACRED VALLEY, PERU [FROM CUSCO]?: Church entrance at Chinchero.

WHICH IS THE BEST TOUR IN THE INCAS SACRED VALLEY, PERU [FROM CUSCO]?: Plaza de las Armas in Chinchero shows a beautiful Inca wall.

Church entrance at Chinchero.

Plaza de las Armas in Chinchero shows a beautiful Inca wall.

 

WHICH IS THE BEST TOUR IN THE INCAS SACRED VALLEY, PERU [FROM CUSCO]?: Woman in traditional clothes in the Sacred Valley.

WHICH IS THE BEST TOUR IN THE INCAS SACRED VALLEY, PERU [FROM CUSCO]?: Women in traditional clothes in Chinchero are selling their woven products.

Women in traditional clothes in Chinchero are selling their woven products.

   

Moray

Moray is another ingenious Inca agricultural construction, though it is no longer in use. While it resembles a giant amphitheatre with concentric terraces leading to the ground, it was created for agricultural experimentation.

WHICH IS THE BEST TOUR IN THE INCAS SACRED VALLEY, PERU [FROM CUSCO]?: The amphitheater shaped agricultural terraces of Moray.

WHICH IS THE BEST TOUR IN THE INCAS SACRED VALLEY, PERU [FROM CUSCO]?: A trail takes the visitor around the crater-shaped mountain in which Moray was built.

The amphitheater shaped agricultural terraces.

A trail takes the visitor around the crater-shaped mountain in which Moray was built.

 

WHICH IS THE BEST TOUR IN THE INCAS SACRED VALLEY, PERU [FROM CUSCO]?: The Salinas de Maras are hundreds terraces of salt pans.

The Salinas de Maras are hundreds terraces of salt pans. Built by the Incas, Peruvians continue to extract their salt. Visitors can buy the salt from vendors at the location.

 

Pisac

High above the present town of Pisac located 32 km east of Cusco, the Q'Alaqasa ruins showcase superb construction and design. Though smaller than Machu Picchu, this site too is one of the "must see" places in the Sacred Valley.

 

WHICH IS THE BEST TOUR IN THE INCAS SACRED VALLEY, PERU [FROM CUSCO]?: Q'Alaqasa ruins at Pisac.

WHICH IS THE BEST TOUR IN THE INCAS SACRED VALLEY, PERU [FROM CUSCO]?: Terraces at Pisac.

Q'Alaqasa ruins at Pisac.

Terraces at Pisac.

   

Ollantaytambo

While most travellers to Machu Picchu spend the night in Aguas Calientes, at the foot of the Machu Picchu monument, alternatively, one can spend the night in Ollantaytambo and take the early morning train, while marveling at the Ollantaytambo archaeological site first. One can also start a trek on the Inca Trail to get to Machu Picchu at a distance of 43km.

 

WHICH IS THE BEST TOUR IN THE INCAS SACRED VALLEY, PERU [FROM CUSCO]?: Inca water duct at Ollantaytambo.

WHICH IS THE BEST TOUR IN THE INCAS SACRED VALLEY, PERU [FROM CUSCO]?: Trail along terraces leading to the Ollantaytambo ruins.

Inca water duct at Ollantaytambo.

Trail along terraces leading to the Ollantaytambo ruins.

 

WHICH IS THE BEST TOUR IN THE INCAS SACRED VALLEY, PERU [FROM CUSCO]?: Fountain at the Ollantaytambo monument.

WHICH IS THE BEST TOUR IN THE INCAS SACRED VALLEY, PERU [FROM CUSCO]?: Walls built from one single rock, called a megalithic rock, at Ollantaytambo archaeological site.

Fountain at the Ollantaytambo monument.

Walls built from one single rock, called a megalithic rock, at Ollantaytambo archaeological site.

 

WHICH IS THE BEST TOUR IN THE INCAS SACRED VALLEY, PERU [FROM CUSCO]?: The most common way to reach Machu Picchu is taking the train from Cuzco or Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes.

The most common way to reach Machu Picchu is taking the train from Cuzco or Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes. Most tourists take the afternoon train and spend the night in Aguas Calientes, which allows you to visit the park before the worst of the crowds.

WHICH IS THE BEST TOUR IN THE INCAS SACRED VALLEY, PERU [FROM CUSCO]?: Walking the Inca Trail. WHICH IS THE BEST TOUR IN THE INCAS SACRED VALLEY, PERU [FROM CUSCO]?: Hummingbird.

WHICH IS THE BEST TOUR IN THE INCAS SACRED VALLEY, PERU [FROM CUSCO]?: Spectacled Bear.

WHICH IS THE BEST TOUR IN THE INCAS SACRED VALLEY, PERU [FROM CUSCO]?: White Angel's Trumpet, an Andes endemic flower.

Above: Walking the Inca Trail.

Below: Spectacled Bear.

Above: Hummingbird.

Below: White Angel's Trumpet, an Andes endemic flower.

 

The Inca Trail takes you through landscapes varying from traditional farming land, cloud forests and Andes paramo with views of snow capped mountains and gorgeous flowers and with some luck fantastic wildlife.

 

Each day the scenery is totally different as the trail sometimes takes you on Inca-built stone pathways and steps, but most of the times over a regular trail. The trail is now government regulated and only a limited number of visitors per day is allowed on guided walks.

 

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is one of the world's most famous archaeological sites. It is less known that it surrounded by a beautiful 37,000 ha mountain rainforest or cloud forest in the Machu Picchu historical Reserve, a visit of which, of course is part of the 10 Unique things to do in the Sacred Valley of Peru.

 

WHICH IS THE BEST TOUR IN THE INCAS SACRED VALLEY, PERU [FROM CUSCO]?: Partiallly hidden in the clouds, a view of Machu Picchu during the rainy season, when it is much more mysterious.

WHICH IS THE BEST TOUR IN THE INCAS SACRED VALLEY, PERU [FROM CUSCO]?: Some of the most fascinating structures of Machu Picchu is the Temple of the Condor.

Partially hidden in the clouds, a view of Machu Picchu during the rainy season, when it is much more mysterious.

Some of the most fascinating structures is the Temple of the Condor.

 

TOUR THROUGH THE INCAS SACRED VALLEY, PERU, FROM CUSCO

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Parks Man Dr. Daan Vreugdenhil is author of this website. He dedicated his life to the conservation of nature. https://www.facebook.com/DrDaanVreugdenhil, https://www.linkedin.com/in/drdaanvreugdenhil/. He was part of the team that selected the first 39 protected areas of Ecuador, including. Yasuní and Cuyabeno, the latter of which he he later recommended to be expanded from originally 150,000ha to 600,000ha, together with then Cuyabeno director Prof. Dr. Flavio Coello and Parks and Tribes partner. Daan is also the founding father of the Cuyabeno Lodge and co-manager of the Cofan Lodge.