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The Sacred Valley of the Incas: A Wonderful Natural Sanctuary

Main agricultural producer during the Inca Empire

If you want a journey full of adventure and lots of history, Cusco is the best choice to learn more about its natural landscapes. You will not only appreciate a world wonder like Machu Picchu, but you will also discover more about the Sacred Valley of the Incas, a place with green mountains, particularly relevant for the Inca Empire because of its fertile lands.

Located in the region of Urubamba, the Sacred Valley was a source of food for the Incas because of its incredible ecological floors at different altitudes. Its main crops were white corn, potatoes, coca, fruit, and vegetables, which continue being grown to date. Presently, lucuma, avocado, peach, and the best Peruvian grains of corn are added to the vast list of crops.

Rural or Experiential Tourism in the Sacred Valley
Visitors will not only be mere spectators of the wonderful natural landscape which will fill their lungs with the purest air; but they will also have the opportunity to engage in experiential travel, which consists of staying in the house of locals and learn through them more about their customs, culture and traditions such as plowing the fields, participate in rituals of payment to the Earth (Pachamama, Mother Earth), baking bread, sowing, among other activities.

There are three communities for experiential travel: Pumahuanca, where the traveler will be guided by locals and learn how to perform certain farming techniques; Salineras de Maras, where the tourist will engage in the salt extraction process in any of the 3,000 salt wells thereat, and Yucay, a place where the tourist can practice ecotourism and mountain biking

What to do in the Sacred Valley of the Incas
The Sacred Valley is a territory that extended across the River Vilcanota-Urubamba that links the towns of Pisac and Ollantaytambo. In this place, the traveler will have fun doing extreme sports surrounded by magnificent landscape. Mountain cycling, paragliding, trekking and rafting are some of the activities that any adrenaline lover will experience in heights.

Here is a list of places that you must visit:

It was the biggest fortress of the Inca civilization. Pisac, a remarkable and charming town located at the bottom of Intihuanata Hill, at 2 972 m.a.s.l., owns the best terraces system developed by the Incas.

This town is famous for the mass celebrated every Sunday, the “Catu” (a local fair in which people exchange agricultural products, in some kind of barter), the craft market and the imposing Pisac Archeological Complex, known for its amazing buildings considered as Inca architectural jewels.

This little town has beautiful Andean scenery ornamented by two snowy peaks, Pitusira and Sahuasiray. You can also enjoy the relaxing Machacancha (medicinal hot spring) and Minasmoqo, (cold sparkling mineral spring). The Huachuy Inca Archeological Complex is also nearby.

Its fertile agricultural land makes it one of the most important cities in the Valley. This land was highly valued by the Incas because of its excellent quality crops. Urubamba, also known as Perla del Vilcanota (Pearl of Vilcanota), means “Pampa to one-day journey of the trail” and it’s an important place for extreme sports such as paragliding, canopy, canoeing, balloon flights, etc.

The origin of Ollantaytambo is based on the play of The Legend of Ollantay, a commoner who was deeply in love with the Princess Cusi Coyllor, daughter of the Inca Emperor Pachacutec, who didn’t approve such relation. The Inca decided to punish her daughter, sending her to the house of the Virgins. For that reason, Ollantay decided to rise up against Pachacutec in gory battles; upon winning them, the Inca decided to forgive the commoner’s life.

Ollantaytambo fortress, located in the same town, was erected during the Tahuantinsuyo era and has outstanding buildings such as Templo del Sol (Temple of the Sun) and its monoliths, such as Mañaracay, Incahuatana and Baños de la Princesa (Bath of the Princess).

Enjoy a wonderful journey through these beautiful landscapes! Depart from the heart of the Sacred Valley towards the Inca Citadel Machu Picchu aboard our PeruRail Vistadome panoramic train.

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