We woke up at 4am to grab a bite and head to the airport to catch our flight to Cusco. Cusco is further inland from Lima and is in the well known area of the Andes.
I’ll save you the details of our travel (it was a short journey) and our tingly feet (a side effect of the altitude pills) and fast forward to our arrival in Cusco. We met with our local guide and began our day. We drove up the mountains through tiny villages and farmland. It was breathtaking.
The houses of the area in the Sacred Valley are made of bricks and mud and most do not have running water or electricity but some do. Every so often you’d even see a satellite dish.
Most of the people are farmers and they grow many crops: potatoes, oat, barley, corn, quinoa, beans and wheat especially. The farming stays local and provides food for their population as well as the people of Cusco. They also have many animals on the farm: chickens, donkeys, sheep, cows, lama and al pacca. I want to become a farmer so badly.
We stopped at the Caccaccollo Community, where the women have a profound influence as they weave and make crafts from the fluff of the alpaca and llamas. Their lives are so beautiful and simple. They literally live off the land: they use the aloe plant to wash their hair and the cactus plants to wash their clothes. They epitomize “farm to table” as they eat so naturally and from what they labor.
We loved playing with the kids and they loved seeing their faces on the camera. Lesley is so good with kids. Me… not so much. Oh I also want to mention that all of these gorgeous photos are courtesy of Les – she is quite the photographer! I only sort of know how to take pics of food.
By about mid-day we started to feel the effects of the altitude and our own fatigue. Cusco is 3,400 meters above sea level and The Sacred Valley is 2,800. Les and I both had headaches but we we made sure to drink lots of water.
In the afternoon, we stopped in a town called Pisac to walk through an Incan archeological site. The ruins date back to the 1400s and are rich with history and tradition. The photos don’t even do it justice.
We then went to another archeological Incan site of an unfinished temple in Ollantaytambo. It was truly spectacular. The walk up was easier than the walk down. But hiking shoes are a must if traveling to these areas.
After another jam-packed day, we headed to our hotel in Urubamba to relax for the rest of the evening. The next morning when we woke up, fueled with some eggs and fruit and headed out. We drove up through the hills and mountains of Urubamba – the main town of the Sacred Valley.
We first visited a salt mine called Maras and learned how they extract the salt from the pools. They mine 8 months of the year but not in rainy season (now). There are about 2,000 pools and the local villagers each own and profit from their designated pool.
We then went to yet another (not complaining) Incan archeological site called Moray. It is nature made religious area made by the convergence of the hot and cold air. We hiked through the area and felt the changes in the air: from hot to cold. Very cool.
For lunch, we had a special and traditional Peruvian meal called “Pachamanca” which means “pot in the earth”. It is how the meal is prepared – in a pot, in the earth. It’s basically like a massive stew cooked underground with lots of stuff in it – meat, chicken, potatoes, bananas, beans, pineapple, herbs.
The chefs pull everything out of the pot to eat. I had some chicken, beans (only one – didn’t like them), sweet potato and banana. Obviously the banana was my favorite.
We headed back to the hotel to relax because our next two days are pretty intense. I’m not sure how it could have gotten better but it did.
Sidenote: I highly recommend G Adventures and traveling on a small tour (for parts of Peru it is definitely a must). We still had plenty of free time and it never felt “touristy.” Without being on this tour we would have never been able to see all of this incredible stuff. The transportation through the area is not simple and many “sights” are very remote. G Adventures is very organized and all of our drivers were wonderfully safe (important) and our guides were all amazing. I love learning about new places, cultures and having unforgettable experiences. Sidenote #2: G Adventures is in no way “sponsoring” or endorsing this post – I genuinely like the company and my experience. Although, I wouldn’t mind a few perks… wink, wink, nudge, nudge.
Questions of the day…
Are you good with kids?
Have you done an organized trip/tour before?
Keep in touch:
Twitter –> @thelilhoneybee
Instagram –> thelittlehoneybee
Facebook –> The Little Honey Bee
Pinterest –> thelilhoneybee
Bloglovin –> The Little Honey Bee