Cusco is a beautiful city high in the Peruvian Andes and former capital of the Inca Empire. We spent three days there acclimatising to the altitude before starting our inca trail trek to Machu Picchu.
The city is fascinating, from stunning colonial buildings to the bustling San Pedro market, there’s so much to see and do that even after a week we could’ve stayed longer.
We took a day tour from Cusco to the Sacred Valley of the Incas and visited some great little towns and archeological sites. Our first stop was Pisac and the ruins of an inca fortress that stands above the town. Impressive agricultural terracing, military and religious structures still remain. Hundreds of holes for inca graves lie empty on the mountainside, ransacked by grave robbers in the Middle Ages.
In the afternoon we visited the last remaining inhabited Inca village of Ollantaytambo and the ruins that stand above it. The fortress was the last stronghold for the Inca resistance against the Spanish invasion. Temple Hill, as it’s known, consists of farming terraces, an irrigation system and the ruins of the Temple of the Sun which stands at the top. A fascinating town and somewhere we’d like to have spent more time.
Exploring the Sacred Valley was a great insight into what was to come on our epic trek to Machu Picchu!