On our way to Ollantaytambo, where we were to catch the train to Aguas Calientes (and subsequently Machu Picchu), we made a little lunch time pit-stop to one of my favorite places in all of Peru, the Sacred Valley of the Incas, or the Urubamba Valley.
The views in the valley are absolutely incredible. I mean, Peru has great views all over, but these ones were just amazing. There are dwellings, built into the sides of the lower Andes mountains and farms built into the terraced rows up the hills.
We stopped in the city for a brief moment to grab some food and then set out to adventure these wild cliffs.
The valley is said to be the heartland of the Incan Empire and was an incredibly important area for Incan commerce and farm crops. Nowadays there are several small towns in the valley. If you ever get around to it, check out the tiny town of Urubamba and grab some choclo (seriously, you have to).
I also highly recommend checking out the Sacsayhuamán ruins. You can buy a pass to visit several sites with a guia if you have the time and that one was definitely my favorite.
Even though much of Peru runs off of a tourist economy (very few imports/exports), so many of the places you can go are just… not touristy. I mean, you can have a guide just about anywhere, but you can also walk around and in the right seasons there are very few other travelers nearby. The locals are incredibly friendly basically everywhere I went and everything is cheeeeeap. Can you tell I’m just dying to go back? Sigh.
My absolute favorite market in all of Peru (okay second favorite, the indoor one in Cuzco is unholy amazing) is located in Pisac, right by the Sacred Valley and is a great great place to stop to get yourself and loved ones some treats. The prices are right in the middle ground and the items are standard and cliche for Peru, but hey.