The Andes is a magical place. With striking landscapes and traditional communities that live and thrive here, it is the heart of indigenous South America. Nowhere quite compares to the mountain villages nestled between the looming volcanoes in Ecuador and the picturesque town of Otavalo, home to one of the largest handicraft markets and the most beautifully dressed locals on the continent. Our last visit to the Andes was at the tip of South America in Argentina, and the last time we had experienced such colourful cultural customs was in Bolivia and Peru back in October 2012. It was a refreshing change of scenery to arrive back in the Andes. We were so excited to be a part of this world all over again.
The entirety of our trip to date has been self organised. After some investigation our trip into the Sacred Valley of the Inca’s would have to be done true gringo style, as an organised tour, due to time constraints. Our impulsive and expensive purchase of the tourist ticket in Cusco ensured that we would certainly have to make the trip into the Screed Valley, as half the value of the ticket was consumed in the Sacred Valley highlights.
The Valle Sagrado (The Sacred Valley) is in the Urubamba Valley, and was named so by the Inca’s due the vast fertile plains that line the valley floor, following the Urubamba River all the way from Pisac, near Cusco, to Machu Picchu. The valley is Sacred due to it’s ability to grow many different crops, in particular Maize (Corn), of which there are 200 varieties in this valley alone, and was the Inca civilisations vital source of life (food) grown from the earth – from their sacred god Pachamama.