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Great Walk in Peru's Sacred Valley

Listed under Walking in Peru.

  • Photo of Great Walk in Peru's Sacred Valley
  • Photo of Great Walk in Peru's Sacred Valley
  • Photo of Great Walk in Peru's Sacred Valley
  • Photo of Great Walk in Peru's Sacred Valley
  • Photo of Great Walk in Peru's Sacred Valley
Photo of Great Walk in Peru's Sacred Valley
Photo by kathydragon
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Machu Picchu is a destination of a lifetime for most travelers. Generally the choice is made to either trek the Inca Trail (which is becoming a permit challenge) or take the train to the site. Having escorted many walking tours in Cusco and the Urubamba or “Sacred Valley” it’s safe to say that there are many amazing walks (beautiful, un-touristed, great local cultural connections, wide range of exertion levels) that are being missed.

Most travelers spend a maximum of 1 night in the Sacred Valley visiting the markets and possibly ruins of Pisac, Chinchero and Ollantaytambo. I would highly suggest spending 3 nights in the valley and testing out a few of the walks.

Moray, Maras and the Salinas (Salt Terraces) & Ollantaytambo

This is one of the most incredible day walks in the valley. It can be cut short by taking out the final extension to Ollantaytambo or by beginning the walk in Maras and skipping Morray. If you are not with an organized group you will need to arrange for taxi transportation.

Begin at the famous circular agricultural terraces of Moray (11,800 ft). Hundreds of years ago Inca’s created this experimental agricultural laboratory in order to develop different strains of crops. This area was chosen due to the fact that the climates of many different ecological zones were found on this one site.

Continue walking along ancient farming paths to the village of Maras before joining a local path to the Salinas or Salt Terraces where salt has been collected since pre-Hispanic times. The snow-capped Andes provide the backdrop for the walk to this unique site still used for salt in the highlands. Upon reaching the Urubamba River continue past the indigenous cliff village of Pichinjoto (9,800 ft) and on to the historic city of Ollantaytambo.

Ollantaytambo is a traditional little town at the foot of some spectacular Inca ruins and terraces, with a street plan that is basically as the Incas designed it so many years ago.

Walking details: 12 miles, 8 hours

Written by  Kathy Dragon.

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