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The Sacred Valley near Cuzco

Added: July 14, 2010

Tags: Peru RTW SouthAmerica photos ruins temple
Our original plan was to visit Machu Picchu and to see most of Sacred Valley. But thanks to heavy rains Mach Picchu was closed and after some unplanned events we got only half a day for Sacred Valley. Fortunately there are 4 places really close to Cuzco, in fact their visit is part of City Tour.


Let's start with the biggest attraction on today's list. I like to leave better things for later, but unfortunately ;-) it was the first.

Bus passed along our hostel, by road taxi driver yesterday claimed it does not exist, and after a few turnings we were there. It is in walking distance from city centre, but Lonely Planet says it might not be safe to walk there in the morning or evening.

One tourist immediately got sick, she had problem to breathe and we learned later she just arrived by plane from Lima. Difference in altitude is about 3700m, so no wonders. We were acclimatized well, so we could walk up hill and chat with others without any problems. Problems we had had at the first day in La Paz have been already forgotten.

Walls in Cuzco were really amazing thanks to their precise fitting. But it is hard to find correct word for walls here in Sacsayhuamán. They are not only very well fitting, but they are also HUGE! I did not believe our guide when he told us some of stones here are bigger than those in Stonehenge, but I had to reconsider after seeing them. And it is even more impressive after realizing its builders did not know a wheel and horses/oxes were not available too. Llamas can haul only 25kg weight. Only Erich von Däniken knows how this place has been built :-)



Cuzco is quite close, just bellow Sacsayhuamán.


Previous photos really don't support the claim about huge boulders. But they are not at the side of entrance. You need to go 100-200m along it to find them.

Whole area has interesting zig-zaging ground plan, but it is better visible from the air. There is an aerial photo at entrance showing it nicely.

Panorama showing zig-zaging groundplan of Sacsayhuamán. A guide told us it was temple dedicated to god of thunder.

Big boulders.
Big boulders at Sacsayhuamán near Cuzco

Even bigger.
Big boulders at Sacsayhuamán near Cuzco

And check this one out!
Big boulders at Sacsayhuamán near Cuzco

There are 3 levels, but we climbed only to the first one. It is pity our group "was in a hurry", I could spend more time around. But when you are with a group you have to follow them.

I could separate shortly from the group, but the guide was very knowledgeable and he talked about many interesting things. He was former university professor and he could speak 6 world languages. Plus Quechua, of course. Impressive.

Gate at Sacsayhuamán near Cuzco      Gate at Sacsayhuamán near Cuzco

Stone blocks are laid in patterns looking like there was some intention. For example this should be a snake.
Stone wall at Sacsayhuamán near Cuzco



We passed along Q'enqo, we will stop there on our return and we headed to Pukapukara. Only short stop, we went outside of bus only because some of us wanted to take photos.

This place was pretty small and it did not seem to be special in anything. But the stop provided nice views around.





Quite close to Pukapukara is Tambomachay. Their guard posts are in direct visibility. This place is again very nice. It is slightly up hill walk, but worth of making.

A group of professional models with llamas was sitting directly next to gate. Zuzka could not resist, took a photo, but one of them spotted her and she had to pay.

Detail of Tambomachay near Cuzco


Tambomachay from opposite guard post
Tambomachay near Cuzco

Tambomachay near Cuzco

On our way back I took one photo of them too. And I think I was seen too, but I was too far for them to claim their money :-)


It got quite dark when we got to Q’enqo. I made only couple of photos and it was hard to pick some to show here.

Q’enqo is a temple - cave hidden inside huge limestone rock. There is a big altar from one piece of stone inside. Another mystery - how it was carved on site. There should be also some carvings, but I haven't noticed any. Maybe our guide pointed some out, but I was too busy hand-holding long exposures and repeating them until I succeeded.



Entrance to cave.

Inside the cave.
Inside of cave at Q’enqo near Cuzco

Centro Qosqo de Arte Nativo

It was dark when we returned to Cuzco. Our last attraction was a dance show at Centro Qosqo de Arte Nativo. Entrance was provided by our Boleto Turístico and we did not have anything better for evening.

It was very interesting. I don't have any good photos, but you can search youtube for some videos.