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  • Writer's pictureErin

Peru: A Traveler's Guide to the Unexplored

Updated: Apr 19

Nestled in the heart of Peru, the Sacred Valley and Cuzco region is a treasure trove of historical wonders, breathtaking landscapes, and vibrant cultures waiting to be explored. While the majestic Machu Picchu often steals the spotlight, this area is dotted with countless hidden gems in small towns, offering a glimpse into the authentic soul of the Andes. Let's uncover the off-the-beaten-path attractions that make the Sacred Valley and Cuzco a traveler's paradise.

 


Pinkuylluna, Ollantaytambo, Peru
Pinkuylluna

Ollantaytambo: The Living Inca Village

 Starting our adventure in the Sacred Valley, Ollantaytambo is a must-visit for those looking to step back in time. Known as the "Living Inca Village," its inhabitants maintain ancient practices, living in houses that rest on Inca foundations. Beyond its famous fortress, explore the lesser-known terraces of Pinkuylluna, offering a stunning view over the town and valley. The tranquility here contrasts sharply with the hustle of more frequented sites, allowing for a peaceful reflection amidst the ruins.

 


Maras Salt Flats, Peru
Maras Salt Flats

Maras: Salt Pans and Hidden Trails

 Maras is renowned for its striking salt pans, which have been used since Inca times. However, venture beyond the pans to discover secluded trails offering panoramic Urubamba Valley views. These paths are seldom traveled and lead to small, traditional communities where time seems to stand still. It's a unique opportunity to witness traditional salt harvesting methods and engage with the local way of life.

 


Chinchero Weaving, Peru
Chinchero Weaving

Chinchero: The Weaver's Retreat

 Chinchero, often overlooked by those rushing to Machu Picchu, is a vibrant community known for its traditional weaving techniques. Visiting the local cooperatives, travelers can see artisans at work, using techniques passed down through generations. The town's Sunday market is less touristy compared to others, offering authentic Andean crafts and a chance to interact with the locals. Don't miss the colonial church, adorned with intricate frescoes that blend Catholic and Andean beliefs.

 


Intihuatana Ruins, Pisac, Peru
Intihuatana Ruins

Pisac: Beyond the Market

 While Pisac is famous for its bustling market, the surrounding hills hide ancient ruins and agricultural terraces that rival Machu Picchu's beauty and grandeur. Hiking in this area allows for breathtaking views of the valley and a serene exploration experience away from the crowds. The ruins of Intihuatana, with its ceremonial baths and temples, are a testament to the sophisticated engineering of the Incas.

 


Moray, Peru
Moray

Moray: The Agricultural Laboratory

 Moray, with its unique circular terraces, is believed to have served as an agricultural laboratory for the Incas. Each level has its own microclimate, which allowed the Incas to experiment with crops. The site is less frequented, offering a peaceful environment to contemplate the ingenuity of ancient civilizations. Nearby, the small town of Maras provides a glimpse into rural Andean life, with its narrow streets and welcoming locals.

 

As we explore these hidden treasures, it's crucial to travel responsibly, respecting the local cultures and environment. Stick to marked trails, support local artisans by purchasing authentic crafts, and be mindful of the delicate ecosystems. The Sacred Valley and Cuzco region is not just a destination but a living, breathing culture that invites us to learn, reflect, and grow.

 


Maras, Peru
Outside Maras

Traveling to the Sacred Valley and Cuzco's lesser-known towns offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the heart of Andean culture. Beyond the ruins and landscapes, the connections with local communities and the deeper understanding of their traditions enrich your journey. So schedule a consultation with me, pack your bags, bring your curiosity, and set off on an adventure to discover the unexplored wonders of this enchanting region. Let the winding paths of the Andes lead you to experiences that linger in your heart long after you've returned home.

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