the sacred valley, peru
if i'm being honest – i was very confused when we were trying to plan this part of our trip. there is *so* much info floating around on the internet and at one point i thought the sacred valley and machu picchu was the same thing. i hope that for future travelers this makes it a little easier to understand.
the sacred valley is a region in the andean highlands near cusco and the ancient city of machu picchu. it formed the heart of the incan empire and is an area of fertile farmland and spanish colonial villages. we visited ollantaytambo, urubamba, moray, the maras salt flats and loved the entire experience. if we'd had more time, i also think staying a night in ollantaytambo would be really fun – the town seemed very cute.
how to take a day trip to this region
as i mentioned in this post, this was only a day-trip from cusco. we started at about 8am and ended around 4pm – nothing felt rushed and we were able to see/learn a lot. i would highly recommend doing this before going to machu picchu, because you learn so much about the incans and it's a great way to ease into the history of the region.
we took a private tour through alpaca expeditions, which cost roughly $250 for 4 people. this included a private guide, all transportation and lunch. there are definitely cheaper ways to do this, however you lose the perk of having a knowledgable guide [our guide was trained for 4+ years on this region and grew up here]. we are forever grateful to have had my parents in town to treat us to such an incredible experience.
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