Machu Picchu-Day One

We had chosen to arrive a day early to acclimatize in Cusco,  So the first day we had chosen to do the Sacred Valley Tour.  The bus picked us up from our Hotel for the 19 miles and about 2 hour drive to the city of Pisac which is the entrance into the Sacred Valley area. The town sits at about 9,700 ft elevation.  Cusco is at 11,500 elevation.  We were planning on visiting Urubamba valley, Ollantaytambo and Chinchero.  Ollantaytambo is the oldest continuously occupied town on the American continent. The narrow streets of Ollantaytambo, along with their canals, have not Changed much from the time of the Inca Empire.

On the way we stopped at the Ccochahuasi Animal Sanctuary is a privately-owned, family-run organization in the Sacred Valley that rescues exotic animals that have been injured or have been used for cruel entertainment purposes.  They had Andes Condors, Llmas, Rabbits, Cats, and some Birds.  They took us into the homes of the condors and even had one fly from one side to the other side.  These Condors are becoming extinct due to the hunt for their feathers.  They actually found a bird that was not a local.  But they rescued and nused it back to health.  It almost looks like a Flamingo.

Finally on our way to Ollantaytambo.   It is one of the empire’s main points for the extraction of natural wealth.  The early Incas may have come from Wimpillay, as their mummies had been discovered there.  The Sacred Valley served as a buffer zone, protecting Cusco from incursions of the Antis, the fierce jungle tribes who from time to time raided the highlands. Today the Sacred Valley remains a lush agricultural region supplying the city of Cusco with much of its produce such as maize, fruit and vegetables.  The drive was so scenic through the mountains with views of far valleys and rivers.  In Pisac you do have to buy the tickets for the Sacred Valley which was about $25 dollars.  At the end of the tour we visited Chincero Market where the local ladies showed us how they die the fabric using different flowers and plants.



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