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Contiki Peru Uncovered – Day 8: Sacred Valley

After a sleep in (7:45 AM) we departed Cusco on our way to the Sacred Valley – home to Machu Picchu! Our first stop of the morning was a llama, alpaca & vignoñe farm where we had the chance to feed the animals and learn about how their fur is used to make fabrics.

One of the llamas wasn’t happy at someone in my group & spit at him!

We learned that many plants & even urine are used to provide natural coloring that can be applied to the fur for various fabrics.

Then, we saw the technique used to weave the fabric by hand.

After a few minutes at an adjacent shop, we hit the road again. After about an hour or so, we stopped at the side of the road for a gorgeous view of the Sacred Valley.

Shortly after our stop, we arrived at the Pisac Ruins – a town that was part of the Incan Empire. We only had about 20 minutes to explore, so I didn’t have enough time to visit the actual living quarters but was able to enjoy the view and take in the terraces that were used for farming.

We then headed down the hill to the actual town of Pisac where we visited a traditional empanada servery. They are made in a giant stone oven that looks like a pizza oven & we ate three kinds – beef, chicken & vegetarian. Believe it or not, the vegetarian was by far the best!

After some souvenir shopping, we headed to Ollantaytambo – home to more Incan Ruins as well as our hotel for the night. It was getting late, so we only had about 25 minutes to explore the ruins again. Given that, I again didn’t have any time to climb up and explore the living quarters so I climbed up a bit to enjoy the view.

We learned that the Incas built food storage buildings into the side of mountains to keep their food cool and preserve it for long periods of time.

We then went back to our bus to grab our bags. The town was celebrating the Day of the Holy Trinity, so we had to walk with our bags for about 15 minutes before we arrived at our hotel. Once we checked in, we had some free time to relax before we met up for dinner to celebrate someone’s birthday. We went to the main square which was home to some of the festivities for dinner before the party started. We ordered cuy, otherwise known as guinea pig, for the table to try. I was not a fan, but it wasn’t horrible. It tasted like a crispy duck.

During dinner, fireworks started to go off outside and a parade started around the main square with people in costumes.

After dinner, we went down to join in the celebration and take a few pictures when a bunch of people dressed up in costume came over to me and took a picture with me!

We then decided to head back to our hotel, but were treated to a fireworks show before we left the main area of town.

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