- Trip Styles
- About us
Visiting Sacred Valley in Peru with Viventura and Marketing Globetrotters
Located high in the Andes between Cuzco and Machu Picchu the Sacred Valley felt like one of those places where time just stops and you blend into the surroundings. Here in the Río Urubamba Valley, known to locals as El Valle Sagrado, I was just another traveler passing through this most ancient of traveling places. This gorgeous valley is often overlooked by groups making their way from Cuzco to Machu Picchu and I think that is a mistake. The area is a site of ruins, maybe not as famous as their nearby brethren, but every much as fascinating.
The sights here, especially in Pisac, were spectacular. Terraced fields bisected ancient stone temples and fortresses high above the valley floor while what appeared to be eagles circled overhead. This was a full blown feast for the eyes. The terraces even reminded me of some of the places I have seen in Southeast Asia. It felt kind of eerie knowing that we were treading on grounds once held close by people that respected and worshiped them. Technically these were “ruins”, but in many ways it appeared that they had just recently been abandoned and their inhabitants could return at any moment.
A cool breeze was blowing as we climbed routes traveled by the ancients. There was the fragrance of cut grass in the air and in the distance I could hear someone practicing a lonely sounding, but beautiful ancient flute. In my bones I could feel why this place was known as “Sacred Valley”. The air was thin but our spirits were high as we huffed and puffed our way to the top of the ruins. Fellow Marketing Globetrotter Mike King made it the top first and waved me forward; indicating all of the effort was well worth it.
Reluctantly we climbed down from the pinnacle and began our way to the market at Colonial Pisac. Along the way our guide told us of the Incan practice and philosophy of Ayni, a traditional form of mutual help practiced in indigenous communities of the Andean highlands since ancient times. The practice is best explained in the saying, “today for you tomorrow for me”, based on the idea of reciprocity, and a having sense of responsibility for ourselves, each other and the community. Anyi and the main tenants of Incan law, Ama Sua, Ama Llulla, Ama Quella, meaning “don’t steal, don’t lie, and don’t be lazy” is the philosophy that governed their society for centuries. I think we could learn a lot from that especially today.
Upon arrival at the market it was clear that this was going to be a feast for the eyes as well as the palate. Vendors sell handmade goods such as colorful textiles and peddle delicious traditional Peruvian foods including one of my new favorites, grilled corn coated with handmade white cheese. It was fun wandering among stall after stall of locally grown and woven textiles sold by families of the people that manufacture them. We even took a few minutes out to kick and soccer ball around with a couple of kids that were playing in among the stacks of goods.
At the end of the day we were spent but excited about the things we had seen that day. We didn’t know exactly what to think as our driver drove us through some local neighborhood down the road toward what was going to be our hotel. Here in an area of dusty tracks and mud houses the road eventually opened up into a large drive and a beautiful modern hotel. There was a spa, a nice restaurant and every room seemed to have spectacular views of the mountains. A Pisco Sour Happy Hour started at 5PM and there was going to be an astronomy show later in the evening to showcase the beautiful dark skies here in the Andes. I don’t know how they managed to pull it off, but in a trip that seemed impossible to improve upon, Yngrid and Viventura tours kept surpassing expectations and combining our adventure with some astonishing luxury as well.
In 2011 Jonathan Look decided to take early retirement and pursue a life of adventure instead of comfort and possessions. His philosophy is, “Why sip life from a straw when you can drink it from a fire hose?” When he is not traveling, he lives in Southeast Asia. You can sign up for his newsletter here, visit his website at LifePart2.com or visit him on Facebook.