Days 7-8: The Sacred Valley
From Nazca it would take us two days to reach the Sacred Valley with overnights in Chalhuanca and Ollantaytambo. Ollantaytambo would be our jump off point for Machu Picchu.
From Nazca we rode 343 km (213 miles) across desert and through the Andes to Chalhuanca. Except for occasional valleys with rivers/streams the desert riding was the same as before: fast and barren. This made the mountain riding even more enjoyable due to the contrast in landscape.
One thing of note about the mountain people. They are not as friendly as the city folk and seem to be a distrust outsiders until you get to know them, when that is possible. If you are taking a picture of them and they wave, they are not signaling, “Hello!” They are actually saying, “No picture!” I experienced this a few times until I got the idea and stopped taking photos of them.
In Chalhuanca we stayed at the Hotel & Restaurante Tampumayu. This is a beautiful hotel on the outskirts of town surrounded by the hills.
The next morning we rode 331 km (206 miles) to Ollantaytambo: the jump off point for Machu Picchu. We stayed three nights there in the Pakaritampu: another excellent hotel. These were some of the best accomodations of the trip including the rooms, dining and bar and only a short walk from the Plaza De Armas.