2016 Peru: Entering the Sacred Valley

Parade in Plaza De Arma, Ollantaytambo, Sacred Valley

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.

To Chalhuanca

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.

We passed through several valleys with breath taking vistas and significant populations of llama and alpaca in the valleys. Small herds of llama and alapaca, driven by their shepherds and dogs, often slowed our progress: Fun to watch though.

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 the mountains we were slowly becoming aclimated to the elevation. Most of us were chewing coca candy and/or leaves like a cud. Our stop for the night was in Chalhunaca District. Chalhuanca is a small town nestled in a valley of the Andes at an elevation of 9,475 feet.

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.

Two ladies in traditional dress sold wares on the lawn at the center of the grounds. They were friendly and most of us purchased some very nice blankets, shawls, gloves and other items, largely made of alpaca wool.

Days 7-9 Photo Gallery

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