The Cuzco (Cusco) region of Peru combines Inca legacy with Spanish colonial architecture in an atmosphere at once provincial and sublime. The chaotic marketplaces where campesinos barter grain or potatoes for multi-colored fabric belie the mute spirituality of the Lost Cities, where Inca stonework conveys order and balance. Such diversity enhances this inspiring nine-day adventure. The blue sky radiates with an intensity achieved only at high altitudes (the city of Cuzco lies 11,150 feet above sea level), while the landscape offers its unique pattern of exacting agricultural grids and tangled jungle masses.
Urubamba is a well endowed town situated in the shadow of beautiful Chicon and Pumahuanca glaciers. The attractive Plaza de Armas is laid back and attractive, with palm trees and a couple of pines sourounded by interesting topiary. Weekends there's a large market on Jirón Palacio, which serves local villages; and at the large ceramic workshops set around a lovely garden at Avenida Berriozabal 111, new and ancient techniques are used to produce colourful, Amerindian inspired pots, household items and artistic pieces for sale on site. Urubamba makes an ideal base from which to explore mountains and lower hills around Sacred Valley, which are filled with sites. Also within walking distance, the salt pans of Salinas, still in use after more than four hundred years, are situated only a short distance from the village of Tarabamba, 6km along the road from Urubamba to Ollantaytambo.
Aguas Calientes (Peru)
Aguas Calientes, also known as Machu Picchu pueblo, and is located four miles away from Machu Picchu. The city was founded in 1901 as the railroad between Cuzco and Santa Ana was being built, in result, Aguas Calientes became a hub for the railroad’s machinery and home for those who worked it. Today, many people visit the city for its hot springs, or as a great starting point for those headed up to Machu Picchu.