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Hiking the Inca Trails in the Sacred Valley

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Energetic travelers with a fierce desire to get outdoors and excercise their legs in the Sacred Valley can do much more than the standard ruins treks and even the Inca Trail, though the latter is certainly the best known and, perhaps, most rewarding trek in the area (if not in all Peru). Other trails are consderably less populated, so if you are looking for isolation in the Andes, give some of the following treks a try.

The entire Sacred Valley is virtually made for treks into the lovely, gentle hillsides framing the Urubamba Valley.

 

Inca Trail 4 Days / 3 Night  - Km 82

Wheter or not you are planning to do the Inca Trail, hiking the section from Km82 to km88 is a nice addition to the classic or miniroute. By staying to hte north (or railroad) side of the Rio Urubamba, you will pass several good ruins sites, including Salapunko and Pichanuyoq, finally reaching the Inca bridge at km 88.

 

Ruins Pumamarca

You can reach the small but well-preserved Incas ruins of Pumamarca by pretty trek along the banks of the Rio Patacancha, which takes you through tiny villagess. The walk from Ollantaytambo takes about 5 hours round trip. To get there, take the road that leads north out of Ollanta along the Patacancha. After it crosses the river, it turns into a footpath and passes the village of Munaypata. Veer left toward the valley and terracing, then sharply to the right (northeast), toward the agricultural terraces straight ahead.

 

Pilculluna

The mountain looming above Ollantaytambo makes for an enjoyables couple hours trek up, past Inca terracing. However, the trail isn´t very clearly marked in sections, so it might be worthwhile to ask around town for a guide.


Huayoccari

Adventours trekkers in seach of solitude should enjoy the 2 days hike (one way) from Yucay to the small village of Huayoccari, which passes some of the valley´s loveliest scenery: from the Inca terraces along the San Juan river ravine to Sakrachayoc and ancient rock paintings overlooking caves. After camping overnight, trekkers continue to the Tuqsana pass (4000 m / 13000 ft) and descend to Yanacocha Lake before arrving at Huayaccari.

 

Trek Cachicata

Cachicata is one of the ancient quarries used by pre Inca and Inca civilizations to build the vast comples of Ollantaytambo. It was a source of large quantities of pink granite. Cachicata's relics of stonemasons are located 12kms from Ollantaytambo. The view of Ollantaytambo from the quarries is spectacular and during the trek one can see many large stones that never made the long journey down to the village. It was also a trade route for the Incas.

 

Trek Lares Valley

For trekkers wanting to get off the well beaten tourist path and escape to a part of Peru that has changed little over the last 500 years then a trek through the spectacular scenery of the Lares Valley is a must.This remote and rarely visited region offers the trekker an insight into the real lives of the Andean farmer, dressed in their traditional brightly colored ponchos. You'll have the opportunity to see thatched stone houses surrounded by herds of llamas and alpacas. Inside the houses you'll see guinea pigs running loose.

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