The Sacred Valley of the Incas is one of the most visited areas in Peru. It's home to lesser-known ruins, many alpacas who spend their days grazing in the grasslands.
What to Do and Where to See Alpacas in Peru’s Sacred Valley
Machu Picchu is the area’s most popular tourist stop, but the land beyond is home to lesser-known ruins, artisanal crafts and an innovative food scene.
Beneath the snowcapped Andean peaks outside of Cusco lies Peru’s Sacred Valley, a fertile and archaeologically rich expanse covering nearly 60 miles from east to west. On one end, you’ll find the ruins of Písac, complete with an ancient sun temple carved from pink granite; on the other, the famed 15th-century citadel of Machu Picchu.
It was the Wari people who, over a thousand years ago, built many of the valley’s stepped hillside terraces, natural irrigation systems that nourished plots of corn and potato. The Inca claimed the terraces in the 13th century and, before the arrival of the Spanish colonialists in 1532, created a vast empire with a formidable infrastructure: several thousand building sites and 25,000 miles of road.
Today, Machu Picchu is by far the valley’s most popular destination for travelers, but it’s no longer the only one. In the last few years, NGOs have helped lay the groundwork for local development projects, such as rural textile workshops. At the same time, creative entrepreneurs from Lima have moved to Cusco and to quaint valley villages such as Urubamba and Písac, opening restaurants that celebrate the local produce (there are around 4,000 species of potatoes here alone) and shops carrying vibrant Andean knits. There’s even a microbrewery, Cervecería del Valle Sagrado, that offers hoppy craft beers and dramatic mountain views. In the morning, it’s back to the trails, and to contemplating the secrets of the stones.
By Gisela Williams
Full article and credit: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/19/t-magazine/sacred-valley-peru-guide-shop-stay-eat-see-travel.