Last week in Peru we mainly discovered Lima and a piece of Cusco. This week we were still in Cusco to explore the area around the city. There is so much to see and do that it is difficult to choose, but we have the most beautiful spots to choose from!
Cusco salt mines
After discovering the city of Cusco, we set out to discover the surroundings around Cusco. An hour and a half’s drive away you’ll find the impressive salineras de Maras(Maras Salt Mines). These 4500 salt mines are used for the products of white, rose and brown salt. The first two are processed for the food industry and the brown one is only intended for medicines. The place itself is unimaginable. In the middle of the mountains lies this endless and beautiful scene. Recently you are no longer allowed to walk between the salt mines themselves, but you have to stay behind a barrier. This is because too much waste was found between the salt and that is of course not hygienic.
We drove to the salt mines with a rented quad bike. A real experience! You feel very free and alive as you drive between these unreal landscapes. You can easily book this tour yourself via getyourguide. Usually we don’t like organized tours, but this one is highly recommended! The only downside? That you won’t stay on the site itself for long. The entrance is only 10 soles/person (2.70 euros) so for the price you can’t let this experience go away.
Moray archaeological site
With the quad bike we drove on towards Moray. This is on an arc ride from the salt mines. The place is also called the Sacred Valley of the Incas (Sacred Valley of the Incas) since ruins of the Incas have also been found in this valley. They may not be as big and impressive as Machu Picchu, but it’s still a spectacular place. The area here is also breathtakingly beautiful. We paid 70 soles/person (about 19 euros) as an entry fee and we found that on the high side. We also regretted that our guide had only provided half an hour here, while you can easily walk around here for more than an hour or more. Moray has spectacular views.
Souvenirs with meaning
Back in the city of Cusco we went looking for original souvenirs. Souvenirs are a nice memento of a country we may never go back to. To keep that memory alive, we buy souvenirs in addition to taking pictures. We like to bring home sustainable and original souvenirs and that is sometimes a quest. We found a very fine store called Mallkini that sells everything from alpaca wool from an alpaca sanctuary and the proceeds go partly to that company and partly to the creation of schools in Cusco. A very nice initiative and also very nice products! We also bought a hand-woven tablecloth at the local market and Sigrid bought a handmade blouse from a local designer who was also on the market with her creations. Original and sustainable souvenirs? Mission accomplished!
Sacsayhuamán ruins in Cusco
To visit ruins of the Incas you don’t really have to look far in Cusco. In Cusco City itself, at the top of the summit near the statue of San Cristobal, you can also find some. Sacsayhuamán, or Saqsaywaman, is one of them. This area is more than 3000 hectares in size and several finds have been made. The entrance is also 70 soles (19 euros). The only downside is the huge height so provide plenty of sunscreen, a headpiece, good walking shoes and water.
You can walk from Cusco on foot to this archaeological site but we don’t recommend that before. Better you can take a taxi up and come back down on your feet. Because the views there are beautiful and worth seeing. On the site itself we didn’t stay very long as we have seen it after a few ruins. For us, the uniqueness is a bit off. But if you are interested in history or want a spectacular view, you should also pass here!
Next week we’ll write down our experiences of Machu Picchu here. So we’ll keep you in suspense for a while with the article about this imposing wonder of the world. Until then, you can follow our adventures on Facebook and Instagram.