Getting up late we had no rush to make out 1055 train the 60 km by train to Ollantaytambo.
From there we had to take a collectivo the 67 km to Cusco since the day time trains do not go all the way back there. This takes about 90 minutes and is only 4$ each. You get a glimpse of the ruins there and this crazy rock climbers hotel hanging on the cliff.
Getting back to the city we decided to go on a tour of the Cathedral of Santo Domingo, which was completed in 1654 after almost 100 years and is on the site of an Inca temple. This place is very impressive and they actually have the original first Christian Cross brought to the Americas by Francisco Pizarro the Conquistador of Peru.
Today’s plan is a circle route 150 thru the Sacred Valley of the Inca from Pisac to Urubamba and back to the city.
First don’t use your GPS to try to get out of the Cusco you will end up on crazy steep roads that lead nowhere, “roads” that are in reality staircases, or driving in circles. We finally gave up after 45 min and just backtracked to the route we knew near Saqsaywaman and the white Christ.
The first 30 km to Pisac is over the mountains and down into the valley.
The next 40 km to Urubamba is along the valley floor. We decided to go a bit farther up the road and take the back road into Moray. This is a red dirt road up the mountainside on switchbacks with amazing views of the snow-capped peaks.
The Moray site contains an Inca ruins, which consists of terraced circular depressions, the largest of which is 30 meters deep. The depth and orientation to the wind and sun create differences of up to 15 degrees in temperature. The theory is that this was an agriculture experimental station.
Then we went further down the road to the town of Maras. Near here you go down another dirt road to the “Salerinas” or salt mines.
These are salt evaporation ponds have been in use since pre-Inca times. The very salty water from a subterranean stream emerges at a spring and is directed into an intricate system of channels feeding several hundred terraced ponds.