Travel Post: Sacred Valley in Peru

5:30 PM

This blog is apart of my Peru travel post series. Read my previous post about the Amazon rainforest here!

Day 4 - Cuzco / Sacred Valley

After our stay in the Amazon was over, we flew out of Puerto Maldonado to meet our friends in Cuzco. We decided not to stay too long in Cuzco due to the altitude.

For those of you who do not know, some parts of Peru is at a higher elevation than what most Americans are used to. The air is thinner at a higher altitude, so it can be very hard to adjust the first few days. Altitude sickness - which I experienced - is no joke! I was lightheaded, and experienced dizziness, nausea, headaches, and was out of breath whenever I took some steps or climbed a few stairs. It was terrible, but at least I did not vomit! (I actually asked my doctor to prescribe me Diamox prior to the trip, which supposedly helps with the altitude sickness.)

Another way to ease altitude sickness is to drink coca tea. Coca leaves are sold virtually everywhere in Peru. It's very easy to make - just brew hot water and dump a bunch of coca leaves in it. It numbs your body so the nausea doesn't feel as crappy. Needless to say, I chugged it whenever I was able to.

Coca tea
My altitude sickness did go away after a few days. It helped that we adjusted slowly to the altitude. Instead of staying at Cuzco, which I believe is at 11,000+ feet (for reference, Denver is about 5,000 feet), we traveled to Sacred Valley first, which is at 9,514 feet in elevation.

We stayed in Ollantaytambo, a town in Sacred Valley, for the first night we were there. Oh, and we also tried cuy - aka guinea pig!

look how creepy it is! you can see the guinea pig's last moments of excruciating pain by the way it is wincing...ugh. You can even see the teeth.

We rented a van for the next day and drove around looking at popular Sacred Valley spots:

View from the Ollantaytambo ruins
Another view from Ollantaytambo ruins

Pisac ruins
Maras salt flats
Inca ruins of Moray

My friend Glen looking at chess sets

Copyright infringement is not a huge deal in Peru

Pisac market

Overall, it was very interesting to go around and look at Inca ruins. We purchased a boleto turistico for the day, which allowed us to visit the ancient ruin sites.

We also got to eat at a restaurant, El_Huacatay, that turned out to me one of my favorite meals in Peru. By the way, food in Peru is cheap! Especially compared to America, where Pervuvian food is not as good and far more expensive.

Our spread

Lomo you get the sense that we really enjoyed our lomo saltado there?
Sacred Valley was a very unique experience indeed. However, I'm sure that the post you've all been waiting for is my adventure to Machu Picchu: read all about it here!

*We have my friend to thank for these beautiful pictures throughout the next couple of posts. A few of these pictures were taken on my GoPro, but most pictures were taken by my friend, Alex Botao Wong. 

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