Hey fellow wanderers! It's your favorite travel enthusiast and I am back with another adventure to share that will make travelling to Peru, or South America more memorable than what it already is. Having explored and traveled for most of my life and seeing the vibrant landscapes and rich cultures of South America and its beautiful countries of Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia, and Peru, In my latest travel adventure to Peru, I learned many things that everyone should know before travelling to Machu Picchu that I would like to share.
I can't help but reminisce about one of my all-time favorite destinations – Peru. Today, let's unravel the secrets of Machu Picchu, Cuzco, and the Sacred Valley, and discover the best time to immerse yourself in the magic they have to offer.
Let's kick off this travel appreciation post to Peru with the pièce de résistance - Machu Picchu, one of the seven wonders of the world, one of many people's bucket list top travel item. Nestled high in the Andes, this ancient Incan citadel is a marvel that defies both time and imagination. Although this question might come off as redundant to many, it is worth explaining why Machu Picchu is a top travel destination. Why should you visit? Because Machu Picchu is not just a destination; it's a pilgrimage into the mystical past, into the roots that grounded our now history, into the foundation of many iconic archeaelogical and civilization knowledge.
The sheer grandeur of Machu Picchu, set against the backdrop of lush green mountains, is enough to leave you breathless on its own. As you trace the steps of the ancient Incas, you'll be captivated by the precision of the stonework, the celestial alignment of structures, and the energy that seems to hum through the air.
Machu Picchu, a name that resonates with mystery and awe. To truly grasp the majesty of this ancient Incan citadel, timing is key. Although this destination can be enjoyed on any day just solely on its beauty, as an honest traveller, here is when I would recommend travelling to Machu Picchu to any traveller.
The months of May to September mark the dry season in Machu Picchu. This means that during these months, it is when the skies are clear, and the sun graces the ruins with its golden touch, so making it perfect for photographers, and those hikers who would like to trekk more comfortable. These are the months when Machu Picchu reveals itself in all its glory, shrouded in a mystical aura that's hard to put into words!
There are some advantages apart from the magnificent viewpoints and landmarks to visiting the ruins during this season. The advantage of visiting during the dry season goes beyond the weather. The trails leading to Machu Picchu, such as the renowned Inca Trail, are at their prime. The lush landscapes, blooming flora, and the absence of rain make the journey as enchanting as the destination itself.
Insider Tip: Beat the crowds by arriving early in the morning. As the sun rises, watch as Machu Picchu emerges from the mist, a sight that will undoubtedly take your breath away.
Now, let's meander down to Cuzco. Undoubtedly, on your way to Machu Picchu, all travellers are bound to make a stop in Cuzco. And as with many places in Peru, it is safe to say that the more cities you pass by or visit, the more likely you are to fall in love with a new place in Peru. This is the exact case with Cuzco, although it seems like just a stop on your way to Aguas Calientes, Machu Picchu, Cuzco is a city rich in history and culture, the charismatic heartbeat of the Inca Empire. Why should you visit? Because Cuzco isn't just a city; it's a living, breathing testament to the fusion of ancient history and vibrant culture.
Wander through the narrow cobblestone streets of San Blas, where each step is a brushstroke on a canvas painted with colonial charm. The Plaza de Armas, adorned with the Cuzco Cathedral, exudes an energy that resonates with centuries of history.
To experience Cuzco at its best, plan your visit between April and October when the weather is dry, and the temperatures are comfortable.
During these months, the city comes alive with festivals and events, showcasing the vibrant culture and traditions of the Peruvian people. Explore the cobbled streets of the San Blas neighborhood, marvel at the impressive architecture of the Plaza de Armas, and don't forget to indulge in the local cuisine – Cuzco is a gastronomic paradise.
Some of the most top festivities that can be enjoyed during this time ar the Inti Raymi and Corpus Christi:
The grandest and most famous of all Cuzco's festivals, Inti Raymi, celebrates the winter solstice and honors the Incan sun god, Inti. Held on June 24th, the day unfolds with a mesmerizing procession from the historic Qorikancha temple to the archaeological site of Sacsayhuaman. Dressed in traditional costumes, locals reenact ancient ceremonies, expressing gratitude for the sun's life-giving energy.
In June, Cuzco hosts the impressive Corpus Christi festival, blending Incan and Catholic traditions. The main event involves a grand procession with elaborate statues of patron saints from various churches, accompanied by traditional dances and music. Locals decorate the streets with intricate floral carpets, showcasing their artistic skills and religious devotion.
So, make sure you stay at least 4 days before you travel to Machu Picchu in Cuzco, you will not regret it.
Insider Tip: Acclimate yourself to the altitude by taking it slow on your first day in Cuzco. Sip on coca tea, enjoy the local delicacies, and let the city's energy seep into your soul.
Another of the iconic places that I reckon is a must visit for anyone travelling to Peru and Machu Picchu; visiting the Sacred Valley.
As we venture into the Sacred Valley, the landscapes unfold like a tapestry woven by the gods. Why should you visit? Because the Sacred Valley isn't just a valley; it's a sanctuary where nature and ancient civilization coexist in perfect harmony.
Explore the agricultural terraces of Moray, an Incan marvel that doubles as a testament to agricultural ingenuity. The Pisac Market, bursting with colors and aromas, invites you to immerse yourself in the vibrant traditions of the Andean people. Choose to visit during the shoulder seasons (April to June or September to November) to enjoy the mild weather and fewer crowds.
To witness the valley in all its glory, plan your visit between March and November when the weather is mild, and the valleys are adorned with blooming flowers.
Explore the terraced fields of Moray, wander through the market at Pisac, and don't miss the captivating salt pans at Maras. The Sacred Valley is a haven for nature lovers and history buffs alike.
Insider Tip: Engage with the local communities, learn about their traditions, and try your hand at traditional crafts. The warmth of the people is as enriching as the landscapes surrounding you.
There you have it, fellow travellers – the best times to embark on a journey to Machu Picchu, Cuzco, and the Sacred Valley. Peru is a country that beckons the intrepid, offering a blend of history, culture, and natural beauty that is truly unparalleled. So, pack your bags, embrace the spirit of adventure, and let Peru weave its magic around you. Until the next adventure, happy travels!