South America – SACRED SPACES
OPVSMAGNVM South America Travel Map:
The SACRED VALLEY is a trip that every explorer and ancient enthusiast must take at some point in their lives. The region of Peru and Bolivia is where the great majority of sacred temples and ancient ruins are found. The Inca were merely stewards of these temples and admitted that the temples were present in this land long before they themselves were.
North of Lima are the incredible sites of Caral and Chavin de Huantar, though the vast majority of the sites are located between Cusco and Machu Picchu. Thus, the ‘classic trip’ generally involves flying into Lima and then flying or bussing to Cusco. From there, you can get a pass to visit many of the temples with a single ticket, beginning with the unparalleled Sacsayhuaman, towering over the city of Cusco itself. At the center of Cusco is the Coriconcha and it’s center, the courtyard that marks the center of a vortex; a ‘navel’ of the Earth. The energy that radiates outward from this center decreases with distance. It is clearly a neccesary ingredient in the process used for megalithic constructuion, as no stones are nearly the size of those at Sacsayhuaman, which literally WAS ‘Ancient Cusco’ before the colonists tore the walls apart and recycled the stone. What is left of the great wall is only the remnants that were to immense to be destroyed.
As you travel further and further from Cusco, the stonework remains breathtaking, but few sites have stones near the size of Sacsayhuaman. Ollantaytambo is one exception and is a site that is absolutely essential. Be sure to stop there on your way to Machu Picchu. Catch a van to ‘Kilometer 82’ – the secret of secrets when headed to Machu Picchu. You can walk along the right side of the river for free, rather than taking the left side, which is officially the Inca Trail and costs money. On the left bank, you can hike all the way Aguas Caliente (the town under Machu Picchu) in one day or break it into a two day hike. If you’re on a tighter schedule, you can take the train, but either way, reserve your tickets at least 3-4 days beforehand. Add on the Huayna Picchu ticket or Machu Picchu Mountain ticket. Both are incredible. Give yourself a few days there if you can.
I reccomend you absolutely take the ‘classic route’ of Lima – Cusco – Ollantaytambo – Machu Picchu – Lima. If you can add a side trip up to Chavin and Caral, even better! But don’t forget about Bolivia!
Head over to Lake Titicaca and experience the Island of the Sun and Island of the Moon (via Copacabana) and then head to La Paz and absolutely visit the Temple of Inscriptions at Puma Punku/Tiahuanaco.
If you choose to cut out to the coast from there, stop in Nasca for a flyover of the Nasca Lines (Starting around $50 in a private cessna!) and then visit Paracas and see the elongated skulls that Brien Foerster is working to understand and test genealogically.
Below are all my Sacred Valley photo galleries below with brief descriptions (as I get them uploaded over time…).
All photos by OPVSMAGNVM