South Cusco Valley tour: The valley to the South of Cusco is largely unexplored by tourists but has some wonderful places to visit. It is a great way to get into the heart of the real Peru.

First you visit the Inca complex of Tipon an elaborate set of terraces and water channels. It is thought to have been used as a ceremonial centre to worship water. The town below is also home to various roadside sellers on the weekends, when Cusqueñeans come to enjoy guinea pig on a stick, or roast in a clay oven.

Driving on through Oropesa, known as the bread capital of Peru due to having over forty bakeries, you soon arrive at the pre- Inca ruins of Pikillaqta.

This is vastly different to the Inca site and is the only pre-Inca site in the Cusco area. This adobe complex was built by the Wari culture who once dominated the central highland and coastal regions of Peru. Widely considered the first culture to make use of mass agricultural terraces, many of the Inca administrative practices can be traced back to the Wari civilization.

You can then take a short walk down to the lake of Huacarpay. This wetland has been declared a Ramsar site, as a wetland of international importance due to the vast number of migratory birds that stop here. Each October birds migrate down from the Northern hemisphere to avoid the harsh winter. Then in April they stop over on their way back up to Northern summer. Apart from that, there is a more localised form of migration when the cold weather comes to the Peruvian altiplano, birds migrate down here to stay at a lower altitude and enjoy warmer temperatures. This is a beautiful place to enjoy your lunch.



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