New tour to less visited Valley in the Cusco area
The Sacred Valley of the Incas in Peru is well-known for its ancient Inca ruins, terraces, markets and the beautiful nature. It is a very popular tourist destination for travellers on a day tour departing from Cusco with stops in Pisac, Urubamba, Ollantaytambo and Chinchero. From here, it is easy to connect with the train to the famous Inca ruins of Machu Picchu.
A less popular destination is the southern part of the valley: el valle sur. This part of the valley is not that well-known, but is definitely worth a visit. The Andean Baroque Route as it is called, is the perfect opportunity for travellers in Peru to explore the beautiful churches in this part of the valley.
The Andean Barroque tour takes you to three small traditional villages: Andahuaylillas, Huaro and Canincunca, where you will visit the Jesuit temples with the most impressive and outstanding baroque interiors of Peru. The art shown in these churches is a mixture between the Andean culture and the Christianity brought by the Spaniards.
The tour departs early in the morning at 8 from Cusco driving through the beautiful valley to our first stop: a small chapel next to the small lake of Uros. The day I did this tour, we were pretty lucky with the weather, although it was still rainy season. From the moment I entered the church I was amazed by the many detailed wall paintings, the decorated ceilings and the general atmosphere. The guide explained about the different saints and that this chapel was dedicated to the Virgen Purificada of Canincunca.
The next stop was in Huaro, where the mural paintings were even more impressive than in the first church. The paintings cover the entire walls up until the ceilings, are very detailed and incredible to observe. Illustrations of heaven and hell, paintings of biblical stories, portraits of saints and angels. There is so much to see, you could spend hours and hours and never looking at the same detail twice.
After a short break, we entered the last church in the village of Andahuaylillas, a small, colonial town in the valley. The church contains interior decorations with a mixture of Spanish, Arab and Andean influences. This church is decorated with a lot of golden frames, golden paint, and golden altars. I had never seen a ceiling with so many details before. We climbed up the stairs to take a better look at the ceiling, and higher to see the church bells and enjoy the beautiful view from the tower.
The pictures cannot capture all the details, and the beauty of the paintings and decorations, you have to see it with your own eyes.
We drove back to Cusco enjoying the view, talking about the beautiful paintings, churches and decorations. I can certainly recommend this Andean Barroque Tour to travellers in Peru that want to see just a bit more than the more visited – but still impressive – Sacred Valley of the Incas.