The Sacred Valley
About 1 hour away from the city of Cusco is the scenic and peaceful region of the Sacred Valley. With a distinctively different feel than the hustle and bustle of the main city, the Sacred Valley is a mix of rugged mountain scenery and neatly farmed green terraces stretching for over 100 km's (62 miles) in the direction of Machu Picchu.
Within the Sacred Valley there are several towns, most of which are small Andean settlements where people go about there every day lives in a simple manner, maintaining their small chacras (plots of land) and faming basic crops like potatoes, corn, tarwi and quinua. The three main places of interest for most visitors to the Sacred Valley are the two towns of Pisac and Urubamba, and the small village of Ollantaytambo in the far west.
Pisac is famous for its busy daily market (slightly larger on a Sunday), where local traders and farmers come to sell all sorts of strange food products and hand-crafted artisanal goods. High above Pisac village perched on the edge of 3 converging valleys is the beautiful and untouched Inca ruin of Pisac. The ruin features a royal sector of equal splendour to that of Machu Picchu, vast sweeping terraces and a mountain-side Inca burial site.
Located roughly in the middle of the Sacred Valley and connected directly by road to Cusco is the dusty and disorganized town of Urubamba. Although there is little historical interest for most tourists who visit Urubamba, this is where many of the finest Sacred Valley Hotels are located. With easy access to Pisac, Ollantaytambo, Cusco and Moray - Urubamba is an ideal location to set up base.
The ancient village of Ollantaytambo is the furthest west that most visitors will travel in the Sacred Valley (other than Machu Picchu), and is where the one of the principle train stations for access to Machu Picchu is located. Ollantaytambo was also one of the last strong holds for the Inca's and is home to one of the Sacred Valley's most spectacular Inca ruins. The large fortress ruin dominates the surrounding mountains, and its climbs dramatically up from the town of Ollantaytambo to the peak of the mountain several hundred feet higher.
Another place of interest, which technically is not located within the Sacred Valley, is the rarely visited but mystical terracing of Moray. Thought to be an experimental testing area used by the Incas to develop new crops, the two round ruins sunk deep into the ground a few kilometres from the village of Maras are really worth taking the time to explore.
All our set tours of Peru include a tour of the Sacred Valley. One day tours from Cusco are possible, and include visits to Pisac Market, Ollantaytambo Ruins and a visit to the smaller Inca ruins and beautifully decorated church at Chinchero. Private tours of the Sacred Valley are available, and can be tailored to suit the attractions you want to visit. For more information on the Sacred Valley, and our selection of Peru Vacations, contact a travel advisor today.
For more information on specific attractions in the Sacred Valley follow the links below:
- Pisac Market
- Pisac Ruins
- Moras / Moray
- Las Salineras
- Horse-back Riding
- Rafting the Urubamba River
Enjoy a tour to Peru in style with one of our Machu Picchu Luxury Tours, and discover the best of Peruvian hospitality with exclusive hotels, luxury trains and the personalized guided tours of the Inca heartland. Browse our selection of Machu Picchu Luxury Tours or contact a native English speaking travel expert today.