Huddled in the green foothills of Peru’s Andean highlands, the Sacred Valley - or Urubamba Valley - peacefully preserves fragments of the Incas. Along with nearby Cuzco and Machu Picchu, this was once the heart of the mighty Incan Empire. Today, holidays in the Valley introduce you to some of the most fascinating and significant archaeological sites in Peru.
Naturally, Sacred Valley holidays lend themselves to hiking - from half-day hikes to week-long donkey-led expeditions and the famous Inca trail tours. The settings for outdoor adventure are spectacular. Charming colonial towns, remote villages and ancient Incan ruins are scattered like jewels throughout the Sacred Valley’s rugged landscape.
Journey to the Sacred Valley to discover ancient Peru
Incan ruins stretch along a mountain ridge over the small village of Pisac. Thought to have been a valley entrance defence, this spectacular fortress boasts a citadel, tombs and impressive agricultural terracing that sweeps the span of the mountainsides. Pisac is also famed for its Sunday market, where native Quechua communities come to sell their traditional fares, from woollen alpaca garments to wooden handicrafts.
Ollantaytambo is another quaint Sacred Valley village, nestled splendidly among a ring of snow-tipped mountains. Here is another important Incan archaeological site; a vast fortress and series of huge stacked stone terraces. The local people inhabit the same cobbled streets built centuries ago by the Incas.
Further in the mountains, tiny villages such as Chinchero preserve the integral tradition of weaving. Journey here for an insight into Peruvian history and a glimpse at the unique way of life of those in the Andes most remote reaches. The salt ponds of Maras are similarly astonishing: pre-Incan, built 3,000 metres above sea level, 5,000 ponds stack down the mountain in a haphazard maze of terraces - still in use today.
If you’re planning a Machu Picchu trek, a Sacred Valley tour is a must before you go. Call us today.
Great sample itineraries
The Sacred Valley is a hub of adventure and archaeological intrigue, and the starting off point for Inca trail tours. Get in touch with our Destination Specialists to discover all the incredible options available in this region.
Explore Sacred Valley
The most famous Inca ruin and one of the most known ruins in the world. This is the whole reason to come to this area of the world. Visit Machu Picchu by trekking along the Inca Trail for a few days or take the shorter and easier train ride. Either way, the destination is worth it.
The pretty village of Pisac is most famous for its crafts markets that take place Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. But what really sets it apart is the imposing Inca fortress and temple that it rests in the shadow of. Climb the verdant hill in the tranquil, early-morning silence to see the ruins up close, then head back down to take in the sights, sounds, and smells of the traditional markets.
Your holiday to Peru's Sacred Valley will most likely include a stay in unique and enchanting Cuzco. This ancient Inca city is a dramatic reminder of the Inca Empire with colonial architecture built directly on top of Incan ruins. Meander through the charming, cobblestone streets, hearing the Quechua-speaking inhabits, and explore the layers of history that portray how the past still has a powerful grip on the present.
The Sacred Valley is famous for its wealth of Inca ruins spread like a carpet throughout the verdant hillsides. See the salt mines at Salineras, where thousands of small pools of water evaporate and leave piles of salt, or head to Moray where three sets of terraced concentric circles are carved into the earth. In Ollantaytambo, visit the Inca temple, ceremonial baths, and the sun temple that faces the rising sun and explore the Inca Grancaries at Pinkuylluna. Your holiday to Sacred Valley will naturally end up at Machu Picchu, the most spectacular Inca ruin of an empire that is often called the `lost city of Incas'.
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“In Pisac, you should allow a few hours to explore the ruins. Taking a taxi up and then walking back through the valley is a good option - it’s a 2 hour climb up and a 1.5 hour descent. The climb is challenging, but makes for good practice if you’re planning to take on the Inca trail!”
“The Moray ruins, near the town of Maras, are lesser-known than other sites in the Sacred Valley but are some of the most beautiful and interesting ruins in Peru. Designed like a dug-out amphitheatre, scientists and archaeologists are still baffled as to what the site was actually used for.”
There’s no question too small. Start planning your dream trip by talking to our Destination Specialists.
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