Do you dream of discovering a land rich in history, vibrant culture and breathtaking landscapes? Welcome to Peru’s Sacred Valley, an enchanting realm that was once the heartland of the Inca civilization.
This blog post will be your comprehensive guide – from historical sites to fun activities, local dining, and more! Dive into this adventure with us as we delve into the captivating beauty of this fascinating destination.
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Table of Contents
- The Sacred Valley of Peru is a captivating destination known for its rich historical significance, stunning landscapes, and vibrant culture.
- Visitors can explore ancient Inca ruins and archaeological sites such as Parque Arqueológico Pisac and Ollantaytambo to gain insight into the advanced farming techniques and architectural prowess of the Inca civilization.
- The Sacred Valley of Peru offers a wide range of activities, including kayaking on picturesque lakes, horseback riding through terraced hillsides, hiking to waterfalls and hidden trails, and rafting on the Vilcabamba-Urubamba River.
- Travelers can also immerse themselves in the local culture by visiting vibrant markets like Mercado de Pisac or exploring untouched Quechua villages to discover authentic handicrafts while supporting local artisans.
The Historical Significance of the Sacred Valley of Peru
The Sacred Valley holds a special place in the annals of history. It was named for its fertile lands, which were highly favored by the ancient Inca civilization. This plentiful valley became an important center for agriculture, with some parts owned by the Inca themselves.
Archeological sites abound in this Andean region stand as silent testimonies to its historical importance. The remnants of the intricate stonework at Parque Arqueológico Pisac and Ollantaytambo provide insight into past way of life including their sophisticated farming techniques still followed today by Quechuan descendants.
A visit to Moray reveals how advanced their understanding and application of agricultural science were. What appears to be a natural amphitheater is actually an ingenious Inca laboratory used for experimenting with crops at various altitudes.
The Sacred Valley of Peru isn’t just about stones and ruins; it’s about people who continues to thrive since the era of the Incas, especially evident in untouched Quechua villages dotting this verdant valley.
You’ll find them selling locally-made textiles and other crafts that reflect traditions dating back centuries.
Nowadays, while cities may have overshadowed these small towns in size or technological advancement, none can come close when it comes to cultural richness borne out of long-standing history intertwined with glorious landscapes – all continuing to shape life within Peru’s beloved Sacred Valley.
How to Reach the Sacred Valley
Traveling to Peru’s Sacred Valley adds an element of adventure to your trip. Begin with a one-and-a-half-hour flight from Lima to Cusco. Landing at the Alejandro Velasco Astete airport, you’ll find yourself in the ancient capital city of the Inca Empire. Your journey continues by road from Cusco towards the heartland of the Inca civilization. You can experience local Colectivo transport or arrange a private taxi for comfort and convenience. Carry on your itinerary and chart your course for Machu Picchu and other exquisite Inca sites spanning across the valley. Lastly, always be prepared for varying highland climates as you navigate this mystical part of South America.
Exploring the Sacred Valley of Peru
Immerse yourself in the enchanting beauty of Peru’s Sacred Valley, from visiting animal sanctuaries to kayaking on serene lakes and discovering ancient Inca ruins. Read on for an unforgettable adventure!
Visiting the Cochahuasi Animal Sanctuary
A journey through the Sacred Valley of Peru would be incomplete without a stop at the Cochahuasi Animal Sanctuary. Nestled amidst Peru’s towering Andes mountains, this sanctuary boasts of incredible wildlife rescues.
Here, you’ll get up close and personal with some of South America’s iconic animals like Andean condors, vicuñas and pumas! Your visit contributes to critical conservation efforts, protecting these endangered species in their natural habitat while learning about Peru’s striking biodiversity first-hand.
The sanctuary also offers unrivaled insight into local Peruvian culture as you interact with the dedicated caretakers who work tirelessly towards animal welfare. It’s not just a visit; it is direct participation in preserving vital aspects of nature in the Inca heartland.
Shopping at the Mercado de Pisac
The Mercado de Pisac in the Sacred Valley of Peru is a must-visit shopping destination for travelers and tourists. Here, you can immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere and explore a wide variety of traditional handicrafts, textiles, and souvenirs.
This market is known for its colorful displays and unique items, including handmade clothing, jewelry, and pottery. By shopping at the Mercado de Pisac, you not only have the opportunity to find authentic Peruvian crafts but also support local artisans.
So don’t miss out on this chance to bring home some beautiful mementos from your visit to the Sacred Valley!
Admiring the Inca stonework at Parque Arqueógico Pisac
Parque Arqueógico Pisac is a must-visit destination in the Sacred Valley for those who appreciate ancient craftsmanship. Here, you can admire the impressive Inca stonework that has stood the test of time.
These meticulously carved stones were used to construct terraces, temples, and other structures that once formed part of an important Inca settlement. As you explore the park, take a moment to marvel at the precision and skill involved in creating these intricate architectural masterpieces.
It’s a unique opportunity to witness firsthand the incredible engineering expertise of the Inca civilization.
Kayaking on Lago Piuray
Kayaking on Lago Piuray is a must-do activity for adventurous travelers visiting the Sacred Valley of Peru. Located in the province of Urubamba, this picturesque lake offers a unique and thrilling way to experience the beauty of the area.
As you paddle across the calm waters, surrounded by stunning mountain views, you’ll feel a sense of tranquility and awe at the natural wonders around you. Whether you’re an experienced kayaker or trying it for the first time, this activity is suitable for all skill levels.
So grab a kayak and immerse yourself in the magnificent scenery of Lago Piuray!
Discovering Chinchero’s local market
Chinchero’s local market is a must-visit for anyone exploring the enchanting beauty of the Sacred Valley. Held every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday, this bustling market offers an authentic experience where you can immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of Peru.
Here, you’ll find an array of fresh produce that showcases the region’s agricultural richness. From colorful fruits to local herbs and traditional Andean vegetables, there’s plenty to discover.
Additionally, Chinchero’s market is known for its locally-made textiles at affordable prices. You can browse through beautifully woven fabrics and intricate handicrafts created by skilled artisans in the area.
Hiking to the “birthplace of the rainbow”
Hiking to the “birthplace of the rainbow” in the Sacred Valley is a must-do activity for nature enthusiasts. The Catarata Poc Poc, also known as the Poc Poc Waterfall, is believed to be where rainbows originate.
This picturesque hike takes you through stunning landscapes and lush vegetation, offering breathtaking views along the way. It’s an opportunity to connect with nature and witness firsthand the magical phenomenon of a rainbow being born.
Lace up your hiking boots and embark on this memorable adventure in Peru’s enchanting Sacred Valley.
Finding tranquility on the Sacred Valley’s “other” Inca trail
Embark on a journey of serenity and exploration as you venture along the Sacred Valley’s lesser-known Inca trail. This hidden gem offers solitude and tranquility away from the crowds, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the breathtaking natural beauty of the Andean mountains.
As you hike through rugged terrains and lush landscapes, marvel at ancient ruins, cascading waterfalls, and picturesque vistas that will leave you in awe. Be one with nature and experience a sense of peace as you discover this off-the-beaten-path trail that holds its own charm within Peru’s magnificent Sacred Valley.
Photographing the Salineras de Maras
The Salineras de Maras is a must-visit attraction for photography enthusiasts in Peru’s Sacred Valley. This site offers breathtaking visual displays that make for stunning photographs.
You can capture close-up shots of the intricate salt terraces, showcasing their unique textures and patterns. The contrasting colors of the white salt pools against the backdrop of the mountains and blue sky create a captivating scene to photograph.
In addition to capturing detailed shots, don’t forget to take in the panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. Visiting the Salineras de Maras not only provides incredible photo opportunities but also allows you to learn about the history, culture, and traditional practices of this local community.
Visiting the Inca laboratory at Moray
At Moray, you can explore an intriguing site that served as an Inca laboratory for agricultural research and experimentation. The Inca used the concentric terraces at Moray to study and grow different crops at varying altitudes.
These terraces create microclimates, simulating various growing conditions. By visiting this unique archaeological site, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about the advanced agricultural practices of the Inca civilization and gain insight into their innovative techniques.
Horseback riding through the Sacred Valley of Peru
Explore the breathtaking beauty of the Sacred Valley on horseback. This popular activity allows you to immerse yourself in the stunning landscapes and experience the area in a unique way.
Ride along ancient Inca trails, feel the rhythm of your horse’s hooves on the ground, and take in panoramic views of terraced hillsides and snow-capped mountains. As you venture off the beaten path, you’ll discover hidden gems and encounter local traditions that will deepen your connection to Peru’s rich cultural heritage.
So saddle up and get ready for an unforgettable adventure through this enchanting valley.
Rafting on the Vilcabamba-Urubamba River
Rafting on the Vilcabamba-Urubamba River is an exhilarating activity that shouldn’t be missed when exploring Peru’s Sacred Valley. This scenic river offers a thrilling experience for adventure seekers, with rapids ranging from Class II to IV.
As you navigate through the rushing waters, you’ll not only get your adrenaline pumping but also have the chance to take in the stunning landscapes and immerse yourself in Peru’s rich cultural heritage.
So grab a paddle, put on your helmet, and get ready for an unforgettable rafting adventure in the heart of the Sacred Valley of Peru.
Enjoying the Sacred Valleys craft beer
The Sacred Valley of Peru is not only renowned for its stunning beauty and rich history, but also for its delicious craft beer. This picturesque region is home to several local breweries that produce a wide variety of unique and flavorful beers.
As you explore the Sacred Valley, you’ll have the opportunity to sample these handcrafted brews and experience the valley’s vibrant beer culture. Whether you’re enjoying a cold pint after a day of hiking or sipping on a refreshing IPA while taking in the breathtaking scenery, indulging in Valle Sagrado’s craft beer adds an extra layer of enjoyment to your adventure.
So don’t miss out on this tasty aspect of exploring the enchanting beauty of the Sacred Valley!
Witnessing a Sacred Valley sunset from Skylodge Adventure Suites
Skylodge Adventure Suites offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness a breathtaking sunset in the Sacred Valley. Perched on the side of a cliff, these unique transparent pods provide panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys as the sun dips below the horizon.
Imagine sipping a glass of wine while marveling at the vibrant colors painting the sky and casting a golden glow over this enchanting landscape. This unforgettable experience is just one of many ways to immerse yourself in the natural beauty and tranquility of Peru’s Sacred Valley.
Relaxing at an Andean spa
Indulge in ultimate relaxation at an Andean spa nestled in the serene beauty of Peru’s Sacred Valley. Unwind amidst breathtaking views and experience a soothing escape from your travels.
Immerse yourself in ancient healing practices that combine traditional therapies with natural ingredients sourced from the Andes. Rejuvenate your body and mind with therapeutic massages, revitalizing facials, and luxurious treatments inspired by Peruvian culture and traditions.
Soothe your senses with aromatic herbs, locally-made oils, and organic products while enjoying the tranquility of this picturesque valley. Treat yourself to a truly unforgettable spa experience that will leave you feeling pampered, refreshed, and rejuvenated.
Exploring the terraces of Ollantaytambo
Ollantaytambo, an Inca village nestled in the Sacred Valley of Peru, is home to captivating terraced hillsides and ancient stone temples. One of the main attractions here is the Sitio Arqueológico de Ollantaytambo, a significant archaeological site that features an impressive Inca fortress and the partially complete Templo del Sol.
These terraces not only showcase the remarkable stonework craftsmanship of the Incas but also provide insight into their advanced agricultural techniques. It is believed that these terraces were utilized for farming and cultivating various crops, highlighting the ingenuity of this ancient civilization.
Visiting Ollantaytambo allows you to immerse yourself in history while admiring breathtaking views of this mesmerizing landscape.
Visiting the sacred site of Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu, Peru’s most famous ancient site, is a must-visit for anyone exploring the Sacred Valley of Peru. Situated at an impressive elevation of 8,165 feet and surrounded by towering peaks, Machu Picchu offers breathtaking views and a deep sense of history.
Known for its precise stonemasonry and as a ceremonial and agricultural center in Inca times, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is rich with cultural significance. Whether you choose to hike the iconic Inca Trail or opt for the less crowded Salkantay trek, your journey to Machu Picchu will be filled with awe-inspiring moments and a deeper appreciation for the ingenuity of the Inca civilization.
Following the Inca trail
The Inca Trail is an iconic route that takes you through the breathtaking landscapes of Peru’s Sacred Valley. Starting from Chinchero and ending in Urquillos, this trail is a must for anyone exploring the region and wanting to experience the history and beauty of the Inca civilization.
Along the way, you’ll witness the incredible engineering skills of the Incas as you pass by ancient terraces, canals, granaries, and ceremonial sites. As you follow in their footsteps, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of their culture and appreciate the natural wonders that surround you.
Whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply seeking adventure, trekking along the Inca Trail will leave an unforgettable impression on your journey through Peru’s Sacred Valley.
Venturing off the beaten path on the Salkantay
The Salkantay trek offers a unique and off-the-beaten-path experience for those who want to explore the Sacred Valley of Peru. Unlike the popular Inca Trail, this trek takes you through breathtaking landscapes and remote areas that are less crowded.
You’ll have the opportunity to witness stunning mountain vistas, cross high-altitude passes, and discover hidden archaeological sites along the way. The campgrounds along the Salkantay trek also tend to be quieter and more secluded, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in nature’s beauty.
If you’re looking for a more adventurous and less touristy option, venturing off on the Salkantay is definitely worth considering.
Understanding the Sacred Valley’s Villages
Explore the charming villages of Pisac, Urubamba, Maras, and Yucay to immerse yourself in the local culture and witness traditional Andean life.
Pisac is a must-visit village in Peru’s Sacred Valley, famous for its vibrant craft market and traditional hand-woven textiles. As you explore the market, you’ll find an array of colorful artisanal products including clothing, pottery, jewelry, and more.
The Parque Arqueógico Pisac is another highlight where you can admire the impressive Inca stonework and enjoy breathtaking viewpoints of the valley. This archaeological site also hosts regular Inca ceremonies that provide a glimpse into the rich history and culture of the region.
Don’t miss the chance to immerse yourself in Pisac’s lively atmosphere and take home some unique souvenirs from this captivating village.
Urubamba is one of the main towns in Peru’s Sacred Valley, located in the province of Cusco. This charming town is surrounded by stunning natural beauty and offers a glimpse into the rich history and culture of the Incas.
In Urubamba, you can explore ancient Inca sites like Pisac, Ollantaytambo, and Chinchero. The town sits along the Vilcanota River, which held spiritual significance for the Incas. With its picturesque landscapes and fascinating historical sites, Urubamba is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to the Sacred Valley of Peru.
Maras, a village nestled in the Sacred Valley of Peru, offers a glimpse into untouched Quechua villages and ancestral farming techniques. One of Maras’ main attractions is the Salineras de Maras, a centuries-old salt pan where visitors can witness the traditional salt harvesting process.
This picturesque village draws over a million visitors annually and is a must-visit destination for those exploring the Sacred Valley of Peru.
Yucay, located in Peru’s Sacred Valley, is a charming village that offers a glimpse into the traditional farming techniques of the Quechua villages. This picturesque town is not only surrounded by breathtaking landscapes but also holds archaeological sites dating back to the Inca civilization.
Yucay is also home to the Cochahuasi Animal Sanctuary, where endangered wildlife finds shelter and care. A must-visit attraction in Yucay is the craft market in Pisac, held every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday.
Here you can find hand-woven textiles and colorful bags at affordable prices. Don’t miss out on exploring this vibrant village and experiencing its rich cultural heritage.
Staying in the Sacred Valley
Discover the finest accommodations in Peru’s Sacred Valley, including Casa Andina Premium Sacred Valley, Tierra Viva Valle Sagrado, and Tunupa Lodge. Immerse yourself in the enchanting beauty of this sacred land while enjoying luxurious comfort and breathtaking views.
Don’t miss out on this unforgettable experience! Read more to plan your dream getaway.
Casa Andina Premium Sacred Valley
Nestled in the heart of Peru’s Sacred Valley, Casa Andina Premium offers a delightful stay surrounded by natural beauty. This hotel provides travelers with comfortable accommodations and excellent amenities to enhance their visit to this enchanting destination.
With its warm and inviting atmosphere, Casa Andina Premium is the perfect base for exploring the nearby Quechua villages and immersing oneself in the rich cultural heritage of this region.
Guests can also take advantage of the hotel’s close proximity to archaeological sites dating back to the Inca civilization, such as Machu Picchu. Whether you’re seeking adventure or relaxation, Casa Andina Premium Sacred Valley is an ideal choice for your stay in this captivating part of Peru.
Tierra Viva Valle Sagrado
Tierra Viva Valle Sagrado is a hotel nestled in the stunning Sacred Valley of Peru. This charming hotel offers a range of amenities and activities to enhance your stay. You can indulge in luxury spa treatments or experience an adrenaline rush with their ziplining adventure.
The rooms are cozy and comfortable, providing a perfect place to unwind after a day of exploration. Inside the hotel you can enjoy its green areas, the delicious food of SUNO Restaurant that offers, buffet breakfast, buffet lunch, and for dinner, ensuring you get great value for your money.
Immerse yourself in the beauty of the Sacred Valley of Peru while enjoying the comforts of this delightful hotel.
Tunupa Lodge is a perfect base for exploring the breathtaking Sacred Valley of Peru. Nestled in this stunning region, the lodge offers comfortable accommodations and incredible access to the Quechua villages and their traditional farming techniques.
From Tunupa Lodge, you can easily visit popular attractions like Pisac and Parque Arqueógico Pisac, immersing yourself in the rich history and culture of the Inca civilization. Additionally, if you’re looking for outdoor adventures, the lodge serves as a convenient starting point for activities on Lake Piuray in Chinchero.
At Tunupa Lodge, you’ll have an unforgettable experience surrounded by natural beauty and authentic Peruvian charm.
Dining in the Sacred Valley
The Sacred Valley offers an array of dining options for visitors to indulge in. Here are some highlights:
- Enjoy delicious local Peruvian cuisine, including traditional dishes like ceviche, lomo saltado, and rocoto relleno.
- Savor international flavors at restaurants that offer a fusion of Peruvian and global cuisines.
- Try a traditional earth oven meal known as pachamanca, where ingredients are cooked underground with hot stones.
- Sample fresh fruits and vegetables from the local markets, such as the one in Pisac, known for its vibrant array of produce.
- Taste locally-made textiles – many restaurants in the Sacred Valley of Peru showcase the region’s textile traditions by incorporating handmade fabrics into their decor.
- Experience Peru’s craft beer scene at Cerveceria del Valle Sagrado, where you can enjoy a cold one made with Andean herbs and ingredients.
- Dine at renowned restaurants run by acclaimed Peruvian chef Virgilio Martínez, who showcases the diverse flavors and ingredients of Peru.
Tips and Information for Visiting the Sacred Valley of Peru
Prepare for altitude sickness and acclimatize by taking it slow upon arrival to Cusco, staying hydrated, and avoiding excessive physical activity in the first few days.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit the Sacred Valley is during the dry season, which runs from June to August. This is when you can expect clear skies and mild temperatures, making it ideal for outdoor activities and exploring the archaeological sites.
The low season falls between December and March, with unpredictable rainfall and storms. If you don’t mind a bit of rain, this can be a good time to visit as there will be fewer tourists and lower prices.
However, keep in mind that some roads may become impassable during heavy rains.
Dealing with altitude sickness
Altitude sickness is a concern when visiting the Sacred Valley of Peru, as it is located at high elevations ranging from 6,730 to 9,800 feet. Also known as acute mountain sickness, altitude sickness can cause symptoms like headaches, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, and shortness of breath.
To prevent altitude sickness, it’s important to acclimate gradually by giving your body time to adjust to the elevation. Drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol while in the Sacred Valley.
Taking these precautions will help ensure a more enjoyable and comfortable visit to this stunning destination.
Traveling to the Sacred Valley of Peru entails various costs, including accommodation, dining, and other unique experiences. These prices can vary depending on your preferences and the choices you make during your visit.
|Average Cost (in USD)
|Accommodation (per night)
|$50 – $523
|$10 – $25 (per meal)
|$30 – $60 (round trip from Cusco)
|$50 – $100
|Unique Experiences (ziplining, horseback riding, rafting)
|$50 – $150
|Entrance fees for attractions
|$10 – $70
The table gives a rough estimate of expected costs for a traveler visiting the Sacred Valley of Peru. Remember that the costs can vary widely depending on the level of luxury you prefer, the time of year, and other factors. Be sure to plan and budget accordingly to make the most of your Sacred Valley experience.
Conclusion: The Unforgettable Sacred Valley Experience
The Sacred Valley of Peru offers an unforgettable experience for travelers seeking to explore the enchanting beauty of this historical and picturesque region. From visiting ancient Inca ruins and archaeological sites to kayaking on scenic lakes and immersing oneself in local culture, there is no shortage of activities to enjoy in the Sacred Valley.
Whether you’re hiking through breathtaking landscapes or discovering hidden gems off the beaten path, a visit to the Sacred Valley of Peru promises to leave a lasting impression and create memories that will last a lifetime.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the must-visit attractions in the Sacred Valley of Peru?
Some of the must-visit attractions in the Sacred Valley of Peru include Machu Picchu, Ollantaytambo, Pisac Market, Moray ruins, and Maras salt flats.
How can I get to the Sacred Valley from Cusco?
The most common way to get to the Sacred Valley from Cusco is by taking a taxi or a bus. There are also organized tours available that include transportation.
Are there any hiking trails or outdoor activities in the Sacred Valley?
Yes, there are several hiking trails and outdoor activities available in the Sacred Valley of Peru. You can explore Inca ruins on various treks, go mountain biking, horseback riding, or even try zip-lining.
What is the best time to visit the Sacred Valley of Peru?
The best time to visit the Sacred Valley of Peru is during its dry season which runs from May to September. The weather is generally sunny with cooler temperatures during this time, making it ideal for outdoor exploring and sightseeing.
Founder of Karikuy, an organization in Peru that brings travelers to visit and explore the country. Julio also runs the Karikuy Volunteer program and is the editor of this blog. Julio likes to write about his adventures in Peru as well as Peruvian folklore, mysteries and secluded locations.