The Sacred Valley of the Incas, also called the Valley of the river Urubamba River, is located northeast of Cusco. The beautiful valley is home to many beautiful colonial towns and full of Inca ruins spread throughout the valley. The scenery is amazing. Due to the lower altitude, the weather is a bit warmer than in Cusco.
That magnificent Inca ruins and stone terraces between Pisac to Ollantaytambo make this valley one of the best places to visit while travelling in Peru, as well a the beautiful natural setting. Up till today, the valley is an important agricultural area and many forms of crops are still grown there and supplied to Cusco.
The Sacred Valley is easily accessible to visitors. You can use either public transport or take one or multiple day tours in Cusco. Since the altitude is not as high as it is on the Inca Trail or in Cusco, the valley is often a good starting point for tourists to begin exploring Cusco and their Machu Picchu adventure.
The most important villages in the Sacred Valley of the Incas are Pisac, Ollantaytambo and Chicheros. Moray is an important site too.
Pisac is one of the most amazing places in the Sacred Valley. Located 30 minutes away from Cusco, Pisac offers the best market in the Cusco region. But Pisac is also home to beautiful ruins, on top of the hill. In this archaeological complex, you will appreciate the beauty of the Inca architecture and the quality of its hydraulic engineering and agricultural terraces.
Once you’ve passed Urubamba, you will arrive in Ollantaytambo, a lovely little town located at the other end of the Sacred Valley. The town is made up of beautiful cobbled streets full of little cafes and several shops. People say that Ollantaytambo is the best surviving example of Inca city planning; Ollantaytambo is often considered to be “the hidden gem of the Sacred Valley.” Besides the village itself, you can also visit the ruins or fortress. Although the slope is steep, we recommend you climb to the top of the Ollantaytambo fortress, from where you can enjoy incredible views.
Many trains to Aguas Calientes leave from the train station in Ollantaytambo (while others come directly from Cusco). Therefore it is easy to combine a visit to the Sacred Valley of the Incas with any of the Machu Picchu Tours (with or without an overnight in Ollantaytambo).
The village of Chincheros is said to be more authentic than the (bigger) Pisac market. There are also ruins to see in Chicheros as well as a church. Chincheros boasts incredible views across the region with impressive mountains in the skyline, including the snow-capped summit of Salkantay.
Nearby Chincheros, you can find one of the most famous Inca sites after Machu Picchu. The amphitheatre of Moray is an impressive site with its amazing terraces, and circular platforms, which reach a depth of 45 meters, with a platform height of 1.80 meters.
The Sacred Valley of the Incas is a popular place for both cultural and adventure tours. Apart from tours that visit the Inca ruins and the villages, you can take tours like Rafting on the Urubamba river, Mountainbiking in Ollantaytambo, of Quad Biking to Moray.