encounter the sacred valley

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Nestled deep within the Peruvian Andes, the Sacred Valley of the Incas is the ancient name of the Vilcanota-Urubamba River Valley. Located about 9.3 miles (15km) north of Cusco, the valley extends to the northwest, through Pisac and Ollantaytambo.

This region was once the heart of Inca civilization during the 15th and 16th centuries and today is home to many of its ruins.

The agreeable climate and fertile plains of the Sacred Valley are a rare and fruitful combination for the high Andes. These lush agricultural lands that once nourished the Inca Empire continue to this day to supply nearby towns and cities such as Cusco, with much of their natural produce.

Apu mountain spirits of the sacred valley

Many travelers traveling to Peru do not stop to take their time to immerse themselves in the beauty of the Sacred Valley as they pass by or through it to visit the main highlight of Machu Picchu. However, spending time to explore the small Inca towns and impressive archaeological sites of the Sacred Valley will give you a unique insight into both the modern day and historical life in Peru. Highlights of the region include the markets and the lofty Inca archaeological sites of Pisac, Ollantaytambo and Chinchero as well as the Maras salt pans and the agricultural terraces of Moray.

This beautiful part of Peru is also one of the best areas for a wide range of adventure activities including trekking, horseback riding, whitewater rafting and mountain biking among many others. The Sacred Valley is also filled with century old and brightly colored festivals, celebrations and indigenous practices that makes it a highlight of Peru that is waiting to be explored even further.

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WHAT NOT TO MISS IN the sacred valley


Pisac is a picturesque town situated at the Sacred Valley entrance, about 28 km from Cusco, and is home to several exciting highlights and adventures. The Sacred Valley is one gateway to Machu Picchu, which can take you by train or the Inca Trail, while visiting some of the small towns and sites along the way. The Pisaq arts and crafts market offer textiles and ceramic goods, plates, jewelry, and replicas of pre-Hispanic pottery; nearby is the Pisac archaeological complex.

Visiting a Weaving Cooperative

Surrounded by the stunning views of the Sacred Valley and its snow-capped peaks, these small villages, usually high up in the Andes, are impressive examples of how tourism is empowering the local Quechuan women one thread at a time. The Inca valued weaving. Today, their descendants have continued the traditions, with each village having its own designs and patterns have been handed down from generation to generation for centuries.


The town of Ollantaytambo has been built atop original Inca foundations, and considered the best surviving example today of Inca urban planning. The older part of the town is still divided into blocks called canchas, and remains almost entirely intact. The entire town is walkable, lovely to explore for a few hours or an evening before taking the train onward to Machu Picchu. A great little place to get lost for the afternoon and just wander.

Rainbow Mountain

The rainbow mountain has quickly become one of Cusco’s most visited places, and we’ve found ways to explore the sites from alternative routes. This picturesque section of the Sacred Valley was only discovered a few years ago when the glaciers melted; it is quite the lengthy tour if traveling to/from in one day, from Cusco. However, there we have alternatives that make the trip much more enjoyable if time permits.

Maras Salt Mines

Salt has been harvested at the Maras salt ponds since pre-Inca times with local families managing the ponds and their intricate watering system that trickles down from an underground stream. This is a fascinating place, with white ponds tucked away into the side of a mountain in stark contrast to the deep blue sky. Take some time before/after to visit the small town of Maras, as well as an aerial of the mines from above.

Moray Archaeological Site

destination map

Title Address Description
Machu Picchu
08680, PerúMachu Picchu, the lost city of the Incas, is quite possibly the reason you chose to travel to Peru in the first place! It was recently voted one of the new Seven Wonders of the World and we guarantee that this magical spot will not disappoint you. Read more…
Cusco, PerúCusco is the jump off point for a trip into the surrounding Sacred Valley to the less visited ruins and brightly painted churches of the southern valley en route to Puno or to crop circles and Inca salt pans…and of course to the World Wonder of Machu Picchu! Read more…
Sacred Valley
Valle Sagrado, 08670, PerúNestled deep within the Peruvian Andes, the Sacred Valley is home to charming Inca towns, impressive archaeological sites, and traditional local markets. It is also one of the best areas in Peru for a wide range of adventure activities while en route to Machu Picchu. Read more…
Lima, Perú

Known as the ‘City of Kings’, Lima is a city of contrasts. A mix of the old world and the new; modernity and tradition…Lima is a chaotic yet fascinating capital city. As well as being Peru’s capital, it is also the capital of gastronomy for all of the Americas! Read more…

Lake Titicaca / Puno

Legend has it that the children of the sun god, Manco Capac, and his sister, Mama Ocllo, rose from the depths of Lake Titicaca to build the Inca Empire. Explore the floating Uros Islands made from totora reeds and, discover the region’s authentic folklore. Read more…

Arequipa & Colca Canyon
Chivay, Perú

Legend has it that the children of the sun god, Manco Capac, and his sister, Mama Ocllo, rose from the depths of Lake Titicaca to build the Inca Empire. Explore the floating Uros Islands made from totora reeds and, discover the region’s authentic folklore. Read more…

Peruvian Amazon
Selva Amazonica, Perú

Early morning bird watching, late night jungle walking, fishing for piranhas, or a visit to the world’s largest macaw’s clay lick where hundreds of birds meet to feed – a truly colorful sight! There’s nothing like the wildlife that thrives in the Peruvian Amazon! Read more…

Ica, Paracas, Nazca
Ica, Perú

Situated on Peru’s arid desert coastline, this region boasts an interesting mix of ancient local culture, spectacular natural beauty and adventure sports. Ica, Paracas, and Nazca makes a great stop off or break point on a coastal ride towards Arequipa. Read more…

Trujillo & Chiclayo
Trujillo, Perú
Chachapoyas, Perú
Huaraz, Perú

Surrounded by jagged snowy peaks, glaciers and turquoise blue lakes, Huaraz is a real mountain adventure destination, not to mention home to ancient cultures and charming little villages. Read more…

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Best times to
visit the sacred valley

The Sacred Valley can be visited all year round; however the best time is between May and October. Its altitude gives it sun during the day and cold temperatures at night. Rainy season is between November and March. The driest time of the year is between June and August, but this is also peak tourist season as it coincides with summer holidays in the northern hemisphere.

practical information


Cusco is the nearest airport to the Sacred Valley and there are flights to the airport from Lima, Puno, Arequipa, Puerto Maldonado, and La Paz (although flights from Bolivia only run twice a week). There are over 15 flights from Lima to Cusco a day. Flights are safe although one should be cautious of the sudden altitude change which can bring about brief periods of altitude sickness.

Travelers can reach the Sacred Valley by frequent buses that run from Cusco. Alternatively, you can get a taxi from Cusco or organize a transfer (shared or private) to your accommodation in the Sacred Valley.


Paved roads and plenty of transport make the Sacred Valley a relatively straightforward place to explore. You can also explore the Sacred Valley on foot, by bike or on horseback.


There are a number of fabulous accommodations options available in the Sacred Valley. Surrounded by the lush landscapes of this region, starting your visit to the Peruvian Andes in the Sacred Valley has a number of advantages over beginning your stay in Cusco. Staying in the Sacred Valley which is at a lower altitude to Cusco will give you time to acclimatize to the high altitude and lessen the chance of altitude sickness. As the Sacred Valley is near to Cusco, you’re never too far away from the Cusco’s lively atmosphere.

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