Visiting the Sacred Valley
Cusco and the Sacred Valley are some of the most visited places in Peru and are genuinely ‘must-see’ stops when visiting the country.
The sacred Valley is a beautiful and truly fascinating area, surrounded by mountains, Inca citadels, weaving villages and colourful markets, located only about 40 miles north of Cuzco (about 1.5 hours by car).
There are a number of adventurous activities you can experience in this area as well a list of unique places you wouldn’t want to miss while exploring it.
We recommend spending at least 2 days here so that you can fully experience everything it has to offer.
What you shouldn’t miss in the Sacred Valley:
- Pisac ruins and town:
An incredible site with relatively small number of tourists visiting daily. This place has different buildings such as plazas, temples, pools and other structures, that were constructed between the 10th and 11th centuries AD. We highly recommend reserving several hours to explore this site.
The Inca architecture is impressive as they used their techniques to build enormous terraces which go from south to east covering a huge mountain located from 3,000-3,450 masl (9,843 – 11,319 fasl). Its palaces and in particular, the way the stone blocks have been placed is truly incredible.
Ollantaytambo is a village in the Sacred Valley, located about 48 miles away from Cusco city. Best known for the Ollantaytambo ruins, an Inca fortress that has stone terraces on a hillside (which visitors can scale via a stairway) as well as the ceremonial Sun Temple and the Princess Baths fountain.
It’s worth reserving some time to explore the village’s old town which is a mixture of designs of Inca buildings, cobblestoned streets and adobe buildings.
Moray is an archaeological site located approximately 4.5 miles from the town of Maras and 39 miles from Cusco. Its most impressive feature is its system of circular agricultural terraces, which are up to 330 feet deep. Some people believe that the Incas used this place as a kind of laboratory to determine the optimal conditions for growing crops of each species.
- Maras Salt mines:
Maras Salt Mines date back from Inca times and they will definitely impress you with their beauty! We recommended visiting this place if you love photography as it has a truly impressive landscape. The salt mines are composed by thousands of individual salt pools strategically dug into the mountainside, its pools filled with saltwater eventually evaporate and leave behind the crystallised salt, then the members of the local communities carefully take the salt crystals from the surfaces. This process that has been practised for over 500 years!
The small town of Chinchero is located about 18 miles from Cusco city with wonderful views of the Urubamba mountain range. Not many people visit it but it sure has a lot of interesting spots you wouldn’t want to miss such as: great Inca ruins (aqueducts and terraces and Inca stone work), a church built by the Spaniards that dates from the 1600s on top of what used to be the remains of an Inca palace. Its main and most unique attraction is probably the weaving demonstrations. Talented local women dressed in their traditional clothes will explain step-by-step how they produce different colours for the wool they use to make their beautiful textiles as well as how they get them washed with natural products. You can buy a range of their products at the end of their demonstrations.
There is also a market that is held on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. Sundays being the largest and best days. You can mainly find clothes and handicrafts made by local.
We offer private and groups guided tours to all of these sites. Which include hotel pick up, lunch and entry. Alternately, you can purchase a partial ticket for S/.70 (Approx. US$25) per adult which will allow you to enter all of these sites. You can buy this ticket at the Cosituc office in Cusco.
How to get to the Sacred Valley:
You can choose to take a tour from Cusco which would include hotel pick up and transportation to all the sites and stops at the markets and viewpoints. you can also use public transport, taking a ‘colectivo’ from Pavitos street in Cusco to the town of Ollantaytambo. The minivans have a capacity for up to 10 people and leave when they are full.
We highly recommend staying at the Sacred Valley at least one-night and two days so that you can enjoy all of the surroundings and all the beautiful sites it has.
Where to stay in the Sacred Valley:
- Casa Andina Premium Sacred Valley Hotel & Villas:
Casa Andina Premium Sacred Valley Hotel & Villas is nestled in the heart of the Sacred Valley. Near the Urubamba & Ollantaytambo train stations as well as important archaeological sites such as Pisac, Maras, Moray, Chinchero and others. This hotel is also known as Premium Valle Sagrado Hotel and Villas. Casa Andina Sacred Valley Hotel & Villas is perfectly suited for those that want to be surrounded by luxury and nature during their family vacation.
Large, spacious lobby with an inviting central fireplace.
This beautiful hotel has a mixture of 91 rooms and Andean cottages (Villas) – all spacious, comfortable and offering stunning views of the Andes mountains.
Full service ‘Sacred Spa’ with Jacuzzi and a range of treatments available
Alma, the on-site restaurant serves an all-you-can-eat breakfast (which is included with your stay) as well as lunch and dinner using local ingredients for their Andean specialties.
At night, they have live local music which creates such a nice atmosphere whilst having dinner.
Incredibly peaceful & spacious gardens, great for relaxing after treks and excursions. Nice playground – perfect for families with kids.
The hotel has an onsite Planetarium and Observatory. The location in the Sacred Valley is perfect to learn about the constellations in the southern hemisphere. On certain evenings the resident astronomer conducts a short presentation and guests can see various stars using the telescope.
The fee for the Planetarium/Observatory experience ($15 USD/ adult, children were free) The experience is definitely worth it!
Click here if you would like to learn more about the beautiful Casa Andina Premium Sacred Valley Hotel & Villas.
In summary, the Sacred Valley is one of the most beautiful areas in Peru and a place you don’t want to miss. Its many archaeological sites, fascinating history, striking scenery, peaceful environment and local people with their colourful traditions guaranteed to charm!