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Sacred Valley Peru / Very useful information

Sacred Valley Peru:



The Sacred Valley Peru, is a great place to stop for a while and book a night or two at a rustic resort because it is halfway between the very popular places of Cusco and Machu Picchu. During the day, you can kayak or ride a horse, and at night, you can watch a million stars twinkle. The Sacred Valley of the Incas feels very special. Maybe it’s because it’s not as high as Cusco, or because it’s surrounded by big mountains, or because it’s easy to imagine an Inca procession following the Urubamba River.


When you’re not exploring nature, you can learn interesting facts about the Inca and learn about how people lived in the Andes. Spend some time learning about the role that textiles are thought to have played in Andean culture. You could also try a traditional meal cooked in an earth oven or visit one of the many ruins that dot the land of the Incas. With any of these activities, you’ll be able to meet the people (and llamas) of the traditional villages and see a world that is truly magical.


Where is the Incas’ Sacred Valley located?

The Sacred Valley Peru of the Incas is in the Urubamba region of Cusco, Peru. It is located fifteen kilometers northeast of Cusco.

It may be accessible through a paved road from Cusco. A drive via one of the closest cities will take around forty minutes.

From there, you may go to the other valley communities. The location is also accessible via train. This journey concludes in Machu Picchu.


Climate & Weather of the Sacred Valley Peru

The Sacred Valley is in a highland area, so the weather is pretty stable throughout the year. On the top of high mountain peaks like Salkantay, it is cold enough to snow all year. On the valley floor, where towns like Pisac, Urubamba, and Ollantaytambo are, the weather is much milder.


When it’s dry and when it’s the wet season?

From November to March, it rains a lot.


Best Time to Travel to the Sacred Valley Peru

June, July, and August are the most popular times to visit the Sacred Valley. These months also happen to be the dry season. This time of year is often sunny and is summer in the northern hemisphere, which makes it a good time for vacationers. Since there is a lot of demand for services and only a limited number of train and entrance tickets to Machu Picchu, you should plan your trip well in advance to make sure you can go on the date you want.


The rainy season in the area is December, January, February, and March. Due to the fact that rain and storms are hard to predict, flights into and out of Cusco are often late. But there are some good things about traveling during the low wet season. Sites are usually less crowded, and the mountains in the Sacred Valley have a beautiful range of green colors.


History of the Sacred Valley

The history of the Sacred Valley and the history of Cusco, the capital city of the Incas, are closely linked. In the 14th century, the Inca Empire rose to power and spread from ancient Peru to Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, and Colombia. Still, all roads led back to Cusco, the Inca ruler’s home and the capital city. The rich fields of the Sacred Valley were the civilization’s breadbasket because they provided a wide range of fresh cereals, fruits, and vegetables. Skilled Inca stonemasons also built sacred temples and outposts in the valley. These can still be seen at Pisac, Ollantaytambo, and Chinchero, which are now archaeological sites.


Prior to the Inca, the Wari Culture inhabited the Sacred Valley from around 500 to 1100 A.D. Manco Capac became the first Inca ruler about the 12th century when the Inca began to colonize the valley. 1531 marked the beginning of the Spanish Conquest of the Valley when Francisco Pizarro landed with 168 troops. Manco Inca assembled a rebel band to overthrow Spanish authority in 1535 and led the Incas to their greatest military victory against the invading Spaniards at Ollantaytambo.


Sacred Valley of the Incas in the past.

Despite a number of triumphs, the final Inca ruler, Tupac Amaru I, was kidnapped at Vilcabamba in 1572 and sent to Cusco. Amaru was decapitated in the city’s main square in front of tens of thousands of people under the instructions of Viceroy Francisco Toledo. During the 16th to 18th centuries, Cusco became the commercial hub of the southern Andes and the frontline for the religious evangelism and acculturation of native inhabitants. During this period, a large number of churches are built in the Sacred Valley.



Hiram Bingham, a historian, and professor at Yale, arrived in Machu Picchu in 1911. National Geographic documents Bingham’s trip and draws global attention to this isolated Peruvian Andean area. In 1999, PeruRail began providing rail service to Machu Picchu for visitors. Potato Park, also known as Parque de la Papa, was established in 2004 to safeguard hundreds of endemic potato species and agrobiodiversity in the Sacred Valley. Today, tourism in the Sacred Valley is on the rise, but efforts are underway to conserve old Quechua customs through local groups and initiatives.

Things to Do:

Go to an archaeological site

There are a lot of important archaeological sites and beautiful natural landscapes in the Sacred Valley. A classic tour of the Sacred Valley takes you to the Pisac Archaeological Park and the Ollantaytambo Fortress, which are two of the most interesting ruins in the area. The Pisac ruins are made up of baths used for ceremonies, living areas, and the largest Inca cemetery. They are beautiful because they are built on top of a mountain and look out over a village and the long terraces where the Inca grew their crops. Another amazing place to visit is the Ollantaytambo Fortress. It is one of the best examples of Inca architecture and town planning, and it is also where the Spanish beat the Incas the most. Below, you can learn more about Ollantaytambo and Pisac.


Moray ruins are in the Sacred Valley.

In the Sacred Valley, the Maras Salt Pans and the concentric terraces of Moray are two examples of the Incans’ creativity that don’t get as much attention. Even though the sites are for different things, they are close to each other in a remote area where there is no public transportation. Because of this, tours of the Sacred Valley often visit both Maras and Moray at the same time. Scholars think that the Moray terraces were used by the Inca as a complex agricultural lab. Each terrace had its own microclimate. The Wari people started the salt pans on the mountainside at Maras, and the Inca built on them. Today, local people own and run the salt pans. You can drive, walk, ride a bike, or even ride a horse to get to this place. Talk to your travel agent about your options.


Moray Archaeological Centre

Trips on the water

In the Sacred Valley, white water rafting is a thrilling adventure. On a one-day trip, you’ll be picked up at your hotel and driven to the place along the river where the trip will begin. At first, the river is calm, but as the trip goes on, it gets rougher. After about two hours on the river, you’ll have lunch and then be driven back to your hotel. Different parts of the Urubamba River, both high up and low down, are used for rafting trips. In these parts of the river, the rapids range from easy to class II and III plus.


Standing up on a paddleboard

Stand-up paddle boarding is a fun way to get exercise and play on the water. Enjoy a half-day stand-up paddle tour in the Sacred Valley to calm Lake Piuray near the town of Chinchero, which is about an hour’s drive from Cusco. It’s a fun water sport for people of all ages and skill levels. To get you started, your guide will show you how to paddle and make sure you have the right gear. Then go paddling and exploring along the lake’s edges while taking in the natural beauty around you. Photos and videos are part of the tour!



Mountaineering and Zip Lining

In the Sacred Valley, midway between Urubamba and Ollantaytambo, you may take a full-day excursion to explore a number of professionally operated zip lines. Via Ferrata is a network of steel ladders and cables used to ascend a steep rock face. You reach several zip lines varying in length from 300 to 1,500 feet (100 to 500 meters) at the peak. The Via Ferrata involves considerable physical exertion, therefore participants must be in good physical shape and have had time to acclimate to the altitude.


ATV Tours

Want more adventure? Full-day ATV/quad or motorbike tours will get your adrenaline flowing. While riding off-road in the Sacred Valley, your guide and you will halt at significant locations. Don’t forget your sunglasses, sunscreen, and jacket for the journey! Contact our travel specialists for advice on the perfect automobile tour for you and your buddies.

tours en cuatrimotos Maras Moray


The four-day traditional Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is the most popular trek in Peru. But trekking in the Sacred Valley need not be a multi-day excursion. Day hikes in the region are excellent choices for time-crunched tourists. There are day walks that go to the remains of Pisac, Ollantaytambo, and Huchuy Qosqo. There are also walks to Lake Humantay and Rainbow Mountain, two natural wonders.


Visiting Andean Artisans

Sign up for a session in wood carving, basket weaving, or ceramics guided by local craftsmen. It is a rare opportunity to meet the residents of the Sacred Valley and learn about significant regional customs. Awamaki is one of the nonprofit social enterprises in the Sacred Valley that positively impacts the local community. Awamaki’s assortment of programs connects tourists to community-based initiatives that empower and put money back into the coffers of residents.


Llama Trek

Why not make your walk through the Sacred Valley even more adorable? This three to four-hour journey reveals the importance of llamas to daily life in the Andes and what the Llama Pack Project is doing to assist local people to flourish. Beginning on a route 15 minutes from the charming village of Urubamba, amble upward to locate a grazing area for the llamas. Picnic beside a breathtaking mountain background, and then begin the descent. This one-mile walking tour is an excellent option for families.



Pachamanca means “earth cooking pot” in Quechua and is the essence of traditional Andean cuisine. This gourmet tour gives you a front-row seat to the preparation of this unusual cuisine, which consists of a variety of vegetables, beef, and potatoes wrapped in banana leaves and buried underground to be cooked over hot stones to perfection. Enjoy your Pachamanca feast afterward. This is the most exceptional and unique gastronomic experience you can have in the Andes.


Pachamama Ceremony

Participate in a Pachamama Ceremony, also known as an “Offering to Mother Earth.” Pachamama, or Mother Earth, is one of the most respected and venerated deities among the Andean people. During this ritual, a shaman from a nearby community prepares a “despacho” cloth with numerous offerings for the soil goddess, the most important of which are the sacred coca leaves. In addition to making offerings, participants sit in a semicircle around the “altar” and express gratitude for the year’s bounty. This ritual exemplifies the ancient Andean concept of “ayni,” or restoring equilibrium via reciprocity with mother earth.


Sacred Valley Towns




Pisac is famous for its market and ruins. The route between Cusco and Pisac traverses a mountain pass and descends into the Sacred Valley. Popular market days in Pisac need a visit to the city. On Sundays and Thursdays, people of the highland settlements sell Andean handicrafts and locally grown produce in the central square. Keep a look out for handcrafted fabrics with natural colors and unique handicraft items. Local merchants catering to tourists sell colorful alpaca wool jumpers and caps, silver and gem-encrusted jewelry, and ceramics.


Even if you are not in town on market day, the handmade stores around the San Pedro Church on the plaza remain open daily. Pisac souvenir costs tend to be slightly more than Cusco souvenir pricing. It is standard practice to negotiate the price of a few Soles with shopkeepers.


Pisac, an Inca archaeological site sitting high above the city, is definitely worth a visit. To reach there, you must either take a short cab trip or a strenuous 90-minute hike over the Inca terraces above Pisac. Along a thin mountain slope, numerous agricultural, military, religious, and urban communities are constructed and connected by stone stairs and small dirt paths. Watchtowers and water basins created by the Inca complement the site’s exquisite stonework. It is thought that the hand-carved structure in the center of the Temple of the Sun, or Intihuatana, was an important religious or astronomical instrument utilized by the Inca; its angles indicate the changing seasons.



Ollantaytambo is a little town with tremendously impressive attractions. As the first passengers arrive shortly after midday, the town becomes a bustling center. After viewing the Inca Fortress, you may peruse the gift stores or relax at a local cafe while admiring the surrounding Andean landscape. Ollantaytambo offers a number of distinctive and interesting activities.

Sacred Valley Machu Picchu


It has a well-preserved ancient site of Ollantaytambo situated on a narrow hillside. The spectacular main structure is accessed by stone stairs leading up a terraced slope. Also, vistas from the summit are a photographer’s dream!


Cliffs overlooking the valleys of Ollantaytambo, a settlement in the holy valley that is home to a renowned Inca fortification, are located in the Sacred Valley.


Ollantaytambo’s train station is a significant transfer point for those riding the train to Machu Picchu. Given that there is no direct route leading to the famed citadel, Ollantaytambo is essentially the end of the road in the Sacred Valley.



Although Urubamba lacks historic hillside ruins, the boutique and opulent resort hotels located just outside the city attract many tourists. Staying overnight in the Urubamba Valley is the ideal opportunity to absorb the Sacred Valley’s magnificence at a more leisurely pace. Indulge in superior services, spa amenities, and infinite Andean views from the comfort of your hotel suite.


For a taste of Urubamba’s burgeoning culinary scene, dine at the highly regarded restaurants Q’anela or Paca Paca. Alma, the hotel’s on-site restaurant in the Sacred Valley, is highly recommended.


Due to its location on the sole road linking Sacred Valley’s major transit lines, Urubamba is frequented by a large number of people. In fact, many Sacred Valley trips include a lunch break in town. If you have more time, stroll to the town square and then two blocks to the indoor Urubamba Market.



Life in Chinchero is often characterized by a leisurely tempo. On Sunday, though, the town bustles with activity at its famed local market. Vendors sell locally grown fruit, and artisan products, including handmade blankets, ponchos, belts, and carpets, in particular. Andean weaving has been done for generations in the Sacred Valley, but no community celebrates this age-old custom more than Chinchero.


6 days Machu Picchu


Chinchero’s main plaza and Inca ruins are only accessible with a valid entrance ticket. Inca stone constructions and agricultural terraces descend the mountainside on one side of the plaza. On a clear day, you may see the renowned Inca mountain Apu Salkantay in the distance. The ceilings and walls of a white 16th-century church constructed on the stone foundation of an Incan edifice are high and finely painted.


Chinchero is far less visited than Pisac and Ollantaytambo. However, it appears that this may soon change. To accommodate the expanding number of visitors to Machu Picchu, a new airport is being built in the Sacred Valley in Chinchero.


Travel Planning Suggestions

Traveling to the Cusco and Sacred Valley region during the peak season (June, July, and August) demands months of preparation in advance due to the rapid filling of services. If you visit Machu Picchu, trip logistics include flights, hotel bookings, excursions, train tickets, and admission tickets. Permits to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu may occasionally sell out four months in advance. Each February, the Inca Trail is closed for repair.


Packing List


Altitude Sickness

When people go to the Sacred Valley, altitude sickness is a big problem. Most tourists will only have mild symptoms like shortness of breath, headaches, and feeling sick because of the altitude. During the first few days of getting used to the altitude, take it easy and don’t do too much. Since the towns in the Sacred Valley are lower than Cusco, some people choose to spend their first few nights there to avoid getting sick from the high altitude.


Getting around in the Sacred Valley

Most trips to Sacred Valley Peru include pick-up and drop-off at a hotel. For traveling by yourself, you can take the local bus, which is the cheapest option, or rent a taxi (more convenient and time efficient). The railway also goes from Cusco (on the Poroy Train) to Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley and then to Aguas Calientes, which is the town at the base of Machu Picchu.


Money in the Sacred Valley Peru


Soles are the local currency. They are used to pay for taxi rides, small purchases, and tips for guides and porters, 10 USD is about the same as 33 S/.

In the Sacred Valley, it’s best to bring small bills and coins because market vendors and small shops may not have enough change for larger amounts.

Smaller towns in Sacred Valley Peru are more likely to have bad exchange rates than Cusco. There are ATMs that give out both US dollars and the local currency in Pisac, Urubamba, and Ollantaytambo.Baggage Limits on the Train to Machu Picchu


If you’re traveling the train to Machu Picchu or undertaking a multi-day walk, it’s probable that you’ll need to stow your heavy luggage (i.e., non-essential goods) during this portion of your journey. Each passenger is permitted one bag or backpack weighing up to 5 kilograms (11 pounds) (5kg). Thankfully, all of the hotels that we suggest in the Sacred Valley and Cusco offer complimentary luggage storage for its clients.


Does the Sacred Valley warrant a visit?

Definitely. The Sacred Valley of Peru must be traversed to reach Machu Picchu from Cusco, therefore it is certainly worthwhile to explore since you will already be there. In the Sacred Valley, such as Ollantaytambo and Pisac, there are some amazing ruins. There are several exciting adventure activities, such as ziplining, rafting, and hiking. Additionally, cultural activities, such as cooking workshops and Pachamama rituals. In the valley are some of the nicest locations in Peru. Even if only to rest, appreciate the scenery, and adapt at a hotel in the Sacred Valley, it is worthwhile to come.


Why is the Sacred Valley famous?

This verdant valley is renowned for its breathtaking mountain vistas and raging rivers. There are Inca and even older ruins scattered around the valley. Tourists frequently visit this area to view the ruins, stay in luxury Sacred Valley Peru hotels, or partake in a walk, rafting excursion, ziplining adventure, or cultural experience.


How long should I stay in the Sacred Valley?

We suggest spending one or two full days in Sacred Valley Peru. While one full day is sufficient for regular sightseeing, most people, especially nature enthusiasts, wish they had more time to simply rest and appreciate their hotel’s surroundings. For city dwellers, a one-day trip to the valley is sufficient.


What does a full-day tour to the Sacred Valley include?

A typical Sacred Valley Peru trip begins with a morning visit to Pisac and the opportunity to explore the town’s market with your guide. Then, continue to Urubamba for lunch (not included) before continuing through the Sacred Valley to Ollantaytambo and its spectacular Inca Fortress on a hilltop. Many tours of the Sacred Valley begin and end in Cusco, although transportation to and from your lodging in the Sacred Valley may be arranged. There are both group and private Sacred Valley trips available. The advantage of a private trip is that your guide will bring you through sights at your own speed and based on your own interests.


What is a ticket for tourists? What Sacred Valley locations may I use it for?

A tourist ticket, or boleto Turistico as it is known in Spanish, is an official paper document that grants entrance to a range of museums and Inca monuments in Cusco and the Sacred Valley. The popular Full Ticket is available for ten days and grants admission to sixteen locations, including the ancient remains in Pisac, Ollantaytambo, Moray, and Chinchero in the Sacred Valley. Note that the Maras Salt Mines and Machu Picchu are not included with a visitor ticket.


How far from Cusco is the Sacred Valley?

It depends on your destination in the Sacred Valley.


How do I get to Machu Picchu from the Sacred Valley?

The train to Machu Picchu leaves from Cusco (Poroy Station), stops at Ollantaytambo station in the Sacred Valley, and then goes on to Machu Picchu. From Ollantaytambo, it takes about two hours to get to Machu Picchu by train. Another station in Urubamba is an exclusive stop at the Belmond Hotel Rio Sagrado. This station is also run by PeruRail.


How much should I give my guides and porters as a tip?

Tips are a great way to show your guide how much you appreciate them (and porters if you do the Inca Trail). For a half-day tour, you should tip between 20 and 80 soles per person, and for a full-day tour, you should tip between 20 and 60 soles per person. The tip ranges show a total amount that changes depending on how many people are on your trip and can be split evenly among everyone. How much of a tip you leave is completely up to you.


Your trekking guide, porters, and camp staff all need the same amount of tips. We think that each trekker should tip between 20 and 60 soles per day of the walk. Again, it’s up to you to decide how much to tip. On the last night of a trip, hikers usually get together their tips and give them to the guide. The money will then be split among the other trekkers by your guide.


What is severe altitude sickness? What can I do to stop this from happening?

Altitude sickness happens when you move quickly up or down in altitude without enough time to get used to the change. Most tourists have problems that aren’t too bad because of the altitude. Besides shortness of breath, other common symptoms are headaches, feeling sick, and not wanting to eat.


To lessen or prevent symptoms:


During the first few days at a high altitude, you should try to avoid doing too much.

Eat small meals and drink a lot of water.

Coca-tea has long been used to treat mild symptoms of altitude sickness.

Some hotels will bring extra oxygen straight to your room to help you fall asleep.

Please talk to your doctor before your trip to find out what over-the-counter or prescription medicines he or she thinks you should take.