The Sacred Valley of the Incas

The Sacred Valley of the Incas is an area of ​​the Cusco region full of Andean towns with a long tradition, incredible mountainous landscapes and archaeological sites full of history. The most famous places in the valley are: Pisac, Chinchero, Urubamba and Ollantaytambo. It is possible to visit them on your own or with a 1-day tour. They are also famous: Moray, Maras, Yucay and more. Learn about all the activities that can be done in the valley, adventure sports, hotels, restaurants and more.

Sacred Valley of the Incas
Sacred Valley of the Incas

The sacred valley

The Sacred Valley of the Incas is made up of mountainous landscapes, Andean towns, and archaeological sites, all within a geographic area of ​​special interest to the Incas.

The mountainous landscapes are made up of the imposing snow-capped Verónica, Chicón, Pumahuanca, Sahuasiray and more. Also through lagoons such as the Huaypo and the Piuray. It should be noted that a large part of the valley is crossed by the Vilcanota River. Almost all of its passage is made up of wide fields of corn, potatoes and more.

The Andean peoples who settled in the valley are many. The most touristic are: Pisac, Chinchero, Urubamba, Ollantaytambo and Maras. These towns still show a type of clothing and cultural heritage from the colonial era and the same Inca era. The inhabitants of the valley preserve the Quechua language, heritage of the Incas.

The Incas built temples, cities, roads and hundreds of terraces throughout the valley. Today the most visited archaeological sites are those located in the towns of Pisac, Ollantaytambo and Chinchero. It is also worth noting the circular platforms of Moray.

Its main tourist attractions

The Sacred Valley of the Incas has some of the most famous tourist attractions in all of Cusco. The classic 1-day tour includes a visit to: Pisac, Urubamba, Ollantaytambo and Chinchero. There are also half-day tours that include a visit to the Salineras de Maras and the Inca platforms of Moray.

  • Pisac – This town is located 34 kilometers by road from the city of Cusco. It is at 2,972 meters above sea level. The town is on the banks of the Vilcanota River. Its main tourist attractions are its historic and colorful craft market, the colonial temple of San Pedro Apóstol and the Inca city of Pisac located in the upper part of town. This site was a great Inca citadel where temples, enclosures, roads, terraces and more were built.
  • Chinchero – This town is located 30 kilometers by road from the city of Cusco. It is at 3,754 meters above sea level. It is surrounded by the Huaypo and Piuray lagoons. Its main tourist attractions are the textile centers of the place, the colonial church Nuestra Señora de Monserrat and the archaeological site of Chinchero (former palace of the emperor Túpac Yupanqui). It is famous for the typical red and black clothing of its women.
  • Urubamba – This town is located 53 kilometers by road from the city of Cusco. It is located at 2,871 meters above sea level. The Vilcanota River runs along the banks of the town. At the top, the snowy Chicón and Pumahuanca stand out. Its main attractions are the colonial Temple of San Pedro Apóstol as well as the dozens of restaurants and tourist hotels that are there.
  • Ollantaytambo – This town is located 72 kilometers by road from the city of Cusco. It is located at 2,792 meters above sea level. The town is bounded by the Vilcanota River. At the top you can see the snow-capped Verónica and Halancoma. Its main tourist attractions are the Temple of San Pedro Apóstol, its historic streets designed in the Inca era as well as its famous archaeological site, an Inca temple and fortress that resisted the wars between the Incas and the Spanish in 1537.
  • The salt mines of Maras – This tourist attraction is located 51 kilometers by road from the city of Cusco. It is about 3 thousand meters above sea level. It is a set of more than 3 thousand salt pools formed naturally millions of years ago. Said salt was used by the Incas and by the current local inhabitants. The set of its salt pools form a unique landscape. Admission costs 10 Peruvian soles.
  • The platforms of Moray – This tourist attraction is located 47 kilometers by road from the city of Cusco. It is about 3,500 meters above sea level. It is a set of up to five circular platforms of large and small sizes that were built by the Incas as an experimental agricultural center. The largest platforms resemble large amphitheaters. The entrance is included in the Cusco Tourist Ticket. The cost is 70 Peruvian soles and includes Ollantaytambo, Pisac and Chinchero.
  • Yucay – This town is located 55 kilometers from the city of Cusco. Its altitude reaches 2,857 meters above sea level Due to its beautiful geography and good climate, in the Inca era it was considered an ideal place to live. Its main tourist attractions are the Colonial Temple of Santiago Apóstol, the Saywa area and the Sayri Túpac Palace. In the place there are also some hotels and restaurants of good level.

Sports activities in the Sacred Valley

The Sacred Valley is made up of a mountainous geography of great beauty where it is possible to practice different types of adventure sports. Most of these must be done with a tourism agency. The only sport that can be done on your own is hiking.

  • Hiking – There are several hiking trails that start in the Sacred Valley and end in nothing less than Machu Picchu. Some of the most famous routes are: the Inca Trail, the Lares trek, the Huchuy Qosqo trek or the Inca Jungle. It is also possible to make short free routes for everyone, such as the Inca trail that connects Chinchero with Urquillos.
  • Cycling – This sport can be practiced in different areas of the Sacred Valley of the Incas, although the favorite place for visitors is Abra Málaga, located in the most high in the valley, at 4,200 meters above sea level. From there you have a spectacular view of the jungle of Cusco.
  • Rafting – The Vilcanota River has rapids of different levels that are ideal for rafting. This river runs through towns like Pisac, Urubamba and Ollantaytambo. This sport must be practiced in the company of a tourism agency. Includes: canoe, safety equipment, specialized professional guide, transportation, lunch and more.
  • Paragliding – In the high mountains of the town of Chinchero (on the Sacro hill) you can practice this extreme sport. To practice it safely, you must hire a Cusco tourism agency, either online or in the same place. From the top you can appreciate the incredible landscapes of the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
  • Canopy – This sport (also called Tyrolese) is practiced in the high mountains near the town of Maras. There are dizzying descents of different levels and speeds. It is essential to do this sport with a safe lockjaw agency that includes professional equipment.
  • Mountain climbing – This sport can be practiced in different parts of Cusco, even in the vicinity of the Sacsayhuaman fortress. In the Sacred Valley it is practiced in the Yanahuara sector, between the towns of Urubamba and Ollantaytambo. Tourism agencies include all security implements.
  • ATV – The ATV tour through Maras and Moray is one of the adventure sports preferred by tourists in the Sacred Valley. Tourism agencies provide all the necessary equipment, including modern ATVs and professional guides.

Hotels in the Sacred Valley

The city of Cusco was the capital of the vast empire of the Incas, which encompassed part of the current territories of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, Chile and Argentina.

  • Hotel Tambo del Inka (5 star service in Urubamba).
  • Hotel Casa Andina (5 star service in Urubamba).
  • Hotel Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba (5 star service in Urubamba).
  • Sacred River, to Belmond Hotel Sacred Valley (5 star service in Urubamba).
  • Aranwa Sacred Valley Hotel & Wellness (4 star service in Urubamba).
  • Hotel Lodge Wayqey (4 star service in Urubamba).
  • Hotel Sonesta Posadas del Inca Yucay (3 star service in Yucay).
  • Tierra Viva Valle Sagrado Hotel (3 star service in Urubamba).
  • Sacred Dreams Lodge Hotel (3 star service in Urubamba).
  • Hotel Agustos Urubamba (3 star service in Urubamba).

Restaurants in the Sacred Valley

The city of Cusco was the capital of the vast empire of the Incas, which encompassed part of the current territories of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, Chile and Argentina.

  • Restaurant Kampu (Peruvian and international food restaurant in Urubamba).
  • Restaurant Tunupa (Peruvian, international and buffet restaurant in Urubamba).
  • Restaurant Chuspa (Peruvian food and pizza restaurant in Ollantaytambo).
  • Sunshine Café (coffee shop in Ollantaytambo).
  • Cuchara de Palo Restaurant (Peruvian food restaurant in Pisac).
  • AMA Restaurante (Peruvian and vegetarian restaurant in Urubamba).

The climate in the Sacred Valle

There are several enigmas related to the Temple of the Sun. First of all, there is a debate about the type of religious ceremonies that were performed there.

  • Climate in Pisac – 24ºC. maximum and 2ºC. As minimum. 20ºC. on average in the day.
  • Climate in Chinchero – 21ºC. maximum and -2ºC. As minimum. 16ºC. on average in the day.
  • Climate in Urubamba – 24ºC. maximum and 4ºC. As minimum. 20ºC. on average in the day.
  • Climate in Ollantaytambo – 24ºC. maximum and 3ºC. As minimum. 20ºC. on average in the day.
  • Climate in Maras – 20ºC. maximum and 0ºC. As minimum. 16ºC. on average in the day.
  • Climate in Moray – 20ºC. maximum and 0ºC. As minimum. 15ºC. on average in the day.
  • Climate in Yucay – 24ºC. maximum and 4ºC. As minimum. 20ºC on average during the day.

More information

The classic 1-day tour to the Sacred Valley includes a visit to Pisac, Urubamba, Ollantaytambo and Chinchero. It offers transportation, tickets, professional guide and lunch. The tour lasts 14 hours and costs approximately $60 per person. The services can be contracted with a travel agency, either online or in the city of Cusco itself.

The half-day tour of Maras and Moray includes a visit to the Salineras, the circular platforms of Moray and the town of Maras. It offers transportation and tickets and a professional guide. There are also adventurous versions of this bike or ATV tour. The price of the tour is approximately 30 dollars per person.

Enjoy the trip to Machu Picchu with the best services

Choose one of the 4 types of tickets

The entrance to Machu Picchu offers discounts for university students, those under 18 years of age and citizens of Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Bolivia. Children under 3 years enter free! Get your entry to 'mapi' here.

We take you wherever you want in Cusco

The private transportation service takes you to any tourist destination in Cusco. Travel with total security in a private service for you, your partner, your friends or family. Includes pick up service from the airport or transfer to Machu Picchu train station, book here!

An unforgettable train trip to Machu Picchu

In total there are four tourist train services to Machu Picchu: Expedition, Vistadome, Vistadome Observatory and the Hiram Bingham luxury train. They all belong to the prestigious Peru Rail company. Buy the tickets here! Take advantage of the discounts!

Get on the final bus to Machu Picchu

The train trip will leave you in the town of Aguas Calientes, 10 kilometers from Machu Picchu. For this last section you must get the bus to Machu Picchu, a comfortable service that takes care of the environment of the wonder of the world. Buy your bus ticket here!

Tour Machu Picchu with a professional guide

In Machu Picchu the tour guide service is not mandatory. However, most tourists decide to go accompanied by a guide. This way they will be able to fully understand the history and importance of the wonder of the Incas.

Machupicchu all inclusive 1 day

If you do not want to buy each ticket to Machu Picchu separately, it is best to hire an all-inclusive tour. Includes: transfer to the station, train ticket, tour guide, entrance fee and lunch option at the best ‘mapi’ restaurant. Book the tour here!