Machu Picchu may be one of Peru’s most incredible destinations, but you should definitely plan some time to explore the Sacred Valley. Today you can find many the to Sacred Valley tour, from very inexpensive to private tours.
During a the Sacred Valley tour you can enjoy the Andean mountains, archeological sites and the Urubamba River.
The Sacred Valley once formed the epicenter of the Inca Empire. From heartbreaking mountain peaks and rural villages to itinerant llamas and alpacas, here is everything you need to know to visit the legendary Sacred Valley of the Incas.
Cusco is the starting point for the Sacred Valley tour.
Cusco is only 1 hour and 40 minutes flight from Lima, the capital of Peru.
Once in the imperial city (cusco), most of the attractions in the Sacred Valley are an hour’s drive away.
It is possible to book all types of tours, hikes and guided adventures online, as well as at tourist agencies and offices throughout Cusco. You can also rent or buy any camping equipment or hiking equipment you may need.
Remember to stop and enjoy the city while you’re on your way: the Plaza de Armas, shown below, is charming.
The altitude of the sacred valley above sea level.
Cusco located at 11,152 fsl, may have trouble adapting to the altitude, but at least the rest of the Sacred Valley, including the cities of Pisac and Urubamba, has a lower altitude of 9,514 feet.
If you are concerned about altitude sickness, it may be best to spend the night in the Valley first while exploring some of the sites, and once you have adapted, head to the highest city of Cusco.
Explore the Inca archeological centers of the sacred valley.
The large rock terraces that form Ollantaytambo are a must-see. Perfectly combined with a trip to Machu Picchu, you can stop here to explore, then board a train to Aguas Calientes, the gateway city to the world’s most popular Inca ruins.
The archaeological center of Ollantaytambo is very well preserved, and having a guide explain the history and other curiosities about the area further enriches the experience.
The most important points to visit in Ollantaytambo are:
- the temple of the sun.
- baths of the ñusta.
- the square mañay raqay.
- niche enclosure.
Pisac is another place not to be missed, with its wide agricultural terraces and steep mountains, there is even an ancient cemetery where 3,000 Incas are said to be buried within the stone cracks of the mountains.
The complex has several levels and sections that include areas with houses, a temple, courtyards and tunnels. However, be sure to climb up here, because there is a long walk from the village of Pisac, below.
The most important points to visit in Pisac are:
- amaru punku (Gate of the Serpents).
- the Inca cemetery.
- the inca bridge.
- inti huatana.
- city of towers.
many times during to sacred valley tour, archaeological centers such as qenqo, sacsayhuaman, puca pucara and tambo machay are integrated, depending on the visitor.
generally the archaeological centers, sacsayhuaman and qenqo is offered in some city tour, but as already said, “it depends on the visitor to request a tour that goes according to their tastes.
Q’enqo consist of a unique stone labyrinth, once used for sacrifices and other important Inca rituals.
Another place worth visiting, Sacsayhuaman, is on the outskirts of Cusco: the stone formations here are impeccably preserved.
Once in the fortress of sacsayhuaman walk the huge rock walls, contemplate the fantastic views of the city and beyond from the nearby Cristo Blanco, the Peruvian version of the statue of Christ the Redeemer.