The Sacred Valley in Peru should be on your list of Peruvian destinations to visit. The Valley is located in the high Andes and is recognized as one of the most beautiful places on the planet. The fertile valley that was once inhabited by the Incas is today home to several typical Andean villages, where you can see the locals going about their daily lives. The different natural landscapes and magical sunsets will leave you speechless.
However, there is not only natural beauty to see in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. There are many things to do in the Sacred Valley to keep you busy for a few days on your Peruvian adventure. Therefore, together with the travel experts of Machu Travel Peru, we have prepared a small article. So you can know all the things to do in Sacred Valley. Join us to learn about some important activities within the region.
Some of the most important things to do in Sacred Valley
- Starting in Pisac
- Continuing to Ollantaytambo
- Exploring Moray
- Getting to know Maras Salt Mines
- Investigating Chinchero
- Relax in Tambomachay
- Enjoy the adventure activities
- Lodging in Heaven
STARTING IN PISAC
Visiting Pisac is one of the first and most important things to do in Sacred Valley. High on the hills above the town of Pisac, you can find the truly amazing Pisac ruins. The Pisac citadel, contemporary with Machu Picchu, is an archaeological complex where the largest pre-Hispanic cemetery in America is located. The different Inca agricultural terraces that descend from the mountain area are called “Andenes” and are still used today. Pisac is one of the most important archaeological sites in Peru.
Pisac is popular for its huge and colorful market, a good place to shop for local handicrafts. The market is a constantly moving kaleidoscope of bright colors, with stacks of fabrics woven into intricate patterns of vividly dyed wool. You will see the Andean villagers dressed in their traditional clothes.
The best day is on Sunday, but there are smaller markets on Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can usually find a few vendors on any given day as well. While you may not find the high quality that you will find in artisan cooperatives in Cusco, you can be assured of a wide selection and lower prices, especially if you are prepared to haggle. The market stretches across the main square, where there is a beautiful old church.
CONTINUING TO OLLANTAYTAMBO
Continuing from Pisac, drive for about 50 minutes to Ollantaytambo, one of the best places in the Sacred Valley. Ollantaytambo is a perfect stopping point on the way to visit Machu Picchu. Being able to visit this site is undoubtedly one of the most important things to do in Sacred Valley. Ollantaytambo is one of the most original and best-preserved pre-Inca and Inca towns in Peru. Many of the buildings date back to the Incas and are built with a combination of stone.
The engineering genius of the ancient civilization that once ruled here can still be seen in the corn terraces that wrap and flow around the slopes. You can even appreciate his expertise in hydro-engineering that brings water from a river. This water is distributed evenly across farmland and through canals that criss-cross the city, providing clean, freshwater for drinking and cleaning. Ollantaytambo is probably the most original and picturesque place in the Valley. It still preserves much of its traditional culture and original essence. The ancient Inca streets, houses, and waterways are even more beautiful at night.
Another of the great things to do in Sacred Valley is being able to visit the archaeological site of Moray. Moray’s symmetrical circular terraces are fascinating and impressive to behold. The Moray ruins are located on the outskirts of the town of Moray and are a great attraction to know. At first, it looks like a giant green amphitheater where there is a vast bowl made up of layers and layers of flat terraces. Stone stairs built into the terrace walls allow you to walk down to the lower level.
Looking at the surrounding stone walls and the sky is as impressive as being able to see Moray from above. Each of the different levels of terraces has its own microclimate, which the Incas are believed to have used to test the optimal growing conditions for their crops. It is believed that the site was used by the Incas as a kind of laboratory for their different crops.
GETTING TO KNOW THE MARAS SALT MINES
Usually, if you are going to visit Moray, you are on the way to the Salineras de Maras. The small town of Maras can be located just 40 km from the city of Cusco and a very short drive from Ollantaytambo and Urubamba. Maras Salt Mines is home to an incredible network of ancient salt deposits, from which salt has been extracted through evaporation pools since Inca times.
The extremely salty spring water is diverted into hand-built pools, where the water is allowed to evaporate, leaving only 100% natural unrefined salt in its place. The Maras and Moray attraction is usually separate from the traditional Sacred Valley tour, but it is worth the time as both sites are very interesting.
Chinchero is a town 12,342 feet above sea level. Weaving is one of the most appreciated arts in Peru and many of its inhabitants continue to practice it. Within Chinchero there is a weaver cooperative and they allow visitors to try their luck in weaving. There you will find a Quechua community that weaves using an ancient textile art that they have inherited from the ancient Incas.
The different tours in Peru show you the process of making and dyeing blankets and garments. It is recommended to visit the old square and the colonial church of baroque style to understand how the Inca and Spanish cultures mixed.
RELAX IN TAMBOMACHAY
Tambomachay was known to be an important storage place for the Incas. But above all, it was a place of worship for water. It is also known as “El Baño del Inca” which translates to the Inca’s bath. Inside it is believed that the Incas bathed and removed impurities from the world. To this day you can still see the running water in the different canals and aqueducts.
The translation of the Quechua word Tambomachay also suggests that it was a military post. After touring this beautiful site, it is advisable to visit the nearby Hot Springs. One of the great places to visit within the Sacred Valley map. Being able to visit this site is, without a doubt, one of the best things to do in Sacred Valley.
ENJOY THE ADVENTURE ACTIVITIES
If you are a fan of adrenaline and adventure, the Sacred Valley will not disappoint. Just 11 kilometers from the city of Cusco, in the Poroy district, you can find Action Valley. This is home to a wide range of adventure sports in the Sacred Valley, including the highest bungee jump in South America. Action Valley has an exceptional infrastructure that adapts to modern demands.
All together with a respectful approach towards the environment that guarantees excitement and entertainment within the maximum security measures. Among some of his most surprising activities, you can enjoy a zip line in Sacred Valley of about 110 meters. The zip line tour lasts about 5 hours and includes lunch plus a jungle hike to reach the line. Being able to enjoy the different activities is one of the best things to do in Sacred Valley.
LODGING IN HEAVEN
If you are looking to make your experience in the Sacred Valley of the Incas a much more exciting one, we have something for you. There is a beautiful hotel suspended in the air for the most intrepid explorers. Skylodge Adventure Suites by Natura Vive are one of the most amazing Sacred Valley hotels.
These feature a set of capsules where up to 12 people can stay overnight. But if you are not a fan of the idea, you can also visit the place for lunch in the heights. All at 1,312 feet above the valley. Keep in mind that to get to this place it is necessary to climb a mountain via Ferrata or by zipline if you wish. Make sure to book your stay at least two months in advance.
“ONLY IF YOU HAVE BEEN IN THE DEEPEST VALLEY, CAN YOU KNOW HOW MAGNIFICENT IT IS TO BE ON THE HIGHEST MOUNTAIN.”
In conclusion, there are many interesting things to do in Sacred Valley. Many of the available tours offer to see most of these attractions in just one day. Machu Travel Peru hopes to have been helpful. This list only shows some of the most popular activities. But the truth is that the Valley offers much more to enjoy and discover. If you want to know more about our tours, you can contact our team of qualified advisers.
Peru has so much to offer, it can be hard to know where to start. With many years of experience in the tourism sector, Machu Travel Peru is happy to help with anything regarding your trip to Machu Picchu and any tours around it. Make your Machu Picchu experience an unforgettable one!