Guide to the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

The Sacred Valley in Cusco-Peru, it is the gateway toMachu Picchu.

The Sacred Valley travel guide include the best things to see and to do, but also tips on when is the best time to visit, where to stay or how to get around. Explore the beautiful ruins in Pisac, Ollantaytambo, Moray, Saqsaywaman, Chinchero or the salt mines of Maras.

Before starting our trip to South America, we had planned to do many things, but I had some plans to spend about two weeks in Cusco. we spent 2 months approximately.

Cusco and Sacred Valley are some of the most popular places in all of Peru, that’s no secret, but we found these places so captivating that we decided before we left to explore as many places as we could.

Without a doubt, the Sacred Valley should be on your travel itinerary to Peru.
The Sacred Valley has mysteries, Inca culture, counts ruins, stone terraces and the beautiful natural settings in the photogenic valley carved by the Urubamba River.

The Inca civilization’s combination of engineering skills, history, and incredible scenery have captured the attention of travelers for decades.

The Sacred Valley and Cusco have to be on every traveler’s wish list is the proximity to Peru’s emblematic site, Machu Picchu, and the world’s most beautiful Inca trail.

If you are planning to hike the original path to Machu Picchu, the Inca Trail, or want to enjoy the spectacular views along the equally beautiful Salkantay Trek, Lares trek, Ausangate trek in Cusco.

Simply put, this valley ‘can find many important attractions, stretching over approximately 100 kilometers, it is a destination not to be missed.

Since we have had enough time to explore the Sacred Valley, we have decided to share all our knowledge and recommendations with you, our readers, so you can start planning your trip.

This Sacred Valley travel guide includes practical recommendations and, most importantly, we share the best things to do.

Cusco One of the power place in Peru
Cusco Andean People



With out knowing Cusco first before starting the trip through the Sacred Valley, arriving in Cusco you can appreciate the infrastructure of the buildings as well as the friendliness of its people who are always friendly and upon arrival it is advisable to drink the coca tea that most travelers have. What to do to avoid altitude sickness.

The city of Cusco is an important tourist center for all travelers visiting Peru. The city is interesting on its own, but only after taking one of the many day trips from Cusco will you be able to appreciate the beauty of this ancient Inca region.

The city center of Cusco is full of churches, narrow and wide squares. The city is on the UNESCO list, although many buildings from the Inca era were destroyed by the Spanish who arrived in the 16th century and built churches and houses of European and colonial style in the depths of the Inca huacas.

A very interesting fact is that the buildings that remained from the Inca era survived several devastating earthquakes to this day. On the other hand, the new ones from the Spanish era had to be rebuilt repeatedly because they did not last until today, reconstruction continues.

Not only architecturally but also historically, Cusco is an extraordinary city. It was the capital of the Inca Empire from the 13th to the 16th centuries.

From this place the Incas ruled the entire Tahuantinsuyo empire, and during this time Cusco also flourished and many legends from that time remain to this day.

One of those legends, for example, says that the city was built in the shape of a puma, a sacred animal of the Incas.

Well, the easiest way, before starting to explore the Sacred Valley, is to climb a hill to the White Christ that dominates the city and see for yourself if it is true or not.

Saqsayhuaman Magic Incas Place.


A hundred-kilometer-long valley stretches from the ruins of Pisac and the city of Pisac (20 kilometers from Cusco) to the citadel of Machu Picchu.

In the time of the Incas, the valley was not only an important area for the construction of several checkpoints (today ruins or archaeological sites) and the main road from Cusco to Machu Picchu.

But thanks to the year-round microclimates, the constant source of water (from the Urubamba River) and two distinct seasons (rainy and dry), the area was (and still is) perfect for agriculture.

The Incas were people who were experts in growing plants, and when you travel through the valley, you can see the agricultural terraces, which, to us, are beautiful to see, but the local people still use them.



Pisaq is one of our favorite archaeological sites in the Sacred Valley. The Inca ruins are located on top of a hill above the city of Pisac, the central part is at the top, but other ancient buildings such as Inti Watana  and the Qollqas, Cemetery can also be seen from the top was one of the big and important Incas Cementery.

Due to its superior position, the main purpose of the Pisac Ruins was to protect the Cusco from possible attacks.

There are two alternatives to visit the Ruins of Pisac,

by car or on foot. If you have half a day and are reasonably fit, we highly recommend the latter option as it is very scenic.

But first you must get to Pisac. There is a path that leads directly to the entrance of the archaeological site.
The second would be to take a car from the town of Pisaq to the main entrance (30 minutes from Pisaq) to reach the Pisaq Archaeological Center.
the third can take a tour from Cusco (tours usually combine several sites, including Pisac, and cost around $28 when booked in Cusco)

The disadvantage if you take the tour from Cusco?

Because there are parts of ruins around the road leading to Pisac, there is no way you will be able to see everything, just the busiest section of the ruins.

Lastly, if you have a good physique and time, you can do this route walking from the town of Pisac to the ruins of Pisac, lasting more or less 4 hours round trip.

The entire trail leads uphill, so it’s a good way to prepare for other hikes high in the Andes. The distance from the city to the highest point of the ruins is 4 km, and the one-way trip will take you about two hours.

Of course, you can reach the entrance by car and walk only downhill. As you hike this trail, you’ll enjoy beautiful views, a nearly abandoned hike, and more ruins.

The city of Pisac is famous for its traditional markets, so if shopping is your thing, you shouldn’t forget to make a stop here.

It is easy to get to Pisac independently. Take a bus from Puputi Street in Cusco for S/6. The vans leave full from 7 in the morning.

To return to Cusco, take a regular minivan on the main road through Pisac.



It is very likely that you will visit Ollantaytambo more than once during your stay in Cuzco because most travelers take a train from here to Aguas Calientes, the town that serves as a base for visiting Machu Picchu.

But there is another reason to visit Ollantaytambo separately.

About a two-hour drive from Cuzco is an ancient Inca administrative center and an entry checkpoint to the Amazonian corner of the Inca Empire.

Therefore, it is best to combine this site with other attractions along the way.
The Ollantaytambo Ruins are a vast site characterized by an extensive set of agricultural terraces.

The differentiating element that is appreciated are the ancient warehouses, which can be seen from the ruins when looking across the valley; and also the Temple of the Sun which is at the top.

The most impressive sensation is when you are at the top of the ruins, looking across the valley, and when you realize that all the large stones come from the quarry on the other side of the valley, about 5 kilometers away.

From Cusco, Ollantaytambo can be reached by bus for S/15 from Grau street. We visited these ruins with a tour that included all the sites below plus Pisac (this we visited separately).

The tour costs S/80 per person and includes lunch.


Ollantaytambo was one of the most important places for the Incas.



In the sacred valley there are so many ruins that you cannot distinguish one from the other. But we can promise you that you will remember the Moray Ruins because they look different.

Although the terraces of the Moray Ruins are circular in shape, they served a different purpose. It is no secret that the Incas were geniuses in agriculture and plant cultivation, and today it is believed that they used those ruins as an agricultural laboratory. Each level of the terraces has a different temperature, a different microclimate and the design and orientation to the sun suggest that the Incas experimented with plants and crops here.

Experiments have also shown that the soil comes from various Peruvian regions, and although this region of Peru experiences flooding in the rainy season, the Moray Ruins are never flooded. Quite an interesting fact, right?
From here you can see almost the entire valley as well as the view of the mountains.

The easiest way to visit the Moray Ruins is to take a Sacred Valley Tour from Cusco. Otherwise, you have to take a minivan from Cusco to the town of Maras for S/7, and it takes about an hour. From here, you must take a taxi for S/50 to Moray, then you can walk down to salineras and then go out to Urubamba and take the bus back to Cusco.


Incas experimented with plants and crops here.



This beautiful place in the Sacred Valley, which is not a ruin, is the salt mines in Maras, but it still has a connection with the Incas, who used this place to extract salt more than 500 years ago.

Today there are still miles of salt ponds belonging to hundreds of families living nearby.

Traditionally, salt mines had been available to anyone wishing to collect salt; the person had to be a member of the community and the size of the pond they got depended on the size of the family.

Although the salt mine is still in use and it is possible to buy salt in nearby stores, today the main source of income is tourism as salt is also exported.

The Tourist Ticket is not valid here and the entrance fee is S/11.

It is possible to harvest salt only during the dry season not in rain season, so when we arrived in mid-November, there were no people working, but still, the view of miles of salt ponds was incredible.

This place can  take  a tour from Cusco the costs is it$20
The other way is to take a bus from Cusco to Maras tow from there take a taxi cost. S/.50 soles.

The last one is to take the bus from Cusco – Maras and from there can go with a taxi to the town of Maras from there walk to the archaeological  of Moray and then can walk is all downhill to salt mines – and Urubamba – Cusco.

Salt mines in Maras, but it still has a connection with the Incas.



You have already mentioned that there are several ways to explore the Sacred Valley, and as much as we like to explore places on our own, we opted for the tour because it seemed quite reasonable.

The price was not that high and it saved time.

I have carefully selected the most popular tours, so you can take a look at them and decide if you want to follow this route.

Remember that traveling independently is still an option. Like us, you can combine these transportation options.

Day trip to the Sacred Valley. The most popular way for most people to visit the Sacred Valley is with a tour, where you can see most of the attractions in a single day. You can join one of the top rated excursions from Cuzco.

Half-day excursion to Moray and the salt mines .Another popular way to visit one of the best attractions in the Sacred Valley is on a half-day tour.

Quad biking excursion. An exciting quad excursion to Moray and the salt mines is a popular alternative to a traditional tour.

Rafting excursion. Or you can do something more adventurous and enjoy the Sacred Valley from a completely different perspective by rafting the Urubamba River.

ATV tour in the Sacred Valley. This tour departs from Cusco for this activity.

One day rafting. It departs from Cusco and takes place in Cusipata, south of Cusco.
Rock climbing. It is done in series in the Sacred Valley.

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