The Sacred Valley of the Incas (“El Valle Sagrado de los Incas” in Spanish) is composed of rivers, valleys, indigenous villages and various archaeological sites. It is located in the Andes region of Peru and it was one of the strategically-located points used by the Incas due to its rich soil.
As mentioned before, the Sacred Valley is full of landmarks, some of which are the most recognized and associated with Peru worldwide. When planning your trip, make sure to leave at least a week of spare time to discover these amazing wonders of the world and fully indulge in the historical and cultural heritage of this ever-mysterious area.
Undoubtedly the most famous attraction in Peru, Machu Picchu is one of the 7 New World Wonders of the World. However, there is much, much more to do and while this breath-taking archeological site, which remained undiscovered for centuries, deserves the time of the day, make sure to not miss out on the rest the area has to offer.
Hyuna Picchu is that famous mountain in the background of every iconic Machu Picchu picture. A lot of people don’t know this, but it is possible to hike it and get a bird’s eye view of Machu Picchu. If you are interested in doing so, make sure to book in advance, as only 400 people are allowed to hike it per day and trust me, tickets get booked no matter the day of the week. You can book the entrance ticket along with the ticket to Machu Picchu for just a small extra fee. The hike is divided into two groups: One at 7am and one at 9am – do yourself a favour and book the first one as it can get extremely sunny at 9. The hike takes approximately 45 minutes and it can be quite strenuous.
Salineras de Maras
Located in Maras, a village known for its salt extraction, which was their trade since the time of the Incas. Today, you can visit the place where the salt gets extracted from and enjoy the view of the Andes from there. It is quite a unique sight, both the surrounding and the salt beds. Do not miss it!
Close to the Salineras de Maras are the gorgeous ruins of Moray, which consist of four circular rocks that form a ring. Some state that they were used to experiment agricultural cultivations brought from other areas. However, there are some who assure that they were used as a sort of amphitheater to host religious ceremonies.
Qenko is formed by canals in the shape of a zigzag with a rock in the middle. It is believed that on the site of the rock, those who venerated the sun and the earth would stand to pray. This is a gorgeous site, unique in the Earth yet often not many know about it when visiting. Make sure you do!
Sacsayhuamán is an archaeological center that dates back to the year 900 AD. The citadel is known for its gigantic stone walls that fit with perfect precision with each other.
The main plaza in Písac contains everything you could ask for – colours, culture, history and a market filled with authentic souvenirs and amazing cuisine (tip: in this village, the “trueque” is still used, which means you can exchange something you have for something else. Give it a go to behave like a true local!). While in Písac, don’t miss assisting to a Quechua mass surrounded by locals.
Tambomachay was a site where the Incas paid tribute to water. It is known for its man-made canals and waterfalls and therefore acts as an excellent example of the great engineers that the Incas were.
Literally meaning “red fortress” in Quechua, it was once a military base for the Inca Empire. Located 7 kilometers away from the city of Cusco, the site has spectacular views of the valley.
Updated: October 6, 2015