The Sacred Valley of the Incas is made up of numerous towns and rivers that descend through ravines and small valleys; The Sacred Valley has numerous archaeological monuments and indigenous peoples accompanied by the Urubamba River.
This beautiful valley was highly appreciated by the Incas due to its special geographical and climatic qualities. In the Sacred Valley of the Incas, beautiful colonial towns are scattered that were created and that today show their miscegenation in architecture, art and living culture. There are the towns of Chinchero and its weavers, Pisac and its craft fair, Urubamba and its cosmopolitanism, Ollantaytambo, with its fortress and its living Inca people. And Maras Moray with its dazzling Salineras, in these territories of the Sacred Valley, various communities have created rural tourism and experiential tourism products that amaze locals and strangers. Each one of them is a world in itself, and together, they make up an unprecedented way of getting to know the most traditional region of the South American Andes.
The Sacred Valley is 2,700 meters above sea level and extends along the Vilcanota River. It is included between the towns of San Pablo, Calca, Pisac Urubamba, Ollantaytambo, it has wonderful landscapes, where its inhabitants still preserve many of the ancestral customs and rites.
The towns of the Sacred Valley of the Incas, have the fusion of the Inca architectural style and the Spanish. The richness of its people in their folklore and crafts, their way of life, their clothing, make it a place that will leave you with unforgettable memories.
The valley is characterized by having very special conditions, such as an excellent climate, very fertile lands and the waters of the sacred river of the Incas, the Vilcanota (Quechua word, sacred or wonderful thing), which upstream, in the town of Urubamba, changes its name and is called the Urubamba River.
The sacred valley is an area where you can appreciate and enjoy the high technological development that the Incas achieved in agriculture through terraced systems (a set of terraced earth terraces on the mountains to be used for planting) that today they are in full production, accompanied by sophisticated designs and hydraulic engineering works that were used for irrigation. Also noteworthy are the worship centers for Pachamama (Mother Earth).
Important hotels have been established in this area, which allows you to enjoy the Andean nature of Cusco, a better climate and a lower height above sea level in relation to the city of Cusco. See hotels in the Sacred Valley.
Towns of the Sacred Valley of the Incas
A pictures town located on the slopes of the Intihuatana hill (the place where the sun sets), it has the best terrace system achieved by the Incas in all the Andes.
Near the town is the Pisac Archaeological Site, Inca archaeological sites finely polished and assembled stone constructions, citadel, towers, military fortresses, astronomical observatories and much more. Pisac also stands out for the Inca cemetery, the largest in all of America.
A town immersed in the beauties of Andean landscapes, in an atmosphere of peace and tranquility, with the beautiful snow-capped mountains of Pitusiray Sahuasiray as a background. Near the town are the medicinal baths of Machacancha (sulfurous thermal waters). Near Calca we can also find the Inca archaeological complex of Huchuy Qosqo, currently considered as Cultural Heritage of the Nation.
Another ancient Inca town, located in a fertile valley, once a great agricultural production center of the Incas, and today a beautiful countryside, with great fruit production.
Urubamba is located on the slopes of the majestic snow-capped Chicon, which can be easily reached and climbed.
Urubamba is also called the “Archaeological Capital of Peru”, due to the rich Inca archaeological sites that exist in the area; It is also called “La Perla del Vilcanota”, for the incomparable landscapes that surround it, natural settings of indescribable beauty. There are indigenous communities with marked ancestral customs.
Currently, the town of Ollantaytambo has many houses built on the foundations of the ancient Inca town, where natives with deep-rooted ancestral customs live.
The complexity and beauty of the Inca constructions and the contemporary town, the immense agricultural complex, great administrative and social, religious and military center, is considered by many scientists and historians as one of the most important living museums in the world.
Ollantaytambo is located 97 km from Cusco, at 2,846 m.a.s.l.
The climate in the Sacred Valley of the Incas varies according to the season in which it can be found. However, in the mountains, there are only two well-marked stations, which are the following.
Rainy season from December – March with temperatures from 15°C to 22°C
Dry season from April – November with temperatures from 10°C to 15°C at night and during the day between 18°C to 25°C.
The altitude of the sacred valley varies according to the place where you visit it, for example:
Pisac at 2980 masl
Calca at 2929 masl
Urubamba at 2870 masl
Ollantaytambo at 2850 masl
Sustainable and Participatory Tourism
Throughout the Sacred Valley, excellent opportunities for traditional adventure tourism and hiking are emerging for tourists, always preserving the tourism that is a source of income for the families of the Sacred Valley. to carry out living culture tourism, having the possibility of staying in native houses and sharing with them their customs, traditions and daily tasks.
If you enter the Sacred Valley through the Pisac area, it is recommended to visit the Awanakancha South American Camelid Theme Park, located in Taray, 23 km from the city of Cusco in the district of Taray. Exhibition of camelids such as llamas, vicuñas and alpacas in their natural environment and production of fabrics with fibers extracted from wool. In addition, it is possible to observe some agricultural platforms from the Inca era and species of flora from the area. In this area, you have several viewpoints along the road that offer impressive views of the Sacred Valley.
Recommendations to visit the Sacred Valley
- Buy entrance tickets to Pisac and Ollantaytambo.
- Take altitude sickness into account.
- Bring your passport or DNI if you are a foreign or national tourist, respectively.
- Light clothing.
- Take some candies or nuts for the road.