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Sacred Valley, Peru: 9 Must-See Sights

Explore the Sacred Valley of Peru

The Sacred Valley, also known as the Urubamba Valley, is a prime destination in Peru, offering a glimpse into the Inca civilization. Ideally, visitors should spend at least two days to fully appreciate the area's grandeur. Situated north of Cusco, the valley is at a lower altitude, making it a good starting point for acclimatizing tourists. It's dotted with Andean villages, vibrant markets, and significant Inca ruins.

For convenience, consider renting a car in Cusco to explore at your own pace. Key attractions include the ruins at Pisac and Ollantaytambo. A 'boleto turistico' is required for entry to most sites. For beach enthusiasts, check out the best beaches in Peru.

1. Ollantaytambo


Ollantaytambo is a charming town with Inca ruins, including a fortress and temple. The sophisticated stone terraces and stairways are a testament to Inca engineering. Visitors can hike to a quarry across the valley to understand the stone transportation techniques used by the Incas. Ollantaytambo also serves as a train station for journeys to Aguas Calientes, the gateway to Machu Picchu.

2. Pisac Ruins

Pisac Ruins

The Pisac Ruins are renowned for their agricultural terraces and ceremonial center. The site offers stunning views and impressive stonework. While it's possible to hike up from the town of Pisac, many opt for a taxi ride to the top.

3. Moray


Moray features circular terraces that served as an agricultural laboratory for the Incas. Each level has a different microclimate, which was used to test crop cultivation. Moray is often visited alongside the nearby Salinas salt mines.

4. Huchuy Cusco

Huchuy Cusco

Huchuy Cusco, a less frequented site, is home to a large Inca hall and other structures. It's accessible via a three-hour hike from the village of Lamay.

5. Salinas


The Salinas salt mines have been operational since Inca times. Thousands of small pools fill a mountainside, where saltwater from a hot spring is evaporated to harvest salt.

6. Tambomachay

Inca Baths in Tambomachay

Tambomachay, known as the Inca Baths, showcases the Incas' reverence for water with its intricate stonework and hydraulics.

7. Pisac Market

Rugs at the Pisac Market

Pisac Market is a vibrant spot for local handcrafts, especially on Sundays. It's a great place to experience Andean culture and shop for textiles.

8. Chinchero

Cobblestone stairs in the town of Chinchero

Chinchero offers stunning mountain views and a more authentic market experience. It features a colonial church and Inca ruins.

9. Urubamba

View over Urubamba

Urubamba is a less touristy town with a traditional market and the Seminario Pottery Studio. It's also a departure point for the Vistadome train to Aguas Calientes.

Where to Stay in the Sacred Valley for Sightseeing

For accommodations, consider these options:

  • Explora Valle Sagrado: A luxury lodge with mountain views and a spa.
  • Sonesta Posadas del Inca Yucay: A mid-range hotel in a former monastery.
  • Hotel La Casona De Yucay Valle Sagrado: A 3-star hotel with beautiful gardens.
  • Hostal Iskay: A budget-friendly hotel in Ollantaytambo with free breakfast.