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The Sacred Valley

Why visit The Sacred Valley?

This stunning valley was viewed by the Incas as a representation of Heaven on Earth, and they built many magnificent temples and fortresses along the banks of the Urubamba River. Many of these ruins can be seen - and modern rural life experienced - in places such as Pisac, Ollantaytambo and Chinchero. And, as the Sacred Valley is lower than Cusco, it's also a great place to acclimatise to altitude.
Reasons to visit The Sacred Valley include:

  • Numerous Inca holy and archaeological sites, large and small, including the most famous of them all, Machu Picchu - where you gain insight into this fascinating ancient civilisation.
  • Hike, horse ride or raft to take in the great natural beauty of the area, with stunning, snow-capped mountain scenery and lush agricultural terraces. There are some lovely, gentle walks here - not as demanding as the Inca Trail.
  • Take the challenge of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
  • Visit the highest settlement in the Sacred Valley (2920m); Pisac. Shop at the hundreds of market stalls and visit the Inca ruins above the town. The ruins include a cemetery that is the final resting place of thousands of Incas.
  • Visit the Inca settlement of Yucay, a tranquil place not greatly visited by tourists.
  • Chill out in the delightfully laid-back town of Urubamba, an ideal base from which to explore the rest of the valley.
  • Visit the centuries-old, terraced salt pans at Maras, fed by an underground stream. Photograph the fascinating pre-Inca agricultural testing station at Moray, its four deep, parabolic depressions once used by agriculturalists to mimic different climates.
  • See the original Inca layout and very impressive ruins at Ollantaytambo and the famous Sunday market at Chinchero.

When to go to The Sacred Valley

The temperature is fairly consistent all year, but most people tend to go in the dry season, which is April through October. For more information about when to travel in Peru, see our When to visit Peru page.

How to do it

Urubamba is about a 75-minute road transfer from Cusco. You can fly to Cusco and then immediately transfer to the Sacred Valley for a couple of days, allowing you to see the sites and acclimatise to altitude before returning to the higher altitude of Cusco.

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The Sacred Valley accommodation

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facts and information

Time: GMT-5hrs

Flight time:

Both KLM and Iberia have flights to Lima via Europe, leaving the UK early in the morning to arrive in Lima in the evening. The flight time is about 14 hours. It is also possible to fly to Lima via America.

Language: Spanish and Quechua are the official languages.


Not required for British travellers (up to 90 days). EC nationals can ask us for further advice.


There are no compulsory vaccinations, except yellow fever if visiting the rainforest. Malaria prophylactics are also recommended in the rainforest.



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