What to do in the Sacred Valley
There are endless opportunities to explore the Sacred Valley, discover well-known and hidden Inca sites, spend time in nature, and learn about Peruvian culture. The Sacred runs from Cusco to the northwest, all the way to Machu Picchu, Peru's best-known archaeological site. This ancient citadel remains the most spectacular sight in all the Americas! But unfortunately, it was buried in the jungle for centuries until this lost Inca town was discovered in 1911.
Visit Maras and do a hike in the surroundings.
The mind-blowing 4,500 salt pans cascade down the sides of Qaqawiñay Mountain at Maras. Visitors can take tours of the salt pans and buy all manner of salt-related paraphernalia from the local Maras community stores. In addition, a few short walking routes around the area reveal spectacular vistas of the site, which unfold in a patchwork of marble-white amid a lush valley of rugged hills. No wonder it's an Instagramable spot.
Take a tour of Moray.
The Inca growing terraces of Moray are centered around a deep, amphitheater-like structure that sits more than 11,500 feet (3,500 meters). Moray is not a part of the Boleto Turístico, the famous visitor circuit around the Sacred Valley (and Cusco) with a single entrance fee ticket, so it is most of the time a quiet place – like the salt mines in Maras.
Go Quad Biking (to Maras and/or Moray)
A different way to visit above mentioned destinations is to go quad biking! Stay away from transport and bus and rent an all-terrain vehicle. Travel from Cusco to the Sacred Valley, where you'll ride ATVs through its mountain meadows. Along the way, visit Moray to see the circular terraces of its Incan archaeological site and the terraced pools of the Maras Salt Mines.
Visit Urubamba, the official capital of the Sacred Valley. The village has a beautiful Plaza with a cathedral, and a few blocks behind, you can visit the beautiful chapel of Torrechayoc. Urubamba has an excellent climate all year round, with a beautiful landscape, panoramic view of the valley, and breathtaking views of the Vilcanota mountain range. Urubamba has much to offer. You can do tours of nearby Chichubamba, a community of local agriculturalists and craftspeople, and try local Peruvian local food and see interesting handmade ceramics. From here, it is easy to take a bus to the Maras Salt Mines and the fascinating Amphitheatre, as they are within striking distance.
Shop till you Drop!
If you are hunting for an alpaca sweater, a multi-colored Peruvian0-backpack, and some souvenirs for family and friends back home, The Sacred Valley is the Plaza to Go!
Choose between the markets of Ollantaytambo, Pisac, or Chincheros, or visit the artisan shops in Urubamba, where you can find several craft workshops (pottery, among others.
Take a moto-taxi or cholo taxi.
Get on one of the many moto-taxis or 'cholo taxis and go for a ride: just for fun, crossing the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Keep one eye on the traffic and be prepared, but at the same time, enjoy the sun and the stunning scenery.
Explore the Incan Ruins!
A trip to Peru is not complete without exploring the awe-inspiring ancient inca ruins. Visualize the many constructions of the Inca era to understand the importance and uses of these magical places, transport yourself in time, and live the history of Peruvian culture.
Go to the Archaeological Park of Pisac, built on the slopes of the hill with Inca platforms that make the shape of a Partridge. Or, visualize ceremonial sources of water, representative of the Incas, the temple of the sun, and the temple of the 10 windows in the Archeological Park of Ollantaytambo. Finally, impressive the ruins at the small village of Chincheros consist of a series of nested terraces rising up to a plateau upon which sits a church built in the early 1600s.
Jump on a train to Machu Picchu!
Take transport to the train station in Ollantaytambo and jump on a train to Machu Picchu, the Lost City of the Incas. The impressive Inca Citadel Machu Picchu – one of the 7 new World Wonders is one of the best tourist attractions in Peru. If you buy a combo ticket approximately 4- 6 months before arrival, you can climb the heights of Huayna Picchu for sweeping views of Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley.Read More about Machu Picchu.
More to do in the Sacred Valley:
- Rent horses or book a tour, and go for a wonderful afternoon sunset
- Do a Peruvian cooking workshop.
- Visit the Ccochahuasi Animal Sanctuary (between Cusco and Pisac). This private family organization rescues and rehabilitates abused and endangered animals.
- Explore the hills and meet the locals villages behind the village of Calca, Urubamba, Yanahuara or Yucay
- Book a natural dye workshop in Chincheros (there are crash courses on how to clean, spin, and dye wool with natural products)
Go swimming in one of the five-star hotels in the Sacred Valley (call before to check out about the arrangements)
- Prepare for a day trip to the Laguna Yananocha (district Huayllabamba). IT takes about 4 hours to get there and enjoy the beautiful lake and the surrounding forest.
- Be creative at a ceramic workshop in Urubamba at Pablo Seminario’s taller and learn about the creative process using ancient molding, sculpturing techniques and clay rolling.
- Go beer tasting in the Sacred Valley Brewery in Pachar (a craft beer maker with an absolutely fabulous selection of (award-winning) beers, with personalized service and great food and cookies)
- Visit Awanacancha, a cultural project with a textile center and at the same time a camelid theme park. It is also called the living museum of the Andes.
- Do a yoga class (several options) or stay for a yoga retreat
- Take a hike to the Perolniyoc Waterfalls
- Book a night of glamping at Chaska Ocupi, behind the Torrechayoc Church
- Don't miss out on dining at Mil, a restaurant owned by Virgilio Martínez, whose restaurant "Central" in Lima is ranked among the best restaurants worldwide.
- Hike to the ruins of Huchuy Qosqo (day trip; go with a guide).
- Go for a relaxing bath in the hot water springs of Calca
- Visit the Inkariy Museum in Calca and get a quick overview of the Incan history and culture (km. 53).
- Walk up to the new glass "Mirador" de Coya for stunning views and enjoy the statues along the route.
- Book an adventure tour (rafting, hiking, biking, zip line etc.)
Interested in the outdoors and adventure?
The Sacred Valley is thé place where all the outdoor activities happen! You can go hiking, biking, river rafting, zip line via Ferrata, quad biking, and more!
This Sacred Valley can be called a true paradise for the active traveler. Would you love to go river rafting in Peru? Peru has some of the best whitewater rivers in the world. What better way to encounter the fantastic scenery as the Andes plunge down into the beautiful canyons of the Upper Amazon.
Or go hiking! If you love to give your legs a good workout while traveling in Peru and learning Spanish in the Sacred Valley, this is the place where you want to be and stretch those legs among the fantastic scenery.
If you love to mountain bike, Peru has one of the largest networks of Inca remains and numerous trails that will take you to many impressive archaeological sites throughout Peru. Take a trip through remote villages and visit with the local Andean communities or venture outward towards the Andes Mountains and gaze at the spectacular views. Whichever is your pleasure, there is something here for everyone.Read more about outdoor activities in the Sacred Valley.