Sacred Valley

Places to see near to Cusco and in the Sacred Valley.


Sacsahuaman wall3 The entire area near Cusco bears an exceptional wealth of Inca constructions, those lying north of city being the most interesting and accessible. Here stands the massive-fortress of Sacsayhuaman, only 4 Km. from downtown Cusco. Made of large carved stone blocks, including one weighing 125 tons, arranged in a zig-zag shape in three platforms which presently serves as the site for the legendary Inti Raymi Festival, (Festival of the Sun) held every year on June 24.

Following the road leading to the northeast you arrive to Quenco (zig-zag) another great example of skillful Inca masonry work consisting of a large limestone slab covered with carvings, thought to have been used for ritual sacrifices. A mysterious cave with large niches, and an amphitheater facing north with 19 niches are part of the complex.

Tambo Machay Archaeological site - bath

Tambo Machay
Consisting of a beautiful ceremonial bath, popularly called "bath of the Inka", formed by four leveled walls linked by stairs and adorned with crystalline waterfalls.

Puca Pucara
Meaning red fort, in some lights the rocks look red. This tambo posthouse served to lodge travelers and store goods.

Market in Pisac Peru
The Vilcanota / Urubamba river valley, commonly known as "The Sacred Valley" is a beautiful place to visit, with small Andean villages and numerous Inca sites.

Pisac Village
Just 30 Km. from Cuzco. A typical Andean town with a market filled with locals in their colorful traditional costumes. This market used to be open only on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, but is now a daily event. On the hilltop is located an Inca archeological complex, a strategic stronghold with fine stone work and superb views of surronding agricultural terraces on the hillsides above the valley.

Yucay VillagePlaceholder image
48 Km. from Cuzco, a very picturesque village with some fine Inca masonry in one of the squares. Behind the village to the north you will find the finest surviving Inca agricultural system in the Cusco region which is still in use.

Urubamba Village
78 Km. from Cuzco, is an attractive town that lies in the center of the valley and can be used as a base to explore the Sacred Valley.

Chinchero Village
28 Km. from Cuzco, the town's unusual architecture is the result of Spanish- Inca fusion. The small church built in the late 16th century, houses several colonial paintings; and the colorful Sunday market is said to be the most authentic in the region. The Inca ruins consist of terracing and a massive Inca wall at the main square with ten large trapezoids niches.

Ollantaytambo Village

97 Km. from Cusco, located at one end of the Sacred Valley. The town has preserved the actual Inca layout, the fortress was constructed as another strategic outpost for defensive purpose as well as a religious center. The enormous step terraces protecting the fortress are spectacular. The bastion's walls were built with huge blocks of granite skillfully carved and were the site of a major battle during Manco Capac's Inca rebellion against the conquistadors.


Maras Salt Pans
Easily visited together on one outting with the Morey Terraces (below). The salt pans are near the village of Maras. Here salt-water springs emerge from the hillside and terraces capture the water flow to evaporate out the salt for local use.




Morey Agricultural TerracesMoray - Qechuyoq
Morey is where huge circular agricultural terraces were built by the Incas on limestone sinks where they would plant various crops. It is thought that the Incasused the terraces as an agricultural laboratory to determine the optimum conditions for each plant species in varying altitudes.





Vinicunca or Rainbow Mountain
The other direction from Machu Picchu - out of Cusco, Rainbow Mountain, is an amazing colorful formation in the Vilcanota Mountains. Hiking or horseback. Either a full day trip or overnight with camping.