Compact with ancient history, living culture and spectacular landscapes, the Sacred Valley of Peru is a highlight in its own right. Settled between the dizzying city of Cusco and the lost city of Machu Picchu, it holds the Incan civilisation in its clutches and takes you on a journey to a time of immense history.
At lower elevation than Cusco, the Sacred Valley is a welcoming place to acclimatise and catch your breath. With its rolling patchwork fields, weaving villages and mighty Urubamba River snaking its way across the valley, it is known as an area of outstanding beauty.
A wealth of remnants from the Incan empire lay scattered across the valley, suggesting it was an area of significant importance to the Incas. From Inca ruins of Pisac and Ollantaytambo, the impressive white wells of the Maras salt mines and the agricultural Inca-terracing at Moray, the Sacred Valley is steeped in history and brimming with Incan heritage to explore.
As well as Incan treasures, customs remain deep rooted in the daily lives of locals who reside in the charming villages, dotted around the Sacred Valley. Life remains unchanged here and exploring the living Inca town of Ollantaytambo provides the best surviving example of Inca town planning, the Andean village of Chinchero is famed for its traditional weaving and ancestral dyeing techniques and the colourful artisan market of Pisac, is rich in beautiful textiles and has been operating since Inca times. From the traditional outfits to expressions of popular art, and the belief systems to the ways in which people work and even cook, exploring these villages takes you back to the pre-Colombian era and opens your eyes to its ancient past.
With its varied topography the Sacred Valley is also an adventure wonderland. Mountain biking, horse-riding and white-water rafting along the rushing-rapids of the Urubamba River, are excellent ways to explore the area. It also serves as the starting place of many trekking routes, including the Inca Trail and less explored Lares Trek.
The Sacred Valley is the perfect combination of adventure travel and cultural immersion, and with its array of luxury boutique hotels, it is one of our favourite places in Peru to soak up and explore.