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The Sacred Valley, the remarkable place in Peru where tourists keep coming back, is a magical place that amazes every individual who witnesses the amazing ingenuity of the Incas. There are mind-blowing places and discoverable things to do in the Sacred Valley. The Inca ruins, salt miners, snow-capped mountains, and hiking trails offer astounding places to explore.

The Sacred Valley of the Incas is located in the Peruvian region of Cusco, which is only an hour away. A tourist describes the Sacred Valley as a magical place, and it feels like being in another realm or world. Visiting the Inca ruins in the Sacred Valley is a pleasant experience like being turned back the hence of time.

The Sacred Valley was part of the property of the Incas. It was the best land in the region. The Sacred Valley originated through the Urubamba river, which made its soil rich and fertile. The Sacred Valley was slowly incorporated into the incipient Inca Empire from 1000 to 1400 CE.

The Sacred Valley occupants were Qotacalla who lived in the sacred valley from 500 to 900 CE after the Killke civilization stood its ground until the Incan empire took over the region in 1400 CE. The Incas left the sacred valley because of the Spanish conquest of South America, afflicting military campaigns and the fall of the last Incan capital, which fell into ruins in 1572.

The purpose of the city in the Sacred Valley was to provide agricultural products. The climate was also a factor in how the Sacred Valley became a known provider, including the health of the population of the Incas. Today, the Sacred Valley is still the star of Peru, including its best archeological site, Machu Picchu.

The Sacred Valley and tours are important contributors to the economy of Peru. Tourism for the citizens and the government has a significant effect on the livelihood and economy of Peru. The climate in the Sacred Valley is more neutral from the months of April to September, and it is good for farming.

However, from October to March, it is the start of the rainy season, which is not good for farming activities and tourism either. As a result, it has become an essential contributor to Peru’s economy. In addition to this, it has a significant effect on the tourism business in Peru. A village built at the base of the mountain called Aguas Calientes became a cultural hub with more than a hundred hotels, tourist stores, and restaurants.

Tourism in the Sacred Valley currently contributes more than $40 million annually to Peru’s economy.  In addition, in spite of the current problem caused by COVID-19, the Peruvian Ministry of Culture reports that there were around 444,500 visitors to the location in the year 2021. Moreover, the Sacred Valley includes a total of 200 structures, including baths, residences, temples, and sanctuaries. The terraced fields on the site’s outskirts were apparently used for cultivating crops, most likely maize and potatoes.


How is the Sacred Valley’s history?

The Sacred Valley – known as the “Sacred Valley of the Incas”, its Spanish word is “Valle Sagrado de los Incas”. According to the historical data based on colonial documents, it was called the “Valley of Yucay”. From 1000 to 1400 CE, the Sacred Valley was slowly unified within the early Inca Empire. Through diplomacy and conquest in the early period, the Incas gained total control over the different ethnic groups living near the Sacred Valley. The Sacred Valley, or Urumbra valley, is where the Andes Mountains are located between the town of Cusco and the area of Machu Picchu.

The Sacred Valley had many interesting facts, and because of that, there were famous books like “Cusco and the Sacred Valley of the Incas” by Fernando E. Elorrieta Salazar, Edgar Elorrieta Salazar, and Beverly Nelson Elder. Another great book called “Inca Footprints” by Brien Foerster, who wrote the book in five years, shows the important Inca sites, including those older than Inca as well. There are interesting facts about the Sacred Valley; well-preserved Incan ruins in the majority of the Sacred Valley, they are the top producers of big white corn, and during the Spanish conquest, the sacred valley cities were destroyed. During the Inca’s historical age, Machu Picchu was the Old Peak and the New Peak was Huayna Picchu.

The lost city wasn’t discovered until 1911 by Hiram Bingham of Yale University together with the local Quechua Melchor Arteaga. The Inca’s Sacred Valley was the center of food production because of its fertile land, strategically placed for agriculture. The Sacred Valley is among the most significant historic places in South America. The ingenuity of the Inca’s ecological floors successfully propagated different fruits and vegetables that still continue to be grown today.

Salt mining is also the other industry that Inca produce, Maras Salt Mines or in the local term “Salineras de Maras” has been passed through generations for 500 years, in the Sacred Valley elevated salt ponds. The temples and palace are located at the highest peak of the Andes mountains, 2,430 meters above sea level. The temple is called the Temple of the Sun, built at the highest point of the city to worship the sun as their important god, and is considered a holy place for rituals.

How is the Sacred Valley formed?

The Sacred Valley was formed by the river of Urubamba. It enables the Sacred Valley to be rich and fertile, which is great for vegetation and other crops. From 900 to 1400 CE, there were 3 civilizations that took over the Sacred Valley. The Inca civilization was the last to develop and enrich the Sacred Valley and build structural sites that until today were standing still. The Spaniards’ conquest led the Incan civilization to leave the place in order to survive the Spanish colonization.

Is the Sacred Valley Important for Peru’s History?

Yes, the Sacred Valley is important for Peru’s history. The Sacred Valley was the Inca’s center of livelihood because of its agricultural location. The Sacred Valley was the only place to sustain their civilization. It provided the people with an abundance of food and shelter. Today, the sacred valley plays an essential role as a tourist destination, and it brings money and awareness about their culture and history.

Where is the Sacred Valley located?

The Sacred Valley is located in the region of Cusco, Peru. It is between Pisac and Ollantaytambo, along with the river Vilcantota. The Sacred Valley is accessible from Cusco, where there is an airport. Important archaeological sites by the Incas, stunning landscapes, and Rivers flowing down valleys are the best qualities of the Peruvian territory, arriving in Cusco.

The Sacred Valley of the Incas, or Urubamba Valley, is the capital of Cusco in the northern part of the Andes of Peru. The Sacred Valley is the home of Inca archaeological architecture. There are lots of structures that need to be seen by the naked eye to appreciate the ingenuity of the Inca Empire. The Sacred Valley is also home to the famous ancient structures of temples and palaces of Machu Picchu.

What are the coordinates of Sacred Valley?

The coordinates of Sacred Valley are 13°20′S 72°05′W, where the archeological places are located. Pisac is known for its astronomical observatory due to its elevation across the valley; Maras, where the salt mines are located, and Moray’s agricultural terraces, which are believed to be a ritual place or gathering place for the Incas.

What are the tours for the Sacred Valley?

There are a lot of tours available for a family to enjoy, learn, and reminisce about the historical structures that are well-preserved. The Sacred Valley has a lot to offer to tourists, beginning from the surrounding Cusco to Pisac, and Ollantaytambo villages. The possibilities are endless. The only hindrances for these places to be seen are energy and time. The Sacred Valley is full of amazing and spectacular structures, believing that early architects and people had the skills to create creative infrastructures that are usable even today.

The tours are perfect for family, friends, and lovers. Enjoy an unforgettable tour of the Sacred Valley with a friendly, personal guide from Locals. Explore the ruins of Inca shrines, temples, and fortresses. Glimpse fragments of the Incas’ world and learn their ways. Tourists can hike along the Inca Trail past stunning mountain vistas, up to the wondrous Machu Picchu, built mere decades before Columbus arrived in the New World. Dodge the crowds and enjoy an authentic, thorough experience of the archaeological wonder located in the Andes of Peru.

Agencies in Cusco offer whirlwind day trips to 4 sites + the salt mine Las Salinas, but highly recommend visiting for 2 days. For 2 days, anyone can actually get to see and enjoy the ruins rather than just rushing through and snapping a quick pic. Visiting the Sacred Valley solo isn’t hard, and through this guide, anybody can be fully prepared to make the most of their trip to the Sacred Valley.

It is recommended to have a full day or two full days in the Sacred Valley. While one full day is enough for standard touring – typically people, especially nature lovers, love their hotel so much that they usually wish they had more time to just relax and just enjoy the surroundings.

While there are great hikes throughout the Sacred Valley, a few of the best are located near the village of Ollantaytambo, a highlight in its own right and the perfect base for a few days of hiking and exploration. Tour duration is roughly 10 hours or 1 day depending on the tour, but 2 days would be ideal, especially when visiting without a guide.

The tour price varies according to the number of people in each group. The standard rate is around $150 per person in a group of 2, $120 for group 3, and $100. For a group of 4, and as the number of people in a group rises, the individual price would be cheaper at around $70 for each person for a group of 8 and above.

What is the best season for visiting the Sacred Valley?

The best season for visiting the Sacred Valley is during the months of April to October, when the weather is pleasant, an agricultural season for growing crops, and the temperature is ideal for tourists as well. During the months of November up to March, the rainy season in Peru begins, and the roads are muddy, including the trails that would be difficult for visitors to the Sacred Valley to hike.

What are the hiking routes for the Sacred Valley?

There are three main ways to hike to the Sacred Valley: the Lares Trek, the Salkantay Trek, and the Inca Trail. The Lares trek is not among the most popular ways for tourists to get through the Sacred Valley, but it is thought to be one of the easiest ways to get there. It’s not as difficult as the Salkantay trek, but the natural beauty is stunning. In fact, the trail doesn’t see many tourists.

It’s a way to show respect for bodies of water, beautiful Andean fabrics, and social connections with the people of Peru. During the 4-day trip, tourists will trek a total of 37.5 km in 19 hours, but they will reach heights of 4,700 MASL/15,419 FASL, which is a very high point. On the other hand, tourists like the Salkantay trek better. In 32 hours, tourists will trek a total of 76 km, which is 47.22 miles.

This is a lot further than what they do on the Inca Trail. On this route, the highest point is at 4,638 MASL/15,216 FASL. The Salkantay Trek is also the most popular option for trekking in the Sacred Valley because it takes tourists from the huge snow-capped mountains of the Andes to the comforting tropical jungle. On this route, tourists will have some of the best views of the sacred mountain of Salkantay. Besides that, tourists will get to see huge glaciers for themselves.

Tourists will also see organic bridges; mountains with snow on top, brightly colored valleys; waterfalls, wildlife, rare plants, and foggy forests along the way. Tourists will also find ancient and still-living Andean culture in remote villages that foreigners rarely visit. Whereas, the Inca trail is believed to be the best hiking route in all of South America by most tourists.

During this trip, which goes through the Andes, people will be amazed by the Urubamba mountain range, which is over 5,000 MASL (16,400 FASL) high. Tourists will be able to see 18 archaeological sites, such as walls, canals, stairs, plaza housing, farming terraces, bridges, and more. In 25 hours, tourists will walk about 46 km, or 28.58 miles; the highest point is at 4,215 MASL/13,828 FASL.

What are the closest destinations to Sacred Valley?

Listed below is the closest destination to Sacred Valley.

  • Pisac: Pisac is one of the most popular tourist sites in the area around the Sacred Valley. Pisac is most well-known for its photogenic market. The area is a must-see because of its outstanding archaeological park, which is distinguished by its vast number of platforms and towers, as well as its colorful fair, which captivates with its magical ambiance.
  • Ollantaytambo: Ollantaytambo is located in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. The location is breathtaking because of the stone carvings and the platforms that are found there. It is thought that the Inca monarchy used this location as a safe haven at one point in time. 
  • Pinkuylluna: Pinkuylluna may be viewed when visiting Ollantaytambo. From the peak of the mountain, which is directly in front of the archaeological site, one may have a view of the remnants that are located on the mountain. These structures, known as Pinkuylluna Qolqas, are thought to have been used as agricultural storage facilities in the past. It is situated on the slopes of the mountain because supplies were more successfully sown in this particular spot. 
  • Arin Falls: Arin Falls is sometimes referred to as the Cataratas de la Sirena, which literally translates to “Mermaid Falls.” The Aria Falls are yet another attraction that tourists can experience without paying a fee. Visitors will have the opportunity to take in a breathtaking panorama of the Sacred Valley from this vantage point. It is a really pleasant and calm little tourist town, and the core of the town is filled with fruit trees and cottages that have retained their rustic appearance.
  • Thermal Baths in Aguas Calientes: The Thermal Baths in Aguas Calientes are the perfect place to recuperate and unwind after the arduous trek through the Sacred Valley citadel.
  • Moray y Maras: Moray y Maras is home to two of the most popular tourist attractions in Sacred Valley Peru: the Salineras de Maras and the Moray Archaeological Center. Moray y Maras are located in the Sacred Valley. The first is a vast region that is packed with natural salt wells that are older than a hundred million years and were created after the Andes Mountains were originally shaped. On the other hand, Moray is home to circular terraces that were once used as agricultural research facilities during the reign of the Inca. 

How to get from Machu Picchu to the Sacred Valley?

The fastest way to get from Machu Picchu to the Sacred Valley is by train. The cost would be around $95, and it would only take 2 to 2 and a half hours to get to Sacred Valley. The radial distance from Machu Picchu to the Sacred Valley is only 52 kilometers. However, considering the road distance, it stretches up to 176.4 kilometers.

Listed below is how to get from Machu Picchu to the Sacred Valley.

  • Train: The train is the nearest transportation to Machu Picchu, riding the train would only take 2 hours or more to get to the Sacred Valley.
  • Bus: The bus is mostly the main mode of transportation for locals. Expect to have a cramped situation on the bus for up to 6 hours of travel to the Sacred Valley. The bus is the cheapest mode of transportation for anyone budgeting their trip.
  • Taxi: Taking a taxi is the most convenient way to go around or go to the Sacred Valley. Though it is not cheap, it is cheaper than renting a car. The travel time from Machu Picchu to the Sacred Valley is just 3 and a half hours. 
  • Rented Car: Car rental is ideal for groups or families, though quite pricey, but definitely convenient to go around the Peruvian region. The travel would take the same as taking a taxi, as long as anyone driving would be aware of the route. 

For those traveling on a budget, the bus is the cheapest way to get around these mystical places. There are caveats for each trip, but the objective of exploring these historical sites is priceless. Cusco is the base to start visiting the Sacred Valley and is the ideal way to start.

Most travelers start in Arequipa because they want to unwind before taking a long journey through the Sacred Valley, which should be first instead. Arequipa to Cusco is about 500 km away, and the quickest way is to fly through the place, which only takes an hour. A bus is also an option, but it takes about 9 to 10 hours of travel.


What to know before going to the Sacred Valley?

Listed below are the things to know before going to the Sacred Valley. 

  • Purchase Tickets in Advance: Buying tickets on the day of the visit is not recommended. It is recommended by most tours that travelers plan their journey at least six months in advance. In some cases, the Inca Trail climb that culminates in Machu Picchu fills up almost an entire year in advance, particularly during the high season. It is in best interest to make preparations as far in advance as possible.
  • Tourists can pay extra fees: When tourists buy their tickets, they have the option of paying an additional fee if they want to trek the mountains that surround the ruins.  Visitors who want to climb Huayna Picchu should get their admission tickets at least three months in advance, but visitors who want to climb Machu Picchu Mountain must buy their tickets between three and four weeks prior to their trip.
  • Visit Machu Picchu in the Morning: If a visitor has acquired an access ticket for the morning time slot, it is extremely unlikely that they will ask the tourist to leave the site at noon.
  • There are no single bathrooms beyond the entrance: The tourists are permitted one departure and reentry during their visit, which they can use to go to the restroom or get quick snacks outside the ruins. However, if they purchased morning tickets and plan to remain longer than the given time, they must ensure that they are back inside the attraction before noon. 
  • Bring The Passport and Have It Stamped: As a memento of their trip, visitors to Machu Picchu can have their passports stamped with a unique Machu Picchu design.
  • Traveling Without A Guide is Highly Discouraged: Visitors are strongly discouraged from entering the site without a guide, but if they do so anyway, and run into problems, they can hire a guide there and then.
  • Do Not Wear Shorts: Always protect the skin from mosquito bites in Machu Picchu by wearing long pants rather than shorts. The most effective method for avoiding these irritating red welts is to dress in long pants and sleeves whenever possible, even when the temperature is high. 
  • Bring These Important Things: Be sure to carry some sunblock, insect repellent, and shampoo, at the very least. Since the temperature can range from very frigid in the mornings to very hot in the middle of the day and quite rainy at any moment, it is a good idea to wear shoes that are comfortable for walking, a raincoat, and multiple layers of clothes. In addition, carrying a backpack that is either small or regular in size is permitted. However, carrying a backpack that is excessively large is not permitted.
  • Tourists Can Still Bring Water Bottles: Refillable water bottles are permitted. 
  • Take Bus From Aguas Calientes: Tourists can trek to Machu Picchu, although it takes one to two hours and is steep. The 20-minute bus journey to the top can be purchased the night before in Aguas Calientes.

When is the Sacred Valley Open?

The Sacred Valley will continue to be accessible to visitors on a daily basis from six in the morning until five in the afternoon in the year 2022. During the tour of the Inca citadel in Peru, it is required that visitors wear masks. However, it is not necessary to provide a vaccination card. In addition, the months of April through October, which are considered to be the dry season, are the ideal months in which to make a trip to the Sacred Valley.

At this time of year, there is just a trace amount of precipitation, and the sky is typically clear. Having said that, it is crucial to keep in mind that even during the dry season, there may be isolated instances of rain. When travelers travel to the Sacred Valley during the wet season, which runs from November to March, they should be prepared for an increase in the amount of precipitation and cloud cover.

In addition, January and February are the best months for travelers to visit Sacred Valley if they want to see the site without a lot of other people. During these months, travelers will be able to find great offers on hotels, the best train schedules, and amazing prices for everything. On the other hand, these are the months that mark the height of the rainy season; therefore, vacationers should always be ready to pack reliable rain gear in order to avoid being held up by inclement weather.

In addition, June, July, and August are the months that are the busiest during the entire year. In order to visit the Sacred Valley, tourists need to book their tours in advance so that they may get the best times and locations.

During these months, visitors to Sacred Valley need to be aware that there will likely be a long line to board the bus and enter the site. It is recommended to go to the Sacred Valley in the early morning or in the late afternoon for the best experience. Tourists will have a terrific time seeing the Sacred Valley with fewer early visitors if they arrive at the citadel around six in the morning.

They will also be able to witness the breathtaking dawn at Sacred Valley. When tourists arrive at the attraction after nine in the morning, on the other hand, they will have a greater chance of experiencing pleasant weather and taking stunning photographs. Furthermore, visits in the late afternoon will provide a wonderful opportunity to appreciate the citadel in peace and quiet.

How is the Sacred Valley Itinerary?

The itinerary tour to the Sacred Valley will take place over the course of approximately one week or seven days. The journey to the Sacred Valley and other amazing near-destination sites lasts for seven days and will undoubtedly provide travelers with the opportunity to fully enjoy not only the scenic splendor of the location itself.

In addition, other locations in the surrounding area are also worthy of a visit, including Machu Picchu. However, the journey through the Sacred Valley itinerary can last up to seven days and would be the ideal way to spend a day of a vacation because it takes more than an hour to reach Machu Picchu.

Prior to arriving in the Sacred Valley, tourists are required to stay in a variety of different locations. Since travelers can explore the surrounding area. Even while staying in neighboring locations, a vacation that lasts seven days may be ideal for tourists interested in engaging in exploratory travel.

What is the best vehicle for visiting the Sacred Valley?

Transportation is the most important factor on tours, especially in the Sacred Valley, which has many other nearby destinations that no one wants to miss. Renting a car is an option, especially for groups of family or friends, and is a cheaper and more convenient option to go around the Peruvian region.

However, going to the Sacred Valley still needs some hiking through the Incan trails and driving skills would be needed as the road has some large potholes and massive speed bumps. The price for renting a car would be around $200 to $250, which would only be good for 5 days. For a cheaper alternative, renting a cab for a day would be more feasible, as it is cheaper than renting a self-drive car.

The advantage of renting a cab is that the driver knows where the known destinations are, which means time spent on the trip would be more likely to follow the schedule. However, cab drivers tend to be more aggressive in their driving, which can be frightening to most individuals that are not used to such a manner. The cheapest option is to take the local transportation such as bus and train.

The experience, however, would not be as pleasant as being in a cab because the cramped conditions of the bus can make the trip exhausting for someone not used to it. 

How many hours should a person spend in the Sacred Valley?

The Sacred Valley had so many destination options, the Pisac ruins, Maras Salineras, Moray, and the Pisac, which is ideal to take for 2 days. There are schedules that need to be accomplished, especially for tours with guides. The exploration, however, can be worth it for the trip if extended in order to appreciate the sites. There are advantages to visiting without a tour guide or one that isn’t part of the tour program because there are worst cases that bad weather may prevent some schedules. 

Is it possible to stay at Sacred Valley?

Yes, it is possible to stay in the Sacred Valley. However, it is not suggested to camp there, but to go near a local budget cabin to sleep in. It is advisable to go back to Cusco rather than sleep in the Sacred Valley residence. The preparation of getting the body adjusted to the altitude for the next day’s adventure allows the body to acclimate until the highest point is reached without being nauseous.

For adventurous individuals who like thrills, there are Skylodges made for those looking for a breathtaking view. These lodges are securely hung 400 meters on a 1200-foot mountain, allowing the guests to see the Sacred Valley at a full 300-degree angle.

Which civilization used the Sacred Valley for what?

The Inca civilization used the Sacred Valley as an agricultural area. The valley is rich and fertile, able to produce high-quality crops that are still known today. The Maras Salineras or Salt Mine, is located in the Sacred Valley and is able to produce massive amounts of salt for the community, passed down today from generation to generation.

How is the geography of the Sacred Valley?

The geographical location of the Sacred Valley or Urubamba valley has a river called the Urubamba river between the Inca ruins in Pisac and the Machu Picchu mountain, also termed the Old Peak. The valley floor spread is about a kilometer, or 0.6 miles, including the terraces built for an extended agricultural area. The soil is ideal for vegetables, caco trees, and grain crops such as the big white corn. 

What is the geological profile of the Sacred Valley?

The geological profile of the Sacred Valley is stretch up to between the Pisac and Ollantaytambo, the northern part of Cusco. The Sacred Valley floor varies from 16,000 feet  down to 9,000 feet above sea level. It is situated along the Urubamba river valley, enriching the soils because of the abundance of water supply.

What are the findings in the Sacred Valley?

Between Cusco and Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley is truly a magnificent place. The ancient fortresses and the villages built in age-old tradition and the presence of the Andes Mountains make for a magical experience to feel like the Incas would.

The Sacred Valley, locally known as the Urubamba river valley, is situated in the stretch of the valley where there are villages and ruins that are considered ancient structures that should be preserved. The ruins are amazing, and they stand the test of time. It is believed that the Incas were talented, which enabled them to build an empire in the mountains and create a sustainable source of food for their civilization.

How many cities exist in the Sacred Valley?

Traditional towns still exist in the Sacred Valley. There are 4 main towns, one of which is Pisac Town. Pisac town is a district of Calca province in Cusco. In order to follow the itinerary for a tour ending at Machu Picchu, Pisac is considered the entrance to the Sacred Valley. Ollantaytambo town is located in the Sacred Valley and includes the fortress and summits of mountains.

It is a big town, believed to be the last town the Incas populated. Chinchero town is the most traditional town of Sacred Valley, which was tried to civilize by the Spaniards but couldn’t do so. Lastly, Maras town, located in the snow-capped mountains of the Sacred Valley, is a small town. Maras was once a Cusco citizen, then left and started a community in Maras.

Sacred Valley Peru Guide: Tours, Hiking, Maps, Buildings, Facts, and History

What are the myths about the Sacred Valley?

Listed below are the myths about the Sacred Valley.

  • Myth #1: Anyone can camp in the Incan ruins.
  • Myth #2: In order to visit all the sites, anyone can just drive each through them.
  • Myth #3: All Inca ruins can explore in just one day.
  • Myth #4: Sacred Valley is the place for cults.
  • Myth #5: Home guerrillas, violent people.
  • Myth #6: Sacred Valley is already dying and cannot be planted.
  • Myth #7: Peruvian food is Mexican food.
  • Myth #8: People are not educated.
  • Myth #9: People cannot speak English.
  • Myth #10: The Machu Picchu is the only attraction in the Sacred Valley.

Is the Sacred Valley safe?

Yes, visiting the Sacred Valley is generally considered a very safe activity for tourists. However, tourists should exercise caution when traveling during the busiest times of the year. Tourists are easy targets for pickpockets, who can quickly relieve them of their money and passports.

It is highly recommended that vacationers make use of the hotel’s safe-to-store valuables such as jewelry, additional cash, credit cards, and passports. In addition, vacationers should keep a close eye on their luggage at all times and should never leave their belongings alone.

What are the books about the Sacred Valley?

Listed below are the books about the Sacred Valley.

  • Cusco and the sacred valley of the Incas: Written Fernando E. Elorrieta Salazar, Edgar Elorrieta Salazar, and Beverly Nelson Elder. The book covers the heartland of the Incan empire, showing how the sacred valley became the center of Inca civilization.
  • Inca Footprints, Walking Tours Of Cusco And The Sacred Valley Of Peru: Written by Brien Foerster took 5 years, showing the important Inca sites including those older than Inca as well. It covers all significant Inca sites and most of them are academic guides. 
  • Journey to Ollantaytambo, In the Sacred Valley of the Incas: Book by Ethan Hubbard, describes Ollantaytambo as the strong link to the Incas.

Who are the scientists who worked on the Sacred Valley?

In 1911, American archaeologist and politician Hiram Bingham began conducting archaeological research at Machu Picchu, an ancient Inca citadel located in a remote region of the Andes Mountains in Peru. Bingham and the work that he did were the primary driving factors behind the archaeological exploration of sites in the Andes as well as other regions of South America.

What does Sacred Valley Mean?

The Sacred Valley or its Spanish word, “Valle Sagrado de Los Incas” or “Sacred Valley of the Incas”. The locals call the sacred valley the Urubamba valley or Urubamba river valley. According to the historical data based on written scripture, it was called the “Valley of Yucay”. From 1000 to 1400 CE, the sacred valley was slowly unified with the early Inca Empire. The sacred valley was sacred because of its mystical nature made plain, which is considered the place for rituals and worship for the Incan empire.

Which district is Sacred Valley in?

The Sacred Valley belongs to the district region of Cusco, Peru. It is called by locals as the Urubamba Valley, because it is situated in the Urubamba river valley.

Is the Urubamba River close to the Sacred Valley?

Yes, Urubamba river is close to the Sacred Valley. That is why the Sacred Valley is called Urubamba Valley by the locals of Peru. 

Does the Urabamba River affect the history of the Sacred Valley?

Yes, the Urubamba river affected the history of the Sacred Valley. During the time of the Inca Empire, the valley of the Urubamba river was considered to be sacred due to its proximity to Sacred Valley. Once upon a time, the Incan Empire’s spiritual and agricultural center was located along the Urubamba river. Corn, coca, potatoes, and a variety of other crops are grown in fields and along the terraced mountainsides, and the astrological traditions of the Incas mirror the unrelenting flow of the river.

How Did the Sacred Valley Live in the Past?

The daily life of the people who lived in the Sacred Valley was described by strenuous family agricultural work. Often imposed state or service in the military for men, and infrequent lighter instances of celebrations to commemorate important events in the society and serve to highlight in the crop production calendar.

How was agriculture in the Sacred Valley?

Agriculture is the main industry in the Sacred Valley. Since it is near the river and between the Andes Mountains, it helps to keep the moisture and cultivate crops. The Incas created a flat farm to add more crops that could grow on elevated spaces. They built terraces for other crops as they lived in high mountains. These terraces are purposely built to keep the plants well irrigated to prevent drought.

How was mining in the Sacred Valley?

The Incas had a significant wealth of gold and silver. The gold and silver used by the Inca came exclusively from surface sources, either in the form of gemstones or as a result of panning river beds. There were no mines among their possessions, and no mining during that time. On the other hand, when they were mining stones to be utilized in the construction of the Sacred Valley, they employed tools made of bronze to cut the stones and tougher stones that came from a quarry nearby.

How was the economy of the Sacred Valley?

The Inca had a bountiful economy during its peak. Their primary resource was agriculture, which allowed them to trade with other places. It also has plenty of land, workers, mines, and freshwater everywhere. They were able to maintain a thriving economy by carefully utilizing those resources.

How was daily life in the Sacred Valley?

Strong family ties and agricultural production characterized day-to-day life in the Inca Empire. Also, men are required for military service. The daily life of the Incas will depend on what type of labor they are doing. During the childhood of each Inca, they were trained by their parents to work at a young age. Until the child grew, they still continued to work to help expand their empire. However, the women in Inca were only given work inside the house to do household chores and take care of their children.

What are the religious beliefs in the Sacred Valley?

The Inca religion permeated nearly every facet of daily life. Sacred buildings, also known as temples, which were dedicated to their deities, served as one of the numerous focal points for their religious activities. The Inca believed that the spirits of their creator lived in the elements of nature, such as the wind, rivers, trees, the sun, the moon, rock, mountains, and the earth.

As a result of this belief, the Inca constructed religious sites and other ritual areas to honor such spirits, including numerous structures at Machu Picchu. In addition, throughout the course of the year, they participated in a number of religious celebrations that featured performances of music and dance, as well as the consumption of food and the offering of human sacrifices. The Incas practiced mummification of their deceased because they thought that their ancestors retained the ability to watch over their descendants even after death.

How is the Past of Sacred Valley presented to the visitors?

The Sacred Valley was still the same in the past. Tourists experienced and saw what a 7-day tour can offer. The only changes they’ve made were to limit the number of tourists each day and the no-fly zone. Track paths are still challenging, just as today. Archaeological sites and architecture are still in the same places. Its panoramic views are still breathtaking and mesmerizing.

How is the preservation of the Sacred Valley?

The government did not allow the Sacred Valley to be damaged by plenty of tourists daily. Peru has partnered with the agency to help preserve and protect the trail. The agents of the agency have been applying measures for the preservation of the environment around the trail. They provide protection to the natural heritage of the trail and also collect harmful waste that some hikers leave behind.

Is there a modern town in the Sacred Valley?

Yes, there is a modern town in the Sacred Valley. Cusco is known for being the primary city of Peru, but what travelers did not know is that the city of Cusco was earlier the capital of the Inca Empire. The city has lovely colonial architecture that has been preserved to maintain its beauty and wonder by the locals and governments.

Sacred Valley Peru Guide: Tours, Hiking, Maps, Buildings, Facts, and History

How is the map of the Sacred Valley laid out?

Sacred Valley Map

How was transportation to the Sacred Valley?

Peru has various kinds of transportation systems to reach the Sacred Valley. Tourists can take buses, taxis, or the Inca Rail, which can take tourists from Cusco or Machu Picchu to the Sacred Valley. However, the fastest transportation to Sacred Valley is by taxi or private car.

The road system of the Sacred Valley is known in history as a royal road. The Inca Empire used the road primarily for its transportation of goods, military, and communication. These roads connecting different locations were heavily used and were one of the reasons the Inca Empire thrived at its height. 

Does Sacred Valley have a No-fly Zone?

Yes, the Inca Trail has a no-fly zone after Peru’s government banned it. The government’s decision is to protect and preserve the wildlife within the trail. The government decided to have a no-fly zone on the Inca trail ever since their environmentalists announced that there are plenty of wildlife animals and plants that are affected by low-flying helicopter tours. Helicopters are not allowed to fly within a radius of the protected zone of archaeological sites. The government of Peru banned helicopter tours in 2018. 

What are the most prominent historical ruins in the Sacred Valley?

Listed below are the prominent historical ruins in the Sacred Valley. 

  • Pisac: Pisac ruins are one of the best places to appreciate the view of the Peruvian countryside. It is the most well-preserved ruin that the Incas built centuries ago.
  • Santuario Historico de Machu Picchu: The Machu Picchu or the Old Peak is considered as the star of Peru historical ruins. It is part of the Sacred Valley, and the Inca Empire expanded up to Pisac. 
  • Archaeological Park Ollantaytambo: The place serves as the defense or stronghold of Inca resistance against Spanish conquest, headed by the lead of Inca, Manco Inca Yupanqui.
  • Plaza Manco Capac: The place where gatherings are held, the statue of Manco Capac was the symbol of the independence of Peru.

1. Pisac

The Pisac ruins are among Peru’s most intact ancient sites and a perfect representation of ingenious Inca architecture. It is an observation stage that overlooks Pisac town. They are built on top of a mountain that towers over the small town of Pisac. The view from those terraces is priceless, seeing the countryside, which gives every visitor thought of how the ancient Inca built it.

Tourists began their journey to Pisac, the first destination on every tour in the Sacred Valley. Pisac is considered the entrance to the Sacred Valley, as it is the best place to exceed expectations because of the wonders of the ruins made by the Inca. 

2. Santuario Historico de Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu, often written Machupijchu, is a site of ancient Inca ruins that is located approximately 50 miles (80 km) northwest of Cuzco, Peru, in the Cordillera de Vilcabamba of the Andes Mountains. It is claimed that Inca rulers used Machu Picchu as a sacred religious place or perhaps a royal residence during the time of the Spanish conquest of Peru in the 16th century. 

Some historians and anthropologists have speculated that it was constructed and started being inhabited around the years 1420 AD to 1530 AD. There is no clear understanding of why the ancient city of “Santuario Historico de Machu Picchu” or Machu Picchu was constructed. However, there is evidence in the form of skeletal and material remnants that suggests Machu Picchu was constructed to function as a royal retreat. Even though the reason for the site’s abandonment is unknown, it’s possible that a shortage of water was a contributing factor.

In addition, when it comes to the climate, the weather at Machu Picchu is often nice and warm throughout the day, and then it gradually becomes cooler as the evening progresses. The region experiences temperatures that range anywhere from 50 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (12 to 24 degrees Celsius). The dry season and the rainy season at Machu Picchu are the most distinguishing features of the climate there.  

3. Archaeological Park Ollantaytambo

The Archaeological Park Ollantaytambo is situated in the northern part of the Sacred Valley. The archaeological site of Ollantaytambo was a prominent place for military activities that served as a defense for the resistance against the Spanish conquest, led by the leader Manco Inca Yupanqui.

The main colony is located on the left boundary of the Patakancha River, with a smaller compound called “Araqhama” on the right boundary. The main Inca ceremonial center is found beyond Araqhama on a hill called Cerro Bandolista. Several Inca structures are in the surrounding areas.

The fortress is impressively built, and the Inca bridges were made with large boulders that were carved into their ideal shapes to hold a structure. The central base is supported by two huge pieces that allow it to effectively hold its foundation. Below the Archaeological Park Ollantaytambo is the Choqana fortress, on the left part of the Urubamba river, as part of the defense of the Inca complex.

4. Plaza Manco Capac

Located in Aguas Calientes, the Plaza Manco Capac is one of the attractions while visiting the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. It is situated in the district of La Victoria and was established by Bauzate and Meza. The statue of Manco Capac was a gift from the Japanese colony as the symbol of the independence of Peru through the sculptor David Lozano. The statue was inaugurated on April 5, 1926, and was placed in its current location, in the Plaza Manco Capac in 1933.

Is Sacred Valley in UNESCO World Heritage Sites?

No, the Sacred Valley is not a UNESCO World Heritage Site. However, Machu Picchu is included in the world heritage site, which is part of the Sacred Valley.

What is the contribution of the Sacred Valley to tourism in Peru?

The Sacred Valley plays a big role in tourism in Peru. Not only for centuries ago, as a producer of high-grade crops, but also as a tourist destination. Though Machu Picchu is the star of Peru’s attraction, considering how the Sacred Valley contains most of the ancient Incan ruins, it is a must to take time and appreciate the history of how the Inca civilization lived.

The Sacred Valley is a special part of the Inca civilization and plays an important role for all its people. The villages in the Sacred Valley benefit from the visiting tourists that provide their livelihood. The government as well as the people benefit from the ancient archaeological sites that have been architectural masterpieces that tell stories of the past of how the early people lived their lives.

Who was the architecture of the City of Sacred Valley?

It is thought that Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui, the ninth Inca king, was responsible for the construction of the Sacred Valley ruins. As a builder of empires, Pachacuti was responsible for the beginning of a series of battles that would eventually lead to the expansion of the Inca kingdom over South America, all the way from Ecuador to Chile. The Inca Empire was capable of producing some of the most remarkable works of architecture, which can still be seen thanks to the huge number of ruins that have been left behind.

Which materials are used for the construction of the Sacred Valley?

Granite, a material with a high density that is common in the area, was used in the construction of Machu Picchu and the Inca ruins in the Sacred Valley. Some of them were carved out of the granite that made up the bedrock of the mountain range. It was erected without the use of wheels; instead, hundreds of men moved the huge stone up the steep mountainside. In addition, the buildings and terraces were constructed using a method that is known as “Idquo ashlar.” This method involves cutting stones such that they fit together without the use of cement.

Is the Sacred Valley in danger?

No, the Sacred Valley is not in danger. The strategic place where the Inca Empire built structures was highly thought of. The years have proven that the structures they have made stand the test of time. Even today, granite stones are the best material for a foundation.

Is Sacred Valley floating in the past?

No, Sacred Valley has not floated in the past. However, there are signs that Sacred Valley is part of the large body of the river. The river of the Urubamba valley is the river that supplies irrigation for the cultivation of crops produced by the Incas.

How many artifacts do exist in the Sacred Valley?

There are artifacts uncovered during the years 1912 to 1915. It includes some ceramic vessels, gold jewelry, and silver statues. There are 46,000 artifacts that have been recovered, including a mummy or human remains that are now being displayed at Yale’s Peabody Museum.

How does the University of Yale return the artifacts of the Sacred Valley?

Peru and Yale have fought over the relics for years. Yale archaeologist Hiram Bingham III established a camp in Ollantaytambo in 1911. From there, he went to Machu Picchu. Bingham’s National Geographic articles popularized the place. With Peruvian government permission, he excavated hundreds of artifacts; jewelry, tools, human bones, and ceramics.

When Bingham returned in 1912, Peru allowed Yale to study the artifacts. Yale’s scientific commitment was recognized, but the artifacts might be handed back to Peru at anytime Peru asked. Some relics were returned, but most stayed at Yale’s Peabody Museum. The university transported the relics to New Haven for study.

Yale claimed possession of the collection and asserted that finders of artifacts were permitted to keep them, notwithstanding Bingham’s written acknowledgment of an obligation to give back the artifacts. In 2008, Peru sued in U.S. federal court over escalating demands. November saw Peru’s robust media blitz. Peruvian President Alan Garcia led thousands of demonstrators through Lima’s streets. Garcia requested Obama to intervene, and the Peruvians requested the pope to intervene.

Yale’s president sent a delegate to Lima to open up negotiations with the Garcia administration. Yale anthropologist professor Richard Burger was on the negotiation team. Two sides inked an MOU within days.  Yale had originally insisted on keeping the artificers for the next 99 years. Now, the artifacts will go to an institution in Cuzco, the Inca capital. Then, Peru will create a museum and research institute to house its collections.

Some Sample Artifacts from the Sacred Valley?

Listed below are some examples of artifacts from the Sacred Valley.

  • El Aribalo: El Aribalo is a ceramic jar used for transporting, preserving, and serving beer that is brewed from corn.  The aribalo pottery was put to use not only in day-to-day life but also in the service of the dead as grave goods.
  • El Quero: El Quero was a type of glass that originated in the Inca culture. It was used to consume liquids, such as the customary chicha de jora drink. El Quero was a piece of earthenware. Both the people of the Tiahuanaco civilization and the Incas employed the El Quero as a ceremonial container during important religious events. These celebrations took place at sacred sites.
  • Bismuth (Ceremonial Knife): The ceremonial knife made of bismuth was the earliest Inca artifact discovered in Machu Picchu.
  • White Kaolin Plate: The White Kaolin Plate was discovered at an old burial site that contained the remains of three adult women. 
  • Inca Textiles: Inca textiles were created out of cotton, particularly along the coast and in the eastern lowlands, or wool from llamas, alpacas, and vicunas, which was more popular in the highlands. Cotton was more common on the coast and in the eastern lowlands. Only the Inca ruler was permitted to keep vicuna herds, and goods that were created with the wool of the super-soft vicuna were limited. 

What are the movies about Sacred Valley?

Listed below are the movies about the Sacred Valley.


  • The Secret of the Incas (1954): In the movie series “The Secret of the Incas,” the main plot revolves around an expedition that is searching for the precious Inca Sunburst Treasure, which was hidden during the Spanish conquest of Peru more than 500 years ago.
  • The Ghost of Machu Picchu (2010): In “The Ghost of Machu Picchu,” it is explained how the Incas were able to construct a city on such steep terrain, including the Sacred Valley. In a location that experienced such high levels of precipitation without the city itself sliding down the mountain.
  • The Lost City of Machu Picchu (2019): In “The Lost City of Machu Picchu,” there is an explanation of gateways and corridors that provide a glimpse into the city’s spectral history. It provides information regarding the enigmatic culture as well as the people who constructed the metropolis.
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