One of my top travel experiences has got to be the journey through the awe-inspiring wonders of the Sacred Valley. Nestled in the heart of Peru, the Sacred Valley is a treasure trove of history, culture, and natural beauty. From the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu to the charming village of Chinchero, each destination offers a unique experience that will leave you enchanted. Join me as I delve into the must-visit places in this remarkable region.
Cusco: The Gateway to Adventure
As your starting point, Cusco welcomes you with its cobblestone streets and colonial charm. This city was once the capital of the Inca Empire and today, it’s a vibrant hub where history and modernity coexist. Explore the Plaza de Armas, visit the Cathedral, and immerse yourself in the local markets. Cusco is not just a stopover; it’s an essential part of your Sacred Valley journey. It’s why we spent most of our days there. We used Cusco as a place to acclimatize and I’ve shared 10 useful tips for traveling to Cusco and the Sacred Valley.
Chinchero: Where Tradition Comes Alive
Venture to Chinchero, a living testament to Andean culture. Here, you’ll witness traditional weaving techniques passed down through generations. The Chinchero market is a burst of colors, offering intricately woven textiles and artisanal crafts. Visit the Chinchero Ruins for a glimpse into ancient Inca architecture against a backdrop of breathtaking landscapes.
Moray: Unraveling Agricultural Ingenuity
The enigmatic circular terraces of Moray are a testament to the Inca’s advanced agricultural techniques. These concentric terraces served as an agricultural laboratory, creating microclimates for testing crops. Wander through this natural amphitheater and marvel at the ingenuity that shaped civilizations.
Maras Salt Mines: Nature’s Artistry
A surreal sight awaits you at the Maras Salt Mines. Thousands of salt ponds cascade down the mountainside, creating a mesmerizing patchwork of white. This centuries-old salt-mining method is both functional and picturesque. Explore the paths that wind through the salt ponds and learn about this ancient tradition.
Ollantaytambo: Living Inca Citadel
Step into the living Inca citadel of Ollantaytambo, a place frozen in time. Towering terraces and stone structures tell tales of ancient battles and Inca royalty. As you explore the Temple Hill and the Temple of the Sun, you’ll be transported to a world of legends and history.
Machu Picchu: The Crown Jewel
No visit to the Sacred Valley is complete without experiencing the iconic Machu Picchu. Shrouded in mist and mystery, this ancient citadel perched high in the Andes is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Wander through its intricate stone pathways and plazas, and connect with the spirits of the past. I explored Machu Picchu and took in the breathtaking Andean views from the Belmond train Hiram Bingham. You have to see this stunning train!
Pisac: Where History and Landscape Converge
In the town of Pisac, the Pisac Ruins offer a glimpse into Inca urban planning. The terraced hillsides, temples, and observatories are set against a backdrop of lush valleys. Don’t miss the vibrant Pisac Market, where you can shop for local crafts and immerse yourself in the bustling atmosphere.
Your journey through the Sacred Valley promises enchanting landscapes, profound history, and cultural encounters that will stay with you forever. Whether you’re an adventurer, history enthusiast, or a seeker of natural beauty, the Sacred Valley welcomes you with open arms. Prepare to be captivated by the stories embedded in its stones and the echoes of its past.