Urubamba: A Small Town With A Big Kick
Crisp mountain air and rolling rivers are just some of the things that await you in Urubamba, a quaint village and transport hub in the Sacred Valley. Home to plenty of hotels as well as less-conventional stays like the Skylodge, Urubamba is full of gems that make it a great place to consider when pondering where to stay in Peru.
Its really close to some of Perus most iconic Incan ruins, like Machu Picchu and Ollantaytambowhich means you can head to the ruins from Urubamba and not Cusco like everyone else. When youre done exploring ancient history, Urubamba can fuel your inner adrenaline junkyits the best place to experience both paragliding and white water rafting.
Cultural Things To Do In The Sacred Valley
Known as the Inca Heartland, if you want to experience modern day life in Peru while simultaneously feeling like youve stepped back centuries in time, theres no better place than the Sacred Valley. Here it seems you cant cross the street without encountering some ancient ruin or another.Check out some of the best cultural things to do in the Sacred Valley:
Top Sights In The Sacred Valley
Pisac: Famous for its Sunday market, in which farmers come from all over the Sacred Valley with a colorful bounty of local fruit and vegetables, Pisac is also worth a visit for its large Inca ruins. Located above the town via a zigzagging road, the agricultural terraces and stone ruins offer sweeping views of the valley below.
Ollantaytambo: Aside from its cobblestone streets and friendly cafes, Ollantaytambos primary attraction is the Inca fortress located right at the edge of town. Though these ruins are more compact than those in Pisac, be prepared for some climbing the terraces and temples were built into a steep hillside.
Chinchero: In this small town, you can take in a traditional weaving demonstration, visit a pretty colonial-era church, and explore Inca terraces. Chinchero also has a Sunday market.
This town is home to two of the Sacred Valleys most distinctive attractions: a patchwork of hillside geometric salt pools that have been used to mine salt for centuries, and an Inca site called Moray, where the concentric terraces look like a giant green amphitheater.
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Getting There And Around
The nearest major city to the Sacred Valley is Cusco most international travelers arrive by air via Lima. Once in Cusco, there are a variety of ways to get to the Sacred Valley. While cheap public buses operate in the area, most tourists find it safer and more comfortable to take a taxi or arrange a private transfer through a hotel. Another option: Shared taxis, or colectivos, carry up to four passengers and connect major towns in the area.
You can rent a car at the Cusco airport, but the U.S. State Department cautions against driving yourself at night or in rural areas in Peru, thanks to poor signage and sometimes dangerous roads. Instead, many travelers join local tours or hire a driver to take them around the Sacred Valley. Your hotel can help you find a driver and English-speaking guide.
Hostal Madre Tierra Cusco
High up in the picturesque artists quarter of San Blas, with its narrow cobbled streets and whitewashed houses, this small and cosy guesthouse has just seven rooms. All are decorated in natural materials including wicker furniture and the wine-red bedspreads add a welcoming touch. Theres a small living area with a crackling fireplace and the buffet breakfast is served at the communal table in the open-plan kitchen.Doubles from $58 B& B, +51 84 248452, hostalmadretierra.com
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Ollantaytambo Sacred Valley Peru
A day trip to Ollantaytambo is one of the best things to do in the Sacred Valley, and it makes a perfect stopping point on the way to visit Machu Picchu.
One of the most original and well-preserved pre-Incan and Incan towns in Peru, many of the buildings date back to the Incans and are built from a combination of stone and adobe . The engineering genius of the ancient civilisation which once ruled here can still be seen in the corn terraces which wrap and flow around the hillsides, and in the hydro-engineering that brings water from one river, evenly distributing it across the farmland and through channels that crisscross the town, providing clean, fresh drinking and cleaning water.
The Sacred Valley is peppered with historic towns and villages dating back to the ancient Inca civilization, Ollantaytambo is probably the most original and picturesque, still keeping much of its traditional culture. The ancient Incan streets, houses, and waterways are even more beautiful by night.
Where To Stay In Peru: 10 Amazing Places
Ever wanted to wake up in an ancient city steeped in history? Hope to pitch your hammock in a quiet mountain village alive with indigenous culture? You can do both in Peruand so much more! With so many options, it can be hard to decide where to stay in Peru. Luckily, weve got you covered with these ten amazing places.
No matter where you stay in Peru, get the most out of your visit by connecting with a local to plan your trip. Theyll create a custom itinerary that ensures youll see a unique side of your destinationwherever that may be! Why see Peru any other way? Learn more.
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Sacred Valley Peru Site #3 Salineras De Maras
For our second day in the Sacred Valley, we arranged a taxi from our hotel in Ollantaytambo. The price was 200 soles for around 6 hours. We started at the Salineras de Maras. Youll need a separate ticket to visit this site. These ancient salt terraces of the Incas are still in use by the local community today. Each family owns and maintains their own individual pond.
Best Vrbos / Airbnbs In Cusco Peru
Staying in a Vrbo or Airbnb in Cusco is an excellent way to directly give back to the local communities. Often time, these accommodations offer a more cozy environment compared to traditional hotels, as well as unique amenities such as fully equipped kitchens, access to rooftops and terraces, laundry machines and more.The hosts of Vrbo or Airbnb are often locals who have been in the area for a long time. They will not only be able to assist you with basic tourist information but can also tell you about the hidden gems in Cusco. It is one of the better ways to fully experience the culture of Peru!Here are some of the best Vrbos and Airbnbs in Cusco, Peru!
If you are looking for visiting Cusco as a pair or couple, then consider this homey penthouse apartment. Its most iconic feature is the rooftop, where guests can relax on one of the benches and take in the panoramic views of the Andean Mountain Range.This Cusco vacation rental is located two blocks away from Plaza De Armas, the main plaza of Cusco. From the best restaurants to the best attractions in Cusco, everything is within walking distance away. The apartment is also situated above a hotel, where guests can enjoy its amenities.
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Adventurous Things To Do In The Sacred Valley
Back when I first stayed in the Sacred Valley of the Incas in 2011, it was definitely well known for its incredible Inca ruins and other cultural and archaeological sites, but not so much for its adventure sports.
These days, Perus Sacred Valley is an ever-emerging hub for all things adrenaline and adventure. So if youre looking to give your mother a heart attack, check out some of the most intense and adventurous things to do in the Sacred Valley:
Where To Stay In The Sacred Valley Peru
Ollantaytambo is a super charming town along the Urubamba river in the Peruvian countryside, with mountains and ancient ruins all around. Theres even a covered bridge over the river.
As I mentioned earlier in the post, I highly recommend staying 2 nights in Ollantaytambo to explore the Sacred Valley Peru. You can definitely visit all the sites mentioned as day trips from Cusco, but obviously youll be much closer in Ollantaytambo.
And if youre going to Machu Picchu, the train departs from Ollantaytambo. You can walk to the train station from your hotel. You can also store your luggage at the hotel you can only bring a backpack with you on the train to Machu Picchu.
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Sacred Valley Peru Site #2 Ollantaytambo
We had our taxi driver drop us off at our hotel in Ollantaytambo. We dropped off our luggage and walked to the ruins at the Ollantaytambo Sanctuary. If youre doing this as a day trip, just have you driver take you straight to the ruins and wait for you there. It will take about 1 hour to visit the ruins.
You can enter the Ollantaytambo ruins with the Sacred Valley Peru combo ticket you purchased at Pisac. Be sure to hang on to this ticket! Youll need it for one more site the next day.
Get Inspired To Visit Peru :
Charming and quaint streets of Cusco
Couldnt get enough of al the alleys, plazas and vistas!
My fave cafe in Cusco LAtelier Cafe!
All the blue doors in San Blas neighbourhood, Cusco
Loved making friends with all the alpacas, llamas, and
baby sheep!! How adorable is this little lamb
Stunning pool at Belmond Palacio Nazarenas and Hotel Sol Y Luna
Staying in a historic hotel in Cusco is such an incredible experience in itself!
Staying deep in the Sacred Valley is the best way to disconnect and get in tune with the magic of this place!
Colorful Peruvian textile and fabrics
5000 ancient Incan salt pans of Salineras De Maras!
The highlight of our trip, a major pinch me moment Machu Picchu!
Thanks for stopping by! xoxo
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Top Sacred Valley Luxury Hotels:
Our Luxury Picks
#1 Hacienda Urubamba
Guestroom at Hacienda Urubamba. Photo by Inkaterra.
Tucked in a valley of the Andean countryside, Hacienda Urubamba by Inkaterra is a Spanish-style estate with Inca decor throughout. The Casa Hacienda main house and stand alone Casitas offer opulent lodging with panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and meadows. Here you can immerse in the local charm with a book from your private porch. Or, you can visit the earth-to-table restaurant, wander through the healing garden and enjoy a rejuvenating spa treatment. There are also excursions included in your stay that allow you to fully take in the natural landscape. This is a PFL favorite when it comes to Sacred Valley Luxury Hotels.
Hacienda Urubamba Highlights
Sacred Valley Tours:
Review from Peru for Less Cornelia Collett:
Hacienda Urubambas spa was really beautiful, it has a tone of understated luxury to it, in line with the rest of the hotel. If you opt for a massage, your massage therapist will take you into the spas herb garden, where you can choose your own herbs that the oil will be infused with. There are two massage rooms that can be connected, so if you are a couple, you can enjoy a couples massage. Before or after your massage, you can enjoy warm herbal tea or cold infused water in the warm plunge pool while you gaze up at the stars . There is also a charming sauna in the spa complex.
#2 Hotel Rio Sagrado by Belmond
Rio Sagrado Highlights
Unusual Accommodation In The Sacred Valley
View Of The Sacred Valley Of The Incas And The Skylodge To The Top Right
4. Escape from the normal hotel setting and instead stay in a glass globe suite perched on the side of a mountain in the Sacred Valley with a stay at Skylodge Adventure Suites, which is an adventure all on its own. Three transparent glass capsule suites are mounted to the mountain wall 1,200 feet above the ground with features that include four beds with quality fittings, a private bathroom, privacy dome curtains, and a dining area. Ample windows allow you to see panoramic views of the mountains and the valley below during the day and sleep under the stars at night. To access the glass capsules, guests can either make the climb or hike the trail. When it is time to leave your pod, youll use the zipline to take you to the bottom of the mountain.
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A Tinggly Experience Part 2 Mountain Biking In Maras And Moray
The second half of our Sacred Valley, Tinggly adventure day in Maras, was an off-road mountain biking adventure through part of the Sacred Valley itself. The high altitude can make breathing difficult and although the ride is listed as pleasant and non-strenuous, it all depends on how long youve had to adapt to the lack of oxygen. When we were here a year ago, I could have done this ride all day long, but after about six months living on the beach sea level then traveling up to over 3000 meters in 5 days, it was extremely hard, and my lungs burned at the slightest incline! Everyones body reacts differently, so be prepared for that. The ride itself was spectacular, with a mixture of fast downhill, steep uphill climbs and dusty, undulating fast track.
The route takes you up and over some of the highest farmlands in the area, where farmers use donkeys to carry harvested grain and workers aged 10 to 70 years old plow and seeds the field with hand and Buffalo. The journey takes you past the salt ponds I mentioned above and down to the Moray Archaeological Park, where you can get the best views of the ancient Incan agricultural laboratory. Just make sure that you have enough money to you to pay for the Archaeological Park, which is approximately 70 soles at the time of writing. Cycling through the Sacred Valley is one of the best ways to truly experience how it feels to be a part of this environment.
Best Hotels In Sacred Valley
The Sacred Valley of the Incas in Peru, near the Inca city of Cusco, is one of the most beautiful places by nature that you will ever visit on your travels around the world. The valley was a favorite place for the Incas who used the area to live and grow food for the Inca Empire. Today you can visit some of the ruins left by the Incas in Pisaq and Ollantaytambo. And so see the genius and talent of the Inca builders. During your visit to the area, you will need to stay at one of the many hotels in Sacred Valley.
Depending on your budget, there is a hotel for you in the Sacred Valley. There are both luxury and budget hotels in the Sacred Valley. So let us review some of the best properties to look for as you research your stay in the Valley. That is why together with Machu Travel Peru, we have prepared a small article with those best hotels in Sacred Valley.
Some of the best hotels in Sacred Valley
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Explore The Charms Of Awanakancha
Unless youre headed deep into the countryside, the best and easiest way to see Peruvian alpacas and llamas is at Awanakancha. Awanakancha is a charming camelid farm thats dedicated to the animals and textiles produced from their wool.
Here, youll find alpacas, llamas, vicunas, and guanacos. There are several open enclosures and plenty of free grass stalks for visitors to feed the animals.
While youre in Awanakancha, dont forget to visit the onsite exhibits as well. There, you can see how wool is harvested, refined, and naturally dyed before being woven into fabrics. Native women will often demonstrate traditional weaving techniques using ancient looms.
Ollantaytambo is the last spot we visit during our Sacred Valley tour and offers fascinating ruins.
La Casa De Barro Chinchero
In the picturesque village of Chinchero, La Casa de Barro has warm and welcoming rooms with dark wood floors and thick adobe walls. Ceramic and wicker lamps provide mellow lighting, and the bedroom walls have floral designs. The large garden has outdoor seating shaded by parasols, and climbing plants adorn the side facade of the building. Theres an excellent restaurant too, serving Andean and Creole home cooking in a cosy dining area with a fireplace and decorated with leather masks, local fabrics and ceramics.Doubles from $88, +51 84 306 031, lacasadebarro.com
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Why Stay In Ollantaytambo
We decided to spend 5 days in Ollantaytambo before heading to Aguas Calientes for two nights so we could get an early start to Machu Picchu. We spent a day in Pisaq at the fabulous market and ruins, a day with a womens weaving collective, half a day rafting and had time to hang out. There was a market where we could buy fresh food and snacks.
It was a great decision and I would highly recommend it.
Why Visit The Sacred Valley
During the Incan Empire, the Sacred Valley was an important region best known for being the main path from Cusco to Machu Picchu. Because of the areas two distinct seasons as well as its proximity to the Urubamba River the valley was a sustained water source that was ideal for growing crops and livestock.
Today, the Sacred Valley offers centuries-old Inca ruins, green terraces, picturesque colonial towns, and colorful markets. Perhaps the most popular attractions are the citadels of Ollantaytambo and Pisac, but this beautiful Andean region is also full of other stunning Incan sites, hiking routes, and adrenaline-inducing activities.
As the altitude in the Sacred Valley is lower than in Cusco, the area is a perfect destination for acclimatizing yourself before heading to Machu Picchu or along the ancient Inca Trail.
The Sacred Valley offers many beautiful spots for scenic photos.
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