Famous Sacred Valley of the Incas
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The Sacred Valley was the sacred valley of the Incas in Peru. The area in the Andes Mountains has numerous well-known and lesser-known remains that you can visit. The highlight is of course Machu Picchu, but also, for example, the agricultural terraces of Pisac and the wonderful amphitheatres of Moray. The popular Inca Trail also runs through this valley. These are all the sights of the Sacred Valley.
Almost all travellers who visit Peru also visit the Sacred Valley. For good reason, it's magical. There are many highlights and wonderful lesser known places to explore. In the video below I'll show you 8 of the best places to go. It includes some of the best hikes, but also the famous train and more.
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Unfortunately, some people only stay in this area for one day. Which is a shame, because there is so much to see and do. There is so much to see that you could stay here for a week. This is the hotspot, especially if you want to know more about the Inca culture. Where you can learn all about this special culture, its history, the role of the Spaniards who arrived here and much more in countless places.
You will also learn about the many questions that archaeologists still have about the Incas and in particular about their many buildings high in the mountains. Did they have a ceremonial function or something else? A visit to the Sacred Valley answers many questions, but also raises new ones I noticed during my visit.
Cusco is the ancient capital of the Incas. From the city, the Incas ruled their great empire between the 12th and 15th centuries. Partly for this reason, Cusco is also called Imperial City. It is a wonderful city with many nice restaurants, shops and hotels. It is also perfect for all kinds of tours to the other Inca sites. Where you can often visit several in a day with a guide.
Read my article on Cusco
Machu Picchu is the absolute tourist attraction of Peru. And yes, you must have seen this ancient Inca city at 2,430 meters in the mountains. Partly because of this, it has become touristy. Nonetheless, there are tours to avoid the crowd. Discover the best tips for your visit to the Inca city with lots of information.
Ollantaytambo is an ancient Inca city with many mysteries. It is a place with an intriguing history. Both the current city and the ancient Inca city lie on the banks of the Urubamba River. It is located at an altitude of 2,792 meters above sea level. You will find the steepest terraces of the Incas against the mountains. For many, it is also the start of the Inca Trail. You can also take the train to Machu Picchu from this town.
Read my article on Ollantaytambo
It is one of the most famous hikes in Peru: the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. The ancient trade route of the Incas is 160 kilometres long. You can start at many points. The most popular part is the last 40 kilometres. This is usually done in 4 days (3 nights). But you can choose whether you want to walk for two, three, four or seven days. It is relatively busy, especially the last part.
The Salkantay Trek is an alternative to the Inca Trail. I did the hike and found it magical. This five-day hike takes you higher in the mountains than the Inca Trail. This multi-day route leads along the Salkantay through the Andes at an altitude of more than 4,000 meters. The Salkantay Trek is rougher, more difficult and above all quieter. This is the Andes at its best.
Read my article on the Salkantay Trek
The train is the best way to travel to Machu Picchu. At least to the town of Aquas Calientes, where you can spend the night. From Cusco, you travel in three hours to this city in the rainforest. Although you can also board at other locations in the Sacred Valley, such as Ollantaytambo. Check in advance which train you want, so that you get the most out of it.
Read my article on the Train to Machu Picchu
Sacsayhuamán is an Inca ruin on the outskirts of Cusco. You can walk to it from the city via the famous neighbourhood of San Blas. En route, you will stumble upon llamas walking around. The remains are more than 3,500 meters above sea level. You notice that when you go up from Cusco on foot. According to archaeologists, Sacsayhuamán is shaped like a puma's head, with the city of Cusco supposed to represent the body.
Read my article on Sacsayhauman
The hills around the village of Pisac are covered with steep but ingenious agricultural terraces of the Incas. In addition, it was a defensive stronghold of the Incas. According to archaeologists, it was probably also a spiritual centre for them. A visit to Pisac is one of the excursions from Cusco.
Read my article on Pisac
The terraces are remarkably ingeniously laid out in the mountainous landscape. The water is used optimally, after which the salt is left behind by the heat of the sun. The locals have been doing it for thousands of years, so have the Incas. This place is also often visited via a day trip from Cusco, often in combination with Moray.
Read my article on the Salt Terraces of Maras
The world-famous Amphitheatres of Moray are an enigma. Scientists are still trying to figure out the function of these strange circles made by the Incas. When I was there I heard some interesting theories from guides. You can form an idea why these monuments were built for yourself when you are exploring the area.
Read my article on Amphitheatres of Moray
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