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Sacred Valley

The Inca Heartland

The Sacred Valley of the Incas lies approximately 20 miles north of Cusco. The Urubamba—or Vilcanota—River passes through this valley, moderating the climate and supporting some of the most fertile farmlands in the region. The area also served as a trading route to the tropical lowlands and a buffer zone against raiding jungle tribes.

The central section of the valley is the site of some of area’s best lodges and restaurants. This area is about 1,700 feet lower than Cusco.  Many of our clients stay two or three nights, acclimatizing and exploring the surrounding communities.  This is a perfect base for horseback, mountain bike, kayak, and trekking excursions. 

The north end of the valley is anchored by the town of Ollantaytambo. The hillside temple complex was a key stronghold during Manco Inca's resistance against Hernando Pizarro in 1537. Here you can climb the massive stairways, admiring the stonework and the views of the hillside granaries of Pinkuyuna. Sections of the town itself reveal Inca civil engineering, including roadside aqueducts, walls, and terraces.

Pisac, near the southern end of the valley, is famous for its market—held on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Above the town, the ruins known as Inca Pisac contain ritual baths and temples, including a Temple of the Sun. The surrounding hillsides are lined with agricultural terraces arrayed like the wing of a partridge—or pisaca in Quechua.

To the south, the rolling Chinchero Plateau rewards visitors with patchwork landscapes of corn and quinoa, views sacred snowcapped giants, vibrant markets, and astounding ancient sites.

Mosaico Travel Services arranges personalized travel in Peru and throughout South America. We organize luxury accommodation, private transportation, and tours with expert guides. Speak with a Mosaico travel planner today at 801.582.2100. We’ll take care of the details.


"If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home."

James Michener