Astonishingly beautiful and lined with multiple hues of green and brown, the fertile Sacred Valley is an area of Peru that often gets overlooked by visitors. People tend to rush through the Valley when travelling from Cusco to Machu Picchu without taking time to stop; with its abundance of historical ruins, cultural market towns as well as the impressive nature on offer, the Sacred Valley unquestionably deserves to become a standalone destination.
The picturesque Urubamba River meanders through the Valley, making its way towards the jungle before it merges with other Amazon tributaries. Notable highlights along its course are the bustling market towns of Pisac and Chinchero, the salt pans at Maras and the phenomenal agricultural terraces of Moray. These areas are so dramatic and colourful that they are a photographer’s dream, and should not be missed. Adrenaline junkies will be suitably entertained, there are extensive opportunities to explore areas on horseback, mountain bike or by raft.
Urubamba and Ollantaytambo are two prominent towns in the region. The former is larger and home to several of the area’s lodgings, an attractive Plaza de Armas and a church at San Pedro. Ollantayambo was once an important Incan administrative centre with towering ruins. Here you will find the tiny train station and the starting point for the Inca Trail, both will lead you to the most dramatic and enchanting of the Incan citadels, Machu Picchu.