The Sacred Valley of the Incas (otherwise known as the Urubamba Valley) lies north of Cusco and is generally thought to include all the towns along the Urubamba River from Pisac to Ollantaytambo. The reason the Sacred Valley often comes up paired with Machu Picchu is because you necessarily have to pass through various towns in the Sacred Valley to get to Machu Picchu in the first place. That’s why our most popular tour is the 2-Day Tour from the Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu by Train.
If you have the time, we highly recommend going on a tour of the towns in the Sacred Valley on your way to Machu Picchu not only because they’re along the way, but also because they give you a foundational understanding of the Inca Empire that enriches your understanding of the Machu Picchu archeological site.
Highlights of the Sacred Valley of the Incas:
- Chinchero – this traditional town is known for its handicrafts and textile work
- Moray Ruins – this archeological site is a great example of terrace farming during the time of the Incas
- Salt Mines of Maras – salt production from these mines dating back to the Inca Empire are still carried out the traditional way
- Ollantaytambo – this urban center of the Incas is strategically located and showcases some of the best examples of Inca architecture
- Pisac – this town includes an archeological site and the perfect market for souvenir shopping
What is the altitude of the Sacred Valley in Peru?
Since the Sacred Valley encompasses various towns, its altitude ranges widely from Ollantaytambo at around 2,800 meters or 9,000 feet to the town of Chinchero at around 3,700 meters or over 12,000 feet. Compare that to the altitude of the city of Cusco at around 3,400 meters or 11,000 feet.
Where is the Sacred Valley in Peru?
The Sacred Valley is located in southern Peru and includes various towns along the Urubamba River north of Cusco.
How far is the Sacred Valley from Cusco?
Cusco is around 30 kilometers or 19 miles away from the closest town typically associated with the Sacred Valley, Chinchero.