It is often thought that the only thing you can do in Cusco is to visit Machupicchu. However, you can see an enormous number of places in this beautiful destination. The spectacular scenery of snow-capped mountains, flowering meadows, turquoise lagoons, and varied flora and fauna make the Sacred Valley of the Incas the perfect place for adventure and leisure tourism in Peru.
If you want a quiet vacation, we recommend you enjoy a relaxing paddle in the Piuray lagoon. Suppose you like history and anthropological information: head to the Inkari museum. To interact with the locals and learn about their lifestyles and traditions, we suggest you visit the various communities of Lamay. Here is everything you need to know about the Sacred Valley to make your trip fantastic.
Most flights to the Sacred Valley depart and arrive from Lima. The Peruvian capital offers visitors many things to see and do, being the gateway to the rest of the country, with domestic flights to major cities, including Cusco. Keep an eye on the websites of the various airlines, as from time to time, they offer discounts and promotions for travel to the Imperial City, with prices as low as $70. If you can, look for a window seat, as the view of the Andes on the way is breathtaking.
You can also travel to Cusco by car or bus. The trip takes about 22 hours. The road stretches 1100 km through increasingly rugged and isolated terrain. We recommend scheduling a few stops to better cope with the road if you plan this adventure.
Once in Cusco, to get to the Sacred Valley, you can take a bus to Ollantaytambo -they leave every 15 minutes-. You can also hire a cab or share a car with other travelers going to the same destination.
The climate in the Sacred Valley does not usually vary much throughout the year. Daytime temperatures range between 20 and 25 °C, while at night, they drop to approximately five °C, and some people feel a cold that can be intense. We recommend traveling in the dry season between April and November. You can travel between December and March if you do not mind the rain.
Remember to acclimatize before doing any activity that requires a high physical demand in the Sacred Valley, such as hiking or climbing. The average altitude at this site is 2850 meters above sea level, and the lack of oxygen could cause inconvenience. Bring your sunscreen, umbrella, plenty of liquid (accompanied by coca leaves), and warm clothes if you stay in one of the villages for the night.
From backpackers to five-star hotels, the options in the Sacred Valley are numerous and varied. In the rural areas of the Valley, some hotels and haciendas offer stays with attractive complementary services, such as relaxation therapies, spiritual retreats, healthy food, yoga classes, etc.
The Sacred Valley has thousands of places for all tastes, such as Pisac, Ollantaytambo, Urubamba, Chinchero, Yucay, Maras, Moray, and Aguas Calientes, among others. Most tours offer trips by bus and train, with stops at the main archaeological complexes, visits to markets, and adventure sports.
If you hire a tour, make sure you have time to enjoy it all and that it combines different means of transportation, such as biking and hiking, with train and bus so that you can have all kinds of experiences.
The gastronomic options in the Sacred Valley have grown. There are a large number of restaurants in Ollantaytambo, Urubamba, and Pisac that offer all kinds of Andean dishes based on fresh and native ingredients. Dare to try the Chiri Uchu, a fried trout, a baked guinea pig, a succulent Inchicapi, or a regional tuber stew called Kapchi; as you can see, the alternatives are very varied and original.
Also, be sure to visit the breweries of the Valley. These are places where you will discover the production process of the beer made in this place, accompanied by a delicious Andean snack.