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Sacred Valley of the Incas: Everything you need to know

Where is the Sacred Valley of the Incas located?

The Sacred Valley of the Incas is a vast valley of the Peruvian Andes between the towns of Pisac and Ollantaytambo, watered by the Vilcanota-Urubamba River. It is located 15 kilometers northeast of the city of Cusco.

How to get there?

To get to the Sacred Valley of the Incas you must travel by paved road from the city of Cusco. The tour lasts approximately 40 minutes and ends before reaching Machu Picchu.

The Sacred Valley is known for producing some of the best corn kernels in Peru.

What to see in the Sacred Valley?

The valley is characterized by very specific conditions, beautiful landscapes, a pleasant climate, very fertile land and the waters of the Vilcanota, the sacred river of the Incas.

It has a wonderful Andean landscape, and the local Quechua people have preserved many of their ancestral customs and rituals.

The Sacred Valley of the Incas was highly appreciated by the ancient Inca Empire for its special geographical and climatic conditions, and became one of the main productive areas of the Inca Empire for its rich land.

History of the Sacred Valley of the Incas

According to historical records, the Sacred Valley of the Incas owes its existence to the Inca Pachachutes. During his reign, the culture was divided into 4 empires of his (Chinchaysuyo, Antisuyo, Contisuyo and Collasuyo) and allowed the victory of the Chankas, thus expanding the limits of the Cuzco Empire.

The Sacred Valley of the Incas is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the Andean region for its incredible landscape, majestic snowy peaks, pleasant climate, fertile land and abundant water, evidence of the megalithic culture and the variety of possibilities that here you can practice adventure tourism.

What animals are there in the Sacred Valley of the Incas?

Among the characteristic animals of the area are llamas and alpacas, which stand out for the quality of the wool they possess, which made them important for the Inca Empire and are typical animals of the city of Cuzco to this day.

Places you can visit in the Sacred Valley of the Incas

1.- Pisac

Pisac is a colorful place located in Cusco at an altitude of 2,974 meters. The city is famous for its observatory. Here you will learn how Inca agronomists solved the problem of growing on the hillsides.

In the typical market located in the central square of this picturesque village, you can see peasants from different communities participating through the barter system, that is, they exchange one product for another.

2.- Moray

Mali is considered one of the main agricultural research centers to experiment and cultivate crops from different regions of the Inca Empire.

The temperature of the floors differs by about 20°C (from the first floor to the top floor) in different climates and altitudes. They are built to make it possible to grow products from the coasts and scrub in cold climates and high altitudes. Moray is conceived as a living museum.

3.- Maras

Here are the Salineras de Maras, also known as salt mines, as old as Tahuantinsuyo. The salt mines of Maras are one of the 4 places in the world where you can get pink salt. Residents sell this salt in Cusco’s main market.

The use of Maras Salt dates back thousands of years and each family has inherited it, but it is managed jointly. There are about 5,000 pools of about 6 square meters, the water seeps into the pools and evaporates by the action of the sun, letting coarse salt crystals sprout.

4.- Chinchero

Chinchero is considered a living culture, and like Pisaq and Ollantaytambo, its inhabitants still lead a lifestyle very similar to that of the times of the Incas, with red and black being the main colors of their clothing.

It is characterized by the uniqueness of women’s hairstyles, as well as by the attractive colors of their clothing. Here, most residents are engaged in weaving and dyeing wool.

5.- Ollantaytambo

The archaeological zone of Ollantaytambo is a monumental masterpiece of Inca architecture. It is built on two hills in a strategic position overlooking the entire valley.

The complexity and beauty of Inca architecture and modern peoples, great administrative and social, religious and military centers, considered by many scientists and historians as one of the most important living museums in the world.

At the front of the main temple are six boulders of pink granite, brought from another place and perfectly assembled in the stone.