sacred valley incas

Must-See Places in the Sacred Valley of the Incas

Some people think that the only thing to do in Cusco is to visit Macchu Pichu. However, there are thousands of places for all tastes in this beautiful destination. If you have in mind to spend a quiet vacation, we recommend you to enjoy a relaxing paddle in the Piuray lagoon. If you like history and anthropological information: head to the Inkariy museum. To interact with the locals and learn about their lifestyles and traditions we suggest you visit the various communities of Lamay. We will tell you everything you need to know about the Sacred Valley to make your trip fantastic.

While you are traveling to Peru you may need to keep communication or a translation app. That’s why you may need to use one of our mobile phone plans for tourists to avoid high roaming costs. In order to make a nice trip here in PeruSIM, we will show you 7 places in the sacred valley of the Incas you must visit.

1. Chinchero Archaeological Park

Chinchero, also known as “brave man”, was a place of great historical importance for the Incas. It is believed to have been the favorite showcase of the Inca Tupac Yupanqui, and here you will find impressive aqueducts and terraces. You can learn a lot about the elaborate and complex stonework of the Incas, as well as watch weaving demonstrations. The locals will show you how they dye their wool in intense colors and then turn them into beautiful fabrics. You can also enjoy the fantastic green landscapes of the cultivated areas and paddle in the Piuray Lagoon.

2. Pisac Open Market

mercado abierto pisac

Another unmissable place is the traditional market of Pisac, which is open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. It is one of the most famous markets in all of Cusco, given the beautiful handicrafts you can find: weavings, ceramics, jewelry and more. In addition, no experience compares to the picturesque and joyful way in which the villagers gather around the square to sell their products. You will see how the market is formed as the vendors arrive, standing side by side. As you pass by, you will smell the delicious smoky smell of fresh empanadas filled with Andean cheese, which are made in the same clay ovens that were used in the 19th century. Be sure to try them.

3. Pisac Archaeological Park

Although the Pisac market is the best known attraction in the area, this small town offers much more to do. If you are in the area, you should visit the Pisac Archaeological Park. To get there, you will have to walk for three hours uphill from the main square. If you are too tired, you will find friendly cab drivers to take you to the entrance. Here you will see ancient ruins and traditional terraces. The most beautiful and emblematic archaeological piece will be on the way back: the Temple of the Moon. Its architectural design is similar to the great buildings of Machu Picchu and the views from there are unparalleled. 

4. Awanacancha

Awanacancha is an interesting social initiative that has its main base at kilometer 23 of the Cusco – Pisac highway. Although it began as a project for the care of camelids, the objective of this center has changed over time. After multiple social investigations concluded that traditional weaving customs were being lost, the Awanacancha team selected communities interested in preserving these traditions and provided them with the means to do so. Today, Awanacancha is a self-sustaining cultural center that researches and promotes the ancestral techniques of weaving, dyeing, manipulation and production of camelid fibers. It also offers artisan weavers spaces to show and transmit their knowledge. Don’t miss the opportunity to learn about these incredible techniques and buy good quality and fair trade products. You can even see baby alpacas!

5. Salineras de Maras

salinera maras

Cusco never ceases to amaze us with its varied and unique destinations. The salt mines of Maras is an incredible place that you must visit. You will see the same stone lintels, evaporation ponds and salt mines that provided the Incas with this element. Salt extraction requires cooperative efforts of the various local owners, reflecting the collectivist values they have inherited from their ancestors. The classic pink salt of Maras has an intense and complex flavor, which is why it is currently a favorite of Peruvian and foreign chefs. You can buy it directly from the producers at low prices. Don’t forget to bring your camera, you will want to capture the views of this spectacular place.

6. Moray Archaeological Ensemble

Moray is a set of circular terraces that reach 150 meters deep. Some experts presume that this place was an agricultural research center due to the temperature differences found in each terrace level. In addition, many researchers have found that the soil of Moray is composed of pieces of earth imported from various locations of the Inca empire. Curiously, these have been placed at specific levels within the terraces, whose temperature coincides with the geographical location from which the soil was extracted. Visiting Moray is a must because it is much more than a simple ruin, it is the most impressive scientific product we know of the Incas.

7. Ollantaytambo

Ollantaytambo, located in the Sacred Valley, is best known for housing one of the most impressive fortresses of the Inca Empire. One of the few successful battles against the Spanish invasion occurred in this area. The extremely high location of the fortress allowed the Incas to have a panoramic view of the valley and helped them prevent enemy attack. You will also find large terraces and the impressive Intihuatana, a monolithic structure used as an astronomical observatory. If you are here, don’t miss the opportunity to see the Ñusta Baths, a beautifully carved granite fountain.Finally, we know that you have to keep communication with your relatives and friends, that you need to be able to orient yourself in new cities, that you might need help with translation and that you might need to search for restaurants or hotels. That’s why with PeruSIM you can buy a SIM card including the data plan of your need without having to worry about high roaming costs.

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