Urubamba, the Sacred Valley of the Incas, is an Andean valley near Cusco that includes many important Incan archaeological sites. For flying into Cusco en route to Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley is the perfect place to allow your body to acclimatize before hiking, riding, and exploring the high altitude region.

Most visitors stay in the Sacred Valley as a preamble to the iconic Machu Picchu Citadel, but the valley itself is home to a number of remarkable ruins. Ollantaytambo is an incredibly well-preserved fortress that includes traces of agricultural and other non-military uses. Pisac hosts a large traditional market, where textiles, jewelry, and food all offer glimpses of the ways Peruvian culture has adapted tradition over the centuries. Maras and Moray, though they can only be reached seasonally, offer a glimpse at the agricultural and salt-mining trades that made the fertile valley a crucial bread basket for the Incan empire.

Around every bend, the views in the Sacred Valley are breath-taking. Terraced Incan gardens sit without fanfare or ceremony among the green and yellow hillsides, making the passage of time and the continuing presence of the Incan lifestyle in the values of local people.

The Sacred Valley is an ideal spot to arrange a visit to an indigenous village, audience with a Shaman, or pachamanca, the traditional Peruvian cookout. As you take it easy, adjusting to the altitude, you can visit Wayra Ranch to see a paso horse demonstration, or enjoy the spa at one of the valleys many luxury hotels. The region is designed to pamper you while you are introduced to one of the world’s most popular destinations.

Browse our suggested itineraries and properties, and contact your Ker & Downey travel expert to learn more about how to make the Sacred Valley a part of your Peruvian exploration.