The Sacred Valley of the Inca - Gateway to Machu Picchu & the Inca Trail
The raging Urubamba River carved a wide, fertile valley through the steep Andes mountains creating the fabled Sacred Valley of the Inca. Just an hour outside of Cusco, and along the railroad to Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley is well worth visiting for a day or two, or three on your way to Machu Picchu.
Terraced hillsides are actively farmed just how the were in the days of the Inca, and brightly clothed indigenous women still carry their creations to colorful village markets just as they have for hundreds of years. Hiking opportunities abound and explore some incredible Inca ruins. Explore the Sacred Valley from these favorite destinations.
is a quaint functional Inca town with narrow stone streets, Inca-walled stores and houses, and a massive Inca fortress towering over the village below. There are several excellent hotels and countryside inns in and around Ollantaytambo and it's a major stop on the train between Cusco
and Machu Picchu Pueblo
is a small village less than an hour drive from Cusco where a colorful market climaxes on Sundays and an impressive Inca fortress rests high above the town. The hike up the mountain is recommended as a warm up if you're hiking the Inca trail and the ruins and views from the top are spectacular.
is a village and transportation hub on the shores of the river by the same name. The Maras salt mine, an impressive network of evaporation pools constructed by the Inca to provide fine pink salt for the Empire is just outside of town.