is the highlight of any trip to Peru, once you are in Cuzco city (gateway to MachuPicchu
) and visit the Sacred Valley, you will realize there is much more to see and do!
Located on a steep hill that overlooks Cuzco city
, you'll find the Incan Fortress of Sacsayhuaman
a complex made of huge, polished dry stone walls.
Close by, a series of canals, aqueducts and waterfalls run through terraced walls to present you Tambomachay
, also known as 'The Bath of the Inca'.
Around the same countryside area, the Incan Temple of Kenko
, (quechua word for labyrinth) completes the trio we've called 'Cuzco Surrounding Ruins'.
, is a fourth Incan Ruin located close to the city, but for the most cases it is not included in Cuzco's sightseeing tours, although it can be seen from the road on your way back to Cuzco.
About 20 miles east of Cuzco, on route to Puno/Lake Titicaca (road to Urcos) lays the Pre-inca ceremonial site of Pikillacta
, a ritual and administrative complex that features 1 sq mile of stone buildings along with hydraulic works that connect water resources, including canals, reservoirs, causeways and aqueducts.
is a neighbor picturesque town, which main attraction is the 'Sistine Chapel of the Andes', San Pedro Apostol church has earned this name due to its baroque display of colorful murals, a coffered painted ceiling and an ornate gold-leaf-altar.
Moving on to the Sacred Valley
, your trip would not be complete without a visit to Pisaq's Indian Market
where you will find all sort of crafts, alpaca-wool clothing, bijouterie, and souvenirs, to continue next to Pisaq Ruins
, located atop a hill at the entrance to the valley.
Another highlight is Ollantaytambo
Fortress, located in the northern car-accesible part of the valley, which is the only point of Incan resistance that was able to repel the Spanish attacks in the XVI century.
Three other sites can be visited from the Sacred Valley: The Incan Agricultural Terraces of Moray
will amaze you with its enormous terraced circular depressions, an experimental site where the Incas studied the effects of different climatic conditions on crops;
Salt Mines, where salt evaporation ponds have been in use since pre-Incan times;
And finally, Chinchero's Indian Market
will add a more local and colorful feel to your Sacred Valley Shopping experience.