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Situated halfway between Cusco and Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley is the perfect place to take a rest and enjoy night skies lit by a million bright stars. From the circular terraces of Moray to the fortress of Ollantaytambo, the Sacred Valley is a special place and your first encounter is likely to be as thrilling as it is unforgettable.

Maybe it’s the uplifting presence of majestic peaks; or the chance to kayak, to ride on horseback and to discover ancient ruins and the oldest cultural traditions of the Andes - but the Sacred Valley is what true adventures are made of.

  • Elevation Range between 9,196 ft (2,803 m) at Ollantaytambo to 11,420 ft (3,481 m) at Moray.
  • Temperature Daytime: 68 to 74°F (20 to 23°C)
    Nighttime: 38 to 46°F (3 to 8°C)
  • Dry Season From April to October
    Days are usually sunny with little chance of rain. October is the warmest month. Nights can get really cold.
  • Wet Season From November to March
    Mornings are generally cloudy with light showers. Afternoons and evenings can bring heavier rains. Average daytime temperatures are typically mild, but nights are cold. January is the wettest month.
Mountainside salt pans built in pre-Columbian times and still operate collectively by local residents.
A series of circular terraces dug into the earth like a huge amphitheater and believed to have served as an elaborate agricultural laboratory for the Incas.
Handmade textiles, crafts, and jewelry, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables are on sale at the famous market in Pisac.
Fine stone masonry, watchtowers, and fountains provide examples of Inca architecture with amazing views over the Sacred Valley.
The bustling center of the Sacred Valley, home to luxurious hotels and a budding culinary scene.
A small town with big attractions including an example of Inca urban planning and a well-preserved archaeological site.
Center of Andean weaving, with a popular Sunday market frequented by locals as well as Inca ruins.
Explore two remarkable sites not usually seen by most travelers, the surreal salt pans at Maras and the concentric terraces at Moray.
Delight your senses at one of the Sacred Valley’s fine restaurants where the focus is on farm-to-table Andean-inspired cuisine. See “Restaurants” in this guide for our top picks.
Sign up for a cultural workshop led by local artisans who will teach you the art of Peruvian cooking, wood carving, basket weaving, pottery, and more.
Climb up a steep rock face using a series of steel ladders and then swoop down on a zip line for a thrilling experience.
Book a rafting trip on the Urubamba River and enjoy rapids ranging from introductory to class II and class III plus.
Blaze along trails through the countryside passing tiny villages and stopping at Inca sites along the way.
Explore Incan ruins and the beautiful Andean scenery on horseback.
Walk along a trail to the Huchuy Qosqo ruins that sit atop a hill overlooking the Sacred Valley.
Hop on an ATV/quad or motorcycle and tour the Sacred Valley’s sites via backroads.
Drive to placid Lake Piuray near the town of Chinchero and enjoy a day of tranquil paddling on the high altitude waters.
Book a rejuvenating Maras salt exfoliation treatment at the Spa and Wellness Center of Aranwa Sacred Valley Hotel.
Paca Paca
A cozy restaurant adorned with handicrafts made by local artisans and high wooden ceilings. The varied menu includes traditional Peruvian dishes such as a quinoa-crusted trout as well as thin crust pizzas baked in an adobe oven and pasta options. Pair it with a pisco sour or local craft beer.
Av. Mariscal Castilla 640, Urubamba
Q’anela Restaurant
Two blocks from the main plaza of Urubamba, Q’anela specializes in traditional Peruvian cuisine such as lomo saltado and chicharron de pollo and fusion dishes such as aji de gallina lasagna and mushroom ceviche. Enjoy your delicious meal and the views of the lush green garden and courtyard.
Jr. Grau 654, Urubamba
Restaurante Hawa
Locally grown ingredients take center stage at this fine dining restaurant. Try the chicken in aguaymanto (sweet and sour) sauce or the Amazonian fish on a bed of quinoa risotto.
Tambo del Inka Resort, Av. Ferrocarril s/n, Urubamba
Mar & Cielo
Enjoy beautifully presented seafood including a mixed ceviche, squid-ink spaghetti, shrimp ravioli, grilled octopus, and the flavorful steamed fish. Try the refreshing maracuya sour for a twist on the traditional pisco cocktail.
Recoleta s/n (in front Hotel San Agustin Monasterio), Urubamba
El Huerto
Fresh produce, herbs, and spices from the hotel’s garden serve as inspiration for a menu of Andean and international delicacies. Recommended are inspired renditions of classic Peruvian dishes including the “Seco de cordero,” lamb slow cooked in cilantro sauce and served with mashed potatoes flavored with Andean herbs; and the “Lomo saltado criollo,” sautéed beef strips served with potatoes and rice.
Belmond Rio Sagrado Hotel, Km 75, Carretera Urubamba-Ollantaytambo
Killa Wasi
A great place to be bold and try exquisitely prepared Andean specialties including guinea pig, alpaca, and river trout. All dishes feature local ingredients as in the pumpkin lasagna made with zapallo (local pumpkin) and cheese.
Hotel Sol y Luna, Fundo Huincho lote A-5, Urubamba
El Albergue
Dig into quinoa salad, aji de gallina, alpaca steak, and homemade pasta with lamb ragu - all made with fresh local ingredients. For coffee or tea and an on-the-go snack (cookie, brownie or sandwich), order at Cafe Mayu, located right on the train platform.
Ollantaytambo Train Station
Cuchara de Palo Restaurant
The menu has traditional Peruvian cuisine and novo-Andean dishes, including some vegetarian options, and are made with locally grown produce.
Pisac main plaza
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Sacred Valley Travel Tips

Altitude sickness is a common concern for travelers planning a trip to the Sacred Valley region. Most visitors only experience minor symptoms (shortness of breath, headache, nausea) as a result of the elevation. Take it easy the first couple days while you acclimatize and don’t overexert yourself. Towns in the Sacred Valley are actually lower in elevation than Cusco, so some travelers plan to spend their first few nights in the Valley to reduce the onset of altitude sickness symptoms.

Don’t drink the tap water in the Sacred Valley, or anywhere in Peru for that matter. Buy bottled water to drink and use when brushing your teeth. On a multiday hike, your trekking team will supply purified water that’s safe to drink.

The Sacred Valley is tourist friendly and most travelers will enjoy an incident-free trip. Avoid opportunist pickpockets by keeping a close eye on your personal belongings in crowded areas. Carry your valuables in a traveler’s wallet around your neck or waist under your clothing. When possible, leave jewelry, excess cash and your passport (carry around a paper copy instead) in the safety box at your hotel.

The majority of tours to the Sacred Valley include transport to/from your hotel. For independent exploration, you can take a local bus (the most economic way) or hire a taxi (more convenient and time efficient). Many travelers use the railway station at Ollantaytambo to get to Machu Picchu or Cusco (Poroy Station).

You will need Peruvian currency (Soles) to pay for taxi rides, small purchases, and tips for guides and porters. It’s a good idea to carry around small bills and coins in the Sacred Valley because market vendors and small stores may not have adequate change to break larger notes.

Alert your bank about your Peru travel plans before you leave and inquire what foreign transaction fees (if any) apply to your bankcard. You can get better exchange rates in Cusco than in small Sacred Valley towns. There are ATMs in Pisac, Urubamba, and Ollantaytambo that dispense both US dollars and local currency.

The weather in the Sacred Valley changes quickly, so bring a lot of layers to be prepared. Pack t-shirts and add warmth with long-sleeve clothing and a fleece jacket. Lightweight pants and comfortable hiking boots with good traction are ideal for walking up to and around the Inca archaeological complexes. Don’t forget your hat, glasses, and sunblock for sun protection. For daily excursions, bring a daypack with snug straps to carry your water, camera, and other personal belongings.

During the rainy season months, pack a waterproof jacket or a travel-size umbrella. Plastic ponchos are also available to buy in Cusco and the Sacred Valley.

If you’re taking the train to Machu Picchu or doing a multi-day trek, then you’ll likely need to store your large bags with any items you won’t need for that leg of the trip. Each train passenger is permitted one bag or backpack weighing up to 11 lbs (5 kg). Fortunately, many Sacred Valley hotels provide free luggage storage for their guests.

Traveling to the Cusco and Sacred Valley region in the high season (June, July, August) requires months of advanced planning because services fill up quickly. Trip logistics include airfare, hotel reservations, tours, and train tickets and entrance tickets if you go to Machu Picchu. Limited permits for hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu can book up sometimes 4 months in advance. Note that the Inca Trail is closed each February for maintenance.

The Sacred Valley is a year round destination. The dry season from April to October is a better time to travel if you’re planning to trek or pursue adventure sports. The rainy season from November to March is ideal for fewer crowds, though you should be prepared with proper gear (quick-drying pants of synthetic material, water-resistant jacket and shoes) to enjoy your stay.

The key to being comfortable in the Sacred Valley is to dress in layers. Days are sunny and warm, nights are very cold. Rain gear is essential for the wet season. For example, jeans are ok, but take a long time to dry. Quick-drying synthetic material works better under these conditions.


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