The Sacred Valley of the Incas is a valley in the Southern Sierra in Peru that contains many famous and beautiful Inca ruins. It was called the Sacred Valley because it contains some of the best land in the region and was not a part of the Empire but the property of the Emperor or Inca himself.
Other destinations near to or accessible from cities in the Sacred Valley include:
Choquequirao — a more remote and less traveled alternative to Machu Picchu, much of Choquequirao has undergone reconstruction but still is impressive anyway (and not least because of the mighty views over Apurimac Valley)
Machu Picchu — one of the most spectacular sets of ruins in the world, a visit to Peru is not complete without a visit to this mysterious "lost city of Incas"
Moray — terraced co-centric circles that were used for developing better agricultural crops by Incas
Salineras — ancient saltpans used by Incas in salt production
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Although most of the Inca buildings have been replaced by the Spaniards, there are still some Inca walls and foundations to be seen in the center of Cuzco.
Cuzco was envisioned to represent a puma with Sacsayhuaman as head. Large parts of the site has been destroyed in the colonial era as the spainards used the stones of the sites to build their own houses. What remains is still impressive. Admission with boleto turistico.
This site is hewn out of a rock. It probably served as religious shrine. Admission with boleto turistico.
A small site. Which purpose it served is still unclear. Admission with boleto turistico.
A small ruin which probably was a religious center, but could also be a military center. Walk back and visit pucapucara, qenqo en sacsayhuamán on the way back. Admission with boleto turistico (See Cuzco).
In the town of Ollantaytambo houses can be seen which date from Inca times. The nearby ruins features agricultural terraces as well as military, religious and administrative sections. Admission to the ruins with boleto turistico.
See the valley. Although the various ruins are the undeniable highlight, a 4-5 hour bus tour of the loop Cuzco-Chincherro-Urubamba-Pisac-Cuzco shows truly spectacular landscapes, especially on clear days during the winter (May-September). Tours can be booked with various agencies, although it is cheapest to just take buses between the various cities (and you can start in any of them).
There are many beautiful towns in the Sacred Valley that contain great landscapes, typical restaurants, Hotels/Hostels and local markets, the largest one are: Pisac, Calca, Urubamba.
Panza Verde (3 blocks up from bus terminal), calle Ucayali (Calca), . 10am-4pm. Simply support the local communities by enjoying a nice coffee, a lovely pie or a healthy lunch.Panza Verde (“Green Belly”) supports the Por Eso! Foundation. Por Eso! provides the poorest families of the Andes with healthy food by building greenhouses & preparing vegetable fields with the communities, adding vegetables to the menu in a sustainable way. They also teach biological horticulture to parents & kids.4-10 dollar. edit
Aranwa Sacred Valley (A member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts), Antigua Hacienda Yaravilca, ☎ +51 1 842 05080, . Included on the 2010 Conde Nast Hot List for exceptional hotel, service, and spa. The hotel is located in an 18th century hacienda and features an onsite art gallery.US$175 - $350. edit