Sacred Valley Attractions El Valle Sagrado
The Urubamba Valley, also known as the Sacred Valley or El Valle Sagrado, lies to the north of Cusco. By car the valley is reached by driving up over a pass and down to the sacred Valley, which is 600m lower than Cusco.The Sacred Valley is a fertile area, once inhabited by the Incas. Inca ruins are prevalent throughout the valley, with the two grandest sites at Pisac and Ollantaytambo. The Sacred Valley of today is home to a number of typical Andean villages. This is a good place to see villagers going about everyday life in the Andes.Highlights in the Sacred Valley include the Pisac Market and Pisac Ruins, the Inca sites of Moray and Salinas, and the beautiful town and ruins of Ollantaytambo.For those arriving from Lima or other lower elevation areas, the Sacred Valley is a nice place to start acclimatizing. It is significantly lower than Cusco and fewer people experience altitude sickness here than in Cusco. From Cusco it is less than an hour by taxi to Pisac or 1½ hours to Urubamba.
Ollantaytambo, in the Sacred Valley, is a lovely town with cobble stone streets and arches. At the edge of the town on a hillside are some incredible Inca ruins.
Urubamba, with a population of 8,000, is one of the larger towns in the Sacred Valley. Unlike Pisac, which revolves around tourists, Urubamba seems to revolve only around the Andean villagers who live in the area.There is a large market just up the street from the famous Seminario pottery workshop. This is a locals market and although travelers may find little to buy here, it is refreshing to see a truly traditional market.Urubamba is also one of only two towns in the Sacred Valley that offers train service to Aguas Calientes at the base of Machu Picchu. The train station is on the grounds of the Libertador Hotel and offers only the upper end "Vistadome" train service. Tickets can be bought at this station or in Cusco but should be booked at least a day or two in advance due to limited seating from this location.For those interested in visiting nearby Moray and Salinas, Urubamba is a good base.
Located between Pisac and Urubamba, near the village of Lamay, is the Inca ruin of Huchuy Cusco. This is regarded as the third most important Inca site in the Sacred Valley after Ollantaytambo and Pisac.The main attraction at Huchuy Cusco is a great Inca Hall, known as a kallanka, and it measures almost 40 m in length. The hall is a two-story structure with an adobe top. Outside the hall are Inca terraces, a gate, and some smaller structures. Huchuy Cusco is thought to be the royal place of Caquia Jaquijahuana.Reaching this site takes some effort. From the village of Lamay there is a hiking trail which leads uphill to the site and takes approximately 3 hours.