Top 5 Sights in Peru’s Sacred Valley

Begin your trip to the Cusco area with the Sacred Valley, which the Inca considered paradise for its fertile earth. Up and down the valley, the Inca built a string of their most sacred sites, including temples and fortresses in Pisac and Ollantaytambo. Collected here are the top five sights in the Sacred Valley.

blue sky with fluffy white clouds over mountains and valleys in Peru
Agricultural terraces in Pisac. Photo © SL Photography/iStock.

Pisac Ruins

What’s unique about Pisac’s Inca ruins, apart from their extraordinary beauty, is their range. Here you will find not only religious architecture, but also residential, agricultural, and military structures.

Moray and Salineras

This six-hour downhill hike is a gorgeous introduction to the Sacred Valley. Start at Moray, a complex of concentric agricultural terraces, and then head downhill past Salineras, a centuries-old salt mine that is still in operation.

light gleams on the surface water of the salt mines in Peru
The Maras Salt Mines have been maintained and harvested by the residents of Maras for centuries, distilling pink or white salt from an underground reservoir. Photo © julian doporai/iStock.

Ollantaytambo Temple

Second in importance only to Machu Picchu, Ollantaytambo includes some of the Inca’s best stonework, including a series of ceremonial baths, elegant trapezoidal doorways, and a sun temple that faces the rising sun.

Inca Granaries (Pinkuylluna)

This moderate, 1.5-hour hike offers a spectacular view of Ollantaytambo, its gleaming sun temple, and interesting grain storehouses, known in Quechua as colcas.

stone granaries built on the side of a mountain in Peru's Sacred Valley
The large buildings seen at Pinkuylluna were used for agricultural storehouses called colcas. Photo © rchphoto/iStock.

Pisac Market

The Pisac market begins every day at 9am when the first tour buses arrive from Cusco and winds down around 5pm when the last tourists leave. The town’s main square is filled with stalls selling the full range of Peruvian artesanía: carved gourds (mates burilados), ceramics, felt hats, alpaca sweaters and mittens, musical instruments, paintings, antiques, a huge variety of trinkets, and, most of all, weavings and jewelry.

Color travel map of The Sacred Valley in Peru
The Sacred Valley

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