Sacred Valley: Top 10 things to do

by on 21st November, 2013

Top 10 things to do in the Sacred Valley

Sacred Valley now rivals Machu Picchu ruins, the Inca Trail and Cusco as one of Peru’s biggest holiday draws.

The Sacred Valley offers good weather, great accommodation and a wealth of activities to keep you occupied and active before or after a trip to the famous Inca ruins of Machu Picchu.

Here are ten of the Andean Trails’ best things to do in Peru’s Sacred Valley from zip lining to pottery to spas.


1. Via Ferrata and zip lines

No climbing experience? No problem. For all abilities, this is a great day out.  Climb a rock face with the via ferrata – the safest way to do it -and then zipline back down the mountain.

Via Ferrata is a system of iron ladders safely secured into a rock face which you rope up to and then use to climb up.

What goes up, must come down, so a hook up to a zip line and zoom down stretches between 100m and 500m in length for a total of 2k of descent. Some are short and fast, others long or twisting.


2. Spa at the Sol y Luna

Lovely hotel, lovely place, lovely spa.

Yacu Wasi – “The House of Water” – is a space in the hotel made for indulgence, where purity and peace combine.

Those seeking what the hotel calls the ‘perfect balance between body, mind and spirit’ should find it here.


3. Potters in Urubamba

The Seminario Ceramics workshop is the result of the lifelong work of Pablo Seminario and Marilú Behar. They been studying the ancient techniques of Peru’s ancient civilisations to come up with a modern fusion.

You can browse or take part, a great day out for families and artists and those wanting to try pottery.


4. Biking Moray and Maras

This mountain bike adventure starts at Chincheros above the Sacred Valley, swooping through villages and hillsides to reach two incredible sites.

Moray is an Inca archaeological site that contains unusual Inca ruins, mostly consisting of several enormous terraced circular depressions, the largest of which is about 30 m deep.

Maras and Salineras is an extensive and intricate terraced salt mine, run by the whole community, which often dazzles in the sunshine.

This trip is suitable for beginners and experience bikers alike. It is approx. 5 hours of biking, with plenty of stops, and 35km to cover.


5. Swimming and outdoor fun at Royal Inca Hotel in Pisaq

Boasting a 50m pool and a host of outdoor sports, the Royal Inka Pisac Hotel,(Plaza Regocijo, Portal Espinar, Cusco 084, Perú, +51 84 222284) is the ideal place to burn off some energy,


6. Pisac Market

In the valleys around Ollantaytambo, the people make a living from farming and the herding of llamas and alpaca. The weavings of this area are particularly well known and the everyday wear of the local people is still handmade, with special elaborate clothes being made for festivals. The designs are traditional, symbolic representations of flora, fauna, religion, folklore and history, though natural dyes are much less common now than they used to be.

There has recently been a revival in the pottery production, once important in the area, to feed the tourist market. Tuesdays, Thursday and Sundays are the best days, with Sundays’ markets swelling in size for the livestock market.


local-market-Pisac sacred-valley-peru

Local market, Pisac, Sacred Valley, Peru


7. Huchuy Qosqo ruins

Fantastic ruins at Huchuy Qosqo and one of our favourite short treks in the region.

Starting from Tambomachay, skirt Lago Qoricocha and Yanacocha Lake before ascending to a high point with a nice view a group of three pre-Inca chullpas (funeral towers).

(You can also start from Lamay).

Continue along to Huchuy Qosqo, an ancient Inca archaeological site perched on a cliff over the Sacred Valley. A great place to camp (guided trek recommended).

After exploring the ruins, descend to Lamay and return to Cusco or travel onwards. Can be combined with a visit to Machu Picchu too.


8. Raft the Urubamba river

Set off early today for your half-day of fun grade III-IV rafting trip on the Urubamba, sacred river of the Incas.

This rafting trip starts at Pachar Bridge and takes about 3 hours over the fun rapids to get to Ollantaytambo Bridge, where the rafting ends.


9. Pumamarca day walk

A lovely option for a day walk from Ollantaytambo is the moderate walk to the little visited Pumamarca ruins. It takes you through terraced farmlands and gives you an insight into life in the rural Sacred Valley, as well as boasting some pretty views.

You walk mostly amongst ancient Inca terraces, still used today. It’s about 90 minutes to the Pumamarca ruins, up in the hillsides, and you usually have the ruins all to yourself and can enjoy some lovely views. A great picnic spot.


10. Drink Chicha

In the Scared Valley you’ll see lots of houses with red, plastic flags fluttering from roofs and windows. What does it all mean?

Chicha for sale.

Chicha is fermented and made from chewed up maize. Sometimes strawberries added and it’s pink – Chicha de Frutilla. It’s often drunk in vast quantities at festivals or with huge plates of meat and potatoes at local picanterias – spit and sawdust type eateries – you can’t get more local.

Chicha morada made from boiled up purple corn – but not sold at places that sell the other. This is usually plonked on tables at lunch time in vast jugs. Both are cheap as chips.

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