Of course, one of the main reasons visitors come to Peru is to see the ruins of Machu Picchu and to experience a favorite among the known ancient wonders of the world. Cusco serves as the gate to the Inca Trail and where you will most likely journey from to see the site. However, because it can take a few hours to get to Machu Picchu itself (and there are so many things you’ll want to see along the way), staying at spot like Aguas Calientes is usually recommended.
Maras is known for its impressive salt ponds, which were developed by the ancient Incan people. Along with these impressive structures, there is a view of the Sacred Valley that is unrivaled anywhere else. The salt ponds are worth taking an afternoon for, and you can learn how the Inca once used them as a way to purify their water sources.
As one of the more popular sites outside of Machu Picchu, Ollantaytambo can serve as a great way for guests to get some hiking in and learn how innovative historical Inca were. You’ll find a complex rich with ruins and opportunities to see how these societies functioned for hundreds of years in the Sacred Valley.
The Incans were famous for their terraced farms, where they grew hundreds of different types of crops (and thousands of types of potatoes). You can get a glimpse of this harsh mountain land and see how these people managed to survive by thinking in new ways. Pisac can be crowded, so consider finding a tour company that can take you out of Cusco.
Chances are, if you like hiking, then you should consider taking on the mountain of Huayna Picchu. Located right behind the site of Machu Picchu, you will need to make sure that you get permits a few months in advance. Only a few hundred people are allowed to make the climb each day during the season, so if you want spectacular views make sure to talk to a local tour company.
For those who love to experience the local culture outside of the cities, Urubamba offers cultural activities and gorgeous views of the Andes mountains. It’s often not too busy, and there are plenty of markets available for souvenir shopping and festivals throughout the year. If you want a day or two more in the Sacred Valley, it’s also a good place to stop and rest.
Any other sights in the Sacred Valley you would recommend?