inca trail

Sacred Valley of the Incas: 5 tips for exploring its splendor

It’s often assumed that the only must-visit destination in Cusco is Machu Picchu. However, there are numerous places to explore in this beautiful destination. The spectacular landscape of snow-capped mountains, blooming meadows, turquoise lagoons, and diverse flora and fauna make the Sacred Valley of the Incas the perfect spot for adventure and leisure tourism in Peru.

1. Getting to Sacred Valley of the Incas

Most flights to the Sacred Valley depart from and arrive in Lima. The Peruvian capital offers visitors plenty to see and do, serving as a gateway to the rest of the country, with domestic flights to major cities, including Cusco. Keep an eye on various airline websites, as they often offer discounts and travel promotions to the Imperial City, with prices dropping to as low as $70. If possible, choose a window seat, as the view of the Andes during the journey is breathtaking.

You can also travel to Cusco by car or bus. The journey takes about 22 hours, extending along 1100 km of increasingly rugged and isolated terrain. If you’re planning this adventure, consider making some stops along the way to better cope with the journey.

Once in Cusco, to reach the Sacred Valley, you can take a bus heading to Ollantaytambo – they depart every 15 minutes. Alternatively, you can rent a taxi or share a ride with other travelers heading to the same destination .

For a hassle-free and personalized experience, consider arranging your transportation with Atika Travel, ensuring a smooth journey to explore the wonders of the Sacred Valley.

2. Best Time to Travel

this is the inca's sacred valley

The climate in the Sacred Valley doesn’t vary much throughout the year. Daytime temperatures range between 20 and 25 °C, while nighttime temperatures drop to around 5 °C, sometimes feeling intense for some people. It’s recommended to travel during the dry season, between April and November. If you don’t mind the rain, you can travel between December and March.

Remember to acclimatize yourself before engaging in any physically demanding activities in the Sacred Valley, such as hiking or climbing. The average altitude in this area is 2850 meters above sea level, and the lack of oxygen could cause some inconvenience. Bring your sunscreen, umbrella, plenty of fluids (accompanied by coca leaves), and warm clothing in case you stay in one of the villages overnight.

3. Choose Your Accommodation Wisely

From backpacker hostels to five-star hotels, the options in the Sacred Valley are numerous and varied. In the rural areas of the Valley, there are hotels and haciendas that offer stays with attractive complementary services, such as relaxation therapies, spiritual retreats, healthy food, yoga classes, and more.

4. Plan Your Travel Itinerary and Allocate Your Time

The Sacred Valley boasts thousands of places to suit all tastes, such as Pisac, Ollantaytambo, Urubamba, Chinchero, Yucay, Maras, Moray, Aguas Calientes, among others. Most tours offer bus and train trips, with stops at major archaeological sites, visits to markets, and adventure sports.

If you’re going to hire a tour, make sure it allows you enough time to enjoy everything and combines different modes of transportation such as biking and hiking with train and bus rides, so you can have a variety of experiences.

Sacred Valley of the Incas

5. Enjoy the Exquisite Local Cuisine

The gastronomic options in the Sacred Valley have expanded. There are plenty of restaurants in Ollantaytambo, Urubamba, and Pisac that offer all kinds of Andean dishes made from fresh, native ingredients. Dare to try the Chiri Uchu, a fried Trout, a baked Guinea Pig, a succulent Inchicapi, or a regional tuber stew called Kapchi; as you can see, the alternatives are very varied and original.

Also, be sure to visit the breweries in the Valley. These are places where you’ll discover the beer production process unique to this area, accompanied by delicious Andean snacks.

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