Best known as the Sacred Valley, the Urubamba Valley offers a glimpse into ancient Inca civilizations. Far from the creeping globalization occurring in Cusco and Lima, residents of the Urubamba Valley still speak Quechua and abide by Inca traditions. In the mountain villages, you’ll find cobbled streets, Inca art, and vibrant markets.
The most popular way to see the Sacred Valley (Urubamba Valley) is on a day trip or multi-day tour from Cusco, which is only a 20-minute drive from the area. Tours usually also visit the colonial town of Pisac, the terraced ruins of Moray, the salt mines of Maras, and the Inca fortress of Ollantaytambo. Exploring with a guide makes it easy to navigate the mountain roads, and you’ll benefit from insider knowledge of ancient traditions.
Things to Know Before You Go
- A must-visit for history buffs and nature lovers.
- The valley’s mountainous terrain makes comfortable shoes a must.
- Weather in the highlands can be unpredictable, so bring an umbrella no matter what time of year.
How to Get There
From Cusco, you can take either a public bus or collectivo (shared minibus) to Pisac or Urubamba, both of which provide convenient points of departure to explore the Sacred Valley.
When to Get There
If you want to avoid persistent downpours, the best time to visit Cusco and the Sacred Valley (Urubamba Valley) is undoubtedly from June through September, when showers are far fewer. The area remains chilly throughout the year, so come well-equipped with warm clothes.
Hiking in the Urubamba Valley
If you want to beat the crowds that Machu Picchu attracts, or you have limited time to spend in Cusco, the Urubamba Valley offers a wealth of hiking opportunities that only take a day or an afternoon. Popular routes, all of which reveal spectacular mountain scenery, include the Chinchero to Urquillos route; Moray to Maras; and the route that passes the Perolyniyoc Waterfall and Ruins.