The Sacred Valley of the Incas snakes through a narrow valley following the Urubamba River. The main hub is the town of Urubamba and the main attraction is the incredible landscapes and mountains that seem to puncture the narrow valley rising in vertiginous peaks towards the sky. A photographer’s paradise, panoramic viewpoints abound particularly on the route from Cusco to Urubamba via the town of Chinchero.
Many visitors are disappointed with the town of Urubamba itself but don’t be put off by first appearances. Get off the main drag which is cluttered with touristy restaurants, gas stations and shops and head in towards the heart of this little town. Explore the Plaza de Armas or Main Square and the Urubamba market for a taste of local culture. Check out our Sacred Valley Travel Guide, our list of the top things to do in Urubamba and our favourite hotels and restaurants.
Salt has been harvested at the Maras salt ponds since pre-Inca times with local families managing the ponds and their intricate watering system that trickles down from an underground stream. This is a fascinating place to visit with the white ponds tucked away into the side of a mountain in stark contrast to the deep blue sky.
Moray is an archaeological site just outside the town of Maras. This curious site is a series of circular Inca terraces that descend to a central point. It is thought to have been a place of research for the Incas to test different agricultural techniques at different elevations and will leave you astounded at their genius!
Inkariy is one of the best museums in the Cusco region and is definitely worth a visit to gain a deeper insight into some of the other cultures that existed in Peru. Created by the Merida family, the museum is divided into eight different buildings, each representing a different pre-hispanic culture including Paracas, Moche, Nasca and of course Inca.
The Urubamba market is a great traditional local market. Unlike some of the more touristy markets in the region this is where the locals shop and you will find everything from fruit and veg to grain, household items and even alfalfa to feed guinea pigs. Colourful and real.