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The Sacred Valley Things to See and Do

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The Sacred Valley offers much to see and do, and a few days spent checking out the sights is recommended. Base yourself in one of the little towns, such as Pisac, Urubamba or Ollantaytambo, and explore the surrounding area from there. Pisac, in particular, makes a great starting point. The town features the famous and not-to-be missed Pisac Market. Aside from the market, the ruins of the Pisac fortress should also be visited. The Sacred Valley has a few interesting museums, such as El Museo Catcco in Ollantaytambo, which provides information about the fascinating local history. But the main reason for visiting this region is the seemingly limitless number of scenic hikes. Ollantaytambo and Yucay, in particular, make excellent bases for exploring the hills of the Urubamba Valley. Below are a few noteworthy hiking options in the Sacred Valley:


For the adventurous solitude-seeker, this hike is a sure win. In contrast to other trekking opportunities in the Sacred Valley, this one offers slightly less tourist-trodden trails. It’s a two-day hike from Yucay to the small Andean village of Huayoccari, and you’ll encounter some very enchanting mountain scenery, from Inca terraces overlooking the San Juan River ravine to Sakrachayac and ancient rock paintings. After one night of camping you’ll make the arduous ascent to Tuqsana Pass (4,000 m/13,125 ft) and then descend to Yanacocha Lake. From here you’ll follow the trail to Huayoccari.


If you are not up for a full-day’s journey, Mt. Pinculluna, rising up behind Ollantaytambo, is an excellent choice among short trekking opportunities in the Sacred Valley. The trail offers a pretty two-hour walk past agricultural terracing. Because the trail is not well marked in some spots, you may be better off hiring a guide in town to avoid getting lost.

Pumamarca Ruins

Among trekking opportunities in the Sacred Valley, this one rewards trekkers with spectacular views of Andean mountains and remote villages. The trail follows the banks of the RĂ­o Patacancha, where you will eventually encounter the small but well-preserved Inca ruins of Pumamarca. To complete the loop from Ollantaytambo requires about five hours.

To begin, take the road north of Ollantaytambo along the Patacancha. When the road crosses the river it becomes a footpath; follow this past Munaypata village. Take a left and follow the path towards the valley and terracing and then make a sharp left towards the agricultural terraces in front of you.

Other Activity pages in The Sacred Valley that may be of interest: Pisac Activities, Ollantaytambo Activities and Urubamba Activities.

20 Apr 2012

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