When the Incas moved north of Cusco to the Urubamba Valley, they knew they had come across sacred land. They left long ago, but the valley remains honoured, seemingly untouched by the hands of modernity. From your base at Rio Sagrado, A Belmond Hotel you can unwind, uncover rich history, but most of all, reconnect with nature.
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Many choose to explore this area by horseback, while others take advantage of the tranquility with on-foot treks through nearby forests. Seeking adventure? Hire a bicycle and explore the different trails that snake up into the Andes. Meet the local craftspeople who have honed the art of colorful Peruvian weaving. This traditional village typifies the beauty and peace of the Sacred Valley.
This fascinating patchwork of salt pans have been in action for over 500 years. Surrounding communities still mine the precious Peruvian salt using a system originated by the Incas. This UNESCO Heritage Site is even more beautiful at first light, where a warm glow bathes the stepped terraces.
Pass Inca ruins as you raft downstream on the Ollantaytambo rapids. Ollantaytambo itself is well worth exploring. Wander the quaint village’s cobblestoned streets and climb the Incan fortress: it’s one of the best things to do in the Sacred Valley. It’s a steep ascent but views from the top more than make up for it.
The curved agricultural terraces at Pisac dazzle, while the remains show how Incan masonry developed over the years. Soak up the serene surroundings, then ramble down into town. The market is full of vibrant woven goods, stunning crafts and tantalising street food vendors. Follow your nose and eat like a local—we recommend creamy corn soup and empanadas fresh from the oven.
At Chinchero, you’ll find ruins flanked by snow-capped peaks and a gorgeous colonial church built on Inca ruins. It’s the centre of weaving too. Here, patterns differ from those you’ll find in Pisac. Watch as the local women work wool into brilliant colours.