Unlock the Sacred Valley
When the Incas moved north of Cusco to the Urubamba Valley, they knew they had come across sacred land. With a rolling river mirroring the Milky Way, fertile soil in which crops could flourish and a pleasant year-round climate, this land would become home to one of the world’s greatest civilisations. They left long ago, but the valley remains honoured, seemingly untouched by the hands of modernity. This is a place to unwind, to uncover rich history, but most of all to reconnect with nature.
MANY FACTORS drew the Incas to the Sacred Valley, among them the oxygen-rich air. At an altitude lower than Cusco this is a great place to acclimatise. So, sit back, sip a cup of coca tea and drink in the delights of nature.
When you’re ready to explore, saddle up and head out on horseback. Excursions take in the ruins at Huaran—a site that seem all the more spectacular with the wind ruffling through your hair. Seeking adventure? Hire a bicycle from reception and explore on your own. There are trails snaking up into the Andes. Stop to admire the breathtaking vistas before zipping back down to Belmond Hotel Rio Sagrado.
Of course, the river is just as exhilarating. Pass Inca remains as you raft downstream on the Ollantaytambo rapids, before enjoying an alfresco lunch on the banks of the Urubamba. Ollantaytambo itself is well worth exploring. Wander the quaint village’s cobblestoned streets and climb the Incan fortress. It’s a steep ascent but views from the top more than make up for it.
If you want to explore further, there are more archeological wonders back towards Cusco. 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 a full of vibrant woven goods, stunning crafts and tantalising street food vendors. So 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.
Charming Cusco and mythical Machu Picchu may steal the headlines but those who take the time to explore the Sacred Valley will find it has treasures to rival both. We’ll show you where to find them.
Belmond Hotel Rio Sagrado
Km. 75.8Carretera Urubamba-OllantaytamboValle SagradoCuscoPeruTel: +51 84 20 1631Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
How to get here
- 5 minutes from Urubamba Town (2.5 miles/4km)
- 15 minutes from Ollantaytambo Train Station (9 miles/15km)
- 1 hour 10mins from Cusco (45 miles/72km)
- 1 hour 25 mins from Cusco Airport (48 miles/77km)
- 1 hour 45 minutes from Machu Picchu (by train)