Introduction

Tucked under the tawny skirts of formidable foothills, the beautiful Río Urubamba Valley, known as El Valle Sagrado (the Sacred Valley), is about 15km north of Cuzco as the condor flies, via a narrow road of hairpin turns. It's worth exploring this peaceful, fetching corner of the Andes with attractive colonial towns and isolated weaving villages. Star attractions are the markets and the lofty Inca citadels of Pisac and Ollantaytambo, but it's also packed with other Inca sites. Its myriad trekking routes are deservedly gaining in popularity. Adrenaline activities range from rafting to rock climbing.

A multitude of travel agencies in Cuzco offer whirlwind tours of the Sacred Valley, stopping at markets and the most significant ruins. It's also worth an in-depth visit. The archaeological sites of Pisac, Ollantaytambo and Chinchero can be visited with a boleto turístico, which can be bought directly onsite.