Inca Ruins Near Cusco Worth Visiting – Machu Picchu is Not the Only One!

Ruins in the Sacred Valley, Peru

Everyone goes to Peru to see the Incan Ruins of Machu Picchu, but did you know there are many more famous Inca ruins near Cusco?

I volunteered in Cusco, Peru and every day after working I took the local bus to a different Inca ruin.

They are easily accessible by bus or taxi, but you can also book a Sacred Valley tour to take you through the ruins of the Sacred Valley.

Note: if you are looking for a sacred valley tour to visit specific ruins, check my recommendations further down in this article.

These are the 5 Must-Visit Inca Ruins near Cusco:

1. Sacsayhuamán

a Sacred Valley tour

Sacsayhuamán is located inside the city of Cusco.

These ruins were featured on the TV show Ancient Aliens because of the 7-8 corner stones in the walls of the ruins.

They believe the Incans used alien technology to carve the stones to perfectly puzzle themselves together.

However these stones were made, the ruins are so well preserved you can picture the ancient people walking through the halls.

This inexpensive Cusco city tour takes you to Sacsayhuamán and to many different sites in and around Cusco.
It’s a great way to learn more about Incan history and the clash between Inca culture and Catholicism.

2. Pisaq

visit Incan ruins in Peru - Pisaq
source: mota.ru – Sacred Valley Inca ruins

Pisaq is the closest neighboring city to Cusco.

Try to visit on Sunday when their local market is at its best. The hillside terraces were once used for agricultural purposes but now they are protected ruins of a national park.

This private Sacred Valley tour takes you to Sacsayhuamán, Pisaq and several other places in the Sacred Valley.

3. Moray

Moray - part of a Sacred Valley Peru tour

This ruin is a top contender with Sacsayhuamán.

You have probably seen photos of this ruin before, but it is 100 times more awe-inspiring in person.

It is incredibly deep and much larger than you can perceive from any photo. And the views are incredible!

One of my favorite Sacred valley tours is this one to Moray and the Maras salt mines. Or go for this tour with quad bikes if you need a bit more adventure!

4. Tipon

Sacred Valley Incan ruins: Tipon

Irrigation was mastered in this ancient city.

Ancient brick waterways directed the water flow straight to the agricultural fields and into fountains for the city dwellers.

If you hike the hill to the top, you will find more ruins of a sun temple and the king’s home. And of course the king, being a king and all, would need his own personal fountain inside his home!

This half-day Sacred Valley tour takes you to Tipon.

5. Machu Picchu

visit Incan ruins in Peru - Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is, of course, the most famous Inca ruin of them all.

It is most famous because it is so well preserved. My trip included a tour through this ancient city with an incredible guide. He knew so much about Machu Picchu! I wasn’t expecting to learn so much. Make sure you find a good tour guide before entering!

For more information about Machu Picchu and how to organize your trip there check out How to Travel to Machu Picchu – A Practical Guide

Travel Tips for the Sacred Valley Inca Ruins

If you plan to see several Sacred Valley Inca ruins, be sure to purchase a tourist pass. It includes admission to all of these ruins (except Machu Picchu) and includes museum and cathedral admissions as well! 

Also Read: what to pack for Machu Picchu

About the Sacred Valley

The Sacred Valley of the Incas is often referred to as one of the most important historical places of South America and was extremely important for the Incas.

You can find ceremonial temples, palaces and a fortress in this valley.

The attraction of the Sacred Valley to the Incas, in addition to its proximity to Cusco, was probably that it was lower in elevation and therefore warmer than any other nearby area.

Located in the valley of the Urubamba River, the lower elevation made it possible to grow maize in the Sacred Valley. Maize was a prestige crop for the Incas, especially to make chicha, a fermented maize drink the Incas consumed in large quantities at their many ceremonial feasts and religious festivals.

The valley, running generally west to east, includes everything along the Urubamba River between the town of Písac and Machu Picchu, which are about 100 km (62 mi) apart.

About Peru

Travel tips for Peru - Incan ruins worth visiting

Peru is known by tourists mainly because of the ancient Incan city of Machu Picchu, high in the Andes mountains. However, this diverse South American country is also home to a section of Amazon rain forest and the region around Machu Picchu, including the Sacred Valley, Inca Trail and colonial city of Cusco, is rich in archaeological sites.

On Peru’s Pacific coast you find Lima, the country’s capital, with a preserved colonial center and important collections of pre-Columbian art.

Peru is a country that has a diversity and wealth not common in the world. Most Peruvians are great nationalists and love their country with pride. The country’s gastronomy, its colonial architecture, and its natural resources (a paradise for ecological tourism) make Peru well worth visiting.

If you are thinking about traveling to Peru I recommend checking STA TravelInca Ruins Near Cusco Worth Visiting - Machu Picchu is Not the Only One! and Intrepid TravelInca Ruins Near Cusco Worth Visiting - Machu Picchu is Not the Only One! who both offer a wide range of tours in Peru to make the most of your trip. With STA Travel also check if you qualify for any of their discount cards!

Safe Travels! Come back and tell us how your Sacred Valley adventures were!

And if you love ancient cities then you probably also want to check out the Lost City in Colombia!

Like this article about 5 must-visit Sacred Valley Inca ruins? Pin it!

5 Must See Ruins in the Sacred Valley of Peru. Yes, Machu Picchu is incredible and a must-visit. But did you know this area offers several other impressive Incan ruins?

This blog about Inca ruins to visit contains affiliate links. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, at no additional cost to you.

Nicole Travels

Author: Nicole Travels
Nicole is a travel lover from San Francisco who enjoys exploring America on a 3-day weekend. Her passion is photography, studying wildlife behavior, and promoting conservation initiatives.

15 thoughts on “Inca Ruins Near Cusco Worth Visiting – Machu Picchu is Not the Only One!”

  1. I’m headed to Peru in just 2 weeks and am so excited! Thanks for sharing some of these sites that are a little off the typical path.

    Reply
  2. Nicole you should have included Ollantaytambo. One of the most historically significant and also halfway between Sacsayhuaman and Machu Picchu. But the others are still all amazing.

    Reply
  3. I love that you have highlighted some other Incan ruins. They are so incredible and really are worth visiting. Such stunning pictures. Thanks for the recommendations.

    Reply
  4. Peru must be a fascinating destination with much to see and to learn about. Find your post very useful and your tips really interesting. Do you know how to find / contact your guide that you liked so much?

    Reply
  5. Peru looks fantastic! I only really know about Machu Picchu so this was great for finding about what else Peru has to offer. I can’t wait to go there one day!

    Reply
  6. Thanks for this great list, like pretty much everyone I’ve always wanted to visit Machu Picchu, but I wasn’t really aware that there are some many interesting ancient sites in Peru! This makes me want to visit the country even more, the Incas are such an intriguing culture!

    Reply
  7. These look truly fascinating. I’ll visit as many of these as I can when I get to Peru – hopefully in the next few years. I expect that these ruins are a lot quieter than Machu Picchu.

    Reply
  8. Nice to see the other areas showcased. Would love to hike through all of them. Thanks for the great photos too! Hope to visit one day.

    Reply
  9. Definitely agree that there is so much more to Peru than Machu Picchu! I am currently writing about my time in Peru too and keep thinking about this!

    Reply
  10. It´s really nice to read an article that showcases different things to do from the usual ones. When I go to Peru I will make sure to follow your tips.

    Reply
  11. Wow! I had only heard of Machu Picchu, so this was really cool! I haven’t had the opportunity to explore either Central or South America, so I’m adding Peru to my “must-see” list!

    Reply
  12. Proud to say I’ve visited all 5 of those mentioned – some more than once! It’s true that there’s a heck of a lot more on offer in and around the Sacred Valley than just MP, so it’s sad that so many people don’t really think outside of the Machu Picchu box! I found Moray to be particularly interesting despite its relative simplicity in comparison to the others, however, nothing will ever come close to Machu Picchu for me!

    Reply

Leave a Comment

Share
Tweet
Pin
Share
Share