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:
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.
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.
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!
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
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.
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 Travel and Intrepid Travel 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!
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