10 Best Things To Do In The Sacred Valley 

A popular destination for tourists to Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley is a lush green valley lying just 15km north of Cusco. Used by the Inca people, the valley was a highly prized site due to its rich agricultural lands.

Inca ruins are now dotted throughout the valley and the land has a very Peruvian feel thanks to the many authentic villages and towns that populate the region.

The valley’s rich history and culture make it one of our favourite places in Peru. It’s also a great place to acclimatize to the altitude in Cusco as the Sacred Valley is lower down and gives tourists the time they need for their bodies to adjust.

So, if you’re thinking of visiting Peru, then the Sacred Valley should definitely be on your list of places to visit.

Below we have provided a list of what we think are 10 best things to do in the Sacred Valley. We have also provided a map to help you get your bearings.

Map of the Sacred Valley, Cusco Region

Things To Do In The Sacred Valley

1. Pisac Market &  Inca Ruins


Founded by the Spanish Conquistador – Viceroy Toledo, Pisa town was constructed over an original Inca settlement. Located close to Cusco, Pisac offers up the top market in the region.

Packed with local produce and a wide array of locally produced arts and crafts, Pisac Market is the perfect place for a little shopping.

The ruins, which are located just 20 minutes drive from the town itself, are of fantastic quality and well worth the visit. You’ll see military, agricultural and religious buildings, all of which are spread over one large complex! Make sure to walk around the ‘Royal Sector’ of the site.

2. Ollantaytambo ruins & town


Ollantaytambo is a Beautiful little town located on the far side of the Sacred Valley from Cusco. Lovely cobbled streets and quaint cafes make this a popular destination among tourists.

The town is probably the best surviving example of Inca town planning. Be sure to stop at Hearts Cafe for a lovely coffee and snack and then visit the Chocolate Museum!

The Inca ruins located in Ollantaytambo are absolutely brilliant and provide some of the best stone work outside of Machu Picchu. Used as a royal residence by Emperor Pachacuti, the temple and fortress are of extremely high quality and should be on anyone list of places to visit in the valley.

3. White river rafting and mountain biking tours

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If you’re the adventure type then you won’t want to miss out on some white water rafting and mountain biking when you’re in the valley.

Many operators offer both activities and you’ll have a wide choice of locations. A great rafting experience can be found in Ollantaytambo where you can see the Inca ruins from your raft!

Mountain biking is one of the best activities you can do in the region and you’ll be able to take in many Inca ruins such as Qenqo, Pucapucara, “The X Zone” and Tambomachay as you wind your along lovely trails and dirt roads.

 4. Paraglide

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The ultimate adventure activity, paragliding gives you incredible and dramatic views over the entire Sacred Valley. You won’t need any previous experience as all operators offer a tandem glide.

Make sure to book with a recommended operator though as your safety is the most important thing. This is one of the most adrenaline filled experiences you can do and you’ll see the Sacred Valley from a vantage point that not many others can claim.

For more information see here.

5. See Salt Pans – Maras and Moray


Without doubt, the Inca ruins of Moray are one of the most interesting and beautiful ruins in Peru. Designed like a dug-out amphitheater, scientists are still baffled as to what the site was actually used for.

The latest theory is that the Inca people were using it as a sort of test laboratory for crops – who knows.

Located near the ruins of Moray is the town of Maras. The town is famous for its local salt-evaporation ponds that have been in use since the Inca period. The salt deposited here would have been shipped out across the entire Inca nation.

6. Drink Inca Cola


First brewed in Peru in 1935 by British immigrant José Robinson Lindley, the Inca Kola is known as the ‘Golden Kola’ and comes in a strange clear green colour.

The Inca kola is the pride of the Peruvian nation and Coca-Cola own all rights to the drink except in Peru. We won’t say what it tastes like… that is for you to find out!

7. Ziplining and Action Valley


Another great option for the adrenaline junkies out there! Action Valley is home to a wide array of activities including South America’s highest bungee jump and a 110 metre zip line.

The zipline tour lasts about 5 hours and includes lunch and a trek through the jungle to reach the line. There is also the option to do a quad bike tour (ATV tour).

Visit the Action Valley website.

8. Go weaving – visit a weaving cooperative


Many people in the Peruvian hills still work in a similar way to their ancestors. Weaving is one of the most popular crafts in Peru and still practiced by many village people.

The village of Chincheros in the Sacred Valley is a great place to give the craft a go yourself! Chincheros is one of many villages that have a weaving cooperative and allow visitors to try their hand at weaving.

9. Eat Cuy


Don’t leave Peru without trying Cuy – better known as Guinea Pig! Not for the faint of heart, Cuy is a Peruvian delicacy that can be fried or roasted.

It’s been a staple diet for Peruvian people for over 5,000 years and continues to be as popular as ever (it even has a National day named after it!) Almost every restaurant serves it – so give it a try!

10. Stay in the Skylodge


Possibly the coolest hotel in the world, the skylodges are small glass rooms that hang off the side of cliffs! If you love camping under stars, you’ll love the skylodges.

However, if you struggle with heights, this may not be the best option! Located just 40 minutes from Cusco, the skylodges don’t come cheap, but they do take in spectacular views (and drops) from your very own bed.


If you have any further questions about things to do in the Sacred Valley, please just drop us a note below and we’ll get back toy you as soon as possible.

Mark Whitman

Hi, I'm Mark! Welcome to Machu Picchu Trek Guide - the Web's No.1 Trekking Guide to Machu Picchu. I started this guide to help trekkers like yourself get the information you need to plan for an awesome Machu Picchu trekking experience. Over 1 million people have used Machu Picchu Trek to plan their adventure to the famous Incan ruins. We hope we can help you too! If you have any questions don't hesitate to drop a comment below! Happy Trekking!

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    1. Hi Mark, you can arrange paragliding with a local tour operator in Cuzco on the day. Quite a few tour operators offer paragliding or can connect you with a company that does. Cheers.

  1. What is the best way to travel around the Sacred Valley: I want to see Pisac ruins, Moray and Maras, and Ollantaytambo in a single day, and departing from Cuzco. Taxi, bus, or tour bus? Not fluent in Spanish. Thanks

    1. Hi Janki, to see all those sites in one day I would recommend booking onto a Sacred Valley tour. Alternatively, if you are traveling with a friend or two it could be cheaper to negotiate with a taxi operator / tour bus to take you to all those sites. Cheers!

  2. Thanks for the information – I am planning a trip to Peru coming up, we are flying into Lima and have about 6 days total in Peru. Machu PIcchu is our #1 item of what we want to see, but I’m finding all of the information overwhelming on how to book the most meaningful trip. What would you recommend for the best way to use our time in Peru? Would you recommend we spend the majority of our time in Cusco and surrounding areas, or trying to see more of the country? What do you recommend as best day-trip to see the main sites of Machu Picchu. Thanks for any help you’re able to provide.

    1. Hi David, there is so much to see in Peru and unfortunately 6 days is not enough. If you don’t plan to trek you could then go to Colca Canyon and onto Lake Titicaca. From here you could get a train to Cuszo and visit Machu Picchu, before returning to Lima. This itinerary could be completed in 6 days. Alternatively, if you’re planning to hike the Inca Trail, you will need to go to Cuzco directly as the trail to Machu Picchu is four days long. Hope this helps.

  3. I’m traveling with my family (4 ppl) to Machu Picchu in early April. Arriving Cusco evening on Apr 4 and departing Cusco early morning on Apr 7. We would like to tour Sacred Valley on Apr 5 and Machu Picchu on Apr 6. Do you know of a reliable tour operator to offer an itinerary for this duration? Thanks, Vishal

    1. Hi Vishal, there are many tour operators in Cusco that can arrange a tour for you on arrival. I recommend popping into a few when you arrive in Cusco.

  4. Hey Mark I would love to get more information, can you help me out ?
    We are celebrating our anniversary and would like to visit Peru ??, can you let me know what we can do in 6-7 days ?

  5. We are in our late 70’s .We are interested in the kind of vacation that offers cultural ,scenic , art experiences ,while offering opportunity for physical activity if desired, and in a small group tour.
    We are interested in Peru but know little about the opportunities in the other locations. My husband is very active while I am active within limits due to joint pain. We prefer the opportunity for different levels of physical activity when we travel.
    Which of these listed trips do you recommend based on this information?

    1. Hi Heather, thanks for getting in touch. There are so many great cultural things to do in the Cusco region. I would spend a full day or two visiting the main sites of Cusco. There are many fantastic museums and markets in Cusco, see here for ideas: https://www.machupicchutrek.net/things-to-do-in-cusco/.

      In the Sacred Valley, I recommend visiting Chinchero (which is a traditional Peruvian weaving centre), Ollantaytambo fortress, Pisac Market (famous for arts and crafts, as well as traditional food), and Pisac archaeological site (an impressive Inca Ruin). If there is time you might also visit the ruins at Sacsayhuaman.

      Finally, no trip to Cusco is complete without a visit to Machu Picchu.

      Hope this helps!

  6. Hi,
    Is it possible to see Ollantaytambo and Moray ruins in a day? What is a good hike in the Sacred Valley. We'll be trekking the Camino Inca Trail in the middle of our stay.

    Thank you,

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