Part 1: Machu Picchu Isn’t The Only Inca Ruin Worth Seeing In The Sacred Valley

Last Updated on April 2, 2021 by haveclotheswilltravel

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A view of "The Sacred Valley" in Peru.
A view of “The Sacred Valley” in Peru.

Machu Picchu definitely lives up to the hype, don’t get me wrong, but there are so many other incredible Inca ruins in the Sacred Valley worth seeing as well. This post will cover a day spent seeing Pisac and Ollantaytambo. Consider this post “Part 1” of Inca Ruins worth seeing, and “Part 2” is here (didn’t want to do an Incan Ruins overload)!

But first, let me explain what exactly The Sacred Valley is. It’s a region in Peru near the city of Cusco and the ancient city of Machu Picchu, it formed the heart of the Inca Empire. Macchu Picchu is obviously the most famous site to see in The Sacred Valley (for good reason), but let’s not forget about the rest of the Incan Empire!

Pisac Ruins

Inca Terraces in Pisac, Peru
Inca Terraces in Pisac, Peru

Pisac

The ruins in Pisac overlook the Urubamba River and are most known for their farming terraces. The site is also very well intact, especially religious buildings (pictured above).

To actually see all that this site has to offer, you need to set aside at least 4 or 5 hours to explore it. We, unfortunately, did not have that much time to do so. We spent all of an hour maybe an hour and a half. I’m glad we were able to see it, but if it’s possible, allow more time in your schedule to enjoy Pisac!

Pisac
An ancient burial site in Pisac. Thousands of mummies were buried in the side of this mountain.

terraces

Feel free to click on the photos below to make them full-sized and to read the captions.

The town of Pisac, located beneath the ruins, also hosts a popular local crafts market. (Again, we didn’t have enough to explore it. This is just a quick peek at the beginning of it.)

Pisac
The beginning of the Market in Pisac.

Ollantaytambo

Ollantaytambo
Ollantaytambo Ruins

Ollantaytambo is an especially important piece of history because it is one of the few places the Spanish conquistadors lost a major battle to the Incas. The Incas had used their irrigation system to flood the valley floor, which held back the Spaniards on horseback.

View of Ollantaytambo from the ruins.
View of Ollantaytambo from the ruins.

I was really impressed with Ollantaytambo. The ruins were magnificent, in my opinion (although climbing all those stairs was a real killer). And the town itself is a quaint colonial town that had an abundance of cute restaurants and cafes. One of my biggest regrets of this trip I think, was not scheduling more time here. I would’ve liked to have spent more time exploring the city itself.

Ollantaytambo was a really lovely city!
Ollantaytambo was a really lovely city!

Ollantaytambo is also an important stop because this is where the train to Machu Picchu starts. We had an early afternoon train to catch, which meant very limited time exploring. This did, however, mean we were able to see the views during the train ride, as it was not yet dark.

Ollantaytambo

Ollantaytambo

And check out this rock formation on the side of a mountain in Ollantaytambo! This is said to be natural, and you can totally see an old man’s face and it looks like he has a beard too. I thought that was wild!

Old man face in Ollantaytambo
Do you see the face?
Old man face in Ollantaytambo
How about now? Haha.

Feel free to click on the photos below to make them full-sized and to read the captions.

Brief stop in Urubamba – Check out the Skylodge!

All the cool ruins to see in this area will be saved for its own post. However, we had briefly stopped in this city for lunch before heading to Ollantaytambo, and just as we were leaving we saw the craziest hotel!

Skylodge Adventure Suites
Can you see the glass pods at the top?

You actually have to climb up to your hotel room, which are those little glass pods! I guess no climbing experience is required either. And once you’re ready to leave, you zipline down!

Skylodge Adventure Suites
A better view of the hotel rooms!

How crazy is that? I just might have to go back to Peru! Haha. Click here to see more pics on Tripadvisor of this hotel!

I’m curious had you heard of any of these ruins (other than Machu Picchu) before this post? And would you stay in that crazy hotel? Let me know in the comments!

  • This group tour, here, would be a good option to see all of these sights.
  • Click here to read my post, “How to Spend 10 Days in Peru.”
    *Again, we booked our Peru trip through Salkantay Cusco Trek, and they were awesome!

Travel Insurance

It’s a good idea, no matter where your adventure takes you, to have travel insurance. You never know what might happen! Whether you get sick before your trip and can’t go, or you become sick or injured while on your adventure – being covered with travel insurance is a must. Some credit card companies do provide this (check with yours), or you can get a free quote from travel insurance companies such as RoamRight to find the best plan for you and your adventure. To get a free quote, click here

Visa Requirements

To check if your country requires a Visa for traveling to Peru, click here.

Want to Learn Spanish Before Your Trip?

Knowing some basics in Spanish can be helpful for your time in Peru. Try a free 3 day trial of Rosetta Stone (the best way to learn a foreign language) by clicking here.

 

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Machu Picchu Isn't the Only Inca Ruin Worth Seeing in the Sacred Valley
Machu Picchu Isn’t the Only Inca Ruin Worth Seeing in the Sacred Valley

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