This picturesque town with a blend of mestizo and
colonial architecture belongs to the province of Calca
at the entrance to the Sacred Valley of the Incas, 32Km
down a modern highway from the city of Cusco.
Founded during the reign of Viceroy Francisco de Toledo,
the town has both Western and native features that make
it an original and typical town of the region
PISAQ ARTS AND CHAFTS MARKET.- Here merchants offer for
sale all sorts of handicrafts, the most important of
which are the textiles and ceramic goods such as
ceremonial goblets called "Q'eros", plates, ashtrays,
necklace and replicas of pre-Hispanic pottery. There are
also ponchos, sweaters and bag The handicrafts fairs are
held every Thursday and Sunday in the main square o
Pisaq, as well as the Indian market, which is visited by
inhabitants from the various native communities to stock
up on supplies or sell their products. 0 Sundays, there
is also the traditional Mass held in Quechua, which is
attended by the Varayoc or village leaders from the
PISAQ ARCHAEOLOGICAL COMPLEX.- In the upper part there
are the remains of this re-Columbian settlement located
a few kilometers from the mestizo town. It takes up an
entire mountain made up of different neighborhood or
squares, the main one being Intiwatana, which is admired
for the architectural skill with which its constructions
were built. At the same time, the pre-Hispani cemetery
is also of great interest as it is the largest found in
this part of the continent. There are thousands of tombs,
some of them looted. The complex is also famous for the
colossal terraces that circle the mountains and the
fabulous watchtowers which were used as observation
points as well as for control and military defense.
This area has a beautiful landscape, surrounded by the
Pitusiray and Sawasiray snow-capped mountains. The
archaeological complex of Huchuy Qosqo is located in
this province, as well as the medicinal hot mineral
baths of Machacancha (sulfurous hot water) and Minasmoqo
(cold bubbling mineral water)
It is located 50 km from Cusco.
A historic area, Yucay is a pretty valley inhabited by
the Runas of the Tahuantinsuyo who built impressive
works of agricultural engineering. This area is
important for the palace of the Inca Sairy Tupac 11, a
construction made of stone and adobe mud brick with
haute- and bas-relief decorations. It was a center of
agricultural production for the Incas because of its
mild climate, fertile land, abundant water and
vegetation, especially fruit trees.
From Pisac to Urubamba
From Pisac, following the Vilcanota River towards the
west, the narrow route between the river and the hills
passes through the towns of Calca, Yucay and Urubamba
before arriving at Ollantaytambo. Yucay is associated
with some important events in Incan and colonial history.
In the spacious Plaza de Armas we find a beautiful,
impressive tree, the pisonay, whose leafy branches and
beautiful flowers grant the town an air of festivity and
elegance. The ruins of the Palace of the Inca Huayna
Capac can also be found in this area. Urubamba is not
located far from here.Like many places along the valley
Urubamba is in a fine setting with snow-capped peaks in
view, it has many restaurants and pleasant dining areas
with reasonable prices. The nearby White Mountain range
provides the area with scenery of extraordinary beauty.
The town offers the visitor a wide range of
possibilities for rest and lodging, and includes a
number of hotels and other lodging houses.
Located 78km from Cusco via Pisaq and 57km via
Chinchero, it is located in the heart of the Sacred
Valley and is known as the "Pearl of the Vilcanota" with
beautiful countrysides and a healthy climate, located at
the foot of the majestic snow-capped peak Chicón.
Urubamba, the archaeological capital of Peru, has many
possibilities for tourist activities, especially
adventure tourism because of its natural beauty. In the
rain season there is an abundance of seasonal fruit. The
area was also a pre-Hispanic agricultural center.
This archaeological complex was a gigantic agricultural,
administrative, social, religious and military center in
the era of the Tahuantinsuyo. The Spaniards called it
the Fortress of Ollantaytambo. It is located 97km from
Cusco down a modem highway.
Once can see the architectural style of its streets and
squares which are distinctly pre-Hispanic, with enormous
polyhedrons forming the walls and trapezoidal doors of
temples and palaces. The urban distribution was set
along rectilinear and narrow streets which have been
inhabited constantly by natives since the Incas' time.
In the upper and western part of the city rises a
mountain which houses innumerable pre-Hispanic
constructions such as magnificent crafted temples and
terraces. A striking construction is the partially
destroyed main temple, where once can see the front
stone carving made up of six perfectly built red
monoliths. It also has stepped molds, a characteristic
made by the Earth. This made academics to consider
Ollantaytambo a living museum.
TO MACHUPICCHU.- The town of Ollantaytambo is located in
the far western part of the Urubamba Valley, in a place
where the asphalt highway connects with the circuit
called the Sacred Valley of the Incas and the railway
that leaves Cusco bound for Machupicchu.
The train service covering the Cusco-Machupicchu route
allows tourists to visit the area, board the train in
Ollantaytambo and within two hours arrive in Puente
Ruinas, from where buses leave for the Machupicchu
This possibility of boarding the train at Ollantaytambo
can be done early in the morning or in the evenings from
Monday to Saturday or Sunday mornings only. On the other
hand, one can also get off at Ollantaytambo on the way
back to Cusco from Machupicchu, and begin to explore the
Sacred Valley of the Incas from there.
A former Inca agricultural center, this district of the
province of Urubamba i made up of 10 "Ayllus" or
indigenous communities. Located at 3,762 mete above sea
level, Chinchero is 28 km down a modem highway from the
Cusco tourist circuit. It possesses a beautiful Andean
landscape and is surrounded by the year-round snow-capped
peaks of Chicón, Wequey Willca (commonly Calle Puna
Sillo or Veronica).
The current town of Chinchero is a blend of Andean and
Hispanic architec and is also home to a unique
archaeological complex, with the remains o buildings,
places of worship, and terraces for crops and for
It boast a beautiful colonial church with paintings by
famous indigenous artist Chiwantito There is also a
typical Sunday market, colorful and authentic where
indigenous peasants from different communities
congregate to trade their goods, not only in money but
also trading by barter. It is well-known for its woven
handcraft of the region.
Maras salt flats and the circular ruins in Moray
Maras, from which one can reach the salt flats and the
Moray ruins, is located on the northwestern side before
entering the city of Cusco.The salt flats display a
spectacle of unusual beauty. Located on a wide-open hill
above the Urubamba Valley, the salt water runs along
channels, which extend through the flooded lands and
follow a more or less rectangular pattern, depending on
the variations in the land. The water, which is exposed
to the sun, leaves salt on the bed. Viewed from the peak,
the myriad of rectangles look Like an enormous painting
designed by nature. Inland, not far from Maras, one can
find the Moray ruins, there are three "colosseums" ,
used by the Incas as a sort of open-air crop laboratory
,the terraces arranged in concentric circles and spread
out at intervals from the lower to the upper region. are
reminiscent of a Greek theatre. For this reason, it is
not clear exactly what role they played. The structure
of these terraces seems to suggest agricultural activity
which employed the air circulation within the circular
area and the advantages offered by this type of
construction for employing ram water as well as water
from nearby regions.
Maras salt flats
There is a variety of delicious gastronomic specialties.
Those that stand out are corn-based dishes such as corn-on-the-cob
with fresh cheese, corn cream, tamale pastries and
corncake, as well as fried trout, pork fritters and
stuffed chili peppers called "Rocoto". There are also
typical drinks such as chicha de jora (maize beer),
white chicha and from November to March, a fruit drink
based on wild strawberries.
HUNTING AND FISHING
River fishing can be done from April to October and
small scale hunting in the surrounding of the valley.
FLORA AND FAUNA
The valley is mainly agricultural, where the finest corn
in Peru is produced, one that is highly nutritious and
of excellent quality. The area also produces varieties
of potatoes, cereals, greens and fruits like apples,
peaches, plums and strawberries as well as a variety of
decorative plants. The fauna includes a great variety of
animals such as deer, the vizcacha rodent similar to a
rabbit, minks, skunks, foxes and pumas. There are also
birds like doves, thrushes, goldfinches and hummingbirds.
The Vilcanota or Urubarnba River is rich in salmon trout
and rainbow fish. It also has plenty of cattle, sheep,
pigs and horses.
EXCURSIONS AND TRANSPORT
There are several travel agencies in Cusco which
organize excursions and trips to the Sacred Valley of
the Incas, and if only transport is needed, it is
recommended to take the tourist services.
Jump to : Sacred Valley and Cusco Tours showroom
This beautiful and suggestive valley between the towns
of Pisaq and Ollantaytambo was greatly admired by
Peruvians' ancestors due to its special conditions such
as its beneficial climate, its fertile lands and the
presence of the Wilcamayu or Sacred River.
Andean Man, with the incentive provided by the qualities
granted by Mother earth, built architectural
constructions related to agriculture, which was the
ancient Peruvian's main activity.
In this area, the Incas found the perfect place to leave
proof of their intrinsic knowledge of hydraulic
engineering and their deep love of nature. This is why
today still stand aqueducts, irrigation canals, the
damming of the Wilcamayu River, imposing sets of
terracing and centers of worship of Mother earth or
Pachamama. This is the area called the Sacred Valley of