The Sacred Valley of the Incas is a valley in the Andes of Peru, 22 kilometres (12 miles) at its closest north of the Inca capital of Cusco. It is located in the present-day Peruvian region of Cusco. In colonial documents it was referred to as the "Valley of Yucay." The Sacred Valley was incorporated slowly into the incipient Inca Empire during the period from 1000 to 1400.
The valley, running generally west to east, is understood to include everything along the Urubamba River between the town and Inca ruins at Písac westward to Machu Picchu. The Sacred Valley has elevations above sea level along the river ranging from (9,800 ft) at Pisac to (6,730 ft) at the Urubamba River below the citadel of Machu Picchu. On both sides of the river, the mountains rise to much higher elevations, especially to the south where two prominent mountains overlook the valley: Sahuasiray (19,088 ft), and Veronica (19,334 ft) in elevation. The intensely cultivated valley floor is about 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) wide on average. Side valleys and agricultural terraces expand the cultivatable area.
The valley was formed by the Urubamba river, also known as the Vilcanota River, or Willkamayu (Quechua). The latter, in Quechua, the still spoken language of the Inca Empire, means the sacred river. It is fed by numerous tributaries which descend through adjoining valleys and gorges, and contains numerous archaeological remains and villages. The Sacred Valley was the most important area for corn production in the heartland of the Inca Empire and access through the valley to tropical areas facilitated the import of products such as coca leaf and chile peppers to Cusco.
Places that are visited in the Sacred Valley tour:
• Pisac Market
• Pisac archeological site
• Ollantaytambo archeological site
• Ollantaytambo town (if time permits)