When most people think of visiting Peru in South America, the main reason is often Machu Picchu, one of the New 7 Wonders of the World.

One often overlooked, yet spectacular area is the Sacred Valley. The valley was formed by the Urubamba River, which the Incas believed was sacred and that the flow of the water was tied to the constellations.

With the river as its source, the fertile valley was a major center of agricultural production for the Incas, who grew native Andean crops such as coca, potatoes, and more inexpansive fields along terraced mountain slopes.

Even today, the Sacred Valley continues to be an important agricultural area serving as the breadbasket for Cusco.

There are many impressive sites and Inca ruins in around the Sacred Valley which you don’t want to miss on your travels to Peru. Highlighted below are 5 amazing experiences to have.

#1 – Visit Chinchero Market

Chinchero is a small Andean Indian village located about 30km from Cusco. It is believed to be the mythical birthplace of the rainbow.

You want to make sure to add this market to your must-visit sites for a couple of reasons. The colorful Sunday market is one of the major attractions where you will see locals going about their village made up of mud brick (adobe) houses in their traditional dress.

Peruvian Textiles at Chinchero Market
Peruvian Textiles at Chinchero Market

Traditional textile weaving using natural dyes is one of the highlights of the market. Chinchero is one of ten weaving communities supported by the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco to preserve the ancient weaving heritage and use of natural dyes and fibres.

Natural dyes used in Peruvian Textiles at Chinchero Market
Natural dyes used in Peruvian Textiles at Chinchero Market

Chinchero village is said to have been an important town during the Inca period. Inca leader Tupac Yupanqui, son of Pachacutec is said to have used Chinchero as a country resort.

The most striking remnants of this period are the terraces he ordered built for farming and agricultural purposes. Also worth noting is the massive stone wall in the main plaza with ten trapezoidal niches, doorways and adobo church built around 1607 by the Spanish.

Terraces he ordered built for farming
Flickr/Domingo Mery
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