Cusco and The Sacred Valley
Cusco is the ancient capital of the Inca empire as well as the starting off point of many people’s trips to Peru. Most visitors fall in love with this quaint colonial city built atop Incan palaces so be sure to give yourself plenty of time to just wander around the streets and have a coffee in one of the plazas.
Like Machu Picchu, Cusco too is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Although there are several sites that are typically included on tours in Cusco such as Korikancha (the Temple of the Sun) and Sacsayhuaman, an impressive stone structure just above the city, it’s also a place where you can encounter the living culture of Peru… far more than women in traditional dress leading llamas.
The Sacred Valley
The Sacred Valley begins about a one hour drive from Cusco with the community of Pisac, home to one of the primary Inca sites in the valley. Throughout the valley, you'll see gorgeous landscapes consisting of farmlands, agricultural terraces dating from Inca or pre-Inca times, mountains and rivers. Many towns also offer many sites worth seeing and it’s well worth taking tours to Chinchero, Maras and Moray. An Ollantaytambo tour is definitely a must as here you will find another example of the impressive Inca architecture as well as a quaint town that retains its Inca structure.
Because of the warmer climate as well as the geography, the Sacred Valley is the perfect place for active adventures such as mountain biking, horseback riding, rafting, hiking, hang-gliding and paragliding. It’s also a useful place to spend some time acclimating to the altitude as it sits about 1000 feet lower than Cusco. Urubamba, in particular, is home to some of the loveliest hotels in the Cusco/Sacred Valley area.
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Hotels in Cusco
A suites-only hotel located in the center of the city, Palacio Nazarenas is housed in a former palace and convent. The grounds are lovely and feature the first outdoor heated pool in Cusco, a variety of gardens and terraces and a luxurious spa. You’ll enjoy remnants of both Inca and colonial architecture blended seamlessly with modern amenities.
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Hotel Monasterio was one of the first luxury hotels in Cusco and still maintains the standard for the city’s luxury accommodations and impeccable service. One of the finest hotels across the globe, this colonial building constructed atop Inca foundations offers an experience that will make you feel like you are a member of nobility yourself.
The Casona Inkaterra, housed in one of the first colonial manors in the city, offers 11 of the most exclusive suites to be found anywhere on the planet. This stunning restored colonial mansion, along with the amenities and utmost in customer service, will pamper you beyond your wildest imagination.
Casa Andina Private Collection
Without a doubt the top of the Casa Andina’s in Cusco, the Private Collection hotel offers modern amenities and first-class service in a history-filled colonial mansion dating from the 19th century. Multiple courtyards and an elegant fireplace lounge add to the relaxing ambiance, giving you plenty of options for sitting and soaking up the atmosphere.
Casa Andina Koricancha
Comprised of two houses dating from the 18th century, this cozy and tranquil hotel is conveniently located right by the Temple of the Sun/Santo Domingo convent and a few short blocks from the Plaza de Armas.
Casa Andina Plaza
Located just a block away from the Plaza de Armas on the quieter and beautiful Plaza Regocijo. There are plenty of restaurants and cafes are located right on the plaza, making it an especially convenient accommodation.
Casa Andina Cathedral
This Casa Andina location is a stone’s throw from the Plaza de Armas and enjoys proximity to some of the best restaurants in the city as well as some lovely views.
Casa Andina San Blas
All the amenities that you expect from Casa Andina in a quiet part of San Blas, the art district of Cusco. Though still centrally located and in easy walking distance to main attractions, you'll feel like you’ve gotten away from it all once you arrive.
Casa San Blas
A boutique hotel in a restored colonial house dating from the 19th century in the San Blas artisan neighborhood. Especially known for the warm and personal service that the staff extends.
Royal Inka I
The Royal Inka I has an historic past, having been built by the Inca Pachacutec and been home to a famous revolutionary of Peru, La Mariscala Gamarra. Conveniently located in the Plaza Regocijo.
Royal Inka II
Also near the Plaza Regocijo, the Royal Inka II is in the center and close to everything yet has an atmosphere that is quiet and comfortable.
The name means stone door in the native Quechua and you will walk through one dating from Inca times as you enter this lovely boutique hotel. Close to the Plaza de Armas, the hotel offers a quiet retreat after a busy day of tours.
Libetador Palacio del Inca
Libertador’s Palacio del Inca is located right near Koricancha (the Temple of the Sun) and offers comfort and style in a central location.
Novotel (only colonial rooms)
Between the Plaza de Armas and Koricancha, Novotel is a 4-star hotel situated in a building dating from the 16th century. Excellent choice for families.
Ramada Costa del Sol (only colonial rooms)
Housed in the beautiful 17th century colonial home of the Marquis de Picoaga. This is a luxury experience that will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. The amenities, however, are all modern and the service is excellent.
Hotels in The Sacred Valley
Located in Urubamba along the banks of the river, Rio Sagrado Hotel, Villas and Spa is constructed to blend in perfectly with the gorgeous landscape surrounding it. Each and every well-appointed room offers a river view. Just 15 minutes from the Ollantaytambo train station.
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Sol y Luna
Sol y Luna in Urubamba offers bungalows surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens. This is a lovely country getaway that is just 20 minutes from Ollantaytambo and the train to Machu Picchu. Also on site are an outdoor swimming pool, a tennis court and a spa.
Aranwa Hotel Resort & Spa was expressly built to be a spiritual haven within the Sacred Valley. The spa area is exquisite and the grounds feature 100 rooms, 15 suites, and an art gallery, cinema, library, museum and several restaurants. Like a private little village, you can relax to the utmost and never need to leave.
Libertador Tambo del Inca
This luxury hotel situated in the heart of Urubamba and alongside the river, offers 128 rooms and a beautiful spa offering a variety of treatments. There are also two swimming pools, a bar, a restaurant and, a special convenience, a private train station for heading off on your tour to Machu Picchu.