There are three major towns in the Sacred Valley – Pisac, Urubamba and Ollantaytambo; and a wide variety of other villages and localities that you could stay in, depending on the experience you are looking for.
Most people use their Sacred Valley hotel as a base for a couple of day trips, but apart from that, when you get home to your hotel at night there are two major questions that will determine where you want to stay1
- Are you looking for an isolated, serene and quiet time, or – are you wanting to experience some of the life of the Sacred Valley?
- Will you have your own transport, or will you be reliant on the hotel’s transport or drivers?
The hotels located in the villages mean that you can get out and visit the local markets, take your choice of restaurants, and basically feel quite independent.
The hotels located in more remote places are literally “in the middle of nowhere”. These offer fantastic experiences for walking around the hotel, rest, meditation or reading. In the case of kids, having a big garden or easily accessible walk trails is important. However, once you are at the hotel at night you are “there” and need to eat at their restaurant.
Also, if wifi is important to you – then clarify! Many places only have wifi in their reception and the reception can be spotty.
Specific pro’s & con’s of the three main Sacred Valley towns
Famous for its Sunday market, the Pisaq market now is active every day, though ‘typical’ market days (Tuesday and Sunday) are still frequented by colourfully dressed locals. An interesting independent day trip would be to get transport up to the Pisac ruins and walk down.
This sprawling town is the capital of the Sacred Valley; the largest of these three towns and also the most commercial. That said, of the three Sacred Valley places to stay, this provides some of the most authentic experiences because its largely unaffected by tourism. It has a number of large 4 and 5 star hotels in its surrounds, plus some of the most beautiful farming land around in the Chichumbamba and Huincho. Most Urubamba hotels are NOT within walking distance of the main town.
The only remaining village set out according to an Inca Plan, Ollantaytambo certainly has charm, with an Inca Fortress visible from most parts of the village and gorgeous cobblestone streets surrounding the central Plaza. On the other hand, it’s the jumping off point to Machu Picchu! Whatever way someone arrives to Machu Picchu, by road, or train, they have to pass through Ollantaytambo… Any morning of the year the Plaza de Armas is packed full of Inca trail trekkers as they head off on the trip of a lifetime. However, come 5pm, its got the same sleepy vibe of the other Sacred Valley towns, as a few restaurants remain open and its charm shines through. With lots of artisan stalls and cute restaurants, this is not a bad place to spend a couple of days – if you can avoid – or overlook – the Plaza in the morning!
Other areas you may encounter
Close to Ollantaytambo, Yanahuara is a tiny village with a couple of great hotels on either side of the road. These hotels are the type that once you are in them, you are there for the night.
Yucay offers the opportunity to stay in typical Sacred Valley village.
Need more information about Where to stay in the Sacred Valley with Kids?
Confused? Please contact me with your questions… I’m planning to put together a “mud map” of key points so if you are interested I can send it through!
Also, take a look at Best Sacred Valley Family Accommodation
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