For many travellers, and especially for most first-time visitors to Peru, the main objective is to visit Machu Picchu, the Incan ruins high in the Andes Mountains above Cuzco. Untouched by the Spanish conquistadores who plundered and destroyed much of the Incan culture, Machu Picchu is thought by some to be an important religious venue or the last Incan city; others suggest that it was an estate built for an Incan emperor. Machu Picchu can be reached by hiking the Inca Trail or by riding a train in relative comfort; both journeys begin in the Sacred Valley.
Peru’s Sacred Valley features agricultural cultivation dating back more than 1,000 years, as well as several villages and towns where visitors can sample the delicious local cuisine and watch local artisans create traditional woven and clay artworks. A fascinating day trip while visiting the Sacred Valley is a hike to the quarries at Cachicata, the source of much of the stone the Incas used to build many of their buildings.