Begin your trip to the Cusco area with the Sacred Valley, which the Inca considered paradise for its fertile earth. Up and down the valley, the Inca built a string of their most sacred sites, including temples and fortresses in Pisac and Ollantaytambo. This charming valley is a destination in its own right, with a great range of lodging and restaurants, day hikes, horseback rides, mountain biking, and more.Sacred Valley
The Sacred Valley is cut by the Rio Urubamba, which rushes toward the Inca's most fabled achievement: Machu Picchu. The fabled lost city is a breath-taking citadel arranged along a jungle-covered ridge. Hiking either the Salcantay route or the Inca Trail, a paved stone highway that culminates in a bird's-eye view of the ruins, is a memorable way to arrive. The train ride in and out also affords incredible views of the area's scenery.
After visiting the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu, travelers are acclimatized to Cusco's high altitude. They are also primed for Cusco's complex culture, which remains today an antagonistic mixture of Inca and Spanish cultures. The Spanish erected more than a dozen baroque churches atop flawless Inca Walls. Cusco must-visits are the artisan barrio of San Blas, the fortress of Sacsayhuamán, and the Inca sun temple Koricancha.
Pisac is one of Cusco's few great Inca ruins that feature all types of architecture - agricultural, hydraulic, military, residential, and religious. It probably began as a military garrison to guard against incursion from the Ant Indians, who occupied the easternmost corner of the empire know as Antisuyo (present-day Paucartambo and the Manu jungle).
Qorikancha was the religious center of Cusco, geographic and political center. The temple of Qorikancha, was where paid homage to the maximum Inca god "Inti" (Sun). "Qori" means gold worked and its Spanish form is cori. "Kancha" means fence limited by walls. Hence it is that the name corresponds approximately "fenced place containing gold."