Above: Sol y Luna, Urubamba, Sacred Valley FREDERICO SETTE

I can’t imagine ever tiring of the Sacred Valley. Located less than 50 miles from the Inca capital of Cusco are a succession of breathtaking sites, all set in splendidly scenic landscapes: the great fortress of Ollantaytambo, the sculptural salt pans of Maras, the eerie ruins of the pre-Inca city of Pikillaqta. This region should be the centerpiece of a first-time visit to Peru, and I recommend devoting a solid week to it. Fortunately, it is also home to several of the country’s best hotels and resorts. Everyone suggests starting with a few days in the Sacred Valley to acclimate to the high elevation before moving on to the even higher city of Cusco, and for once, everyone is right. We flew into Cusco (11,152 feet) and made a beeline for Urubamba (9,420 feet), 30 miles to the northwest. 

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