View our
special offers

Discover the Aranwa Scared Valley, which was constructed on the site of a prominent Spanish hacienda known as the Taravilca.

timeline icon

Aranwa Sacred Valley, a member of Historic Hotels Worldwide since 2012, dates back to the 1500s.


Harkening back to Peru’s colonial era, the Aranwa Sacred Valley was built on the grounds of a prominent Spanish hacienda known as the “Taravilca.” Haciendas were self-contained colonial estates that typically grew a variety of crops used for both sustenance and export. Many Spanish settlers flocked to the area back during the 16th century due to the fertility of the surrounding land. These families specifically settled around the towns of Yucay, Urubamba, and Urquillos, which specialized in producing various goods. As such, the Taravilca’s earliest owners created the hacienda in order to reap economic benefits of the area. At least a hundred people were employed at the time, and presumably the estate had its own mill villages with homes, kitchens, bakeries, a flour mill, and store to serve all workers. It became so profitable that the owners of the Taravilca even established the prosperous Yaravilca workshop. This quaint establishment remained active well into the 1900s. Much of the Aranwa Sacred Valley’s current guestrooms now reside within this historic workshop complex. Visitors today can still see the parallel system of vaults that were built within the stone walls that once helped make all the textiles in the facility. They can also explore the greater Urubamba Valley, which is referred to as the “Sacred Valley of the Incas” by contemporary historians. Located just to the north of the city of Cusco, the region was once the heart of the Incan Empire until Spanish conquistadors wrestled control away during the 1500s. Many amazing Incan ruins dot the landscape of the Scared Valley, including Pisac, Maras, and Machu Picchu. A member of Historic Hotels Worldwide since 2012, the Aranwa Sacred Valley is a terrific places for a memorable, culturally themed vacation experience.

  • About the Location +

    Located high in the Andes, the Urubamba Valley is a 70-mile stretch of verdant territory that extends out from the Peruvian city of Cusco. Its fertile farmland has attracted people for generations, with the first known inhabitants—the Chananpata—first arriving in the 9th century BC. Subsequent civilizations occupied the valley for considerable periods of time, including the Qotacalla and the Killke. All employed the remarkable technique of terraced agriculture, in which farmers excavated a series of artificial levels into the rolling hillside. The terraces specifically operated as a way to improve the available space to harvest crops. The natives grew numerous kinds of food within this impressive system, with the most notable being different types of maize. The locals also created a network of small, rural villages that existed in relative harmony, save for periodic raids from hostile tribes in the nearby jungle. But in the 15th century AD, the might of the Incan Empire began to exert its influence over the Urubamba Valley. Their expansion was gradual, using a combination of military action and diplomacy to incorporate the region into its burgeoning society. Their control of the valley proved short-lived though, as Spanish conquistadors under Francisco Pizzaro conquered the region several decades later. Nevertheless, the Incas brief time ruling the valley was incredibly impactful. Making it the center of their great empire, the Inca erected many unique edifices—like temples and fortresses—across the valley. They subsequently placed a special cultural importance onto the area and referred to it as the “Sacred Valley of the Inca.”

    The most spectacular construct they created was the brilliant Machu Picchu citadel, which many contemporary archeologists believe was created at the behest of the Incan Emperor Pachuachuti. Cloistered atop the summit of a towering mountain, Machu Picchu was an impressive complex that fulfilled a variety of roles ranging from royal residence to religious shrine. Hundreds of workers also migrated to the bastion, who lived there year round. As such, Machu Picchu essentially operated as its own city! (The remains of Machu Picchu are currently preserved as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.) But the Inca developed additional towns throughout the Valley, as well, which they connected through their now-famous network of roads. All of those new communities still exist and contain their own striking Incan archeological sites. Indeed, the town of Pisac is noteworthy for the sprawling series of ruins that reside just beyond its borders. Perhaps the greatest is the site of Moray, an agrarian compound that some speculate was used to experiment with the region’s system of terraced farming. Another interesting destination is Maras and its historic salt pools. Organized in terraces, too, the pools operated as a mine that produced one of the empire’s primary sources of salt. In fact, the salt was employed as a source of official currency in some cases. Thousands of international visitors now travel to the communities every year and spend days investigating the region’s rich Incan heritage. The Urubamba Valley is truly a wonderful place to discover, explore, and experience for any invested student of world history.

  • About the Architecture +

    The Aranwa Sacred Valley still displays the same Spanish colonial architectural aesthetics that first defined it years ago. Also known today as “Spanish Eclectic,” Spanish colonial architecture dates back centuries and is one of the most prolific design aesthetics seen throughout the Americas today. The form itself emerged when the first generations of Spanish colonists began arriving from Europe at the start of the 16th century. Seeking to establish similar settlements to the ones found in their native Spain, the pioneers began to essentially recreate European cities across Mexico. Many of the earliest settlers crafted buildings that combined elements of architectural motifs popular in Spain at the time, including Renaissance, Moorish, and Byzantine forms. Over time, though, those beautiful and extravagant styles were complimented by other, newer forms, such as Neoclassical and Baroque architecture. The amalgamation of all those unique styles eventually produced structures that were incredibly decorative and ornate. But despite the variety in their appearance, they mostly shared the same general layout and qualities. For instance, the buildings typically featured a central courtyard, as well as thick stucco walls that could endure diverse climate of both North and South America. Among the other recognizable features that they possessed included heavy carved doors, spiraled columns, and gabled red-tile roofs, as well. This new stunning architectural form soon defined the landscape of countless Spanish cities in the “New World,” such as Mexico City, Cartagena, and Lima. Many of those buildings still survive to this day, too, with some even preserved as recognized UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Sign up for our Newsletter


  • HHA Logo
  • NTHP Logo
  • STE Logo