There are several companies with specially designed tours, so shop around to find the one that best suits your interest. The best companies will take you to the highlights of the Sacred Valley, such as the archeological sites of Pisac, Ollantaytambo, Moray and the Maras Salt Mines, rather than just focusing on various markets for shopping. Look for all of this to be provided in a small private tour with a guide who is passionate about Inca history.
The area of the valley between Pisac and Ollantaytambo is known as the Sacred Valley of the Incas. On this tour, you will drive through the mountains of the Sacred Valley, which played a key role in Inca culture and history. The Valley has a milder climate and is at a lower altitude than Cusco. You will see a succession of picturesque villages, ancient Incan terraces, and the most important archeological sites
Places You Visit with SAM Travel Peru on the Sacred Valley Tour
No other travel agency except SAM travel visits all of these sites in their Sacred Valley Tour!
The tour guide should pick you up at your hotel at 7:30am, with a private van and head towards the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Most agencies stop first at the Mirador of Taray, where you get your first view of the valley. This spectacular view of the Urubamba valley is laid out before you, with traditional farming communities in the valley floor and mountain peaks rising from the end of the valley. Keep reading to see the places you’ll want to visit!
Your first visit will be the archaeological site of Pisac, where you can see an immense Inca cemetery with more than 2000 tombs. You will learn about the incredible farming terraces carved into the mountain. Your guide should spend about 1.5 hours with you here, exploring the ancient Inca city. These ruins are quite extensive and you will see many examples of original Inca architecture.
The next stop should be to the colorful market of Pisac, which you can visit for about 20 minutes. Then you drive to Urumbamba for lunch where you have the option of a buffet restaurant of delicious Peruvian food, or other nearby restaurants. Most agencies do not include lunch in the price.
The Salt Mine (Salineras), close to the colonial town of Maras, are Pre-Inca. Hundreds of saltpans decorate the hillside and have been used for salt extraction since before the Inca era. A natural spring at the top of the valley discharges a small stream of water heavily laden with salt, which is diverted into saltpans and evaporated to produce a salt that is of very high quality. This is one of the few places in the world where you can find naturally pink salt!
The stunning Inca site of Moray is also known as “The Greenhouses of the Incas.” Different levels of terraces are carved into a huge bowl, part of which was further excavated by the Incas. The terraces have varied microclimates depending on how deep into the bowl they are placed. It is believed they were used by the Incas to research the optimal conditions for their crops and to make new hybrids of staple foods so that they could be grown at higher altitudes.
We finish our tour in Ollantaytambo, exploring the archeological site for about 1 hour. You will learn about the incredible architecture of the Sun Temple, admire the water fountains, the Incahuatana and the impressive storehouses. Finally, you will return to Cusco. Quality agencies will give you door to door service, dropping you at your hotel around 6:30pm.
If you are looking ONLY for a taxi, then find the information here!
Spend more time at the Inca cities in small or private groups!
|# OF PERSONS|| PRICE|
|2 persons||$75 pp|
|3 persons||$65 pp|
|4 persons||$55 pp|
|5 + persons||$45 pp|
***Price per person is based on the number of people in the group. When the group is finalized each person will pay based on the size of the final group. There is no guarantee of how many persons may join except the limit is 10 persons per group.
***A minimum is 2 people is required to start a group.
PRIVATE GROUP PRICES (Any date)
|# OF PERSONS|| PRICE|
|1 to 6 persons||$197|
|7 to 10 persons||$240|
***Private group price is based on group price not per person, and will be completely private with your own guide, chauffeur and private van. No others will be added to the group.
***Minimum is 1 person but that person will pay $197 for the private group.
Structures like the ones you can see in the towns of Pisac or Ollantaytambo, have made it one of the favorite places for travelers from all over the world, even more because it is the valley you must go through before you can enter the Inca city of Machu Picchu. This Valley was the center of Tahuantinsuyo, the largest known empire in the Western Hemisphere, spanning from Colombia and Ecuador, passing through Peru and Bolivia, to the northern part of the nations of Argentina and Chile; and its capital is the city of Cusco, which was known as the “navel of the world.”
With the river feeding the valley, its fertile lands were one of the main centers of food production during the time of the Incas; Some places, such as Moray, were used as agricultural laboratories, to experiment with species of plants brought from across the empire. The Incas cultivated potatoes, white corn, coca, fruits and vegetables, on terraces like those that can be seen in many valley villages specially designed for this purpose. Today the valley produces lucuma, peach, avocado, and one of the best corn varieties in the world.
But it was more than just an important agricultural center; The Urubamba River Valley, “Willcamayu” for the Incas, was one of the most important elements in the religious cosmology of the Incas. They believed that the flow of the Urubamba was closely linked to constellations and mountains, they also believed that it was the counterpart of the Milky Way on earth.
The Urubamba river valley or “Sacred Valley of the Incas”, is located 15 km northeast of the city of Cusco, is reached by a paved road. A trip by car to one of the nearest villages will take around 40 minutes. From there you can move to the other villages in the valley by local transport.
The Sacred Valley of the Incas is 2,800 m.s.n.m., 600 meters below Cusco, and enjoys one of the best climates in this region, daytime temperatures vary between 19 ° and 24 ° C. This advantageous climate made the Incas use it as their main center of agricultural production, experimentation and research. Nowadays, travelers use the valley to acclimatize themselves, before starting their tours through Cusco and Machu Picchu. Without a doubt, it is one of the best ways to avoid altitude sickness.
Known by the Incas as Willcamayu, the beautiful valley extends from the town of Pisac to Ollantaytambo, along the Urubamba river. The ancient Inca settlements in these cities are presented as checkpoints, before entering the “Inca Trail” that leads to the sacred city of the Incas, Machu Picchu. They are simply amazing, each one more impressive than the one before.
NOTE: Normally to enter to these tourist sites and attractions you need the boleto turistico.
EXPLORE ALL OF THEM IN ONE DAY
The town of Pisac is located 33 kilometers from the city of Cusco and is presented as the door to the Sacred Valley. It is world famous for its craft market and its impressive archaeological remains, located on a mountain above the town. This town was a kind of capital of the region in the time of the Incas, very important for its excellent location and its fertile lands. The Inca and colonial constructions that are exhibited in its territory are admirable for its advances architecture and for the platforms that surround the mountains and polished stone structures, assembled to perfection. More recently, Pisac has become the spiritual center of the Sacred Valley, where you can have all kinds of experiences and spiritual retreats, in addition to meeting people from all over the world who interested in this modern interpretation of ancient spirituality.
Ollantaytambo, also known as Ollanta, is located 97 km northwest of the city of Cusco; approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes by car. It was during the time of the Incas a fortified city, with temples, urban, agriculture and defense walls. It is known that the Inca city of Ollantaytambo served as an administrative checkpoint. After the Spanish invasion, it became one of the favorite places of the viceroys. It is considered one of the most important archaeological sites in Peru and South America; In addition, many people consider that after Machu Picchu, the town and the ruins of Ollantaytambo contain the most impressive Inca stone work in Peru; However, it is not the only amazing thing about this place. Only a few years ago, global positioning systems allowed us to discover that Ollantaytambo is aligned with other ancient constructions throughout the world; the pyramids of Gíza, the Easter Islands, the Nazca lines, are just some of them.
In addition, the most important archaeological remains around the world are aligned around this line. We recommend you visit the Inca city of Ollantaytambo, otherwise, you will be missing out on something very big.
On a normal tour of the Sacred Valley of the Incas, the town of Chinchero will be the one you will visit after touring most of the valley, back to Cusco. It is located 28 km from the city of Cusco at 3,772 m.a.s.l. and it has important archaeological sites, a beautiful 17th-century colonial church with canvases of the “Cuzqueña School”, and a typical market where bartering can still take place.
You can reach the town of Maras from the city of Urubamba; To the northeast of it you will find the “Salt Mines”. You can see more than 5,000 salt extraction pools, built in the time of the Incas, taking advantage of a spring of saline water and the slope of the Qaqawiñay mountain. By far the pools give the impression of being full of snow. In the dry season, these wells are filled every 3 days with the salt water that emanates from the spring over the wells, and when evaporated, the salt crystallizes and gradually solidifies. This process continues for a period of 30 days, until a considerable amount of solid salt is obtained, approximately 10 centimeters high from the bottom. Las Salineras de Maras is one of the 4 places in the world where you can get pink salt and a great place to buy souvenirs!
The town of Moray is 74 km from the city of Cusco, and houses another of the impressive constructions of the Inca. It is a series of concentric circular bowl-shaped platforms, which give the feeling of being an artificial crater. This place was one of the main “agricultural research centers of the Inca empire”, dedicated to the experimentation and planting of crops from different parts of the empire. The different climates and altitudinal floors vary in temperature by approximately 20 ° C (from the first to the last), were built with the intention of making it possible to plant products from the coast and jungle in colder climates and at higher altitude. The platforms are arranged in such a way that each of the terraces produces a very particular microclimate.
The Sacred Valley has become in recent years, one of the best places to practice outdoor and extreme sports, you can do cycling, hiking, climbing, paragliding, rafting and others. If you are one of the people who enjoy adventure, the outdoors and extreme sports, you cannot miss this opportunity in the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
The tour of the sacred valley will take you on a markedly traditional route, you will meet Quechua-speaking residents, with typical costumes, working their fields in an artisanal way; It will pass through villages built in the colonial period, through ancient Inca settlements. You will tour markets, temples and city squares that will take you back a few hundred years ago. However, to tour the main archaeological remains of the Sacred Valley, you will need to buy the tourist ticket of Cusco.
Normally to enter tourist sites and attractions, you would expect to simply turn up and pay your entrance fee on the day, right? Well, that’s no longer the case for some of the biggest archaeological and museum attractions in Cusco and the Sacred Valley.
Instead, the boleto turistico is a single ticket which has to be purchased in advance to allow entry to various sites, such as Sacsaywaman, the Pisac and Ollantaytambo ruins. It is not possible to visit or enter these sites without a valid boleto turistico, and it is not possible to buy an individual entry ticket for any single site which is included on the boleto turistico.