How Far Is Sacred Valley From Cusco – Machu Picchu may be the most famous Inca site in the world, but it’s certainly not the only one. There are many places around Cusco, and if you want to visit the Inca ruins it is the Sacred Valley. Agencies in Cusco offer a whirlwind day trip to 4 sites + salt mine Las Salinas, but I highly recommend visiting on your own and taking 2 days. That way you actually get to see and enjoy the ruins, rather than just rushing by and snapping a quick picture. Visiting the Sacred Valley on your own isn’t difficult, and with this guide you’ll be fully prepared to make the most of your visit.
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How Far Is Sacred Valley From Cusco
Together with Cusco and Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley (or La Valle Sagrada in Spanish) formed the heart of the Inca Empire. Here you will also find archaeological Inca sites, colonial towns, colorful indigenous culture and salt mines.
How To Take A Day Trip From Cusco To Ollantaytambo
The Sacred Valley is actually the starting point of the famous Inca Trail and the train to Machu Picchu also leaves from the Sacred Valley town of Ollantaytambo.
The 4 most famous sites in the valley are Pisac, Ollantaytambo, Chinchero and Moray. You can visit all four on a single ticket: the Circuit 3 Ticket. You can buy your ticket on the spot, at the first site you visit. Tickets cost S/. 70 (around 20 USD, at the time of writing) and is valid for 2 consecutive days. If you’re going to be in Cusco for a while and want to see it all, you can also buy a full ticket. This ticket costs S/. 130 (about 36 USD, at the time of writing) and is valid for 10 days. A full ticket gives you access to the Sacred Valley, Cusco and Southern Valley sites. For more information on various tickets and their updated prices, click here.
You can easily visit 4 archaeological sites and include a salt mine in a 2-day trip to Cusco. There is mostly public transport along the way, you need a (shared) taxi to visit Moray and the salt mines.
Leave most of your stuff in Cusco as you will be back here in 2 days. The route is a circuit, so you will take the items you have taken with you to the archaeological sites in the Sacred Valley. Meaning you want to carry as little as possible with you.
Sacred Valley Peru Tour
Leave early in the morning, so you can make the most of your day. With this 2-day tour, you will definitely have more time to visit the sites than with an organized tour, but it will still be 2 full days if you really want to take your time and enjoy your visit.
Take a colectivo (also called a minivan or minibus) from Puputi Gali for about S/. 4. The stop is marked on the Maps.me map and is about a 25-minute walk from Plaza de Armas, Cusco’s main square. Collectivos leave when full and take 45 minutes to 1 hour to reach Pisac. On reaching Pisak ask the driver to drop you just after the bridge. The next street on your right will lead to the entrance to the archaeological site of Pisac.
Entering the Pisac ruins from this side means you are starting with a steep hike. If you are not willing to walk, you can take a taxi to the other side, the second entrance. This is where tours also enter. I recommend walking though. Just take it easy and enjoy the beautiful scenery along the way. There is no reason to rush anyway.
Pisac is the largest site of the 4 you will visit on this trip and I enjoyed it the most. So take the time you need and want today to visit this amazing place. Walking up to the ruins, you’ll pass Pisac’s Plaza de Armas where you’ll find the market. Take a walk and grab a snack if you didn’t bring one.
The Sacred Valley Tour In Cusco
Remember that the walk is steep, so take your time, especially if you’re not well-acclimated yet. You will see trails on each side of the valley. Both sides lead to the ruins, so you can pick one up and go down the other side if you wish. Tours don’t usually visit this part of the ruins, meaning you’ll rarely see anyone else around. So enjoy having this part of the place (almost) to yourself! That’s part of what makes this place so special.
Once you’re ruined for the day, make your way the same way or take a taxi from the parking lot. Have lunch here in Pisac if you’re hungry, or walk around town if you’re not tired yet and want to see a bit of the city before continuing on to Ollantaytambo.
Pisac – Many people recommended me to stay in Pisac, so I did. I wasn’t a fan though, and that meant I had very little time to visit the other 3 archaeological sites the next day. So I recommend going to Ollantaytambo today to save your precious time on day 2. If you want to spend some time here, Wolf Totem is the place to stay, but there are cheaper places that are nicer around as well.
Unfortunately, there is no direct transport, as Ollantaytambo lies slightly outside the circuit. Instead take a bus or colectivo to Urubambo and ask to be dropped off at the terminal. You can get off the bus down the same road where the Colectivo from Cusco dropped you off, at the corner of Aspinar Street, where the hospital is located. For this you will have to spend about S/. 2.50 – S/. Take 3 and 45 minutes to 1 hour. At the terminal you will find colectivos to take you to Ollantaytambo for S. 1.50 and take about 30-40 minutes. So count on around 2 hours and 4-5 S/. This is for the whole leg. The colectivo may not go to the terminal, but if not, the driver will point you in the right direction.
Sacred Valley Travel Guide
Drop your stuff at your accommodation for the night and go for a wander around the city. You will notice that Ollantaytambo is an expensive town, as the train to Machu Picchu departs from here. The Inca Trail also starts outside of Ollantaytambo, but the tour will begin in Cusco. If you arrive very early, you can also visit the Ollantaytambo ruins today, but it might be too late for that. So just enjoy the town for the evening. Tomorrow is another day.
I would say that this is the most time consuming of the 3 places to visit today, so don’t worry too much about the time you spend here. Check your accommodation before leaving, so you don’t have to worry about this anymore. You can leave your bag here, provided they have room for it, and pick it up before leaving. If you’re hungry, grab something to eat here before heading to More. Moreh is a few km from the nearest town, so your next best place for food is Chinchero.
Unfortunately, there is no public transport to Maras or Moray. The cheapest way to get here is to take a bus/colectivo to Cusco and ask to get off for Maras. Collectivos leave Ollantaytambo from the parking lot behind the square where you were dropped off coming from Pisac. If there is no direct transport, you can also change in Urubamba. The ride should cost around S/.2-3 and takes about 40 minutes if going directly from Ollantaybambo.
From the intersection, you will need to take a (shared) taxi. For Moray and/or Las Salinas. There are taxis waiting to serve them. There will be people offering tours from Ollantaytambo as well, but this will be more expensive than doing the first part by bus.
What To Do On A Luxury Tour Of The Sacred Valley, Peru
Be sure to negotiate the taxi rate. I was offered one for S/.40 by More, and got it at S/.20 to return. You can probably get it down even further as taxis are shared and locals only pay a few coins. If you really want to, hiking is also possible. The walk along the unshaded dirt road is long and tiring, so I recommend just taking a taxi.
Before getting out of the taxi, agree on a pick-up time with your taxi driver to take you back to the bus stop. I agree on 45 minutes, which I would say is the minimum you need here. Better to make it an hour or an hour and 15 minutes. Moray is a very different archaeological site and is made up of circular
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