How To Tour The Sacred Valley
As one of the most important centres of the entire Incan Empire, the Sacred Valley is literally dotted with magnificent ruins, ancient villages and miles of beautiful landscapes.
Boleto Turistico (Tourist Ticket)
The boleto turístico grants you admission to the Sacred Valley’s major attractions as well as several sites in Cusco. A full ticket costs S/. 130 (about $50) and is valid for 10 days. It is the only way you can access some of the sites, and it is cheaper than paying an entrance at each site individually. The ticket offers admission to 16 sites, including Pisac, Chinchero, Ollantaytambo, and 13 other ruins and museums in Cusco and the Sacred Valley. Tickets can be purchased at any of sites on the ticket or at the OFEC offices or Casa Garcilaso in Cusco.
The cost of this ticket is included on all Overland Expeditions but not for Budget Expeditions.
Group Sacred Valley Tours
The most popular way to travel around the Sacred Valley is through a pre-organized tour. All of your transportation and guided tours will be arranged on your behalf. This is a popular way of touring the Sacred Valley because it ensures you get qualified guides and reliable, comfortable drivers and transport. It also means you can spend less time making transport connections and more time exploring the sights.
Most tours commence from Cusco and make stops at Pisac market, Urubamba, Ollantaytambo, and finally the village of Chinchero on the route back to Cusco. Another popular option is for tourists to spend the night in Ollantaytambo and continue on to Machu Picchu in the morning by train, instead of returning directly to Cusco.
Some tour packages offer hiking, horseback riding, or bike riding excursions through the Sacred Valley.
Private Sacred Valley Tours
Exploring the Sacred Valley on a private tour will provide you with much greater flexibility in determining your route through the Sacred Valley. Depending on your interests and preferences you will be free to spend longer in the areas of most interest, such as Pisac market, or at particular ruins.
Local buses are the cheapest way to travel around the Sacred Valley, but there are numerous trade-offs: you will spend a lot of time making transport connections, your journeys will be longer and less comfortable, and you will need a reasonable grasp of Spanish. But most of all, you will be stuck without a guide at each site. The trip to Pisac by public bus takes 45 minutes to one hour and costs approximately S/. 5. When the bus drops you off, you can walk to the market or catch a taxi to the top of the ruins. From Pisac, you can continue on to Urubamba (30 minutes) or to Ollantaytambo (one hour).
You can also reach Urubamba directly from Cusco. The trip ranges from one and a half to two hours and costs S/. 5. When you arrive in Urubamba, you’ll be within easy reach of Moras, Moray, and Yucay, all of which you can reach by taxi or micro. From there, you can also continue on to Ollantaytambo (30 minutes). Make sure to carry plenty of change for bus rides through the Sacred Valley!
Other than trekking, the only way to get to Machu Picchu is by rail. On Peru Rail, you can take the train directly from Poroy (outside of Cusco) to Aguas Calientes at the base of Machu Picchu. The trip takes about three and a half hours.
Of course, arguably the best way to experience the Sacred Valley is on foot. The region provides tourists with ample opportunity to do short hikes in the region or undergo longer, more strenuous treks. The popular Inca Trail Trek, the Lares trek, and Salkantay treks are multiple-day treks that lead to Machu Picchu; hikers looking for a shorter excursion might consider the one-day Chinchero to Huayllabamba hike.