The Sacred Valley Tour of the Incas has a milder climate and lower elevation than Cusco and visits a succession of picturesque villages, agricultural terraces, and archaeological sites. This region is exceptionally beautiful so be ready with your camera. This tour is the classic/traditional Sacred Valley tour where you will see the main sites (Pisac, Urubamba, Chincheros, Ollantaytambo) in one very full day. In addition to the sites we visit on this tour there are other sites of interest in the Sacred Valley that can be visited separately (Maras, Moray & Salineras, Tipon, Pikillacta, & Andahuaylillas). We recommend an overnight in the Sacred Valley in order to truly appreciate and soak up the relaxed atmosphere here. This tour can also be added on to the Machu Picchu Train tour or any Trek for the complete Cusco experience!
Sacred Valley Tour – Highlight
We will pick you up at your hotel at 7:30am, with our private van and head towards the Sacred Valley of the Incas, where your first view of the valley is at the Mirador of Taray. 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 for a sneak peak of the highlights!
Onward, we drive to 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. We will spend about 1.5 hours here, exploring the ancient Inca city. These ruins are quite extensive and you will see many examples of original Inca architecture.
Then we head back to the colorful market of Pisac, which we visit for about 20 minutes. Then we drive to Urubamba for lunch where you have the option of a buffet restaurant of delicious Peruvian food, or other nearby restaurants.
The Salt Mines (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! This is a shorter walk than Pisac.
The fascinating 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. This is another short stop.
We finish our tour in Ollantaytambo, exploring the archeological site for about 1 hour. Like Pisac, this is a very extensive site. You will learn about the incredible architecture of the Sun Temple, admire the water fountains, the Incahuatana and the impressive storehouses. Finally, we will return to Cusco, dropping you at your hotel around 6:30 pm.