Sacred Valley of Peru, these simple words have always made me dream without imagining what they precisely defined.
In fact, I learned while preparing my trip that this valley was a privileged place by the Incas to develop their agriculture. It has been nicknamed “the granary of the Incas”. This region, located around 3000 m above sea level, stretches from Pisac in the east to Ollantaytambo in the west. It is composed of remains of terraced crops, ruins of villages and Inca temples …
How to visit the Sacred Valley – My itinerary in the Sacred Valley
As a reminder, part of the Sacred Valley that required 1 whole day has already been visited yesterday: PISAC Day 11.
For this day, here is my program of visit of the Sacred Valley that we did in 1 day: Chinchero, Moray, Saline de Maras, Ollantaytambo, Aguas Calientes.
How to visit the Sacred Valley – Map of my itinerary
How to visit the Sacred Valley – How long?
Knowing that we had already visited Pisac, we spent a whole day discovering the main sites. Leaving early in the morning is tiring but enough. For my part, we decided to leave at 7:30 from Cusco with a private driver to the Sacred Valley.
How to visit the Sacred Valley – What transport?
There are buses colectivos but too complicated to chain for me. But if you decide to try it, go to Grau Avenue in Cuzco to take the first bus (5 soles) towards Chinchero (50 minutes). From there, I have no more info on the following buses to coordinate …
In Cusco you have a multitude of tour operators that will offer you a complete tour for 100 soles or about 20 Euros without entries to sites.
How to visit the Sacred Valley – Boleto turistico
To visit all the sites of the valley, you will have to buy the famous boleto turistico. It costs 130 soles is about 35 euros and gives you access to 16 sites in the valley for 10 days.
Otherwise you can only pay the entries directly on the sites (you will see if the Boleto will be profitable compared to the number of visits envisaged).
Note that there is also the partial Boleto 70 soles is about 18 Euros which gives access to the sites we visited: PISAC, CHINCHERO, MORAY and OLLANTAYTAMBO.
My Sacred Valley Tour
Sacred Valley tour – Chinchero
Sacred Valley tour – What to see in Chinchero?
In this pretty little typical village I loved is holding a craft market in the main square. So you have to take a walk and get lost in the small streets of the village.
Of course, we hiked to the Inca ruins, passing through beautiful circular terraces but also straight with the mountains in beautiful wallpapers!
Sacred Valley tour – How Long in Chinchero?
We stayed here for 2 hours and it was good. This allowed us to take the time it takes to hike and enjoy the village and the market.
Itinerary Sacred Valley – Moray
Sacred Valley tour – What to see in Moray?
The site of Moray is surprising. When we arrive on the spot, we discover huge terraces in a circle forming a circus well drawn and deep (150 m).
It was an experimental laboratory of agricultural crops developed by the Incas. Each landing was different in altitude, sun exposure, humidity, and allowed to test the development of one culture or another …
Sacred Valley tour – How Long in Moray?
We spent 50 minutes, enough time to walk around the terraces and take some pictures. No need to stay longer if not for a contemplative and meditative break …
Sacred Valley tour – Salines of Maras
Sacred Valley tour – What to see in Salinas de Maras?
(10 soles not included in the Botelo)
After a winding road lined with precipices to landscapes always more beautiful than each other, we arrive at 3,300 m on a point of view above the famous salines of Maras.
These salines result from a stream saturated with sodium chloride and are entirely natural. The Indians continue to exploit them (about 200 tons of salt per year) according to ancestral methods perpetrated from generation to generation.
I am amazed to discover this canvas of ocher, pink, orange colors that unfolds before our eyes …
Sacred Valley tour – How long in the Salines de Maras?
1 hour visit is ample because we quickly went around. In addition, there are many tourists on site which requires us to circulate quickly in the salt pans (so that everyone can access).
Sacred Valley tour – Ollantaytambo
Sacred Valley tour – What to see in Ollantaytambo?
This village (obligatory passage for the access to Machu Picchu) is really very nice even if it is very very frequented by the tourists. You can stroll through its narrow streets, shop at its craft market or visit the Inca ruins.
About this site Inca, I had badly organized and did not find on the spot of French guide to explain the when and the why of how … I think that a guide is needed to make the visit more interesting .
So we climbed from floor to floor admiring these huge blocks of stones but without any information on the place. It was very unfortunate and disappointing.
Sacred Valley tour – How long in Ollantaytambo?
After 2 hours, we were tired of the ruins and decided to go to the station to wait for the train to Aguas Calientes (departure at 16h36 for a scheduled arrival at 18h10). We will be expected by a member of the hotel staff who will accompany us on foot and will make a debriefing for departure very early tomorrow morning.
From Ollantaytambo how to get to Aguas Calientes?
Unless you are an adventurer with the courage to do a tiring trek (with backpacks), the only other way to get from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes is the TRAIN. And I strongly recommend that you book your return ticket in advance.
Below, the internet link that I used to make my reservation a few months before. The round trip will cost you 123 USD and yes! https://incarail.com/
Important: When you buy your tickets on the Internet, you will have tickets that are only bookings. It will be necessary that you thought the previous day to go to Cusco with the agency INCA RAIL to validate and to make print your tickets.
Here is the address you need to go to: INCA RAIL S.A.C. – Portal de Panes 105, Plaza de Armas – CUSCO – e-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org -Tel: (084) 233-030, 581-860
Ollantaytambo Train to Machu Picchu
But what would be a trip without surprise? And this one was big! Me, who always say that I love the unexpected … Since 16h00 that we waited very wisely, we see scrolling time without any train arrives in the station. 18h, we are now worried like the majority of tourists waiting like us …
Nobody knows what’s going on and we’re waiting again and again … The night is starting to fall and rumors are circulating that there would be a strike … The strikers would have placed tree branches on the tracks to prevent the trains to circulate.
It is 22h, fatigue is there and a small icy wind caresses our ears …
Finally the train will arrive at 23:10 with more than 6:30 late. We will be in Aguas Caliente at 1am but nobody is waiting for us … So we have to walk in the dark in an unknown village to find our hotel.
We will finally go to bed at 2am to get up at 3:30 (very small night !!!). We planned to wait for the bus at 4am for a departure at 5:30 … and yes we must be brave if we want to be the first on Machu Picchu!
Machu Picchu – Cheap hotel in Aguas Calientes
El Mistico Machupicchu at 34 Euros a night without breakfast. Great location but hard to judge on the rest because we only slept 1:30!
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