Five Must See Places in Sacred Valley
Are you mesmerized?....
Well I am..
Sometimes we wish our journey to continue forever. I felt the same when I was there. Time stopped and I wanted to continue walking endlessly following the road unexplored.
In this blog, I have penned down a few such incredibly beautiful places in Sacred Valley.
Just around 15 km north of Cusco, this picturesque Urubamba valley welcomes every traveler with snow-capped mountain, archeological ruins, little colonial Andean towns, tiny weaving villages, lush green ancient agricultural terraces, and mysterious Inca history.
I have picked up five must-see places in Sacred Valley. Here it goes:
Ollantaytambo and ruins
Salinas de Maras and town
And this time, instead of any itinerary I like my photoblog to speak for themselves. Though you can find the necessary information at the end of the blog too. 😊
Ollantaytambo: It was the former royal estate of the Incan Emperor Pachacuti. It took us little more than half a day to explore the beautiful cobblestoned streets, Incan walls, quaint cafes, and enormous fortress.
Ollantaytambo ruins are huge. The main attraction is the large rock formed terraces rising steeply along the mountainside. If you do not have any problem with height, I recommend walking up to the top of the terraces to get an amazing view of the Inca temple and the town surrounded by the Andes.
Pisac Ruins: Almost 34 km from Cusco, this is one of the finest Incan archeological sites remaining to date. Pisac ruins are situated at the hilltop and widespread.
You need minimum1,5 hours to explore the ruins. The view of ruins along with the circular agricultural terraces is breathtaking. Also, do not forget to stop by the traditional market.
Chinchero: If you want to explore like a local visit Chinchero. Known as “Home to Peruvian Weaving”, this place has a beautiful local market where you can buy traditional Peruvian souvenirs at a very low price. My recommendation would be to visit the Church on the plaza, ruins, explore the beautiful mudbrick street along with the market.
Salinas de Maras:
Did you visit any salt mine before?
How incredible it is to see, salt instead of crops in the terraces?. This entire place is filled with mini salt panes and each pane is filled with saltwater from underground spring. You can walk through the site on your own. This salt mine is still in use today. Local people produce salt from here and sell it in the market.
Moray: Look at the Amphitheatre structure. Isn’t it amazing?
This circular shape landscape is still a mystery. But it is said that the place was used to experiment with crops at different altitudes. Apart from that, this place has a beautiful landscape which you can visit along the way. The first photo of this blog was taken here.
Information Not To Be Missed
How to reach Sacred Valley:
Sacred Valley has situated around 15 km from Cusco. Most people visiting Cusco, keep it as their base, and visit Sacred valley as a day trip. There are lots of organized tours available from Cusco. If you walk around in Cusco city center, you can also find many local tour agencies offering Sacred valley trip. You can talk to them directly. We used this website for all our trips to Peru.
Apart from the organized trips, Sacred valley can also be visited independently by taking Colectivo from Cusco. Another option could be taking a stopover at Ollantaytambo and visiting Sacred Valley on your way to Machu Pichu. You can add this trip to your itinerary after or before visiting Machu Pichu. You need at least 1.5 to 2 days to visit Sacred Valley.
What we did:
If you read my previous blog (if not visit here), we started in North Peru. From Chachapoyas, we traveled almost 4 hours taking a Colectivo to Jaen airport. From Jaen Airport we flew with Viva Air to Cusco.
On that day, our flight was late. As a result, our plans got affected. We were supposed to travel to Ollantaytambo from Cusco on the same day. As per our plan we fixed our transportation from the airport. But we reached Cusco so late, we missed our pick-up. We could not even contact the driver later. So, we had to book our transportation quickly from the airport for Ollantaytambo again. It was really difficult for us to find a taxi after 7 pm since Ollantaytambo is a 2-hours (almost) drive from Cusco. Thankfully we did not have any problem on our way and we reached Ollantaytambo safely.
** I would not recommend doing that to anyone traveling alone keeping safety concerns in mind. It would be ideal staying at Cusco overnight in case you are taking a late flight and then taking Colectivo/minibus/taxi from Cusco to Ollantaytambo on the next day.
After a long day's journey, we were so tired, we just wanted to sleep as early as possible. We also started our next day late and only visited the town and the ruins on our own. The day after, we went to the tourist information office in the city center and found a taxi from there for our Sacred valley trip. The tourist office helped us to get a taxi. It costs around 120 soles for an entire day trip and we came back around 6 pm. It was pretty flexible for us since we were only two people. On the same day, we had a train for Aguas Calientes at night. We stayed overnight at Aguas Calientes and the next day we visited Machu Pichu.
Tickets: Visiting the Sacred valley is not free. You can pay individually for every site you visit or you can take an integral ticket which we did at Ollantaytambo. Tickets can be purchased at any tourist attraction or in Cusco. There are many options for tickets. But if you plan to visit Cusco and surrounding including Sacred Valley, I recommend taking a full Cusco tourist ticket. It is valid for 10 days, includes 16 attractions and costs 130 soles. Of course, you can go for an individual ticket but full circuit ticket saves money. If you have less time and you do not plan to visit all the places then you can buy a partial ticket for 70 soles.
**There is a separate entry fee of 10 soles in Maras.
Additional Information: Ollantaytambo is a cute little town with all the necessary amenities. ATMs are available as well. You will meet many people from different corners of the world. People take Inca or Peru rail from there for Machu Pichu. You will notice many people waiting with you in the same area before boarding the train. It is very much organized and straight forward. If you follow the direction, you really no need to worry and you are all set for your next stop Aguas Calientes.
Sacred Valley has a diverse landscape and beautiful countryside vibe which I absolutely loved. It was one of the best places I visited in Peru and, also one of the best day trips I had in Peru.
And with that, I end today's blog here. 😊
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See you at Machu Pichu in my next blog.😂