DAY 1: SACRED VALLEY OF THE INCAS (Pisac + Moray + Maras + Salt mines + Ollantaytambo)
Our relaxed tour through the Sacred Valley begins at 7:30am. We will pick-up up from your hotel lobby, we recommend having breakfast beforehand, our next meal is only later in the day. We begin our scenic drive through the Sacred Valley of the Incas, stopping along the way at a camelid farm just outside of Cusco . This amazing farm keeps about 7 different species of the camelid family. The four main species of Peru include the Llama, Alpaca, Guanacos and the Vicuna which is the National Animal of Peru.
Inside the farm, you get to pet, feed and take pictures with these weird and wonderful animals. Going through the center, you can watch the ladies in their traditional garments weaving different garments, using the wool from the camelids. You also get to experience the natural way in which they dye the wool, using roots and indigenous plants. At the exit, there is a museum with a souvenir shop where you can purchase authentic alpaca garments and if your budget allows, the more luxurious and protected Vicuna creations. The Vicuna has super soft material and feels lush and luxurious. Because Vicunas are protected animals, all garments made from their wool have to be sold with a certification of trade and authentication.
Mirador of Toray and Pisac Archeological site
Our first stop in the valley is the stunning Mirador of Taray, where we get to enjoy magnificent panoramic views of the valley. Pisac is regarded as the gateway to the valley and the view from this outlook is a glimpse into what you have to look forward to for the rest of the day. As you look down you can see every inch of the valley carpeted with modern farming terraces. The peaceful Urubamba River flows below, majestic snow-capped mountain peaks like the Ausangate mountain (6 384m/20 945ft) make their presence felt and straight ahead is the Pisac Archeological site in full view.
Next, we drive to the top entrance of the archeological site, that sits perched at the top of the mountain side. The view from the top accents the Urubamba Valley and the surrounding mountain ranges. The Sacred Valley was agriculturally important to the Incas and still plays a major role in the sustenance of the Cusco region. You can find evidence to support the theory of agricultural practices at the top of the hill, which is laden with many food warehouses that were used by the Incas to store food at top where the temperature is much cooler compared to the bottom of the valley. You also come across the biggest Inca cemetery with over 2000 tombs decorating the mountain side. It is said that if you visit these tombs, you can still find human skeletal remains.
Town of Coya, Calca and Urubamba
We drive through the small indigenous towns of Coya and Calca before stopping at the foot of Urubamba for a delectable buffet lunch. The restaurant has an impressive spread of different foods and is vegan and vegetarian friendly. There is a variety of fresh vegetables, salads, protein dishes, desserts, a selection of teas and coffee. (Lunch is not included)
Maras and Moray Salt Mines
After lunch, we continue our journey to the colonial town of Maras, walking downhill to the Pre-Inca Salt Mines. The locals use over a thousand salt pans to collect water from the salt stream at the top of the hill. They extract the salt by allowing the water to evaporate naturally until only salt remains in the pool and is than collected for distribution. This technique stems back Pre Inca, the Incas also used the same technique and the locals now maintain this ancient technique. This is Peru´s main salt supply, supplying over 90% of the country with the salt.
This a rich custom and tradition and the saltpans have been passed down from one generation to the next. This is the community´s main source of income and they have exclusive rights to these mines. Salineras is one of the very few salt mines left in the world to have not switched to more modern salt extraction techniques. The communal company of Maras (cooperative) packages and distributes the salt and splits the profits with the families according to the number of saltpans they own.
Later, we visit Moray, which was an experimental farming site built in the form of an amphitheater with different temperature at each level which grows different types of crops. These levels of terraces were carved before the Incas took control of the Sacred Valley. Then the Incas used it for their experimental farming, to research optimal growing conditions for their crops. The Incas brought in different soil samples from other regions, in order to optimize their research. The locals were still using it for growing their crops, until the Peruvian government decided to preserve and protect it for tourism in the 1970s .
Archeological site in Ollantaytambo
Finally, we drive to Ollantaytambo to explore this quaint Inca village and the amazing Inca Ruins on the hilltop hovering above the town. These ruins are where the Incas fought their last battle with the Spanish conquerors, before they had to retreat and flee into the dense jungle. Most of the structures were unfortunately incomplete or destroyed by the intense battle. There is a section with a number of boulders that were carved, but didn’t make it to their destination. We stop here to learn the fascinating history of the final days of the Inca Empire. Also, settle down and watch the sun set over the valley.
To end the day, we drive back in our private van to Cusco, arriving at your hotel at around 6:30pm.
- Please Note: Its possible to end the tour in Ollantaytambo and the price will be the same.
WHAT WE INCLUDE IN THE SACRED VALLEY TOUR 1 DAY?
- Private group
- Professional English-speaking guide
- Private comfortable transportation
WHAT WE DO NOT INCLUDE IN THE SACRED VALLEY TOUR?
- Entrance tickets to archeological sites: 70 soles (1 day only) or approximately $20 USD per person which can only be purchased in soles only at the first archeological site. (See the Boleto Turistico here)
- Maras salt mines entrance (10 soles)
The Sacred Valley Tour is available on any date as long as we have a minimum of 2 people to book.
|No. OF PEOPLE||PRICE|
|2 people||$ 65 USD per person|
|3 people||$ 55 USD per person|
|4 people||$ 50 USD per person|
|+5 people||$ 45 USD per person|
Price for a private Sacred Valley tour 1 day: US$187 in total for a group up to 4 people.
- Entrance tickets to archeological sites: 70 soles or approximately $20 USD per person which can only be purchased in soles at the first archeological site. ((See the Boleto Turistico here)
- Salt Mine entrance of (10 soles)
The Boleto Turistico (tourist ticket) for the Sacred Valley Tour 1 day
You have the option to purchase a 1 Day or a 10 Day Boleto Turistico.
The partial ticket, or 1-Day ticket costs 70 soles (about US $20) and is valid for 1 day. You can visit as many sites as you like in one day with no further charge. There are no discounts with this ticket.
Both tourist tickets, 1-day or 10-day, allows the access to different archeological sites in and around Cusco, the Sacred Valley, various museums in Cusco, the Main Cathedral, the Qoricancha and more. This is the best way to visit all the archeological sites of the region and the Sacred Valley. Most of the main archeological sites are not accessible for free.
The general ticket, or 10-Day Ticket is 130 soles (about US $35) and is valid for 10 days. This is the cheapest and most convenient way to plan to see different sites in a few days.
Here is a list of sites where you can use your Boleto Touristico:
- Puca Pucara
- Pachacutec Monument
- Cusco’s Native Art Center
- Museum of Popular Art
- Museum of Contemporary Art
- Museum of Regional History
The entrance ticket to the main archeological sites such as Sacsayhuaman, Pisac, Ollantaytambo, Chinchero, Tipón and Moray cannot be sold individually. You must buy the Boleto turístico to visit them. Tickets are available in Avenida el Sol near our office or at the entrance of the first archeological site. YOU MUST PAY IN SOLES, NO CREDIT CARDS OR US DOLLARS ARE ACCEPTED.
Important: These entrances are not included in the Boleto Touristico.
- The entrance to Koricancha or Santo Domingo Convent (15 soles)
- The entrance to the Cathedral (40 soles)
- Maras Salt Mines (10 soles)
*** Find the best information about Boleto turistico here!
WHAT TO BRING FOR THE SACRED VALLEY TOUR 1 DAY?
- Warm jacket
- Sun protection
- Some money for souvenirs and tips
- Money in soles to purchase boleto turistico and ticket for the Maras salt mine
- Original passport
10/10 Amazing experience
If you’re thinking about which agency to use, look no further- Ray and Jimmy went well above and beyond and made this a memorable, safe, fun, and professional experience.
Ray is the most knowledgeable guide I’ve ever had in any country for any excursion - during both the Short Inka Trail and the actual tour of Machu Picchu, Ray’s expertise shined through in his ability to give us a detailed background on every aspect of the history, climate, nature, flora, animals.. anything!
Likewise, Ray and Jimmy were truly the friendliest, kindest hosts that I could have imagined our group having.
Thank you both so much and I will definitely book with you again if (when) I come back!
Did the 2 day Inca trail with Ray and Jimmy they were great and knowledgeable. Ray not only guided us along trail to Machu Picchu but also was an excellent photographer and taught us the history. It was a group of 10 and we had a great time. Even everything going on in Peru, we always felt in good hands.
Short Inca Trial (2-Day)
This tour was the perfect experience for our (group of 10) short trip to Peru. The trail was sometimes challenging, but the views and history made it all worth it. Ray and Jimmy were our guides and imparted sooo much knowledge about the history of Peru, Inca, and beyond. I would definitely recommend!