Valle Sagrado, or the Sacred Valley of the Incas, is home to one of the the most famous archaeological sites in the world, Machu Picchu. To visit only Machu Picchu wouldn’t be enough! Valle Sagrado is full of Inca archaeological sites to keep one busy for a whole week or more. In this entry, I will give a brief overview of the day trips I took from Cusco to some of these sites.
The most important sites can be visited on organized day trips from Cusco offered by just about every tour office in town. The tours are offered daily year-round and have bilingual guides. Each of the tours I took cost just S/35 (as of July 2014). The tours only provide transportation and a guide. Many of the sites visited are covered by the Boleto Turístico, which cost S/130 in July 2014. Others cost extra. I purchased my tours from SIW Travel, located at Portal Comercio No. 169 on Plaza de Armas.
Circuito Maras (9am to 2:30pm)
The incredible terraces of Moray and Salinas de Maras are visited on this tour, along with a stop in Chinchero for a demonstration on traditional crafts.
Valle Sagrado (9am to 7pm)
The heart of Valle Sagrado is covered in this tour. A visit to the ruins of Pisac and Ollantaytambo are the highlights along with a stop in Chinchero on the way back to Cusco. The train to Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu leaves from Ollantaytambo, so it’s possible to end your tour early there and take the train.
Circuito Sur (9am to 2:30pm)
Circuito Sur goes to the Inca ruins of Tipón, a pre-Inca site called Pikillaqta, and the town of Andahuaylillas. This is the least popular tour with the least visited sites, but they’re equally spectacular.
City Tour (2pm to 6:30pm)
One tour I opted not to do was the City Tour. It covers Qorikancha, Saqsayhuamán, Q’enqo, Pukapukara, and Tambomachay. All of these places are covered in the Boleto Turistico except Qorikancha. Qorikancha and Saqsayhuáman are the only places on this tour that I visited. They are within walking distance of Cusco, but the others are not. I chose not to do the tour because I wanted to spend more time exploring Qorikancha and Saqsayhuáman on my own.