Andean Explorations – 18: Sacred Valley

This post is part of my Peru travel series: Travel stories | Photo gallery

The Sacred Valley of the Incas is a valley in the Andes of Peru, close to the Inca capital of Cusco. The Valley is generally understood to include everything between Písac and Ollantaytambo, parallel to the Urubamba River, or Vilcanota River or Wilcamayu, as this Sacred river is called when passing through the valley. It is fed by numerous rivers which descend through adjoining valleys and gorges, and contains numerous archaeological remains and villages. The valley was appreciated by the Incas due to its special geographical and climatic qualities. (Wikipedia)

Like I suggested in previous post, the best way to travel in this region is independent travel. It gives you the choice to travel where you want and when you want. The cost is as low as possible and the experience of interacting with the locals, getting lost, finding the buses etc. is wonderful.

Local buses or collectivos (mini vans) run frequently between various towns, but there are 2 major routes on either side of the river. Often the driver will wait until his vehicle is fully packed with people. Make sure you tell the driver loudly (so that everyone will know) where you want to get off the vehicle.

As a rule, it is always safe to travel in public vehicles as people will try to help and offer plenty of advice. It’s only when you seek individuals such as taxis do you get exposed to potential crime, cheating etc. Foreigners (gringos) will be loved in the buses and people will watch your actions with curiosity 🙂

The town of Pisac is great for shopping and there are hundreds of little shops on market days (Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday). Urubamba is a bigger city, and there is nothing much to see there. I halted in Urubamba briefly at the fuel (gas) station while waiting for my next bus. A night’s stay in Pisac and Ollantaytambo would be very enjoyable as these towns are very quiet.

My path in Sacred Valley looked like this (very confusing without a map):
(from Puno) > Cusco > Ollantaytambo > (to Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu) > Ollantaytambo > Cusco.
Cusco > Pisac > Urubamba > Moray and Salinas > Chincherio > Cusco
I would have loved to spend more time here cycling the valley, but as I said before – some things should be left for the next visit 🙂

This post is part of my Peru travel series: Travel stories | Photo gallery