Tour to Sacred valley and what to expect

Tour to Sacred valley and what to expect

There is a lot of day trips you can take from Cuzco. The one I tried is the tour to Sacred Valley and I can really recommend it. Sure, you will need to wake up early again, but who would want to sleep long at their vacation, right? Anyway, it is a whole day tour between diverse Inka sights and it is perhaps the most authentic Peruvian experience, similar to Colca Valley. Especially when you compare it to Paracas or Huacachina, where you can probably see something similar at other parts of South America.

Tour to Sacred Valley

One of the biggest sights
Pisac is perhaps one of the biggest sights that we visited on our tour to Sacred Valley

Here is for some basic info. I never went with some specific company. I just asked at the hotel to see what I can do for one day outside of Cuzco. They offered me three trips. The one to the rainbow mountain, the one to the sacred valley and Machu Picchu by car. I already had my trip to Machu Picchu booked. Also, I decided not to risk any more of altitude sickness, so I didn’t choose rainbow mountain. The sacred valley it is then.

Pisac village and sights

Views to Sacred valley
Our very first stop was just to watch the view from the valley

After another hour of drive from the hotel, we managed to get to the first stop which was view in the valley. We stopped there for about 15 minutes. At that time, our guide started to talk about the Inka culture and how they got their messages fast from one part of the kingdom to another. It was quite fascinating. Also after a very long time, we met a guide who could speak really good English.

We down to the village called Pisac. Apparently, Pisac is a very old village with a big tradition of making silver and jewelry. They took us to one of the places where they make traditional jewelry and talk a bit about it. But to be honest, it felt a lot more like sale pitch for the owners. I mean sure they talked a lot about what they are doing and what is so special about their silver, but after that, we had half an hour break. Before that, the guide kind of hinted that it would be nice if we could spend some money here.

Later on, we finally get to the Pisac ruins. Before you come here, be aware, that they are huge and you can probably spend here the whole day. Because of that, it felt kind of fair that we could spend here an hour and a half on our own, hiking whenever we want. Most of the people tried to hike all the way to the top of the military building. I did that too, but I have to say, there are so many little streets in the ruins that it is really hard to get there and not get lost on your way.

Ollantaytambo ruins

Ruins in Ollantaytambo
The village is known for the train that will get you to Machu Pichu. But on our tour to Sacred Valley, we were here for these ruins

We all were pretty hungry so the guide took us to the restaurants that we booked. Those were already in a town called Ollantaytambo. This little cozy village pleases the tourists not just by the train to Machu Pichu, but also there are another Inka ruins. I probably liked this site a lot better than the one before. I actually don’t know, but somehow it was cozier and not so huge, so I had a better feeling about hiking most of the site by myself than before, where I kinda felt like I could have been there longer.

Our guide told us a lot about this ruins. Perhaps one of the things that I really liked was the fact that they kept the water temple. Up till now, I have heard only about the sun temples and how they predict things from starts. Water temple was pretty new and I liked that they kept it running. So we could come to the room where was nothing but just running water around the stones.

Also, this place had an amazing view. Perhaps one of the most amazing views I have seen from all of our tour to the sacred valley. Mountains everywhere – I mean who wouldn’t like that.

The great thing about visiting this village was the fact that the people who wanted to stay for their Machu Pichu trip on the next day were totally free to do so. So it solved their issue of how to get here.

Last ruins and visit of Inka

Spanish build church on top of inka ruins

The last part of the trip was in front of us. First, we visited a village where Quechua women talk to us about all the traditions that they have. For example, the sweaters that you can see everywhere. How they color them traditionally, what kind of herbs they need to make the different colors. I was really surprised that they are using bones. I mean animal bones, but still.

Later they talk about a tradition that I consider a lot sadder. But that is only because I had guinea pigs since I was a little girl. So they showed us the cages where they keep them. Apparently, they are treated as pets until they decide to eat them. Which sounds really horrible.

When they finished talking about traditions we were again, left alone to hopefully buy something from them. Which was both annoying, but at the same time, here they at least had nice things.

When we finished shopping, we went just shortly to visit the last ruins in the village. And I’m really sorry but I forgot the name of it.

It was just a shortstop. It was already around 6, the sun went slowly down and we started to be really cold. And also the site that we went to wasn’t particularly big or special. Most of it was renovated, so there was almost nothing original.

Sites we didn’t manage to see in our tour to Sacred Valley

Historic sites in Sacred valley

Maras – Or as you might know it – the salt field. I have heard a lot about it. And we kinda saw it from the distance. Truth is, I’m actually not sure about what to do there. I mean sure it does look beautiful. But can you walk around it or is it just for Instagram posting? I’m not too sure.

Moray – That would be the site with round Inka gardens around. For me it kind of looks like some Greek theatre. I’m not sure why we didn’t go there, but either way, it might be too small to walk around just that.

And I think there might be a lot more of the sites to visit. I believe I could spend there weeks as there are a lot of things to do. But this was fine for giving just a little taste. Especially if you want to spend just one day in Cuzco, Sacred valley will fill the hole, if you need to know more about Inkas.

And what to expect from this trip? I mean I had fun, but as always, if you go for a tour, expect that the company will try to give you a hint on where to spend money. It is still your wallet so it is not like you have to. Just smile and enjoy.

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11 Replies to “Tour to Sacred valley and what to expect”

  1. I like how you didn’t plan ahead and simply asked the hotel about the different tours available. I would have gone the same route as you to avoid altitude sickness. I was wondering about the part the traditional sweaters and how they were being made. You said they used animal bones, but I couldn’t figure out how they used animal bones in sweaters.

    1. It is just for coloring the sweater. Apparently, if you use a pulver from animal bones mixed with some herbs, you can get a certain color. And with that, you can color the cotton for the sweater. It was super interesting to see how they are actually mixing it.

  2. Peru is at the top of my bucket list!! It looks so beautiful! I always just think of Machu Piccu but definitely need make sure to see Sacred Valley! I know what you mean about taking a tour though – there’s definitely some set backs like being on a tight schedule and missing things!

  3. It sounds like you got to see some pretty interesting sites with a lot of history behind them in Sacred Valley. I guess when you’re travelling you always have to compromise on what you’ll have time to see. Beautiful photos!

  4. It’s interesting to know about the traditions in the village you visited during the last part of your trip. I can’t understand though how the women make sweaters with animal bones!

  5. Peru looks amazing! Cuzco is definitely on my bucket list. I’m sorry the potential for altitude sickness deterred you from seeing Rainbow Mountain. I’d be interested in know more about dealing with altitude sickness when you travel. Do you have any tips?

  6. I visited Belize and learned about the Mayan ruins. I’m not interested in learning about other ancient civilizations such as the Inca’s. Sacred Valley looks extraordinary! I think this site would really help visitors understand the cultural customs of this area a little more than have been passed down. I also love the views from the sites. It looks like it’s a pristine destination for a day trip.

  7. I have been planning on visiting Peru for some time now and your post just makes me want to get there as soon as possible. Besides Machu Picchu, exploring Cusco, Huacachina, Vinicunca, and the Sacred Valley are all in our Peru bucket list. Thanks for sharing all the details of your experience exploring the amazing Sacred Valley – I am sure I’ll be referring back to this post as we travel to Peru.

  8. I loved my visit to Cusco and the Sacred Valley a couple of years ago. Reading your article makes me nostalgic for the trip. So much rich history at all the sites. We also saw how the Quechua women make the colors using natural products. We didn’t see anything to do with animal bones.
    Quite surprising to read that in your article. Regardless, totally agree, one could spend weeks exploring the area.

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