There are so many beautiful destinations to explore outside of Cusco, Peru. You can enjoy several adventurous day trips such as, a hike to Laguna Humantay, a hike to Rainbow Mountain or a journey to the Sacred Valley. For us, we visited the Sacred Valley on our second day in Cusco and highly recommend including it in your Peru itinerary.
A day trip to the Sacred Valley is a great way to explore beautiful Inca sites while acclimatizing to the high altitude and avoiding altitude sickness. With that being said, there is simply so many things to see in the Sacred Valley that most tour companies offer two different day trips. One tour will take visitors to see Pisac, Chincheros, and Ollantaytambo. While the other tour will take visitors to see Moray and Maras Salt Mines. It is very difficult to find a company that will create a special full-day Sacred Valley tour that includes all of the most popular sites and in a budget-friendly price. Lucky for us (and you), we found the best Sacred Valley private tour to fit any Peru budget!
In this post, you will not only find a list of things to see in the Sacred Valley, but also the best Sacred Valley private tour company to book with. My goal is to provide you with all the information you need to help plan a successful trip to the Sacred Valley.
Full disclaimer – We were offered a generous discount by Cusco Journeys & Adventures for our Sacred Valley private tour. As always, our opinions are non-biased and our own. We want to thank Cusco Journeys & Adventures for their generosity and for everyone following and supporting us on all of our sweet adventures.
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The Best Sacred Valley Private Tour
Since there are plenty of things to see in the Sacred Valley, there are countless tour companies to book with. However, if you want a tour company that will cater to your needs, go at your pace and not break your wallet, then we have your answer. Look no further than Cusco Journeys & Adventures for the best Sacred Valley private tour.
Why Book with Cusco Journeys & Adventures?
As avid world travelers, we have been on countless tours. So we can confidently say that Cusco Journeys & Adventures is one of the best tour companies we have ever worked with. Included in our Sacred Valley private tour was transportation, hotel pick up and drop off, bottled water and packed snacks. In addition to the amenities, they were amazing for many reasons:
Finding a great tour at a budget-friendly price is almost hard to find. We could not believe the prices at Cusco Journeys & Adventures for a Sacred Valley private tour. For a group tour to Sacred Valley and/or Moray and Maras Salt Mines, it costs $40 per person. To make these tours private, costs $80 for two people, $70 for three people, and the price keeps decreasing as the people in a private group increases. Is that not an amazing price or what?!?! We also did our research and it is not likely you will find better prices than these. So whether you are backpacking throughout South America, or enjoying a luxurious trip to Peru, these prices are hard to beat and cater to everyone.
Value the Guests Experience
We are still blown away by Cusco Journeys & Adventures budget-friendly prices. Their reason for accommodating prices? They believe in the value of a guest’s experience. Cusco Journeys & Adventures are passionate about giving their guest’s the best Sacred Valley private tour with incredible service for a valued price.
Accommodate Guests Needs
Along with guest experience, Cusco Journeys & Adventures also value their guest’s needs. We knew there were so many things to see in the Sacred Valley. However, we had very little time in Cusco, so we could not make two trips out to Sacred Valley. With this said, Cusco Journeys & Adventures created a special Sacred Valley private tour that accommodated everything we wanted to see in one full day. If you want to create your own special tour, do not hesitate to ask them – they will help you!
Easy to Communicate
We do not speak Spanish and could not make international phone calls to Peru. Thankfully, Cusco Journeys & Adventures has several ways to communicate to their guests: WhatsApp, USA toll-free number, online chat and email. The convenience of being able to communicate with someone in the United States made the entire process extremely easy for us.
Countless Tours Available
As the company name depicts, there are several Cusco journeys and adventures to choose from. In addition to the Sacred Valley, tours include treks to Machu Picchu, Cusco city, trek to Rainbow Mountain, packaged tours and more.
They have friendly and knowledgable English and/or Spanish guides. Our guide, Ernesto, was more than wonderful. We never imagined being able to learn so much about the Incas in just one day.
One on One Interaction
The owner of Cusco Journeys & Adventures, Miguel, communicated with us via email before our arrival, met us at our hotel, Aranwa, for our tour debriefing and followed up with us the evening we returned from the trip. Our personal interactions with Miguel made us feel welcome and a part of his family.
Have we sold you to book with Cusco Journeys & Adventures yet? If so, book with them here!
Things to See in the Sacred Valley
There are five things to see in the Sacred Valley that you cannot miss during your visit – Pisac, Chincheros, Moray, Maras Salt Mines and Ollantaytambo. To see Sacred Valley’s beautiful sites, you must purchase entrance fees, so we recommend visitors buy a Cusco Tourist Ticket.
Cusco Tourist Ticket
The Cusco Tourist Ticket is a great way to save money on the entrance fees to some sites at Cusco and the Sacred Valley. If you plan to visit at least three sites in the Sacred Valley, the Cusco Tourist Ticket Circuit III – Sacred Valley is your best option. If you plan to visit the sites offered for Cusco and the Sacred Valley, then the Full Cusco Tourist Ticket is highly recommended. The Cusco Tourist Tickets must be paid in person and in cash at one of the eligible sites. For more information please refer to this website.
Pisac is a wonderful village with a market attractable to tourists, but its most known feature is the Inca fortress. The beautiful Inca fortress towers over the village from the top of a mountain. Leading to the fortress are large semicircle terraces. Both the terraces and the Inca fortress are available for visitors to explore on their own and marvel at the work of the Incas. Pisac is a very popular destination amongst tourists and an easy day trip from Cusco.
When visitors are not exploring, they are admiring the stunning views that lead out into the Sacred Valley. Pisac is truly breathtaking everywhere you look.
Chincheros is a small village in the Sacred Valley known for its markets, but it also has a cathedral, Inca terraces and a beautiful view of snow-capped mountains. For us, the highlight of Chincheros was the market to purchase authentic souvenirs. The souvenir that most tourists purchase is an alpaca textile. An alpaca textile is made from Alpaca fiber, also referred to as “The Fiber of the Gods.” Making an alpaca textile can take anywhere between at least 2-3 weeks to a couple of months depending on the size and complexity. It can be designed into a blanket, table runner or pieces of clothing. The most popular piece of clothing is the alpaca textile poncho!
Our Sacred Valley private tour took us to a special market away from the village’s main plaza to Centro Textil “Awac Nusta.” Visiting this market in Chincheros is a fascinating thing to see in the Sacred Valley and we recommend you visit as well. We were able to be introduced to a local woman who demonstrated the entire process of creating alpaca textiles. It was an amazing demonstration and we learned a tremendous amount. The locals use only natural ingredients, such as flowers and roots, to create their colored ink. At the end of the demonstration we were able to look around their market and shop for one of their masterpieces.
- While at the Chincheros markets, do not be afraid to try and negotiate fair prices.
- Some brick and mortar stores take credit cards (sometimes a 5% fee), while the locals selling on blankets take soles. Centro Textil “Awac Nusta” does take credit cards with no fee.
Moray (Inca Ruin)
There are so many Inca ruin’s in the Sacred Valley and the Moray Inca Ruin is one of them. It is by far one of the most incredible things to see in the Sacred Valley for its pure beauty and ingenuity. It is essentially several large circular depressions that are referred to as agricultural terraces.
The Incas were without a doubt, remarkable engineers. They created each terrace level to be used for different crops and also varied in temperature. From the top to the bottom terrace there is a temperature difference of 59°F/15°C. Pure genius by the Incas! And did you know that at least 60 percent of the world’s food crops originated in the Andes? It is not surprising at all when you visit Moray Inca Ruin.
Maras Salt Mines
If you visit one site in the Sacred Valley, it must be the Maras Salt Mines – one of Peru’s hidden gems! The Maras Salt Mines was our favorite thing to see in the Sacred Valley. After seeing several Inca ruins, the Maras Salt Mines were a refreshing site to visit. There are six thousand different shallow pools filled with salt water that is visually stunning and impressive. The salt mines completely captivated us by its unique beauty and history.
The Maras Salt Mines date back to pre-Inca and have been producing salt for more than 500 years. Our guide, Ernesto, was able to take us by the storage facility – we were in shock of the magnitude of salt stored away.
Visitors blown away by the salt mines can happily purchase a variety of salts produced from the shallow pools on their way out. We certainly bought our fair share of pink salt for cooking and a variety of salt for therapeutic baths.
Ollantaytambo is another beautiful town in the Sacred Valley with an incredible Inca archaeological site, also referred to as the Ollantaytambo fortress. The Ollantaytambo fortress is located on the outskirts of the town in an area called, Temple Hill. Within the fortress are some of the largest Inca terraces and a Sun Temple. Like its predecessor, Pisac, this Inca site also features magnificent views from the top of the terraces.
I hope this post has been helpful to get an inside look at the many things to see in the Sacred Valley. Just remember, Sacred Valley is very large and there is no infrastructure on the roads leading to each site. So, plan your trip accordingly based on the time you have. Or better yet, book with the best Sacred Valley private tour, Cusco Journeys & Adventures. I promise, they will take great care of you!