Sacred Valley Tour
The Urubamba Valley, or Sacred Valley, is famous for its wealth of Inka sites and quaint villages. This tour visits the highlights of the valley: Pisac Ruins, Pisac Market, Ollantaytambo and Chinchero. Lunch will be buffet-style.
After an early morning pick-up from the hotel, the tour proceeds to the Laqo community to take photos of rooftops decorated with traditional bulls-and-cross ornaments. The cylindrical fort of Puca Pucara is viewed from the bus.
En route to Pisac, there is a brief stop at the panoramic lookout of Taray which presents a spectacular view of the Sacred Valley and Huillcamayu River.
The Pisac Ruins comprise one of the best preserved Inka sites of the Sacred Valley, perched high on a mountain ridge above the colonial town of Pisac. Thought to have been a garrisoned pilgrimage center, Pisac ruins feature purification baths, watch-towers, a stunning ceremonial center and the largest Inka cemetery yet discovered, K’itamayu.
The tour descends to the valley floor and the colourful Pisac Market*, one of the largest markets in Peru. Overtaking the town’s main square and spilling down the adjacent alleys, Pisac Market is hive of activity. Elaborately-costumed villagers descend on Pisac Market to buy and sell, eat and drink. Chicha, fermented corn beer, provides a source of refreshment while hawkers barbecue stew and cure a variety of Andean delicacies in street side stalls. Visitors will be greeted by the calls of vendors announcing their wares and dazzled by the abundance of locally-made handicrafts. Pisac is a market-lover’s dream.
The tour continues west to Urubamba where we visit the small local market and learn about the staple crops and produce of the Sacred Valley. Thereafter, we dine on a buffet lunch.
Leaving Urubamba we continue to Ollantaytambo where the modern town is built on top of original Inka foundations. Massive stone blocks from the time of the Inka remain the predominant architectural feature of buildings and alleys near the town square. Cascading down the hills above the town are the Ollantaytambo Ruins which were once an Inka religious, military and astronomical center. This is the only place where the Spanish conquistadors were ever defeated. Walking the ruins, we see how the site commands views of the entire valley and would have been an extremely difficult position to build, let alone conquer!
En route to Cusco we visit the picturesque town of Chinchero, famous for its colonial church, main square and weaving workshops.
Our tour finishes with a transfer back to the hotel.
*Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays are the principal Pisac market-days; however, the artisanal market is open every day.