Most people want to do a Sacred Valley Tour when they are visiting Cusco. And yes, the Sacred Valley is a beautiful place, overflowing with things to see, do, and experience. However, the standard Sacred Valley tour, offered by hundreds of tour agencies in Cusco all follow the exact same route.
The result? A tired, overrun experience, bus loads of tourists arriving at the same place as you at the same time, and locals churning out the same speech dedicated entirely to getting you to buy something. It’s a very long day of hitting “the spots” alongside hundreds of others.
What is a standard Sacred Valley tour like?
Leaving Cusco early, you jump on a bus with twenty or thirty other tourists and are driven round site after site, before finally returning to Cusco exhausted at about 7 pm. Often this is done on your first full day in Cusco. So not only are you suffering from tiredness and jet lag, but you are also only recently getting used to the altitude. And every place you go, you will see hundreds of other tourists, all doing the same thing in the same order. This is not our idea of fun.
The standard Sacred Valley tour visits the following places:
Chinchero is famous for weaving. You will be herded into a staged workshop where the local women will rush through a description of the dying process, before showing you all the different products you can buy from them.
Moray, a quick 20-minute explanation of this fascinating archeological agricultural site before bustling you back into the bus.
Maras, the beautiful salt pans of Cusco, you will visit here for as long as it takes for everyone to get their picture- this can take a while as there are plenty of other tourists trying to do the same. (Check out our biking trip to Maras and Moray)
Lunch in Urubamba- where you will be overcharged for a cheap meal.
Ollantaytambo is a beautiful historic town, with so much to offer and experience- but on the standard Sacred Valley tour, you will be rushed to the top of the ruin with no chance to look at the town itself.
Pisac is famous for its market. You will visit the hugely expansive ruins for about 30 minutes, before heading down to a jewelry shop where they will explain the importance of silver in Peru before encouraging you to make a purchase to remember such a special day…
There are hundreds of companies offering “the” Sacred Valley tour. But we prefer to do it a little differently.
Here at Amazonas Explorer, we believe in quality over quantity. We believe that you get what you pay for. We do not try to offer the cheapest Sacred Valley tour. We do not even try to show you all the sites in the Sacred Valley. However, we do try to give you the best taste of the area in the time you have available.
The photo below was taken at Ollantaytambo ruins at about 4 pm. Most days you can go to Ollantaytambo at 4 pm and it will be exactly the same. Because that is how a standard Sacred Valley tour is done.
If you want to avoid the crowds and experience a part of what Peru is really about, then why not try out one of our off-the-beaten-track Inca Trail hikes that take you to some of the least visited and most beautiful sites in Peru?
What makes an Amazonas Explorer Sacred Valley tour different?
- Your tour is private. You have a guide and vehicle at your disposal. Your guide will tailor it to your wishes and pace.
- By careful timing, we can avoid the crowds. Simply by not visiting things in the same order as everyone else.
- By encouraging you to leave the bus behind and hop on a horse, bike, or take a stroll, we can show you a side of the Sacred Valley that most people never see. It does not take long, or take much effort to get away from the tourist buses.
- By taking it slower, you can concentrate on and fully enjoy a few select sites, rather than trying to cram in the whole of the valley in one day. Remember the Sacred Valley is a large area. The drive from Cusco to Ollantaytambo, its furthest point is about 60km. The valley itself extends about 60km. You should not try to see it all in one day unless you enjoy being completely exhausted and stretched thin.