Prices available upon request
Your guide and driver will meet you in the morning at your hotel for the 45-minute drive north of Cusco to the Sacred Valley… Sound good to you? Then sign up to this Sacred Valley private tour.
The name refers to the heartland at the center of the Inca Empire — a stretch of gently sloping, incredibly fertile river plain, which the Inca believed had its celestial counterpart in the Milky Way. Along this stretch of what the Inca called the Wilcamayu, or sacred river, are the towns of Pisac, Calca, Urubamba and Ollantaytambo.
You first stop will be at a scenic lookout, where the windy road through a high-wallled gorge opens up to magnificent agricultural basin. Surrounding the lush, green valley floor are vast contoured terraced and irrigation works, sculpted by the Inca into the surrounding mountain flanks.
Farther along, you wind down into the valley, and catch your first view of the Andean market town of Pisac. Look up and you will see high above it terraces and a vast Inca temple fortress on the mountain.
The ancient Inca emperor Pachacutec had his engineers build the complex, spectacularly wrapped around the mountain ridge and perched atop the high spur.
The ruins contain some of the finest Inca masonry in existence. Through are several routes into and through the ruins, which include residences, store houses and defensive lookout towers, as well as a religious sector with a Intihuatana (sundial).
One narrow path leads to a massive gateway. Beyond that is a steep ascent of stone stairs that abruptly end at the entrance of the Qalla Q’asa tunnel, a natural fissure that the Inca enlarged through the sheer rock face.
After exploring the ruins with your private guide, it’s worthwhile to spend some time below in the town shopping in one of South America’s most famous outdoor markets before continuing to a local restaurant for lunch.
Then it is on to Ollantaytambo, which lies at the far northeast end of the Sacred Valley, at the convergence of the Urubamba and Patakancha river valleys.
The town retains much of the Inca stonework and same layout of streets and plazas. Immense, terraced steps climb up to a grand ceremonial apex, carved into a huge block of stone, overlooking the valley.
Taking advantage of the cool breeze creating by the converging valleys, the Inca built stone storehouse for grain and maiz into the mountainside. From the other side of the temple, you can clearly see the route the Inca used to drag giant boulders from quarries nearly six kilometers, or about four miles, away, to build the site.
On the way back to Cusco, we stop at the picturesque artisan town of Chinchero, where you can admire the well-preserved Inca wall in the main plaza, and visit the beautiful colonial church, filled with intriguing frescos.
We return you to your hotel in Cusco. (7-8hrs)
▶ Highly recommended hotel: Casa Andina Private Collection Cusco
A similar ½-day Sacred Valley day tour also is available in group service from our Av El Sol office. Please call or email us beforehand to check availability and book.
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