Getting Around the Sacred Valley
Local buses (usually small combis or colectivos) are the easiest and cheapest way to get to and around the Sacred Valley. They are often full of local color, if not much comfort. (Tall people forced to stand will not find them much fun.) Buses to towns and villages in the Sacred Valley—primarily to Pisac, Urubamba, and Chinchero—use small, makeshift terminals on Calle Puputi s/n, Cdra. 2, and Av. Grau s/n, Cdra. 1, in Cusco. They leave regularly throughout the day, departing when full; no advance reservations are required. Fares are S/4.
You can also hire a taxi from Cusco to get to any of the valley towns or for a day-long tour of the Sacred Valley—expect to pay about S/90 to S/120. Shared private cars (autos) to Urubamba leave from Calle Pavitos 567, with four or five passengers per car (they’re generally station wagons with room for luggage in back and take just 50 min.) are S/7.
Getting There -- A combi or colectivo (S/4) from Cusco (Calle Puputi s/n, Cdra. 2; no phone) to Pisac takes 45 min. to 1 hr., dropping passengers just across the river at the edge of town, a 3-block walk uphill from the main square (and market). From Pisac, buses return to Cusco and depart for other parts of the valley—Yucay, Urubamba (both a 1/2 hr. journey), and Ollantaytambo (1 hr.)—from the same spot. Although a taxi to Pisac on your own costs about S40 to S/50, it is often possible to go by hastily arranged private car for as little as S/7 per person. Private cars congregate near the bus terminal and leave when they have three or four passengers; just get in and ask the price (everyone pays the same fare).
Visitor Information -- You’re best off getting information on Pisac and the entire Sacred Valley before leaving Cusco at the Tourist Information Office, Mantas 117-A, a block from the Plaza de Armas (tel. 084/263-176) or the iPéru office, Av. El Sol 103, Of. 102 (tel. 084/252-974). Beyond that, the best sources of information are hotels.
Tours -- Pretty much every Cusco travel agency offers a good-value, 1-day Sacred Valley tour (as little as $25 per person for a full-day with a guide), and most provide English-speaking guides. The tours generally include Pisac, Ollantaytambo, and Chinchero, plus Maras and Moray on occasion. It’s not enough time to explore the ruins, though a quickie tour gives at least a taste of the valley’s charms. The first Sacred Valley visit on most itineraries is Pisac. Although you will travel comfortably by chartered, air-conditioned bus and will not have to worry about connections, you won’t be able to manage your time at each place (indeed, you’ll have precious little time in each place—only enough for a quick look around and a visit to ruins or the local market).
Fast Facts -- There’s an ATM on the main square, but it’s probably wise to exchange much of the money you’ll need before leaving Cusco, especially if coming on Sunday to the crowded market. There’s a post office on the corner of Comercio and Intihuatana.
Boleto Turístico in the Valle Sagrado
The Cusco boleto turístico (tourist pass) is essential for visiting the Sacred Valley, in particular the ruins of Pisac and Ollantaytambo, as well as the market and town of Chinchero. You can purchase it at any of those places if you haven’t already bought it in Cusco before traveling to the valley. You can also purchase the partial ticket that just covers the Sacred Valley sites if you aren’t planning to make use of the full ticket in Cusco. More information here.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.