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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/3.

Nearly every Cusco travel agency offers a good-value, 1-day Sacred Valley tour (as little as $25, per person for a full-day guided tour), and most provide English-speaking guides. The tours tend to coincide with market days (Tues, Thurs, and Sun) and generally include Pisac, Ollantaytambo, and Chinchero. It's not enough time to explore the ruins, though a quickie tour gives at least a taste of the Valley's charms. An even better way to explore the Urubamba Valley, if you have the time, is to advance town by town toward Machu Picchu or vice versa, starting out from the great citadel and returning piecemeal toward Cusco. The first Sacred Valley visit on most itineraries is Pisac. A caveat: 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).

You can also hire a taxi from Cusco to get to any of the valley towns or for a daylong tour of the Sacred Valley -- expect to pay about S/90. Shared private cars (autos) to Urubamba leave from Calle Pavitos 567, with four passengers per car (they're generally station wagons with room for luggage in back and take just 50 min.) for just S/10 per person.

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.