One Day Taxi Trips around the Sacred Valley
If you only have one day to spend visiting the Sacred Valley in general, or if you have allotted day for a driving tour, we can help recommend a few options:
People often think it will be quicker than it is. Stopping for photos, bathroom breaks, snacks etc will add a lot of time to your day, and most of the sites in a typical day tour of the Sacred Valley are spread far apart. Ollantaytambo, Cusco, Pisaq, Chincheros, and Salt Mines or the site of Moray are all separated by between 1 to 2 hours of driving time (not counting stopping time or the time spent actually visiting the sites themselves).
Here is the breakdown you are looking for ! It is about a two hour drive from Cusco to Ollantaytambo or vice versa. The drivers often attempt to make it in less time so do not hesitate to ask them to slow down. Click HERE to see another page that explains the Half Day and Full Day options
The turn off to Salt Mines and Moray is on the same Cusco to Ollantaytambo highway, about twelve kilometers from Chincheros. But the two sites are another twenty minutes of driving from the turnoff on the main highway. Pisaq is on the exact opposite side of the Sacred Valley from Ollantaytambo, along the Urubamba highway. The town of Urubamba itself lies on that highway, as does Calca, which is roughly the halfway point. Ollantaytambo to Pisaq is about sixty kilometers and about one hour in taxi or one and a half hours in public bus (combis).
Pisaq has both a popular craft and food market, as well as one of the most spectacular Incan archaeology sites to be found anywhere in Peru. The market is open seven days a week, and Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays are the busiest days. Typically the time spent is from one to two hours. People often ask if it is “touristy” well, that depends on how you define the word. It is crowded (but not that bad) and it is a craft market after all ! But most people enjoy the experience immensely and it still retains its authenticity from the old days. The Pisaq ruins are big and take two hours to go through. There is an upper and lower parking lot (not to be confused with walking back to town from the ruins, this takes a decent amount of time and is a steep trail).
The best way is to have your driver drop you off at the upper parking lot, then wait for you at the lower one (they are just a few kilometers apart at most). Then your visit to the Pisac site will be a mostly downhill one ! Chincheros also has a market, though it is smaller. There is also a Colonial church there as well as more Incan terraces and stonework. This is all worth a visit, though in our opinion if you did have to cut something out of your day in order to fit it all in, this is probably our recommended thing to cut out. .