Transportation Sacred Valley Peru, Cusco and Ollantaytambo
Transportation in the Sacred Valley
Renting a car in Cusco can be expensive, and a bit of a hassle as parking is sometimes difficult to find, as well as the fact that many travelers just want to be dropped off somewhere, as opposed to paying to both rent and park a car for a few days while they visit Machu Picchu.
For most people, getting a taxi or van with a driver is the way to go. We at KB Tambo Tours offer a variety of options for travelers looking for transportation from Cusco to Ollantaytambo or vice versa, or a Sacred Valley tour, or other sightseeing activities. In fact, there are so many options that the first order of business is to narrow down the itinerary.
It is important to start by getting a rough feel for distances and driving times in the Sacred Valley, to help you plan where you want to go. First, take a look at this map:
The map above includes distances in Kilometers. Now for driving times, although the drivers drive (often too) fast, it still takes a little longer to cover a distance than it might back home due to poorer quality roads, traffic, photo stops, etc. Here are some rough time estimates:
– Cusco to Pisac is 1 hour. Cusco to Ollantaytambo is 1.5 hours. Pisac to Ollantaytambo is 1 hour. Pisac to the Salt Mines or Moray is 1 hour. Ollantaytambo to Salt Mines or Moray is 45 minutes. Chincheros is about 30 minutes from either Salt Mines or Moray. Chincheros is about 1 hour from either Cusco or Ollantaytambo.
That should help with driving time estimates. Now, for average time spent to visit typical and popular sites:
– Both the Salt Mines (Salineras) and the rings of Moray can either be seen from, literally, the parking lot (and thats not as lame as it sounds. Like most Inca sites, they were built to be seen from above). That takes only 15 to 30 minutes. Both sites can also be walked down into and around. That takes longer, approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour. Chincheros is in our opinion among the least interesting sites in the valley, although if you are looking for some interesting souvenirs the Chincheros market, along with the Pisac market, is a good place to do it.
– The Pisac ruins take some time to go through, they are large. Most people choose to take a taxi or van and get dropped off at the upper parking lot, then walk through the site and get picked up at the lower parking lot when one exits the site. It is possible to walk up from town but it is well over an hour straight up and we do not necessarily recommend it. Ditto walking down. It can be done but not in conjunction with our transport services.
Many people ask what we recommend. First, you must decide how much time you have. It gets dark around 6pm. Our taxis and vans are available anytime after 6am. Most people choose an itinerary that is too ambitious. To visit just the Pisac market and ruins takes around 6 hours, or 3/4 of a day. The same time is needed to visit the Salt Mines, Moray, and Chincheros. In a half day, one could visit just Salt Mines and Moray, just the Pisac market, or just the Pisac ruins.
Once you know how much time you have to spend, the second thing to do is decide what sites you want to see. There are many options, and the best thing is to educate yourself, we recommend getting a guidebook like Lonely Planet so that you can read up on all the Inca sites in the Sacred Valley between Cusco and Ollantaytambo so that you can decide what is most interestng to you. Typical sites include Pisac market, Pisac ruins, Salt Mines, Moray, Chincheros, and the town of Ollantaytambo. We don’t recommend Urubamba as it is more of an industrial town, with little to see.
Once you know how much time you have to spend, and what sites you want to see, then it is just a matter of taking the time estimates to drive between sites (that we explained in detail above), as well as the time estimates spent at each site (also explained above) then just let us know !