Peru - Sacred Valley Tour

Jul 12th, 2010, 05:40 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 8
Peru - Sacred Valley Tour

My husband and I are planning a trip to the Sacred Valley at the end of August. We have 9 nights and are planning to spend our first few nights in Pisac. We are not going to trek the Inca trail, but we do love to hike, trail run, and explore.

From there my thoughts are to travel to Ollantaytambo for a couple nights, then Aguas Calientes (get up early to spend the day at Machu Picchu). We will end our trip in Cuzco.

Any recommendations for how long to stay in each area? We really want to get to know the culture and explore. We love the mountains and are not huge city people. I'm not sure where we should go after visiting Machu Picchu...I've read mixed reviews on how much time to spend in Aguas Calientes.

Also, is it necessary to book hotels, trains ahead at the end of August? It seems that this is probably a good idea.

Lastly, is it safe to trail run in this area?

Thanks in advance for any feedback or recommendations!
celizwilson is offline  
Jul 12th, 2010, 09:47 AM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 17,691
Based on what you've said about yourselves I think you will love Ollantaytambo and the SV more than Cusco (which is a fairly large city). I would suggest spending more days in Ollantaytambo (you can also overnight there when you return from MP). You might check the website for KB Tours (affiliated with KB Tambo) for ideas about alternative walks or bike rides in the SV. As for trail running, you should ask your hotel before you go. Most likely altitude will be a bigger factor than personal safety. Be more cautious around Cusco in particular.

Would definitely book ahead of time.
mlgb is offline  
Jul 12th, 2010, 10:09 AM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 7,329
Firstly, yes it is best to book hotels and particularly trains ahead of time for August. You will always find a room in a Hostal in most towns but the more upmarket places will be booked up well in advance.

We spent August and Sept in the area and the weather was great but do bear in mind that you will be at altitude so it does get cold at night so pack accordingly.

Unless you are staying in one of the luxury places in MP/Aquas Calientes I would be inclined to spend as little time there as possible as the only reason to be there is for MP.

I am not sure about staying in Pisac as I don't recall too many accommodation options. The ruins are amazing and I preferred them to MP (but I am probably in a minority).

Like mlgb I feel you would like Ollantaytambo (we spent three weeks there and in neigbouring Urumbamba). It is a really good location for seeing the rest of the SV. Olly would be your best bet for trail running as you are quickly out in the countryside, although I wouldn't even attempt any strenuous exercise until you are fully acclimatised. (Try horse-riding from one of the places on Plaza de Armas.

Cusco is a big city of course but worth a couple of days with lots of places to see and some great food. It is nice just to wander around and soak up some of the atmosphere. If you are in to museums then it would be worth buying the tourist pass which provides access to all the important museums as well as the major sites in the SV.

Useful resources:
crellston is offline  
Jul 12th, 2010, 11:37 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 8
Thanks you so much for the information!!

Any recommendations on a route from Pisac to Aguas Calientes? Is it best to go to Ollantaytambo and catch the train from there? I'm not sure if this is possible.

We were thinking about spending one night in Aguas Calientes, getting up early to go to Machu Picchu, spend the day there, and then go back to Olly to stay a few nights. Is this a good plan for Machu Picchu? We would like to be there early to beat as much of the crowds as possible. How much time would you recommend spending at Machu Picchu?

Thanks again!
celizwilson is offline  
Jul 12th, 2010, 12:31 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,271
Here's a link to our blog - our itinerary was as follows

Arrive Cusco, transfer to Ollantaytambo for 4 nights (better to get to the Sacred Valley right away to acclimatize and stay in Cusco at the end). We stayed at Hotel Sauce and loved it - did day trips to Pisac, Moray, Salt Mines, Chinchero for Ollanta.

Train from Ollanta to AC - we stayed two nights as we were there in January and I wanted an extra day in case it rained. Stayed at Sanctuary Lodge which we were very happy with.

3 nights Cusco - the first day we just relaxed and walked around and the second did a day trip to several lagoons.

We booked via a local guide/travel planner - he was able to get rates lower than published internet rates and was our guide for the duration - we highly recommend David Choque.

If you had a couple of extra nights (or maybe only one if you only stay one night at AC) I highly recommend adding Lake Titicaca and a home stay - it was a real highlight for us.
Elizabeth_S is online now  
Jul 12th, 2010, 02:15 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 17,691
For trains to MP you have the choice of leaving from Cusco or Ollantaytambo. Far more choices from the latter.

You can get from Pisac to Ollantaytambo by taxi or bus (usually via Urubamba). Most taxis seem to prefer to take you via Chinchero and you can detour to Moray and the Salineras between Urubamba and Ollantaytambo, but be careful of the altitude. If bringing your luggage, taxi is better.
mlgb is offline  

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