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Having recently returned from a week or so in Peru, I thought I would share our itinerary of what we did with 7 days in the Sacred Valley. I don’t claim that this is the best itinerary for everyone, but I share it in the hopes that it could give you some ideas if you are also coming to Peru with a week in the Sacred Valley / Cuzco.
Taxi services / prices in Cusco and the Sacred Valley
Taxis in the Sacred Valley do not run on any meters, but there does appear to be a fairly established series of rates to go to different places. Unfortunately, taxi prices in Cusco do seem to come with a “tourist” tax, where drivers will try to get whatever they can out of you if they think you’re a tourist and/or don’t know any better. As such, it’s important to agree on a price before you get in the taxi. Talking with locals about the expected price is one useful strategy that we used.
One problem comes where you’re arriving into an area and don’t know beforehand what things should cost or who to ask. We ended up using TaxiDatum.com for much of our taxi services in the Sacred Valley (not an affiliate link). You can reserve online, and the booking manager I emailed with was very responsive to questions (in English). You’re probably paying a bit more of a premium than you could but I was personally okay with it. Plus for airport transfers, your driver will be out front with a sign with your name on it, which always makes you feel important 🙂
TaxiDatum also does tours, including tours on the way to/from the airport. Here is a list of the taxi prices in Cuzco and the Sacred Valley that we personally used for our 2017 trip
- Cusco airport (CUZ) to Urubamba, along with a trip to the Pisac ruins, Pisac market and an animal sanctuary – USD$65 or S/200
- Sacred Valley tour (Moray, Maras and Chincheros) – USD$65 or S/200
- Urubamba back to CUZ (no tour) – USD$30
- Lima airport (LIM) to Miraflores – USD$20. We ended up negotiating with our driver to drive us by way of the historic city center of Lima for another S/20.
- Miraflores back to LIM (
Again, all of these prices are going to include a driver (not a guide) who will likely not speak much if any English and will stay with the car while you explore the different sites. You don’t pay when you book – instead you pay the driver directly. All 5 of these trips with TaxiDatum were excellent – the driver was where we needed him to be when we asked for him.
Our itinerary with 7 days in the Sacred Valley Peru
Day 1 – We arrived into Lima on a red-eye flight from Washington at about 5:30 a.m. Originally we were going to stay a day in Lima to acclimate to the altitude…. until we realized that Lima is at sea level :-). Oops! We changed our flight to Cusco to leave at 8 a.m., meaning that we arrived at Cusco airport at about 9:30 and immediately used TaxiDatum for a USD$65 ride to Urubamba with stops at the Pisac ruins, Pisac Market and the Awanacancha animal sanctuary. TaxiDatum will get a direct taxi to Urubamba or Ollantaytambo for USD$30, which I believe is comparable to what other taxis will charge to go to those cities.
Days 2 and 3 – Due to the government strike / huelga in the Sacred Valley, we decided that we would just hang out in / near the hotel and in the Urubamba area. It was nice to be able to just relax in the pool and not feel like every day had to be non-stop “doing stuff” all day, every day. If you’ve got 7 or 8 days in the Sacred Valley or in Cusco, I definitely recommend a few days for relaxing.
We also took a day trip to Yucay, which is a smaller town just down the road from Urubamba. We walked there (about a 45 minute walk) and then took a mototaxi back (3 Soles)
Day 4 – Machu Picchu! I know that I said this was what we did BESIDES Machu Picchu but of course we had to go while we had 7 days in the Sacred Valley!
Day 5 – Maras, Moray and Chincheros
With the government strike calmed down, we took a full day tour to Maras (salt ponds), Moray (ruins) and Chincheros (ruins). Of those, I would say that Maras and Moray were more impressive to us. Here’s a video of the salineras (salt ponds) at Maras.
And I do know that the ponds are all community owned, so it’s possible that the lady I mentioned in the video was legitimately participating in that. It didn’t seem like that to me BWDIK. Here is a video and some pictures of some of the ruins at Moray.
Chincheros had more ruins as well as an old Spanish cathedral. This was probably one of my favorite of our days in the Sacred Valley Peru.
Day 6 – Return to Cusco
Then it was time to return to Cusco. We opted not to take an additional tour of the area but instead get to Cusco early in the morning so that we could explore some of Cusco itself (since on arrival we had immediately left from the airport to go to Urubamba. Here’s a panoramic shot of the Plaza de Armas in Cusco (click for full size)
We also visited some of the museums and cathedrals in the area
I didn’t think that the Qorikancha museum (pictured above) was that impressive, but it’s included on your “boleto turistico” which we had to purchase to see Ollantaytambo, Pisac or any of the other ruins. It was an interesting example of a Spanish church (Cathedral of Santo Domingo; in the background) built on top of Incan ruins)
Day 7 – Return to Lima
Our last day in Cusco was a Sunday and so we started off by going to church (SEE ALSO: Do you go to church while on vacation? I do) and then to the airport. As I mentioned, we did negotiate with our TaxiDatum driver to drive us through the historic city center of Lima – we didn’t have time to do it justice unfortunately
Due to our CUZ-LIM flight being delayed a few hours, it was dark by the time we got to Miraflores, but we still walked down to the ocean and to the Parque del Amor
Hotels in the Sacred Valley / Cuzco area
We ended up staying 5 nights at the Tambo del Inka in Urubamba. You can read my full Tambo del Inka hotel review here, but I had mixed feelings. The hotel bills itself as a luxury hotel and it certainly was. It was a little TOO luxury for me personally, but I could see how some people would like it. For miles and points folks like us, that’s just about the only miles and points hotel outside of Cusco
We loved Urubamba the city itself as well.
In Cusco, we spent one night at the Hilton Garden Inn Cusco which was nice. Again here is my full Hilton Garden Inn Cusco review – it was a nice property in a convenient location.
In Lima, we did not have much time to explore the city but we stayed at the Doubletree El Pardo in Miraflores.
What about you? What would you do (or have done) with 7 days in the Sacred Valley / Cusco area? What did we miss? Leave a note in the comments