Nestled amongst the breathtaking beauty of the Andean mountains, Peru’s Sacred Valley was forged by the mighty Urubamba river. Known colloquially in Quechua as Wilkamayu, or ‘Sacred River’ the river was of great spiritual significance to the Incas. Fed by numerous tributaries that descend through adjoining valleys and gorges, the river crashes past many important archeological sites. The lush vegetation and tropical climate made this an important area for Maize production, and the river facilitated the import of products such as Cocoa Leaf and Chili Peppers to the cultural center in Cusco. Not surprisingly then, a visit to this area is high on the list of visitors to Cusco.
Our full day, Extended Tour, takes in all of the sites of our regular tour (including the Sacred Valley towns of Pisac and Ollantaytambo) but also takes us to the spectacular ruins at Moray, and the magnificent Maras Salt Mines. With such a hefty schedule we know you’ll get hungry, and so we provide a delicious lunch at a local restaurant as part of this tour.
Located in the Southern region of the valley, Pisac is famous for its lively artisan handicrafts market in the main square, and gives us the perfect opportunity to mingle with the local people and maybe buy some authentic local souvenirs. From the square a path winds upwards past agricultural terraces to the Archaeological Park, a hilltop Incan citadel where we find ancient temples, plazas and the Intihuatana; an early stone structure thought to have been a sundial. The views from this point look out across the willkayo river or vilcanota river and the surrounding valley, and so the photo opportunities are spectacular!
Now a bustling transport hub for the train journey to Machu Picchu, the cobble-stoned town of Ollantaytambo with its adobe architecture is spectacularly positioned on the Urubamba River amid the snow-capped Andean peaks. Most famous for the hillside ruins of a massive Inca fortress with large stone terraces, the complex is home to the huge Sun Temple and Princess Baths fountain. Our expert guides will delight in sharing with you their knowledge of the history of the area, and the sites that we visit.
About 50km from Cusco, and a little off the beaten track, are the magnificent ruins of Moray. The deep bowl-shaped hollows of Moray resemble a Roman amphitheatre. Circular in shape, and with step-like terraces rising high above the valley floor, the exact purpose of these intriguing concentric terraces is only speculated, although it is widely believed to have been some kind of Incan agricultural laboratory.
The Salt Mines at Maras are our final stop. Located in the high plains above Urubamba, these ancient mines were created by the Incas but (thanks to the interest of some celebrity Peruvian chefs!) are still in use today. The thousands of pools or ‘pocitos’ are a spectacular site, each yielding around 150kg of salt per month. The famous Peruvian Pink Salt found in markets throughout Peru is sourced here at Maras.
As always our expert guides will help bring the history and stories of all the sites that we visit to life, making this truly a day to remember!
- Moray ruins
- Maras Salt Mines
Included in Price
- Roundtrip transportation (mini bus)
- English speaking tour guide
- Hotel pick-up and drop-off
Not Included in Price
- Tourist ticket for entry into archeological sites
- Entrance fee for the Maras salt mines – 10 soles (US $3.15)
What You Need To Bring:
- Tourist ticket (not included in price)
- Sun hat and sunglasses
- Sunblock (SPF 35+ recommended)
- Waterproof jacket/Rain poncho
$185 USD per person