Exploring Cusco’s Ruins & The Sacred Valley

Exploring Cusco and The Sacred Valley

Exploring Cusco’s Ruins & The Sacred Valley

If you are in Cusco and you have free days and don’t know what to do here we can help you plan your trip as an explorer. Cusco as well as the Sacred Valley of the Incas have much to offer you from the majestic Sacsayhuaman to the modern Inca citadel of Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley. If you don’t want to hire a tour and you want to take out that adventurous spirit and explore on your own it is very easy for this we ask you to read carefully this article.

The first thing we will do is make a list of the places you want to explore as well as in Cusco and the Sacred Valley, for this adventure you have to be already acclimatized to the altitude as this could ruin your day of exploration. You will also need to read our other articles about some of the archaeological sites you will visit such as Pisac, Ollantaytambo, Moray, Las Minas de Sal de Maras, Chinchero, etc.
We recommend that the day before your trip you take out cash as the money you use to pay for transportation, food, entrance tickets, snacks etc. will be paid in soles and cash, so forget about paying with your credit card.

Here is a list of the places you will visit on your way to the Sacred Valley:

  • Sacsayhuaman
  • kenko
  • Tambomachay
  • Pukapukara

This is another list of the places you will visit in the Sacred Valley of the Incas:

  • Alpaca Farm
  • Pisac Market
  • Pisac Ruins
  • Urubamba
  • Ollantaytambo Ruins
  • Moray Ruins
  • Maras Salt Mines
  • Chinchero Ruins
  • Andean Textile Center

One thing you should keep in mind is the tourist ticket or boleto turistico.

What is the boleto turistico or Cusco tourist ticket ?

If you want to visit Cusco and its surroundings such as archaeological sites and some museums in Cusco, you need to buy a tourist ticket that will allow you to visit many places including those in the Sacred Valley such as Pisac, Ollantaytambo, Chinchero, Moray, Sacsayhuaman, Kenko, Tambomachay and many others.

this tourist ticket is only sold by the government and the Ministry of Culture, there are two types of tickets that can be purchased directly at the first archaeological site you visited.

How much is the boleto turistico?

The partial ticket costs 70 soles and is valid for two days, this ticket includes only 4 places.

The general ticket costs 130 soles and allows you to visit more than 10 places inside and outside the city of Cusco and the best thing is that it is valid for 10 days so if you do the tour of the city tour in Cusco and after your trip to Machu Picchu you want to do the Sacred Valley tour you can still use this ticket just do not have to lose it, it is advisable to take a picture ofi t then if you lose it you can still visit the places by showing the photo of your ticket.

Is the full boleto turistico worth it?

Yes, for our exploration we are going to need the full tourist ticket, this full ticket is valid for 10 days and includes 16 places to visit and the places we are going to visit so if it is worth buying the full ticket.

You also need to buy an entrance ticket to the Minas de Sal de Maras, this ticket will cost you only 10 soles and you can buy it from the locals.

What to take on our adventure trip?
Here’s a list of things to take with you:

  • Sun Block
  • Mosquito Repellent
  • Snacks
  • Pills for altitude sickness
  • Hat
  • Sun Glasses
  • A bottled water
  • Money in coins
  • Photographic Camera
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Toilet Paper

To explore all the places on our list we need necessarily 1 to 2 days, we recommend doing it in 2 days and thus we will not miss any place.

Places To Explore Outside Of Cusco

Sacsayhuaman Ruins

Sacsayhuaman is one of the most amazing buildings in the world. It is thought that the construction began during the reign of the Inca Pachacutec in the 15th century but modern archeologists suggest that it is more than 5000 years old which makes us believe that it was not made in Inca times.
It is believed that more than 20,000 men quarried the stones from the surrounding quarries and transported them 20 kilometers to the hill of the city of Cusco.

Where is Sacsayhuaman located?
The archaeological site of Sacsayhuaman is located 2 kilometers north of the Plaza de Armas in Cusco. It is located at 3,700 meters above sea level (m.s.n.m.), it is recommended to visit it very early so to avoid the crowd, we remind you that from Sacsayhuaman we will ascend up to 3850 meters from where we will take a local bus to go to the Sacred Valley.

How to get to Sacsayhuaman?
Sacsayhuaman is only 15 minutes from Cusco’s Plaza de Armas (by car) or 45 minutes on foot. The entrance is with the Cusco Tourist Ticket already mentioned in our list.

About Sacsayhuaman:
Sacsayhuaman has a dry climate. The average temperature per year is 12°C. There are 2 seasons during the year. The rainy season (from November to March) has more rainfalls. The dry season (from April to October) has warmer days during the day and cooler days at night.
Sacsayhuaman is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Kenko Ruins

Qenqo is located at 3,580 meters above sea level and is one of the most important archeological attractions of Cusco. It is located only 4 kilometers from the city of Cusco and very close to Sacsayhuamán, Tambomachay, Puca Pucara and other important Inca sites. This archaeological site must have been very important due to the amazing remains that are still erected in spite of the destruction caused by the spanish.

Explore the underground cave and learn about the rituals that were performed once there, Qenko was a temple dedicated to the cult of mother earth. It is also believed that inside the cave the mummy of the Inca Pachacutec was kept for veneration.

Leaving Kenko keep going uphill until you reach the road to Pisac, here you can either continue by local car and get off at Pukapukara or you can hike 25 to 40 minutes to the archeological site of Pukapukara.

Pukapukara Inca Site

“Puka means Red nad Pukara fortress” Red Fortress? In the afternoon the limestone rocks of most of its structures become reddish due to the sunset rays. Due to these characteristics it was named Red Fortress. However, it is not yet proven whether or not it was a fortress in Inca times.

Tambomachay Ruins

The archaeological site of Tambomachay is also known as the Inca Baths, Tambomachay  is one of the most important Inca constructions, this is due to the extraordinary type of the construction. It has an amazing underground hydraulic system, the Inca civilization worshiped water as a deity so that people took a symbolic purification bath before entering Cusco. 

Well we have finished visiting the nearest ruins to Cusco now we must take a local bus and go to the town of Pisac. The village of Pisac is only 30 minutes by bus from Tambomachay, once you reach the village of Pisac you can have lunch or go to the Pisac market.

Some Facts About The Sacred Valley 


Moray Pre-Inca Site
Moray Ancient Ruins Cusco

Moray Cusco Peru