You want a trip to Machu Piccu through the sacred valley from Cusco, we can tell you how to get there and some option for where to go along the way.
Through the Sacred Valley, from Huayambaba to Aguascalientes (at the foot of Machu Picchu), is 53km in a straight line. However you should consider the mountain routes from the valley to the jungle. The geography makes these twisting roads a total of 180km. The trip through the Sacred Valley in an car takes over 4 hours.
Video del Valle Sagrado y Machu Picchu
Tours from Cusco to Machu Picchu
Most tourists coming to Cusco have Machu Picchu as their highest priority. They tend not to think about the time rather just getting there is whats important. This is why most tours head through the Sacred Valley to get to the ruins. Although there are in fact other routes to get there, more adventerous paths that can take you through Salkantay or through the small town of Choquequirao.
Shooting through the Sacred Valley without stopping along the way will have you at Aguascalientes in a little more than 5 hours going 224km in total. If all you’re interested in is a car ride this is perfect. But what are you missing along the way?
Attractions in the Sacred Valley
The Sacred Valley of The Incas has a majestic quality and is filled with natural gems, architectural marvels, and rich histories to experience. In the region natural, adventure, historic and ecological tourism all live side by side.
Destinations that are best seen on the road to Machu Picchu are: Ollantaytambo, Maras, Moray, Chinchero, and Santa Teresa. What follows will give you the details to marvel at the splendor of the Sacred Valley on your way to and far beyond just Machu Picchu
Ollantaytambo was once a key sit for defending the Inca Empire during its height. An early example of genius urban planing. It has a system of irrigation for growing crops, and the houses are constructed from adobe and straw. The central section is a citadel made from megalithic stones hauled up from elsewhere in the Sacred Valley. Ollantaytambo was one of the few places that successfully repelled the Spanish invasion
The town preserved the base of the structures and the architectural style of the original Inca Structures. Close to Ollantaytambo is the “Puerta del Sol”, or Inti Punku, at the top of a mountain. To get to this point there is a hike up with spectacular views of the entire valley.
Another option to climb the mountain is on horseback. From Inti Punku the splendor of the whole valley is visible. While it is not known precisely the purpose of the site it is supposed it was a destination for religious rituals or a surveillance point to watch over the entire valley. The view is simply breathtaking.
Within Ollantaytambo you can also visit the ruins of the citadel. These ruins were part of the ancient city and served as fortifications. The scale is incredible and its position on the side of the mountain has left it nearly completely intact.
Ollantaytambo is at the banks of the river Patakancha, next to the confluence with the Urumbaba river, Just over 60km from Cusco. The altitude is 2800m above sea level.
The tiny town of Maras is just an hour and half west of Cusco. In ancient times it was a very important site and populated by those who lived in Cusco but had to leave the palaces during the time of the conquest.
The main attraction are pozos, or salt wells, more than 3000 meters high. At this site the huge number of wells are still used for bringing salt to market.
It is possble to reach the salt mines on foot via a trail or in a vehicle over the highway. There are over 3000 small wells in a very tight area. The salt there is high in minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and copper
Moray is an archeological site located 7km from Maras and 38 from Cusco. It is over 3500 meters above sea level. Moray is a special place and was only discovered recently in the mid 20th century during an expedition.
Here can be found the famous agricultural labratory of the Inca. Tiered rings span the valley and it is believed that it was used to determine the productivity of plants at different altitudes and conditions. The temperature within this feat of construction can vary as much as 15C from the top to the bottom.
Chinchero is a small down about 30km from the city of Cusco. Declared a Historic site in 1972 the archaeological site in Chinchero is roughly 35 thousand hectares.
The town is home to the finest handcrafted goods in the region. You can watch the textiles being made out in the narrow colonial style streets. Chinchero has a rich history and the people are friendly and kind. We cannot reccomend enough that you visit this lovely little spot.
In Santa Teresa you will find the most beautiful Thermal Spa near Cusco called Cocalmayo. The water is crystal clear, the construction is of natural local stone, the air is clean and the mountain climate make it the perfect place for enjoying the thermal baths.
There are 3 large pools at Cocalmayo. The temperatures range from 38 to 44C. Cocalmayo also offers small waterfalls and an experience unlike any other.
However the slight drawback is the popularity of the location. It is common for people to head there after a trek to Machu Picchu. The location of Santa Teresa and the convenience of getting there combined with all the nearby attractions make it an easy choice for most visitors.
Cocalmayo is just 4km from Santa Teresa. It can be reached in car, taxi or bus which leaves every 20 minutes from the Plaza de Armas in Santa Teresa. Entrance is 10 Soles and it is open each day from 5 am to 11pm. There are plenty of hostels and lodges around if youd like to enjoy the pools for several days.
For more on the Sacred Valley and Tours that include Machu Picchu hit the link below
If you want to know more before your visit: Todo sobre el Valle Sagrado.