While in Cusco, one of the top things to do is a day exploration of the nearby Sacred Valley. On this tour you have the opportunity to see some amazing ruins further outside of the city as well as learn about traditional weaving from the Quechua people. The Sacred Valley is situated within the beautiful green hillsides and mountains and the Urubamba river runs through it, creating lush farming areas. We opted to take a tour with Kantu Peru Tours so we wouldn’t have to worry about the logistics, and we were very glad we did.
First stop – Cristo Blanco
The first stop on the tour is at the statue of Christ on the hills of Cusco. This gave us a view overlooking the entire city of Cusco. It was great to be able to start out our trip with a layout of the city. From this vantage point you can see the entire city, and the shape of the puma that marks the major thoroughfares of the city. It was also fun to spot the major landmarks including the cathedrals, plazas, and the Cusqueña brewery. At this viewpoint is a huge white statue of Jesus Christ that was a gift from Palestinian Christians in 1945 as a symbol of gratitude for the refuge they received here.
Second stop – Písaqa
This was the first stop to check out the Inca ruins up close. The ruins are embedded into the side of the mountains offering fantastic views of the hillside terraces which were used for agriculture as well as erosion protection. There are remains of fountains, temples, military vantage points, burial sites, and living quarters. We spent over an hour walking around taking in the history and views.
Third stop – Ollantaytambo
This was the second stop on our tour of the ruins. From a distance the ruins take the shape of a sitting llama. The llama was an important animal to the Incas appearing in the Milky Way and it was considered a symbol of fertility. This was a multi purpose site that contained agricultural, military and ceremonial buildings. The most impressive aspect of the site were the massive agricultural terraces.
On the drive from Ollantaytambo to Chinchero we made a stop to check out the frog mountain and take an obligatory picture with a llama.
Final stop – Chinchero
For us this was the most interesting stop. First we stopped in the historical part of town to view the ruins as well as a church. The Spanish took stones from the Incan ruins to build the church, inside you can see some resistance of the Andean people as they converted to Catholicism.
After viewing the church and ruins we went to the Kantu Weaving Center. Here we were able to see a local Quechua woman weaving a table runner which was exquisite. We saw a demonstration on how they clean the alpaca wool before knitting it. Also on display were the natural ingredients they use to dye the wools before knitting. It was a very authentic and enjoyable cultural experience for us. Plus we were able to buy a few items and meet the women who had knitted them.
The tour details
Our tour guide, Percy, picked us up at 7:30 from our AirBnB in a big tourist van. Throughout the day the driver stayed behind with the van and our belongings and Percy walked around with us and told us about the sites.
Disclaimer: we were provided a discount on the tour in exchange for this blog post, however even without the discount we would strongly recommend this tour.