Practical Information about The Sacred Valley

Sacred Valley, Perú

Practical Information about The Sacred Valley

Money in the Sacred Valley

There are shops and upper-level tourist restaurants that accept credit cards, but best to take money out of the local ATM. There is usually a charge of between 10 – 12 soles for withdrawing cash from ATMs plus the amount your bank charges back home. Also, many businesses will charge an additional 6% or 7% interest on credit card transactions if you use your credit card.

You will find ATMs Urubamba, Pisac, and Ollantaytambo. However, be careful to have a small backup supply of cash around the weekends, maybe around 300 soles worth or a similar amount in USD if you still need to change it into soles.

Tip: it's handy to have a few coins in soles but small expenses or tipping. Change is always an issue in Peru, especially in the countryside of the Sacred Valley.

Laundry Services in the Sacred Valley

A few laundry services are located in Urubamba, Ollantaytambo, and Pisac. Just make sure to plan ahead, as your laundry might not (always) be ready in (less than) 24 hours. Some people have learned this the hard week, seeing that they wanted to move on sooner than the clothes could dry. However, if you are in urgent need, you can try fancier hotels; they all have laundry services (for their clients). You can drop your clothes off there or ask who their local laundry service is.

Of course, you can also buy laundry detergent at the local shops for those who want to do their laundry on their own (if possible).

What to bring to the Sacred Valley:

Having a packing list of things you must bring before traveling overseas is always helpful. And since the Sacred Valley is a rural area, be aware that only some items are available. Some (basic) clothes, shoes, and other articles of clothing are available in the center of Urubamba. Still, there is not a large selection, and most pieces are more "souvenir flavored" than everyday clothes you may typically wear. So, pack all your favorite T-shirts, jeans, shoes, and sweatshirts for chilly nights. And you may be able to find batteries and other essential articles, but no (good) electronics, medicines, etc. Here is a list of the "must have" things to bring to Sacred Valley.

Packing list for the Sacred Valley

  • Money, preferably in Soles.
    It is possible to change cash dollars (at the Plaza de Armas in Urubamba, for instance). Still, the exchange rate could be better. There is ATM machine in Urubamba, Pisac, and Ollantaytambo. Still, they might only accept some cards, and we recommend you rely on something other than this 100%. Also, when one is broke, it takes time to visit another village to find another ATM. Plan ahead. If you are lucky, it will all go very smoothly.
  • The Tourist Ticket (‘Boleto Turístico’).
    This ticket is needed if you want to visit the Archeological Parks of Pisac, Chinchero, Moray, and/or Ollantaytambo. The ticket can also be purchased on-site but if you have already bought one for Cusco, remember to take it with you to the Sacred Valley. There are 16 sites in total on the Cusco Tourist Ticket. All Incan ruins can be found between Cusco and the Sacred Valley.
  • Walking shoes
  • Enough clean clothes (read about the laundry services above) and a towel.
  • Warm sweater or jacket. Although it is warmer than Cusco during the day, it still is cool at night.
  • Sun Cream, hat & sunglasses
  • Books or games for music for relaxation
  • Flashlight/ torch
  • Your own travel medical kit
  • A Spanish dictionary or grammar book (if you have one)
  • A camera/ charger/ mobile/ etc.
  • Your passport
  • A Rain jacket (if traveling during the rainy season in Peru)

Weather & Climate in the Sacred Valley

The climate in the Sacred Valley is quite beautiful. Though it is still at a higher altitude than many other places, it is lower than in Cusco and, therefore, a bit warmer.

As in Cusco, the Sacred Valley experiences both the rainy and dry seasons. The rainy season is between November and April. The heavy rain may fall suddenly with stronger winds blowing in. The blue sky made a hideaway for a bit, but the rainy season has its advantages. The hills are lush and beautiful, covered with thick grass and flourishing flora. Many of the hiking trails can be muddy and unmaintained. The nights are warmer than the dry season but expect rain.

During the dry season, the colors of the sky are brilliant; the air is quite dry. Generally, nights are cold. It could even be freezing at dawn, so when traveling out to the Sacred Valley region, it is always best to bring clothes for cooler weather. The sky at night is full of stars that will leave you gazing till dawn.

The dry season is busy, and more hikers and groups are on the trails.

Talking about its climate, the Sacred Valley is the perfect place. The ancient Peruvians realized the advantages of this lovely climate. They came to the region to find cures for their diseases. With a land full of vegetation and comfortable temperatures, the Sacred Valley is ideal for those looking to escape the everyday towns and cities. Temperatures usually range in the mid to upper 60s. During the winter, nights are much more relaxed, but daytime temperatures are delightful. The summertime temperatures are much the same as during the winter; however, the evenings are not as chilly.

How to Get to the Sacred Valley

There are different ways to reach Peru's Sacred Valley of the Incas, with the two main access villages being Pisac and Urubamba. From Cusco, you can take a (large) bus or a minivan (called 'colectivos'). These 'colectivos' are (relatively) safe and fast; luggage will be strapped on top of the roof.

Large and roomy buses also run from Cusco to Urubamba. Buses are cheaper but slower.

Find the colectivos in Cusco to Pisac on Puputi Street, near the Garcilaso Monument. Multiple vans depart rom both sides of the street. The colectivos drop you in Pisac on or near the main bridge; some continue to Calca or Urubamba, other return to Cusco. The trip from Cusco to Pisac takes aprox 45 minutes.

Collectivos and buses to Urubamba depart from Cusco to Urubamba's bus station. Both forms of transportation pass by the villages of Chinchero and take about an hour to Urubamba.