Shooting the Sacred Valley of the Incas
Sacred Valley Tours
Sacred Valley Tours–Feel the pulse of ancient history on this 2-day photography journey through one of Peru’s most timeless regions–the Sacred Valley tours shooting traditional Quechua markets, the breathtaking terraced salt mines of Maras, Pisac with its massive crop terraces, the sunrise at Chinchero, and the sunset at the sun temple of Ollantaytambo.
This tour is about bringing the ancient Incan temples, local people, and its Incan cobblestones streets to life through photography. We believe the greatest way to see and explore a place is with your camera in tow. And it’s not about snapping pictures so you can remember moments later – for us, its all about the journey, and the moment itself.
Shoot the magnificent Inca ruins found from Pisac to Ollantaytambo and beyond, some of the finest not only in Peru but also in all of the Americas, are testaments to the region’s immense ceremonial importance. The Incas built several of the empire’s greatest estates, temples, and royal palaces between the sacred centers of Cusco and Machu Picchu positioned like great bookends at the south and north ends of the valley. A perfect destination with stunning vistas of snow-capped peaks in the Urubamba Range.
Our photography vacations, excursions, tours, Journeys are unique in that they help you see the genuine side of the city, encouraging you to explore off the well-trodden tourist trail and teach you how to take great photos in the process–Sacred Valley Tours. Join us!
Day 1. Pisac – Ollantaytambo
Day 2. Chinchero – Moray – Maras Salt Mines
Duration: 2 Days / 1 Nights
Physical Rating: 2 – Light – Moderate. Hotel, Lodge nights and/or safari-style camping, hikes of two to four hours on some days. Other physical activities are sometimes included, such as optional sea kayaking, rafting, suitable for most fitness levels. Nothing too challenging
Service Level: Upgraded
Group Size: Small Private Group. Small group experience, Min 02 – Max 12, Avg 06.
Activity: Photography, Hiking, Cultural Adventures.
Arrive: Cusco, Peru
Depart: Cusco, Peru.
Day 1. Visit to Pisac Inca Site, Pisac Local Market, Calca Typical Market, Ollantaytambo Inca Site, Ollantaytambo Town, And Sunrise shooting in Ollantaytambo Town.
Today early in the morning we head out on a full-day photography exploration of the Urubamba Valley – the enchanting “Sacred Valley of the Incas”. Shortly after leaving Cusco. En route, visit a center where South American camelids, such as llamas and alpacas, are bred, a great place for shooting these animals. Learn about the valuable fibers created from their coats, and feed these iconic animals. Our next photo stop will be at the exceptionally well-preserved ruins at Pisac, which provide an opportunity for us to take a short warm-up hike as we shoot the site’s various structures and terraces before making our way down to Pisac town and its bustling crafts market, where we’ll explore this colorful market as we take amazing pictures. After exploring, we travel through the Sacred Valley to Calca, a small town in Sacred Valley, it has something special to offer us, its typical market.
We will then continue to Urubamba where we have our lunch, Our next traveling is through the same valley, past Incan terraces and fields of corn, wheat, barley and quinoa, ultimately arriving in the town of Ollantaytambo, where a stunning temple of the sun is located over the hill, made by rocks that were brought from 4 miles away. We’ll take our time to shoot unique photos with our creative Tour Leader. We then explore Ollantaytambo town whose street plan still maintains its original Incan layout. After Cusco was overtaken by the conquistadors, Manco Inca and his army of approximately 30,000 retreated to Ollantaytambo and were victorious here against the forces of Spanish commander Hernando Pizarro in the Battle of Ollantaytambo. After a photo tour of the town and remarkable namesake ruins.
Our tour ongoings on the hillside of Pinkuylluna mountain, located in front of the temple of the sun of Ollantaytambo, where some Incan constructions are perched on the hillside, and the perfect place to shoot the sunset, with the backdrops of Mountains and Inca ruins. In the evening we drive to our hotel located in the same valley, upon our arrival hotel check-in. Next, dinner, after having dinner, we have a chance to go to hotel garden to shoot some night sky pictures. Meals not included.
Day 2. Sunrise Shot in Chinchero Inca Site, Moray Inca Site, Maras Town, Maras Salt Mines
We’ll take our early breakfast at the hotel to head out on a full-day exploration of the western side of Urubamba Valley. We travel to the lovely high Andean village of Chinchero, with beautiful colonial church and Inca temples, a perfect place to shoot the sunrise. Next, we visit a textile cooperative and learn more about the weaving traditions that have been passed down among the local people for centuries, a great place to take amazing shots of the Andean textile.
Our next photography destination will be the Inca ruins of Moray. The circular terraces of Moray were used as an agricultural “research laboratory” for the Incas, who studied temperature variation from one terrace to another in order to develop different crop varieties. We continue to the small town of Maras, and the picturesque salt mines. Originally used by the Pre-Inca and Inca culture, villagers from surrounding communities still mine salt by hand from the spring-fed terraced pools. We’ll finish our photography session of the Sacred Valley at this amazing place. In the late afternoon, we return to our hotel. Breakfast and packed lunch included.
Note on Itinerary
Although we do our best to adhere to the schedule listed above, this itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control.
– Private Transport.
– Entrance fee to the Incan Sites.
– Special photography permission for Incan Sites
– A photographer Tour Leader.
– 1-night hotel in Sacred Valley
What’s Not Included
– Extra expenditure during the tour, such as bottled water, soda, alcoholic drinks, extra snacks.
– Some meals.
– Travel Insurance.
Hotel in Sacred Valley of the Incas. Hotel Casona de Yucay–surrounded by magnificent mountains, the hotel will surprise you with spectacular views and beautiful gardens where you can relax and feel the magic of the Sacred Valley. It’s a colonial house built in 1810 and recently remodeled will transport you through time to a place where history, nature and the warm and attentive service we provide bind to create unique experiences.
From USD 400.00 Per Person.
Prices are quoted in US Dollars and all payments must be made in US Dollars.
To offer the lowest possible cost, our trips are tier priced according to the number of full-paying participants on the trip.
All costs are per person, based on double occupancy. If you wish to have a single room, you must pay the single supplement fee. If you are willing to share accommodations, we will match you with a roommate if one is available. If we cannot match you with a roommate, the “forced single supplement” is listed if applicable.
Trip Payment Schedule.
– At the time of reservation: 30% of total balance.
– 90 days prior to departure: Balance should be paid fully, or once upon your arrival in Cusco the other 70% of final balance must be paid fully.
Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule.
– Minimum fee (Tour permit fee): $80 per person
– 61-90 days prior to departure: 30% of trip cost
– 46-60 days prior to departure: 50% of trip cost
– 45 days or less: 100% of trip cost.
A professional Machu Picchu Travel Company Tour Leader with a deep knowledge of the destination and a focus on customer service makes all the difference. Our leaders are experts in Inca history, nature, birding, photography, gastronomy, the local language, etc, with a profound connection to Peru’s fascinating traditional culture. They take care of all the details so that you can savor the experiences of the trip. And just as important, they have a remarkable gift for sharing their extensive knowledge and favorite places. Our Tour Leaders have the warmth, endless energy, and that special “it” factor that transforms a trip into an unforgettable journey.
This trip is Level 2, Easy, Light, Nothing too Challenging. Most activity is between 1,640 and 10,500 feet. The maximum elevation we reach is 12,136 feet. Trails can be rugged, not the well-maintained trails you may be accustomed to in your country. For the most part, you can hike at your own speed. Our group will walk in group along the tour. On the tour, you will just carry your own daypack for the items that you want with you on the excursion, such as a water bottle, camera, and a jacket. Our extra gears are left in our van.
– Travel insurance (and some copies).
– Face tissue paper, toilet paper.
– Camera kit and accessories.
– Camera charger and, extra batteries.
– Sun hat.
– Backpack to carry your things.
– Rain gear
– Water bottle, Canteen or Camelback container.
– Long sleeve T-shirts.
– Hiking trousers
– American dollars and Peruvian soles in cash.
– Anti-inflammatory tablets (e.g. Ibuprofen).
– Personal first-aid kit (should contain lip salve, Aspirin, Band Aids, anti-histamine, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, re-hydration powder, extra prescription drugs you may take).
When to Go
This photography tour to Sacred Valley can be explored all year, but in late January and February, are the rainiest months, when some Inca sites are foggy and difficult to see. The season normalizes in March and April when the rains lighten up and the mountains are still green. High season begins in May and extends through September, as these are the driest months. October through December is considered shoulder season when occasional rain is possible, but keep in mind that the highlands of Peru are a temperate desert and it is not uncommon for it not to rain for weeks at a time even in the height of the rainy season. This is also the time with the fewest hikers on the trail, more flowers in bloom, and fewer tourists at Machu Picchu as well as in Cusco. Temperatures in the Cusco-Machu Picchu region range from the high 60s in the daytime to the low 40s at night, with some variation depending on the time of year you go.