Information & Advice
It is very easy to get around in the Sacred Valley and in Cusco using organised tours, taxis and minibuses. Every second car in Cusco is a taxi, just hold out your hand to stop it (please note the majority of taxis are not marked). The fare anywhere in the historic centre of Cusco is less than 10 soles.
During the day taxis and minibuses travel between Cusco and Pisac (leaving from Puputi Street in Cusco), every 15 minutes.
Cusco Historic Centre
The taxi and minibus fare between Cusco and Pisac is less than 10 soles per person.
Sites we recommend you visit in and around the Sacred Valley. Click on each of the links below for more information.
The Megaliths of Sacsayhuaman
Map of the Sacred Valley
How to get to these sites? - you can either do it yourself (via local minibuses and taxis) or arrange organised tours (the best option).
We will provide you with details of some excellent tour (sight seeing) operators in both Pisac and Cusco.
All the information is contained in our guest welcome pack, available in each accommodation.
The Royal Estate of Emperor Pachacuti - Ollantaytambo
If you intend to visit the archaeological sites of the Valle Sagrado (Sacred Valley) such as Pisac and Ollantaytambo you must purchase a tourist ticket or Boleto Turistico in advance, which provides entry to 16 of the most popular and well-known archaeological sites (except Machu Picchu) around Cusco and the Sacred Valley.
It is not possible to visit or enter these sites without a valid boleto turistico, and it is not possible to buy an individual entry ticket for any single site which is included on the boleto turistico.
Tourist Ticket / Boleto Turistico
Although a limited boleto (costs less but limits the sites that can be accessed) is available the Cusco tourist ticket system is designed so that for the majority of people, the most convenient option is to buy the full Soles/. 130 ticket.
The tourist ticket is available to buy from most of the sites included within the boleto turistico.
The 12 Sided Stone of Sacsayhuaman, an example of Perfectionist Inca Architecture
ID is required and you will need to pay in cash, in Peruvian soles.
When you buy the ticket, your name will be written on it and it will be valid from that day. This is particularly important if buying one of the limited tickets, as they are only valid for a relatively short time (2 or 3 days). You may be asked to present ID at sites when using the ticket so keep a copy of your passport on your phone.
Note that it is not possible to purchase the boleto turistico online, but it can be purchased at the entrance to the Pisac archaeological park opposite Casa de Oren. Please note that each person requires their own boleto turistico.
The Archaeological Site of Pisac is one of the most important in the Sacred Valley of the Incas
A passport valid for six months is required to enter and depart Peru. Tourists must also provide evidence of return or onward travel.
Travelers to Peru will receive a paper from Peruvian Immigration upon arrival stating the length of approved stay (usually 90 days).
Extensions are not available and overstays will result in fines. This entry paper is important for your stay in Peru and your departure, please be careful not to lose it.
Moray - Be awed at the Forward Thinking of the Inca Farmers and their Agricultural Laboratory
Machu Picchu (Old Mountain), the lost city of the Incas was built around 1450 and is considered one of the new seven wonders of the world. It is truly one of the most magnificent and best-preserved Inca cities and an archaeological jewel.
Machu Picchu and the local town of Aguas Calientes are only accessible by train (no roads in or out) or via a walking trek. As such we recommend that our guests wishing to visit Machu Picchu do so through an organised tour. In addition, due to the restrictions on the number of daily visitors we strongly recommend that any tour is booked at least 3 weeks in advance.
Machu Picchu, the Archaeological Jewel of the Inca World
We do not recommend buying your own ticket or making your own way to Machu Picchu, as it will end up costing more money and taking a significant amount of time and effort – entrance to Machu Picchu is not possible without hiring a local guide and organising the transport is not an easy task.
The Train Station in Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu
Be careful with the company you choose for a tour or trek. There have been hundreds of tourists scammed in the past. If a price seems too cheap to be true, it usually is.
We recommend the following formal companies who have years of experience and good feedback from thousands of customers:
1 Day Tour by Train: Haku Travels
2 Day Tour by Train: Rasgos del Peru
3 Day Inka Jungle Trek: Rasgos del Peru
4 Day Inka Jungle Trek: Rasgos del Peru
4 Day Salkantay Trek: Sam Travel Peru
Mabel and Oren enjoying the Crystal Clear Thermal Waters of Cocalmayo
Although it is easy to visit Machu Picchu and return to Casa de Oren on the same day (one day tour by train), we recommend spending a night in the town of Aguas Calientes (two-day tour by train) where you can enjoy the local thermal baths and an evening meal at one of the many and varied restaurants.
One last thing, when visiting Machu Picchu remember your passport.
The Thermal Baths in the Town of Aguas Calientes
The best time to visit Pisac and the Sacred Valley is in the Peruvian winter (dry season), which runs from April through to October inclusive.
But of course tourists visit the sacred valley all year round, with approximately 2 million tourists passing through Cusco each year.
Consequently during peak season (April through to October) tours and accommodation are usually in high demand.
The Salt Mines at Maras
In the Cusco region (including Pisac and the Sacred Valley) there is a dry season (winter) and a wet season (summer). The dry season runs from April through to October inclusive (with dry hot days and chilly, star filled, nights) and the wet season from December through to March inclusive (with the potential for rain and thunder storms, mixed with beautiful sunny days).
In August and September the afternoons and early evenings can be very windy.
The following charts provide the averages for monthly temperature, sunshine, rainfall and rain days:
Note, in the winter (no rain) there is about a 20 Degree Celsius difference in day time and night time temperatures, but we have the perfect solutions for these chilly, star filled dark nights:
Wood Burning Stove
Evening Fire Pit
In addition to the usual, passport, money (soles and dollars), credit cards, tickets, medication, travel and medical insurance, etc we would advise you pack the following:
A very warm but light jacket and woolly hat - being high in the Andes the winter nights get very cold with a drop of up to 20 degrees Celsius between day time and night time temperatures.
A small but powerful torch - nights are very dark and there can be the occasional power outage, but not at Casa de Oren due to our solar storage capability.
The Sacred Flower of the Incas and the National Flower of Peru, Qantu (in the Quechua language) covered in icicles on a crisp July morning at Casa de Oren, but it is not long before Inti rises to turn this solid into liquid gold
A good pair of comfortable walking shoes or boots - most Inca sites are built into or on top of mountains.
Electrical adaptors, 2 pin flat and 2 pin round.
High factor sun cream (UVA + UVB) and a light hat with a brim - there is less atmosphere to block the sun's harmful rays and if unprotected the skin can burn very quickly.
A swimming costume if you intend to use the Casa de Oren Hot Tub or visit any of the thermal baths: Cocalmayo, Lares, Aguas Calientes.
A light weight poncho or rain covering.
Your own tea bags - the tea here is shocking, unless you like that herbal crap.
Advanced Inca water related technology can be seen at Tipon
Above 3,000 meters about 70% of people will experience mild altitude illness or soroche as it is known in Peru. The expert advice on altitude is to go high during the day and sleep low during the night. Pisac offers the perfect solution being below 3,000 meters in height whilst Cusco is above 3,400 meters.
It usually takes 2 to 3 days to adjust to high altitude so take it easy on arriving by relaxing, not eating too much, drinking plenty of bottled water and avoiding too much alcohol, nicotine, coffee, exercise and sleeping pills. Then once you have adjusted it is quite easy to adapt to the oxygen depleted environment.
Note, if someone is going to experience any problems with altitude they will occur within the first 2 days. Symptoms of altitude illness do not develop after 2 days of feeling well, unless you move to a higher altitude.
Symptoms of Altitude Illness can include:
Loss of Appetite
The good news is even if you do suffer from Altitude Illness it usually resolves itself within the first 2 to 4 days.
The Inca Citadel of Pisac - Directly Opposite Casa de Oren
We would recommend all travellers ensure they have the appropriate medical insurance.
Lamay Speciality - Hot Roasted Rats, Get them hot, Rats on a Stick, Scandalicious
Casa de Oren is within easy reach of several excellent and reasonably priced medical facilities that receive travellers:
The Pisac general practice facility is a short 10 minute car ride away from Casa de Oren. It provides a more comprehensive medical and treatment option than is available in Cuyo Chico. It is staffed by doctors and is open 24/7.
Coya (Kausay Wasi)
The Kausay Wasi private medical practice in Coya is about a 10 minute car ride from Pisac. It provides comprehensive health care services and is staffed by general practitioners, specialists, licensed nurses, dentists and technical staff and is open 7 days a week.
Don't drink the tap water, only drink bottled water or beer (watch out for soups, juices, ice and salads).
Do not eat food from street vendors.
Go easy on the alcoholic drinks which have a stronger effect (woohoo) due to the altitude.
When travelling or on tours take a bottle of water since it can get very warm and the altitude dehydrates. Also take enough tissue paper and soap for toilet emergencies which are more than likely if you forget about the first two points above.
Many places and accommodations will only accept cash payments, make sure you carry enough cash for this purpose (American Dollars and Peruvian Soles).
If you visit in the rainy season, December to March inclusive, take a pocket umbrella or a waterproof jacket (plastic poncho).
If you buy a sombrero..........keep it real.
Nacho before his visit to the Hairdresser
The currency in Peru is the Sole, but American Dollars are also widely accepted and can easily be changed in all towns at a money exchange office. We would recommend you take a mix of Soles and Dollars, but please do not carry a lot of cash on you when walking through Cusco.
Note that paper currency will not be accepted if it is ripped or in poor condition. It is best not to accept any notes in poor condition since you will have trouble trying to use them. Also watch out for the fake notes.
Oren and Mabel enjoying a late Lunch
We would advise you to take your mobile phone with you to Peru, but make sure that it will work in Peru. To avoid frequency compatibility problems it is best to have a GSM multi-band phone.
You will be able to use your SIM card from home, but be aware of high roaming charges. To avoid these fees we would recommend you buy a cheap local pre-paid SIM card (incl. Internet, email….for smart phone users). But be sure that your mobile phone is unlocked and able to accept a SIM card from a different provider.
At Casa de Oren every Sunrise brings a New and Exciting Chapter
The festivities in the Peruvian highlands are a site to see.
For a complete list of the fiestas and events click here.
At Casa de Oren you do not have to go very far to hear Quechua (the ancient language of the Incas) being spoken. In fact many of the elder members of the Cuyo Chico community speak nothing else.
Calendar of Fiestas & Events
Come Stay at Casa de Oren and Experience the Cuyo-Chico Rhythm