Experiencing the Ruins Tour and the Boleto Turistico in Cusco
When you come to Peru to explore the endless amazing sites in Cusco and surroundings, probably the first to mind is the old inca citadel Machu Picchu at an altitude of 2400 meters. However, there is more to see in the Sacred Valley of the Incas in Cusco. There is a diversity of smaller ruins, all Inca, but each with their own character. I will outline the most impressive ones that are all on the “Boleto Turistico” or “Tourist Ticket”. To enter one of these ruins it is not possible to buy a single ticket, you must buy a “Boleto Turistico”. There are different versions, and the “Ruins Tour” is one circuit that costs 70 soles (about 23 dollars or 17.50 euro). This circuit includes all the impressive surroundings of Sacred Valley the ruins of Pisac, Ollantaytambo, Moray and Chincheros.
It is also possible to book at a tour operator a one day tour for all the four ruins in Cusco. However, if you have time, I would recommend you to stay one night in Ollantaytambo or Pisac and go by yourself, without rushing from one place to the other.
When going from Cusco to Pisac, the ride lasts one hour and costs 2.50 soles. The bus leaves next to the Wanchaq swimming pool in the street Pachacutec in Cusco . The ride will give you an amazing view of the Andes and you can even see the snowcapped mountains. Walking through the little village of Pisac, crossing the main square (Plaza de Armas) with the market, you will arrive at the entrance of the Pisac ruins. From there, it is a climb of more than an hour (including resting and photo stops). At the end, your reward is an amazing view of the immense mountains and the ruins. Make sure you bring enough sunscreen and water with you. If you should so happen to forget, maybe a little, old woman will be there that can provide you water for a few soles.
From Pisac, you can take a bus at the main street. There is only one that goes to Urubamba and it costs 3.50 soles and the trips lasts 1.5 hours. From Urubamba there are only collectivos that will bring you to Ollantaytambo in half an hour for 1.50 soles. The ruins of Ollantaytambo are close to the village itself and at the foot of the ruins there are some nice water systems with little waterfalls. You will not need more than an hour to see it all. However, you will need some strong legs that can walk you uphill, because the Incas did not have elevators.
Moray is the most isolated of the four ruins and therefore more complicated to get there. From Ollantaytambo, you have to take the collectivo back to Urubamba. From there, take the bus to Ramal de Maray. From this point, there are only collectivos that will bring you to the ruins of Moray in 15 minutes for 20 soles per ride. You can negotiate about the price to return and ask if the driver can wait for you, since there are no taxis. Another option is to walk back and pass by the Salineras in Maras (the salt lakes). This hike is downhill and takes 2 to 2.5 hours. Because Moray is so isolated, you will hear nothing when you enter the ruins. The ruins consist of terraces in a circular shape, and the middle is lower than the exterior terraces.
To end your ancient ruins tour, continue with a bus ride of half an hour for 3 soles to Chincheros. For me, this was the least impressive ruin of the four. However, what is so special about this ruin, or actually sad, is that the Spanish Conquistadors built a church on top of the ruins. Therefore, this contrast is very unique since they blended the two cultures together. From here, make sure you take the bus back to Cusco before dark (1 hour, 3 soles).
If you would like more information about the Boleto Turistico, go to the website of boleto turistico cusco . net