What is the South Valley of Cusco? How much does it cost to go?
Have you heard about the South Valley of Cusco? Few tourists are those who have the opportunity to know it because they prefer to visit places like the Sacred Valley of the Incas, the 7-color mountain or Machu Picchu. However, the South Valley also offers a lot: Inca archaeological sites, incredible landscapes and delicious cuisine. Its main tourist attractions are: Tipón, Piquillacta and Andahuaylillas. But there is much more to see. Learn more, traveling friend!
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Do you plan to visit the South Valley of Cusco with a tour? This service has an approximate cost of 15 to 40 dollars depending on the tourism agency you choose. The tour lasts half a day (5 hours) and includes: full transportation, entrance fees to all sites and tour guide service. In case no service convinces you, you can also go freely on your own. For this you must buy the Cusco Tourist Ticket. This ticket costs 70 soles and includes admission to Tipón, Piquillacta and the museums of Cusco. In this article you will learn more!
What is the South Valley of Cusco?
On the trip to Cusco everyone wants to know Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley of the Incas, the Humantay lagoon or the mountain of the 7 colors. Few get to know the South Valley of Cusco. Well, to tell the truth this place is worth knowing.
It is a geographical area located southeast of the city of Cusco. There you can visit very well preserved Inca archaeological sites such as Tipón. You can also see wonderful landscapes such as the Huacarpay lagoon. Finally you can get to know in depth the cultural life of the Andean peoples as in Andahuaylillas.
Fancy trying Cusco food? In the South Valley you will find some of the best ‘picanterías’ and ‘cuyerías’ in the region.
Legends and historical sources tell that the Incas arrived in Cusco from the south (from the altiplanic region). In their long walk they formed citadels and temples. Today it is possible to appreciate their footprints. One of the oldest archaeological sites to visit there is Piquillacta, with an antiquity of about 1,500 years ago.
In short, the entire South Valley area offers history, gastronomy, beautiful landscapes and more. Most tourists make their visit with a 1-day tour that includes Tipón, Piquillacta and the church of Andahuaylillas. In this article you will know how much this service costs and how to do it on your own.
What can I see there?
Still do not know what tourist attractions you can see on your visit to the South Valley of Cusco? Get to know them!
- Tipón – This Inca archaeological site was a temple of water worship. Its good state of conservation is striking, with terraces, enclosures, temples and, above all, beautiful water channels. It is believed to have been the residence of the Inca Yahuar Huacac and his son Huiracocha. It is only 23 kilometers by road from the city of Cusco.
- Piquillacta – This archaeological site is not Inca but Wari, one of the most important civilizations in southern Peru. It is 31 kilometers from the city of Cusco. It is an immense citadel that would have housed more than 10 thousand people. It has paths, squares, temples and enclosures of more than 2 meters high. Its antiquity dates back more than 1,500 years. Incredible!
- Andahuaylillas – This Andean town hides a church of great beauty inside. Its beautiful decoration abundant in murals, canvases and liturgical jewels that is popularly known as ‘The Sistine Chapel of America’. Exaggeration? Since its construction in colonial times it amazes its visitors. It is 39 kilometers from the city of Cusco.
How much does a tour cost?
The tour to the South Valley of Cusco has a cost that can vary from 15 to 40 dollars depending on the tourism agency you choose.
This service lasts only half a day, that is, 5 hours: from 8 in the morning to 1 in the afternoon approximately. Includes: full transportation, entrance to all sites and professional tour guide.
In case you find a very economical tour (less than 15 dollars) it is because it does not include the entrances to the tourist attractions: Tipón, Piquillacta and the church of Andahuaylillas.
In any case choose the tour and the tourist agency that suits you best. A travel tip: choose a tourism agency that has good reviews on online tourism forums such as TripAdvisor.
How much does it cost to go on my own?
The visit to the South Valley of Cusco without a tour is also possible. How to do it? The first step is to buy the Cusco Tourist Ticket. This ticket includes admission to: Tipón, Piquillacta and, incidentally, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Regional Historical Museum, the Museum of Popular Art, the Coricancha Site Museum, the Pachacutec Monument and the Qosqo Center for Native Art.
The Cusco Tourist Ticket costs 70 Peruvian soles. You can buy it in the same city of Cusco, just a few steps from the Plaza de Armas: on Avenida El Sol 103. The attention is from Monday to Friday from 8 in the morning to 5.30 in the afternoon. Saturdays from 8.30am to 12.30pm.
Then it’s time to organize transportation. On Huayruropata Avenue, public transport buses depart for Tipón and Piquillacta.
To go to Tipón you must take a bus from the company ‘Sayla – Huasao’ (cost of 2 soles) to the town of Tipón. Then you need to take a collective taxi to the door of the archaeological site (cost of 5 soles).
To go to Piquillacta you just have to take one bus of the many that go to ‘Urcos’ and get off at the whereabouts at the archaeological site (cost of 5 soles). Then it’s time to walk until you reach Piquillacta.
The same in the case of the town of Andahuaylillas. You just have to take the bus of the company that goes to ‘Urcos’ and get off in this town (cost of 5 soles). Finally they must only walk to the village church.
The tour guide service is not mandatory but you can hire one at the door of each tourist attraction (cost 15 soles in each place approximately).
Finally you can buy a delicious Cusco menu that goes from 10 to 50 soles, depending on your choice. However, this service is not included in the South Valley tours.
Differences, going with tour or on my own?
In a few words we summarize here the prices of the tour to the South Valley of Cusco and its differences with the trip on its own:
Trip to the South Valley of Cusco
On your own
30 S/. (aprox).
45 S/. (aprox).
30 S/. (aprox).
The weather in the South Valley, when to go?
The climate in the South Valley of Cusco is temperate but varies according to the town (and altitude) where it is located.
For example, Tipón is located at 3,560 meters above sea level. At that altitude the temperature can vary from a maximum of 22ºC. to a minimum of 0º. (in the evenings). Let’s bundle up!
Piquillacta is located at 3,350 meters above sea level. Its temperature ranges from a maximum of 23ºC. to a minimum of 3ºC.
Finally the town of Andahuaylillas is located at 3,121 meters above sea level. There the temperature varies from a maximum of 23ºC. to a minimum of 5ºC.
And does it rain a lot there? Well, from November to March it rains a lot, especially in February and March. The rest of the year, from April to October, rains are not frequent. Still try to always wear a poncho in case of rain. You never know with Cusco sky!
More information about the trip to the South Valley of Cusco
In short, the most famous tourist attractions of the South Valley of Cusco are Tipón, Piquillacta and Andahuaylillas (the same ones that are included in the half-day tour). However, there is much more to see. For example, you can visit the town of Checacupe, famous for its Inca and colonial bridges. Or the town of Huasao, recognized by the tradition of its shamans. Another option is to visit Oropesa, the village of bread. There is everything for everyone!
The South Valley of Cusco is also famous for its beautiful Andean landscapes. What to see? The beauty of the snow-capped Pachatusan, the famous Vilcanota River or the peaceful lagoon of Huacarpay. Don’t forget to bring your camera with you!
Unfortunately there are not many hotel services in the South Valley. The starting point is the city of Cusco. Carry cash with you as few services accept payment by card. Wear light and comfortable clothing. Do not forget your hat, sunscreen and poncho in case of rain. Enjoy your trip!