Transportation in the Valley is pretty easy – there are ‘micros’ – or collectivos (collective buses) that run from Cusco to Urubamba.
From Cusco, get the bus from the bus terminal on Grau Street. The journey takes between 1.5 and 2 hours and buses leave every fifteen minutes from dawn until 6.30pm. Bus fares are around 6 soles (USD$2). They’re not always the cleanest, and are often quite crowded, but considering the distances they cover, the buses are a bargain.
They run down the one and only ‘pista’ – the main highway (and in fact, the only highway) running through the Valley. If you’re outside Cusco, never fear – you can flag a bus anywhere on the pista – the driver is sure to stop to let you on, and when you want to get off, just say ‘BAJA’ and the bus will stop. It’s really that simple!
Shared taxis from the taxi terminal on Pavitos Street are another cheap way of getting to the Valley from Cusco. Costs are around 10 soles, or USD$3, per person. Shared taxis run from dawn until approx. 6.30pm and leave as soon as they have four passengers on board. Journey time is around one hour to Pisac, but generally the taxis will go as far as Urubamba. Note: be sure to ask the driver which route they’re taking: they can go through Chinchero to Urubamba, or via Pisac to Urubamba.
Motos (moto taxis)
In bigger towns such as Calca and Urubamba, moto taxis are a popular and cheap way to get around. They’re basically just a motorcycle with a cabin built around it, and can cost anywhere from 1 – 5 soles to go short distances. They’re not very stable, though, and some are quite old, so it’s not recommended to take these for too long or far for safety reasons.
The easiest way to get from Cusco to Urubamba is by taxi, but it’s also the most costly. Expect to pay around 80-120 soles, or USD$30-40. Ensure the taxi has a seat belt available; many don’t!
A great way to see the sacred Valley is by car hire, but the only place to rent a car is from Cusco – which is a rather daunting place to drive with poor signage, congestion and no real rules of the road in operation. Our advice is to hire a car and drive out of Cusco as quickly as possible. Once you leave the city behind, it’s a beautiful way to see the region. There are some tour agencies that rent cars in Cusco but we recommend going to the big names where you can be sure of getting good quality, well maintained cars and adequate insurance. Book car hire here.
Shared private cars
It’s not exactly legal, but many locals on their way from A to B will offer to pick up passengers for a few soles. This is (at the time of writing) generally safe – it’s usually families or couples looking to make a few extra soles en route that offer this, but be warned that it’s not legal – accept a lift at your own risk.