Pisac, Peru is a small town near Cusco known for its hippie vibes. Nearly every street has a shop selling herbal supplements and you’ll see plenty of signs for ayahuasca retreats around town. Pisac is also home to one of my favorite archeological sites, fantastic restaurants, and a tremendous hike. Many people visit as a day trip from Cusco, but Pisac is a peaceful place to spend a couple of days away from the city enjoying the warmer weather.
How to Get to Pisac
Colectivos leave regularly from Cusco at the intersection of Puputi and Cesar Vallejo as soon as the van is full (Calca & Pisac Combi on Google Maps). The cost of the 45-minute ride is 5 soles (S/).
Cusco Tourist Ticket
If you plan on visiting the archeological sites in the Sacred Valley, this pass is a fantastic deal. For 16 sites and museums, the cost is S/130 and it’s valid for 10 days. It can be purchased at any of the sites covered by the ticket.
What to Do
Pisac Archaeological Park – These Inca ruins are one of the best in Peru and the views are fantastic. It served as a place where the people from the jungle came to trade with those living in the Sacred Valley. You’ll want to hire a guide at the entrance for S/50 to fully appreciate the site. Although, there is no guarantee there will be English-speaking guides available.
The guided tour takes 1 hour, but it doesn’t cover the whole park. After the tour, start walking towards Pisac town and there’s another part of the complex that is less crowded where you can spend an hour exploring. You can either take a taxi from town or make the 1 hr 45 min walk to the entrance. The walk back to town is much shorter than the ascent to the ruins.
Kinsa Cocha Hike – This 3-hour hike between lakes at 4,000 meters altitude is stunning. The landscape is different from the rest of Peru’s highlands and there are alpacas and remote Inca-style houses. The good news is the trail is almost always empty and the entrance is only S/3. The bad news is the taxi from town costs S/120 round trip.
If you’re a solo traveler, don’t count on making friends at the hostels to share a taxi with. Pisac attracts a crowd of people who stay long-term or are there for ayahuasca retreats.
Mercado de Artesanías – For a town of Pisac’s size, the market is quite large and it’s cheaper than Cusco’s markets. Sunday is the main market day where people from nearby towns come to sell produce and crafts among other items.
Where to Eat
La Ruta – Traditional Peruvian food and plenty of vegetarian options. They have the best ají de gallina I had in all of Peru.
Restaurant La Paila – The ceviche and soups here are incredible. Generally, the quality of ceviche is lower as you move inland, but La Paila is an exception.
Where to Stay
Wolf Totem Guesthouse – A lot of hostels claim to be designed with “backpackers in mind”, but Wolf Totem truly fits that description. It has free hot drinks and filtered water, a well-equipped kitchen, beds with curtains and lamps, and hot showers with plenty of hooks. Plus, the atmosphere is relaxed, but social.
How Long to Stay
1 night is enough time to spend in Pisac before heading elsewhere in Peru. The town is really small and the Sacred Valley’s day trips are more accessible from Cusco.
Bookaway is a great resource that allows you to compare the prices of buses and flights, and secure your seat in advance!
Where to Next
Cusco (45-minutes by colectivo) – One of the continent’s gems is a hiker’s paradise full of incredible Inca ruins.
Ollantaytambo (2 hours via Urubamba) – The “living city of the Incas” has strong indigenous culture, nearby archeological sites, and picturesque salt pools.
Puno (9 hours via Cusco) – Spend a night with an indigenous family on one of Lake Titicaca’s islands.
Arequipa (11 hours via Cusco) – The “White City” has beautiful architecture and delicious regional food.
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