A Visit to the Pisac Ruins in Cusco, Peru
Pisac. Is. Amazing.
If you’re thinking about skipping these beautiful ruins on your trip to Cusco, you definitely need to reconsider. There are two reasons to take this day trip. First, the town of Pisac has an amazing market and some great cafes to hang out in and explore. And second, the extensive ruins high up on the mountainside are breathtaking. They’re situated in four different groups, and the farther you walk into them, the more isolated and empty they become. It really feels like stepping back in time. Once you reach the third set, you can follow the path down the mountain and back into Pisac for a relaxing lunch. Seriously a perfect day!
Getting to Pisac from Cusco is quick and cheap. Collectivos (shared vans) leave regularly from the top of Puputi street. They’re quick, comfortable, and only cost 4 soles / $1.25 usd. The drive takes around 45 minutes and drops you off right in the middle of the small town. Couldn’t be easier!
Once you’re in Pisac, you’ll have to take a taxi up the mountain to the ruin. You can grab a taxi right where you get out on the street, and they cost 25 soles / $8 usd each.
The Pisac Ruins
These ruins are amazing. The first group you walk into contain an incredible view of the Incan terraces flowing smoothly down the mountain. Once we passed through and explored them, we crossed the terraces to the second community. This set crawls even higher up the mountain, meaning more stairs, but also stunning panoramas of the ruins and valley below.
Afterwards, we were one of the few to venture onward to the third cluster in the Pisac ruins, about ten minutes away on a path on the side of the mountain. We had these all to ourselves, and promptly sat down to enjoy a picnic on the terraces. We continued to cross through and followed the path that goes downward and wraps around the mountain back to the town of Pisac. While on the path, up above us we could see the fourth and final ruins, a hospital and citadel, balanced precariously on the side of the mountain top.
You can exit the Pisac ruins in two ways. The first is by doubling back and taking another taxi from the entrance back down the mountain. The second choice, which we opted for, was to walk down and take the scenic route. More switchbacks, more cliff sides, and more terraces await on this 30 minute walk, but it was enjoyable and dropped us off right in Pisac’s main market.
The market weaves through multiple streets and squares and has beautiful sweaters, art, alpaca blankets, and more. While we found that the prices were a little higher in the markets in Cusco, their selection was larger and better. If you want to check it out, though, just make sure you visit on a Sunday, Tuesday, or Thursday, because the market is not open every day.
Finally, we decided to grab a late lunch and head home. We went to Ulrike’s Cafe, and I’m so glad we did because they have BAGELS! After seven months in South America, bagels are one of the American foods I miss the most. Seeing home made bagels and cream cheese on the menu was such an amazing surprise, and they were so good we even took some home for breakfast the next day. YUM.
Stuffed with good food and hot coffee, were ready to end our day at the Pisac ruins and get back to Cusco. Doing so was easy. We just had to head back to the main road where we got off the collectivo when we arrived. After about one minute of waiting, another inevitably arrived and stopped to pick us up on their way to Cusco. We were heading back at just the right time in the late afternoon, and the setting sun over the valley was beautiful.
All in all, the Pisac ruins are my favorite destination (so far!) on the tourist ticket. They are easily accessible from Cusco, and the town of Pisac is a destination on its own. If you don’t have much time in Cusco, I suggest making sure you still squeeze this piece of history onto your to do list!
All my love,