Tipon and Piquillacta are an easy half day trip from Cusco. Both of the ruins are on the Boleto Touristico (Tourist Ticket), but they are some of the least visited ruins on the list. Tipon and Piquillacta are near each other and about an hour from the city, making them a perfect half day trip from Cusco if you want to escape the crowds.
How to Get to Tipon and Piquillacta
We hopped on a bus to Tipon at the stop on the corner of Av Tullumayo and Garcilazo de la Vega, but I’ve read you can get collectivos in Plaza San Francisco as well.
The bus was interesting. It only cost 2 soles / .50 usd but was packed full so we were stuck standing for the entire drive. We let the driver know we wanted to get off at Tipon and the locals around us were super helpful in making sure we ended up where we needed to be.
An hour later we got off at the Tipon stop and there were tons of taxis waiting to take us up to the ruins. From here, you can pay one driver 50 soles / 15 usd total for a round trip from the roadside stop to the Tipon ruins, then to Piquillacta, and finally back the highway to catch a bus home.
Instead, we opted to take a taxi only to Tipon and back to the highway (10 soles / 3 usd each way) then grab the next passing bus for 2 soles to the Piquillacta ruins. From Piquillacta, a bus back to Cusco is only 2 soles more.
Mt Tip: Make sure you negotiate with the taxi driver for a round trip to the Tipon ruins, because it will be hard to catch one there that’s not already booked when heading back to the highway.
So, on to the ruins….
The Tipon Ruins
Tipon is unique and worth seeing on a half day trip from Cusco because it still has a functioning Incan irrigation system. The sprawling terraces and cascading water make it clear that Tipon was used for agricultural purposes.
The large green space and surrounding ruins are great for exploring, photography, and relaxing on the grass in the sun. The site is uncrowded and boasts beautiful views of the nearby valley and mountainsides.
The Piquillacta Ruins
Where Tipon was uncrowded, Piquillacta is practically a ghost town. There were only two other small groups there besides us.
These ruins are different from most of the others in Cusco because they’re pre-Incan. They are believed to have been built by the Wari tribe, a group who conquered much of Peru around 1500 years ago. The super old buildings are fun to wander while ruminating on the mysterious history of the ages old people who once walked those lands.
Add On a Visit to Lake Huacarpay
As a bonus for being one of the few tourists who makes it all the way out to Piquillacta on a half day trip from Cusco, you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful view of Huacarpay Lake and the surrounding valley.
If you’re really feeling adventurous, walk down the hillside to the lake below where plenty of Peruvians will be out spending their day kayaking, picnicking, and hanging out on the shore. Or, if you’re hot, dusty, and tired like us, you can just enjoy the gorgeous view from above!
Although the Tipon and Piquillacta ruins are not at the top of most tourist lists, they have a certain beauty to them and are nice to visit for a quiet day away from the crowds. Take a half day trip from Cusco to check them out, and let me know what you think!
PS you might also be interested in these other easy trips from Cusco. Explore the seldom visited Laullipata Park right outside Cusco, take a hike to the Temple of the Moon (and start it right in Plaza de Armas), or learn how to hike to Huchuy Qosqo without a guide.