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If you have extra time in Peru, visiting Kinsa Cocha and Pisac’s three lakes is a perfect day trip because they are so easy to get to.
Like hiking to Huchuy Qosqo and or visiting Llaullipata park, the Kinsa Cocha lakes are also totally off the tourist radar, which means that even though we visited on a weekend in high season, Dan and I were the only ones on the trail.
Another perk of visiting the Kinsa Cocha lakes is that you can get dropped off by a taxi right at the first one, which means you can hike as much or as little as you want and still get great views. They also lie in a valley, so the trek is flat and easy for all ages.
Sound like a trek you might be interested in? This article will cover:
- How to get to Kinsa Cocha
- How much does it cost to hike at Kinsa Cocha?
- How much time do you need to hike at Kinsa Cocha?
- How to hike to Lakes One and Two
- How to visit Lake Three (Laguna Azul)
- What to pack for the Kinsa Cocha Hike
- What to do in Pisac, Peru after the hike
- Video of the Kinsa Cocha Hike
- And much more!
So, keep reading to learn exactly how to hike to Kinsa Cocha and see Pisac’s three lakes.
Want more of the outdoors? Join our new Sustainable Hiking Collective on Facebook to connect with the international hiking community, discover new destinations, join virtual trail cleanups, and take part in monthly sustainability challenges.
Lake Two from above on our return walk to the waiting taxi
How To Get to Kinsa Cocha Lakes
Pisac is a tourist town in the Sacred Valley, so getting to the starting point of Pisac’s three lakes hike is easy.
First, take a colectivo (shared van) from Cusco to Pisac.
Colectivos cost only 4 soles / $1.25 per person. They leave often and you can catch them anytime at the top of Puputi street. From there, it is a 45 minute drive to the town of Pisac.
Once you arrive in Pisac, walk down the main street and, I promise, taxi drivers on the side of the road will stop you and ask where you need to go.
Tell them you’re heading to the Kinsa Cocha Laguna and negotiate a price.
It’s important to negotiate a round trip price and have your driver wait for you at the Kinsa Cocha lakes because they are far off the beaten path and you won’t be able to catch a ride back home.
We paid 115 soles / $35 usd for the round trip taxi ride, which was about five hours (including his waiting during our hike) from start to finish.
When you negotiate your price, make sure it’s to visit the Kinsa Cocha lake and the Blue Lake (Laguna Azul) because the third lake is about 3 km down the road from the first and won’t be included in the price if you don’t specifically ask for it.
If you don’t want to go to Kinsa Cocha on your own, there are also tons of guided treks near Cusco on Airbnb that you can book instead.
Lakes One and Two on the Kinsa Cocha trek in Pisac
How much does it cost to hike at Kinsa Cocha?
This is a fairly budget-friendly day trip from Cusco because there are no entrance fees required. Our only major expense was the transportation from Cusco to Kinsa Cocha and Pisac. We spent:
- 8 soles – colectivo from Cusco to Pisac for two
- 115 soles – round trip taxi from Pisac to Kinsa Cocha and back
- ~10 soles – after-hike treat at Ulrike’s Cafe
- 8 soles – colectivo from Pisac to Cusco for two
In total, a day trip for two from Cusco to Kinsa Cocha will cost about 141 soles / 43 usd if you bring a packed lunch. Find two more people to split the that taxi with you and you can cut costs significantly!
Alpaca field aka the perfect place for a picnic break
How much time do you need to hike at the Kinsa Cocha Lakes?
You’ll definitely need a full-day to complete this Cusco day trip, and this list of times will help you get an estimated itinery for your Kinsa Cocha hike.
- 45 minues – colectivo from Cusco to Pisac
- 45 minutes – taxi from Pisac to Kinsa Cocha
- 3 hours – hiking at the first two lakes
- 20 minutes – photos and view at the third lake
- 45 minutes – taxi from Kinsa Cocha to Pisac
- 1 hour – exploring the Pisac market and grabbing a snack in Pisac
- 45 minutes – colectivo from Pisac to Cusco
In total, you should budget around seven or eight hours from start to finish for an unhurried trip to Kinsa Cocha and the town of Pisac.
The trail leading around Lake One at the start of our hike
How to Hike at Lakes One and Two
Once you grab a taxi and make the drive to the starting point of the hike, your driver will drop you at the first of Pisac’s three lakes.
Before you set off, make sure to agree to a time with your driver for how long you want to hike (we chose three hours).
From here, there are trails going around both sides of the lake and you can choose your route.
We decided to cross the bridge and begin our hike on the left side of the Kinsa Cocha lake.
We walked along the lake for about 30 minutes, and then came to the area where the first lake connects with the second.
Afterwards, we came out into a field with a large herd of alpacas, which was definitely the highlift of the trip. It was an awesome experience to just sit and watch them graze for a bit before continuing.
After passing the first two lakes, Daniel and I walked further into the valley, where I felt tiny and awed walking with the mountains rising up on both sides of me. It was such a beautiful hike.
We walked to the end of the valley and came to a mountain wall. We decided to turn around, so we climbed up on the rising ledges on the left side of the valley to walk back on the trails high above the green valley, overlooking the lakes in the distance as we returned toward them.
After we ate a picnic back near the alpaca field, we crossed to the other side of the valley.
Now, we were climbing up the other side of the mountains because the trail also returns on the opposite side of the lakes than we had started out on. This time, though, we were walking above the lake with a gorgeous view of the mountains, valley, and fields spread out below us.
It was breathtaking.
Our walk to the end of the valley and back, with time for a picnic, took three hours in total.
Boat tied up at the (pretty underwhelming) Laguna Azul
How to Visit Lake Three (Laguna Azul)
Once we returned to our taxi, he drove us 10 minutes more down the road to the third lake.
It’s possible to hike to this lake instead of walk, but it requires a steep and long walk up the mountainside.
If you choose to walk, then when you arrive at the first lake, take the trail on the right side of the lake.
Walk past the first two lakes, and eventually on your right you’ll see a dip between two peaks high above you. The trail goes up on switchbacks here.
Climb up the side of the mountain and get a view of the third lake once you reach the top. From here, you can walk down to the third lake and return to your taxi on the road, or you can circle around the peak and back to the first lake to return.
However, I’m lazy and prefer to avoid strenuous uphill hikes when I can, so we chose to take our taxi to the third lake instead. Our driver dropped us off at Laguna Azul, the third lake, and we climbed up on the hillside to snap a few pics.
The first two lakes and the first valley were more beautiful than the Laguna Azul in my opinion, and you don’t need a lot of time at the third lake. After about 15 minutes, we headed back to the taxi to return to Pisac.
The drive from Kinsa Cocha to Pisac was another 45 minutes down dirt roads but the views were beautiful.
Me and 100 new friends on the Kinsa Cocha hike
What to Pack for Your Hike to the Kinsa Cocha Lakes
The hike to the Kinsa Cocha lakes isn’t too strenuous but it’s always a good idea to head out into nature prepared. I recommend bringing a small day pack with:
- A large water bottle
- Sunscreen! Cusco is at high altitude and you can and will get burned even in the winter
- Extra layers like a sweatshirt or light jacket
- Snacks and a packed lunch
- Sturdy hiking boots
- Cash for the colectivos and taxi
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What to do in Pisac, Peru after the Three Lakes Hike
We got back to Pisac from Kinsa Cocha in the late afternoon.
It’s a cute little town and since you’re here anyway I recommend budgeting some time into your day trip to explore it. There’s a huge market with lots of the typical souveniers you’ll see in Cusco and you might also want to have a snack before you head home.
I like Ulrike’s Cafe but there’s tons of little places to pop inside and grab a bite to eat.
Once you’re done chilling in Pisac after the hike, just grab a colectivo back to Cusco where you got dropped off originally.
45 minutes later you’ll be back in the city, ready to relax after a beautiful day in nature!
Use This Guide to Add Kinsa Cocha to Your Peru Itinerary
A day trip to Kinsa Cocha and Pisac, Peru is an awesome off-the-beaten-path hike right outside of Cusco.
The three lakes hike is cheap and easy to get to, and you’ll be able to enjoy it in peace and quiet away from Cusco’s crowded streets.
If you have an extra day or two in the city, I highly recommend adding a hike and a picnic at Pisac’s three lakes to your Peru itinerary!
Ready to go?
Explore unique stays on Airbnb – like these glass sky lodges on the side of a cliff or this tiny house in the hills – and the top-rated hotels on Booking.com to plan the perfect night, weekend, or long-term stay in the city.
Then, join our new Sustainable Hiking Collective on Facebook to connect with the international hiking community, discover new destinations, join virtual trail cleanups, and take part in monthly sustainability challenges!
This article is part of the Sacred Valley Series. Read the rest below:
Then, explore the complete Peru series for more tips on what to see, do, eat, drink, and discover in Cusco and beyond.
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