Pisac, Peru Travel Guide (2023)

Parque Arqueológico Pisac

Pisac is a small town located in the Sacred Valley of the Cusco Region of Peru. Like much of the Cusco Region, Pisac’s culture is an infusion of Incan & Spanish customs & beliefs. Pisac is set in the Andes Mountains and near the Vilcanota River; centering it in a natural sanctuary.

Pisac is a great place to visit, with plenty to see and do. There is a small town in the center of Pisac that has restaurants, markets, and local shops. There’s also an archeological park nearby that has preserved Incan artifacts. Pisac is accessible from many parts of the Cusco region of Peru, and it is possible to visit all of the main tourist attractions in Pisac in a day.

There’s also a large expat community in Pisac, full of people that choose to stay there for an extended period of time (e.g., many months), since it is conveniently located to the Sacred Valley and other popular sites like Machu Picchu, Rainbow Mountain, and the Inti Punku Sun Gate Trek.

This guide includes everything you need to know while planning a trip to Pisac, Peru—including where to stay, what to eat & what to see there.

Table of Contents

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    How to Get to Pisac from Cusco

    Picture of the urubamba river in Pisac, Peru

    If you’re traveling to Pisac by flight, then the best airport to fly into is Alejandro Velasco Astete Cusco International Airport (CUZ). Upon arriving in Cusco, there are a several types public transportation that will take you straight to Pisac. The entire trip from CUZ airport to Pisac via the methods of ground transportation listed below takes around 45 minutes.

    Colectivo:
    The best way to travel from Cusco to Pisac is by colectivo. A colectivo is a shared mini-bus that holds about 12 passengers. Colectivos are located at the top of Puputi Street in the city of Cusco. Puputi street is not near most hotels in Cusco, so you might have to take a taxi there. If you take a taxi, tell the driver that you’re going to “the colectivos to Pisac” and they’ll know where to go. The total cost for a one-way trip from Cusco City to Pisac should be s/4 – s/10 (4 – 10 Peruvian Soles).

    Public Taxi:
    You can take a public taxi from Cusco to Pisac. The normal rate for a one-way trip is approximately s/45 – s/60 (45 – 60 Peruvian Soles). Before getting into the taxi, be sure to agree on the cost of the trip with the driver. If you don’t agree on a price before leaving, the driver will charge whatever they want when you get there.

    Private Taxi:
    A private taxi from Cusco to Pisac will cost s/50 – s/90 (50 – 90 Peruvian Soles). I recommend Taxidatum for pre-booked, private transportation in the Cusco region.

    How Get Around Pisac & The Surrounding Areas

    Picture of the Parque Arqueológico Pisac

    Because Pisac is a small town, it is possible to explore on foot; and it’s totally safe & easy to do so.

    There are moto-taxis (scooters attached to a carriage) all throughout Pisac, that will transport you anywhere within Pisac for 2 Peruvian soles per trip. This is a great way to get around if you don’t want to walk.

    If you want to travel to/from Pisac and a surrounding city, then you can take a colectivo. Colectivos leave from the center of Pisac. The average cost for a 1-way trip from Pisac to another city ranges from s/2 to s/15 (2 – 15 Peruvian Soles) depending on the distance to the final destination.

    Things to Do in Pisac, Peru

    Picture of the Pisac Market or Mercado Pisac
    1. Visit the Ruins in Parque Arqueológico
      Parque Arqueológico is high up on the mountain, which requires a bit of a trek to get there. The Incans built their villages on high ground to protect themselves from intruders; so you’ll end up going to higher ground often when visiting historic sites in Cusco.

      There are two ways to get to the Parque Arqueológico; by foot or by ground transportation. If going by ground transportation, you can take a private taxi (the most expensive) or in a colectivo (the most economical) with other passengers.

      You can also walk to Parque Arqueológico, which takes the longest amount of time. It’s the best way to experience the area and get to the park. There’s an entrance near the old town, at the top of Calle Pedro. In total, the walk takes about 3 hours to walk up and 1.5 hours to walk down.

      The Pisac Ruins (located in Parque Arqueológico) are the #1 reason that tourists visit Pisac, Peru. The park is expansive, and its presence and history are comparable to that of Machu Picchu’s. You’ll see ruins from the Incan Empire in the park, including things like ancient aqueducts, bridges, and cemeteries.

    2. Visit the Pisac Market (Mercado Pisac)

      The Pisac Market (Mercado de Pisac) is located in the Pisac Town Square. Here, you can buy goods made by locals, such as apparel made from alpaca fur, brimmed hats, crystals, jewelry, and other hand-made accessories.

      Tip: Negotiating at markets is the norm in Peru. Vendors never write the cost on an item because they expect that buyers will verbally ask for the cost and then negotiate it down. A lot of tourists don’t try to negotiate, and therefore end up paying a lot more than they should for items in Peru. Always negotiate when dealing with local goods in Peru; you’ll wind up saving money.

    3. Eat a Local Meal
      I’m a big fan of Peruvian food because it’s varied and flavorful. Try out a local Peruvian restaurant while you’re in the Old Town; you won’t be disappointed. My favorite restaurant to eat local food at in Pisac is Cuchara de Pollo, but there are so many! Just walk into any local restaurant and try it out—the food will almost always be excellent.
        • There is a food market located in the center of the Old Town that serves fresh juice (jugo) made to order. The cost ranges around 7/SOL (7 Peruvian Soles) for a giant cup of juice. You can drink it in the market, or take it to go. My favorite juice here is Papaya with milk & honey (papaya con leche y miel).
        • Corn and cheese (choclo con queso) is a local favorite. It’s served by street vendors all over. It’s simply corn with a side of Andean cheese, and it’s delicious. The cost averages around 1/SOL (1 Peruvian Sol).
        • There are food stalls located on Avenida Federico Zamalloa. They’re open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and serve a variety of local Peruvian foods. The food is great, and the meals are prepared quickly and in front of you. Try the Lomo Saltado or Peruvian Breakfast Omelette. A typical meal in one of these stalls will cost between 3/SOL to 7/SOL (3 – 7 Peruvian Soles).

    4. Spend time at the river
      Pisac is located in one of the most stunning natural areas on the planet. The area has an energy about it that makes the mountainous terrain feel even more vast and powerful in person, and it’s an energy that can only be felt or understood in person. Rio Urubamba, a river that courses through Pisac, offers a peaceful experience. Hike or relax by the river while you’re in Pisac; it’s one of the most tranquil things to do there.

    5. Walk around the Old Town Center
      The Old Town is a small neighborhood located near Avenida Federico and Zamalloa and Avenida Amazonas. There are several great shops in the Old Town, including merchants selling local items such as gemstones, apparel, and natural products. Take some time to wander around the area while looking at locally manufactured goods.

    6. Go Trekking Through the Area
      The best thing to do in Pisac and the Sacred Valley area, in general, is to go trekking. There are tons of great hikes to embark on, both well known and off the beaten path. Exploring the region by foot is the best way to experience it.

      One of my favorite hikes from Pisac is the trek from Pisac to San Salvador. It’s a very direct and easy trek on flat land, and the views are breathtaking. To go on the trek; walk down Avenida Amazonas towards San Salvador–the full hike will take approximately 3 hours one way. It’s a straight shot down one path. We walked one way, then took a collective back to town for 3/SOL (3 Peruvian Soles).

    Where to Stay in Pisac

    Picture of a hotel in Pisac, Peru

    The most popular type of accommodation in Pisac is communal; guests stay in individual bedrooms and share a kitchen, living room, and outdoor space. I lived in Pisac for four months and stayed in several accommodations throughout my time there. Here’s a list of some of the best places to stay while visiting Pisac:

    • Hatha Yoga Art Hatha Yoga Art is a communal living hostel, located just 10 minutes away from the center of Pisac. The rooms  are comfortable and the amenities include a fully equipped kitchen. There is a Yoga Studio located on the ground floor of the accommodation, where they offer daily yoga and meditation classes. This is the ideal accommodation for a traveler who is looking to foster a sense of community during their stay. It’s an affordable option, with rooms ranging from $10 – $40/night depending on the the type of room that you book.

    • Bamboo Lodge Sacred Valley: This is the best accommodation in Pisac for a traveler who is looking for some solitude. It’s located about 20 minutes from the Town Center.  Bamboo Lodge has private hotel rooms and bathrooms, along with a communal restaurant and outdoor space for guests. The average cost per night at Bamboo Lodge runs between $40 – $70/night depending on the type of room you book and when you visit.

    • La Chakana Pisac:  La Chakana is a communal living space; similar to Hatha Yoga Art Pisac. They offer individual rooms with shared communal spaces. It’s located about 15 minutes away from the town center. The average cost varies between $12 and $25/night.

    • Allpawasi Pisac Lodge: This is the best accommodation in Pisac for travelers that are going to Pisac with large groups (families or friends). It costs about $100 – $150 a night to rent the home; which includes 2 floors, 4 bedrooms, and an outdoor space. The amenities in the home are high-quality and it’s a very comfortable place to stay. If you have the budget to spend, it’s worth every penny.

    Enjoy Your Stay in Pisac!

    Pisac, Peru is an excellent location for those who want to spend a day or even a long-term stay. With its close proximity to the Sacred Valley Region, Pisac has much to offer travelers in terms of culture and exploration. If you have questions about planning your trip, please feel free contact me here. For more inspiration on where else you can visit in Peru during your stay, check out some of the posts below.

    Disclosure: Please note that some of the above are affiliate links, and I earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. I only recommend companies that I’ve personally used and like, and the income supports this site. 

    Read More Inspiration for a Trip to Peru

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