Pisac, Peru Travel Guide (2021)

Parque Arqueológico Pisac

Pisac, Peru is a small town located in an area known as “The Sacred Valley” in 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.

There’s a lot to do in and around Pisac. There’s a small town that’s accessible by foot from any area of Pisac that has restaurants, markets, and local shops. There’s also an archeological park that has preserved artifacts from the Incan Empire. Many tourists take a day trip to Pisac from other areas in the Cusco region of Peru, as it’s possible to see all of the major tourist attractions in Pisac in a day. There are also a lot of long-term tourists in Pisac; as it’s a good home base for people that want to spend time in the Sacred Valley and see things in the surrounding area; such as Machu Picchu and the Inti Punku Sun Gate Trek.

This guide includes everything that you need to know while planning a trip to Pisac, Peru—inclusive of; 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

    Most people that visit Pisac first fly into Alejandro Velasco Astete Cusco International Airport (CUZ). Once in Cusco, there are several methods of ground transportation that one can take to get to Pisac. The total trip is approximately 45 minutes long. 

    Colectivo:
    The best way to travel from Cusco to Pisac is by Colectivo. A Colectivo is Cusco’s answer to public transportation. They’re shared mini-buses that hold about 12 passengers.

    Colectivo’s are located at the top of Puputi Street in Cusco. Puputi street isn’t near most hotels in Cusco, so you might have to take a taxi there. If you take a taxi then tell the driver that you’re going to, “the Colectivo’s to Pisac” and they’ll know where to go. 

    The total cost will be s/4 – s/10 (4 – 10 Peruvian Soles).

    Public Taxi:
    Public taxis will take you from Cusco to Pisac. The normal rate is approximately s/45 – s/60 (45 – 60 Peruvian Soles). Be sure to negotiate with the taxi driver before getting into the car. If you don’t agree on a cost beforehand, the driver will charge you whatever they want when you arrive.

    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

    Pisac is a small town, so it’s possible to walk everywhere on foot. There are moto-taxis (scooters, attached to a carriage) that will transport you anywhere within Pisac for s/2 (2 Peruvian Soles).

    If you want to travel to/from Pisac and a surrounding city (such as Urubamba, Ollytontanbo, Lamay, etc.) 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 final destination.

    Things to Do in Pisac, Peru

    Picture of the Pisac Market or Mercado Pisac
    1. Visit the Ruins in Parque Arqueológico
      The park is high up on the mountain; requiring a bit of a trek to get there. The Incans built their villages on high ground to protect themselves from intruders; so you’ll experience this often when visiting historic sites in Cusco.
       
      There are two ways to get to the Parque Arqueológico; by foot or by car. If going by car; you can take a private taxi (the most expensive) or in a colectivo with other passengers. Colectivos are the most common & affordable method of transportation in Pisac.

      Walking to Parque Arqueológico takes the longest amount of time, but is 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 Arqueologico) are the #1 reason that tourists visit Pisac, Peru. The park is expansive, and its presence and history is 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)
      Mercado Pisac (the Pisac Market) is located in the Pisac Town Square. Go here to buy goods made by the 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 & 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’s 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 is a line of 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 surrounded by one of the most incredible nature-scape in the world. The region has an energy about it that makes the mountainous terrain feel even more vast & powerful in person than it seems in pictures, and it’s an energy that can only be felt or understood in person. There’s a river that whips through Pisac, called Rio Urubamba. Hike or spend time near the river while you’re in Pisac; it’s one of the most serene things that you can do while there. 

    5. Walk around the Old Town Center
      The Old Town is a group of buildings located near Avenida Federico and  Zamalloa and Avenida Amazonas. There are lots of cool stores in the Old Town where you can find local products such as crystals, apparel, and natural goods. Spend some time walking around the area, and checking out the locally made items. 

    6. Go Trekking Through the Area
      The best thing to do in Pisac & 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 greatest way to experience it. One of my favorite hikes from Pisac is the trek from Pisac to San Salvador. It’s a very direct & 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 my favorite accommodations in Pisac. 

    • Hatha Yoga Art: Hatha Yoga Art Pisac is a communal living hostel, located just 10 minutes away from the center of Pisac. The rooms in Hatha Yoga Art are comfortable and the amenities include everything you’ll need during your stay; including a fully equipped shared kitchen. There’s a Yoga Studio located on the ground floor of the accommodation, where they offer daily yoga and meditation classes. There’s also an outdoor area with a fire pit, where communal gatherings usually take place. This is the ideal accommodation for a traveler that’s looking to foster a sense of community during their stay. It’s also affordable; with rooms ranging from $10 – $40/night depending on the season that you visit & the type of room that you book.

      Address: Carretera Pisac – Ruinas s/n km.2 – La Rinconada, Písac 08106, Peru

    • Bamboo Lodge Sacred Valley: This is one of the best accommodations in Pisac for a traveler who’s looking for some solitude. It’s located about 20 minutes from the Town Center. Bamboo lodge has private hotel rooms & 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 & 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 – $25/night.

    • Alpawasi: 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 Trip to Pisac!

    Pisac, Peru is one of the most incredible places that I’ve ever visited. It’s a great destination for travelers that are looking to take a day trip to Pisac, and also for travelers who want to stay long term to explore Pisac and the surrounding area in the Sacred Valley Region. If you are planning a trip to Pisac and have any questions, please feel free to contact me here and I will respond as quickly as possible. You can also check out some of the articles below when planning your trip to Pisac, Peru for inspiration of where else to visit in Peru.

    Read More Inspiration for a Trip to Peru

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