Bike travel, commuting and more


Peru XI: Pisaq

Pisaq from above

View of Pisaq from the highest point

Visiting the Sacred Valley

Sacred Valley in Cusco
Approaching the Sacred Valley from Cusco

There is plenty to see around Cusco while making time to visit Macchu Picchu. One of the highlights for me was the ruins of Pisaq, another massive Inca city at the beginning of the Sacred Valle, with less buildings but much bigger extension than Macchu Picchu itself.

Pisaq teraces
Beginning of Pisaq

To get there is very easy, as there are colectivos leaving in the morning for about 10 soles, for a journey that takes about an hour. First the bus climbs out of Cusco in direction Tambomachay, but then continues until it changes to the next valley, and then there is a long downhill to Pisaq village.

Pisaq entrance
View from the entrance to the ruins

From there, the best is to take a taxi up to the ruins, very high up on the hills behind. We were lucky and could share the ride with a Polish couple, so it was cheaper than expected. Although most people just explore the main ruins and terraces next to the entrance, and then go back to their bus, our plan was to cross through and go down to the modern village passing across all major sites.

Buildings in Pisaq
Enjoying the first group of buildings

Our tourist card from Cusco is also valid here, and the first impression was great, as Pisaq has an amazing complex of terraces very high up in the mountains.

Steps come out of the walls to save space

It is actually a pity they only have grass now, because given how steep everything is around here, I’m sure the local farmers would love to make use of those flat areas for planting.

First buildings in Pisaq
Getting to K’alla K’asa
Canal in Pisaq
Nice drainage work
Door detail in Pisaq
Door detail in one of the buildings

At the beginning there is what seems to be the main living area for the soldiers, and a lot of terraces going down to quite low in the valley. From here there should be a path to go down to the next highlight, the religious area, all downhill.

Closed path in Pisaq
Our option A is closed

However, the path is closed due to landslides, the same as another alternative path. Our only choice is to go back, or pick the much harder and longer path that climbs all the way to the highest viewpoint, and then goes downhill on the other side. We of course take the latter option.

Way to the viewpoint in Pisaq
Going up the scenic path
View point Pisaq
Break at the viewing point

Despite being a very tough trek with plenty of steps, the kids showed their strength and held up very well. Simon did most of the way on his own, and Thomas required being carried in our shoulders several times, but still walked about 70% of the way! The path itself is not very child-friendly, with dangerous cliffs and very steep stairs, but going slowly and with loads of care we all managed to get down safely.

Steep path in Pisaq
The path was quite steep at times
Pisaq tunnel
Sometimes there was even no path but a tunnel
Narrow path in Pisaq
And in other places it was really tight

The religious area has the best carved stones, with the perfect walls the incas are known for. Further down is the proper village where farmers are thought to have lived.

Religious site in Pisaq
Intihuatana on the right, Pisaqa on the left
Pisaq qullqas
Qullqas, or places to store grain, on the downhill

The path got easier, at least technically, from this point onwards, while we went around the hill and finally got a view of the modern Pisaq village at the bottom of the valley.

Pisaq village
The village finally!
Last terraces in Pisaq
Final terraces

There are more terraces to walk through, and more stairs on a very narrow valley very easy to defend in case of attach.

End of Pisaq
We are nearly there

We finally reached the bottom next to where the Pisaq market is, quite famous for their wollen products, souvenirs, and other tourist goods.

Pisaq market
Pisaq market

The locals were busy doing nice decorations on the floor, using coloured seeds, in preparation for Easter week. We took an ice cream as reward for the kids after the gigantic trek they had managed to do. We waited for a while for a colectivo to take us back to Cusco, but most were packed and it was getting dark. In the end we managed to board into one that was nearly full, so Susanne and Thomas had to sit on the floor, in a wooden-made bench where the aisle should be. Luckily most passengers only got down close to Cusco so they didn’t have to move much.

Pisaq decorations
Locals decorating their streets

1 Comment

  1. Maria

    Vaya aventuras! Te digo yo que Thomas y Simon aguantan una caminata mejor que yo jajaja. Un beso enorme a los 4!

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