What to do in Pisac, Peru – How to visit the ruins and explore the town

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If I could only recommend one trip to the Sacred Valley of the Incas from Cusco, it would definitely be Písac. During our six-hour hike through the Pisac ruins, we totally fell in love with this unique place.

For this reason, in this Pisac itinerary and guide, I want to give you all the information you need for a stay or day trip to Pisac. Here, you will learn more about what to see in Pisac, Peru, how to get there, the Pisaq Archaeological Park, background information, and other helpful travel tips.

Písac, Peru Facts

  • Pisac is divided into Pisac city and Pisac “Sacred District” (ruins)
  • Also spelled Písaq
  • A former mountain fortress of the Incas
  • Located in the Sacred Valley of the Incas (Valle Sagrado)
  • 33 km/22.5 mi from Cusco
  • The ruins date back to the 15th century

Where is Písac?

Pisac map
Source: Google Maps

Písac is located in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, in the Peruvian Andes, on the Urubamba River bank, about 33 km/22.5 mi from Cusco.

The city of Písac is located at an altitude of 2,975 meters/9,760 ft., while the ruins are located at an altitude of 3,300 meters/10,826 ft. above sea level.

What makes Písac so special?

hiking in pisac peru

Písac is one of the most beautiful destinations in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. With its mixture of impressive Inca ruins and spectacular nature, this sight simply captivates every visitor.

The sacred district of Písac covers a stretch of more than 65 hectares. Thus, it invites you to long walks through fascinating nature, imposing ruins, and agricultural complexes.

How to get to Písac

how to get to pisac, curvy street in the sacred valley of peru
The winding road up to the ruins of Písac

From Cusco, you have several options to get to Pisac. Below, you will find an overview of the different modes of transportation.

In any case, the road to Písac is very winding. If you suffer from motion sickness, I strongly recommend you take a pill or have chewing gum at hand.

Joining a tour from Cusco to Písac

Probably the easiest way to get to Písac is to join a tour. This way, you don’t have to worry about transportation, and you can even meet new people.

Often tours to Písac are combined with visits to other sites in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. By joining, you will be able to admire several attractions in the region.

On the other hand, if you decide to take a tour, you will be less flexible if you want to discover more of Písac on your own.

If you decide to go on a tour, you can either book it locally at one of the many travel agencies (be sure to compare prices and reviews beforehand!) or online über GetYourGuide.

Taking a taxi from Cusco to Písac

Another option is to take a taxi from Cusco to Písac. This way, you are more flexible since you don’t have to wait for enough people to fill the Colectivo (shared car/van). Also, the cab will take you directly to the ruins of Písac and not just to the town center of Pisac.

For our taxi ride, we paid 25 soles (about $ 5) from downtown Cusco to the entrance of Písac’s Archaeological Park.

Taking the Bus or Colectivo from Cusco to Písac

The last option to get from Cusco to Písac is a bus or colectivo. The colectivos depart from Cusco and Písac regularly as soon as they are full. Therefore, there are usually no exact departure times.

The disadvantage of the colectivo is that it only takes you to the center of Písac. From here, you have to take another car (see next point) or walk to the entrance of the ruins.

As a price per way (Cusco – Pisac), you should expect to pay about 7 Soles (about $ 1,50).

How to get from Písac’s town center to the Písac ruins

view on Pisac town, inca statue
View on Písac Town

Many travelers who arrive by public transport from Cusco are not aware that the ruins of Písac are located another few kilometers from the city center.

From the city center, there are basically two ways to reach the Archaeological Park (the ruins): By walking or by taxi.
Since most people opt for the taxi, the cab drivers try to get as much as possible for the ride. The ride from the city center takes around 25-30 minutes and can cost a good 25 soles (about $ 6). There is a short break at the ticket checkpoint (after about 15 minutes).

If you decide to walk, you should plan on about five-six hours for the round trip (including 1½ – 2 hours on the way there). The nature on the way is truly beautiful and a great option for hiking enthusiasts.

The last option is a combination of taking a taxi and hiking. In this option, you take a cab up and then follow the hiking trail that takes you back to the center of Písac. We opted for this option (we traveled by taxi from Cusco). Theoretically, you should expect this last option to take around three hours. However, we were so fascinated by the landscape of Písac that we spent about six hours in the area.

What to see in Písac, Peru

The fascinating Písac Ruins

Pisac Archaeological Park, entrance
The entrance to the archaeological park of Pisac

Opening Hours Písac archaeological park: 06 am – 05 pm

Entrance Fee Písac archaeological park: Boleto Turístico (Tourist ticket for the Sacred Valley). There are several options in which Pisac is included:

Option 1: Limited Ticket: 70 Soles (ca. 14,50 €) – Includes Pisac, Ollantaytambo, Chinchero, Moray – Validity: 2 days
Option 2: Boleto Integral: 130 Soles (ca. 27 €) – Includes all 16 sights of the Sacred Valley of the Incas – Validity: 10 days.

Ticket: Boleto Turístico available on-site or online, e.g.on GetYourGuide.

I think the ruins of Pisac became my absolute favorite sight in the Cusco region. Even though Machu Picchu was definitely more impressive as a structure, Pisac exuded this wonderful tranquility that Machu Picchu, unfortunately, can’t match. (Please don’t get me wrong, Machu Picchu is really incredible, but I just associate great memories with Písac).

But let’s start from the beginning…

The Pisac Inca Terraces

Pisac, green fields, Sacred Valley of the Incas
View over the scenic fields of Pisac

For me, probably the most impressive part of Písac is the field terraces (Andenerias). This is an ancient field cultivation system that the Incas constructed and used to optimize the cultivation of food on the mountainside.

Upon arrival at the Písac Archaeological Park, you can already see the first of these picturesque field terraces. With their vibrant green colors, the fields will accompany you for a long stretch along the circular trail that will later lead you back to the center of Písac.

K’alla K’asa – Die Militärzone

Pisac Military zone, K'alla K'asa

The citadel is probably the most touristy attraction of the ruins of Písac, as it is one of the main sights. You can climb around the ruins and enjoy the view over the area.

Right next door is an Inca cemetery (T’antana Marka). It is believed to be the oldest preserved Inca cemetery in Peru.

Some visitors just stop in this area and then leave again for Cusco. Kind of a shame, considering that there is so much more to discover in Písac.

After all, you can follow a small hiking trail from here. We were actually quite surprised by how few other visitors we met along the way. Instead, after a long walk, we met a couple of local women somewhere in the middle of nowhere who wanted to sell us their homemade souvenirs.

The path continues along the beautiful field complex. If you like, you can stop at the mirador and enjoy the extraordinary view over the fields, which is especially worthwhile during the rainy season when the fields are vibrantly green.
Another sight along the way are tunnels located in the old stone ruins.

Tianayuc

Tianayuc, Ruinen, Pisaq

The next smaller collection of ruins along the way is Tianayuc. This is a small antique room that used to have space for two people.

Intihuatana (Intiwatana)

Intihuatana, Ruins, Pisac

Let’s move on to one of the main sights of Pisac. After all, the archaeological park of the ruins was also named after this place. One could almost think of Machu Picchu’s little brother when visiting this district.

Inside you will find the so-called Temple of the Sun, which was used as a ceremonial place by the Incas. Based on the architecture of the ruins, which were destroyed after the Spanish conquest, it can be assumed that this place was used to study the course of the sun.

Other surrounding buildings, on the other hand, were most likely used to worship the moon.
In addition to the unique ruins, we especially fondly remember the view from this site, which offers a simply wonderful panorama of the surrounding landscape.

Later, we climbed the adjacent hill and enjoyed the view of the ruins of the Intiwatana area.

Pisaq’a

pisaq'a, Ruins, what to see in Pisac, Peru

In addition to a few other ruins and attractions along the circuit, another place to visit is Pisaq’a, also known as ancient Pisaq. Like Pisac today, ancient Pisac also served as a residential area.

It was once located directly under the Sun Temple complex and was home to about 30 buildings. Due to the nature of the buildings, it is believed that this district was the residence of wealthy and other influential citizens.

From here, you can either return to the starting point on the hiking trail (if you arrived with a tour) or follow the path to the city center. If you arrived on your own, we recommend that you simply take some time to soak in Pisac’s beautiful scenery.

Tips for visiting the Pisac Archaeological Park

Pisac ruins and antique houses
  • Be sure to bring enough to drink. The loop hike can take several hours, and especially at these altitudes, it is important to stay hydrated.
  • Make sure you have adequate sun protection such as sunscreen and headgear. At these altitudes, the sun is very strong, even if it is cloudy.
  • Comfortable shoes are recommended – Since there are a lot of steps and you will probably be walking for a few hours.
  • Snacks – Since there are no set places to buy food during the hike, be sure to have some snacks with you. (There are a few locals here and there who walk around selling drinks and snacks, but you should not rely on meeting them).
  • Make sure to use the toilets at the beginning of the trail – there are no other options along the way.

More things to see in Písac

The Písac Market

Pisac Market, Pisac Mercado, market stands Peru

In the city center, the market of Písac is waiting for your visit. At least if your visit falls on a Tuesday, Thursday, or Sunday. If not, don’t worry, because most of the vendors open their stalls on other days as well.

The offer includes mainly souvenir items, as well as other products that may appeal to tourists. – You get the idea – the market is rather designed for visitors than for locals. In addition to handicrafts, clothing from llama fur, and other souvenirs, you will also find food such as fruits and vegetables.

Where to stay in Písac

Pisac Inca Guest House

This inn is designed in traditional Inca style and impresses with a quiet location and a picturesque garden view. There are rooms of different sizes and features.

Check more info, availability, and prices of Pisac Inca Guest House

More places to stay in Písac

Don’t like this inn? >>Dann jetzt hier alle Unterkünfte in Pisac ansehen.

Should I visit Písac as a day trip from Cusco or stay longer?

Pisac Viewpoint, Mirador

Most visitors only visit Písac as a day trip from Cusco. We also came to Písac only for one day.

However, after discovering the wonderful nature of Písac, we even regretted a bit not having planned at least one night’s stay here. The idea came to us after we met an elderly Danish lady in the fields, who even spent a whole month in the place to go hiking far away from the tourist trails.

So if you have enough time and like hiking, it is worth spending more time in Písac. But if you don’t have that much time, a day trip to Písac from Cusco is definitely enough to explore the ruins, the city center, and a bit of the surrounding nature.


Could we convince you? Would you like to visit Pisac? Maybe you have some great tips for us yourself. Let us know in the comments below!

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About the AuthorVicki

Hi, we are Vicki & Eduardo, an international travel couple on a mission to help you save money for priceless travel experience. Follow us through the miracles of this world and you will be rewarded with a bunch of practical travel tips.

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