The Grandeur of Pisaq

The first time you get to walking in Cusco, you realize you have quite a lot to see. The city is a dazzling maze of colonial architecture crowning the old ruins of Incan buildings. Those Incan foundations are just a preview of the ruins you’re going to discover on an adventure into the nearby Sacred Valley.

From Pariwana Cusco, you’ll want to find the road called Puputi. Ask the staff to explain to you how to get there. From there, combis (minivan taxis) depart regularly for the 45 minute and 5 sol drive to Pisaq. The drive itself is a marvelous stringing journey that brings you curving around several attractive Incan ruin sites before arriving to Pisaq.

Pisaq sits at a crossroads of valleys. The central square is filled with market stalls selling all manner of items and souvenirs. From the town, the immense hills stretch in all directions, and seem to hover over you they’re so big. From the town you can take a taxi to the entrance of the Pisaq ruins.

You’ll be able to see them from the town. It’s hard to tell that they’re actually quite expansive. The terraces look small and easily scalable—but don’t be fooled, they are quite a far way off, and their stature is around 6 feet high.

Unlike Machu Pichu, this Peruvian ruin is surrounded by waving hill grass instead of jungle. It allows for awesome spanning views down all the valley corridors. You’ll enter on one side, several hundred meters high. From there, you will be able to visit the various parts of the site via a looping footpath. It is several football fields long, so get ready to tax those leg muscles!

You’ll find ancient stone terraces, giant rock walls that once formed houses and guard towers, and an incredible complex of once-holy importance. The stones are carved to such perfect detail and fit that they make for a wonderful preview to the much larger Machu Pichu.

Pisaq, however, which might not have the same amount of stone work as the world wonder, boasts a precarious perch that stretches just as far as the Pichu. You can hike to the very top of the highest of Pisaq’s hills for a view of the whole place. The best view, however, is to be found where very few visitors seem to make it; at the far end of the ancient fortress closest to town. From there, you can also make the trek down, entering town directly into the central square.

A backpacker’s backpack ain’t such a good idea, but a small one filled with water is suitable! The adventure begins once you let the glory of the scene rush to your heart!