The Pisac town is among Peru’s most intact traditional town, and one of the best off-the-beaten path places to visit in Peru. The views of the countryside are spectacular, the archaeological site and its local markets are remarkable. Discover everything you should know about the traditional town of Pisac.
The Pisac Ruins is one of the most intact ancient Inca sites in Peru and a sample of the perfection of Inca constructions. It was built on top of a mountain that rises above the small town of Pisac; from here you can appreciate spectacular views and Inca ruins. It is the highlight of your visit to the Sacred Valley, and the charming town of Pisac, is sure to make you want to stay a couple of nights longer than you had originally planned.
Climate and Weather
Weather and the best season to visit Pisac The weather in Pisac
Like Cusco, the Sacred Valley has a subtropical high altitude climate. The surrounding mountains, such as Veronica and Salkantay, experience temperatures low enough to remain snow-capped all year round. However, due to its lower elevation, the valley enjoys warmer average temperatures than Cusco.
The most relevant climates in Pisac Dry season: May to September
The days are usually sunny and with little chance of rain. It is important to protect yourself from the sun, such as hats and sunscreen, the heat is usually quite strong. The nights are usually cold, July being the coldest month of the year.
- Daytime: 19 to 21 °C (66 to 70 °F)
- Overnight: 35 to 41°F (2-5°C)
Rainy Season: November to March
Mornings are usually cloudy with light showers. Afternoons and evenings may bring heavier showers. Average daytime temperatures are usually mild, but nights are cold. January is the rainiest month.
- Daytime: 20 to 21 °C (68 to 70 °F)
- Overnight: 8°C (46°F)
High season April and October
This time of the year tends to have changeable climates. Temperatures are generally very mild. October is the warmest month.
- Daytime: 19 to 21°C (66 to 70°F)
- Overnight: 43 to 45°F (6-7°C)
History of Pisac
According to historian Kim MacQuarrie, the Inca Pachacuteq built many palaces every time he defeated other cultures. Pisac was one of the most important for the Incas in the sacred valley.
When the Inca Empire conquered the area, they built a prominent complex along the ridge of the mountain above the city that bears the same name today.
Some historians believe that it was built as a residence of the Inca or a religious center; with the possible purpose of being a place of retreat away from the city of Cusco, to plan military campaigns, rituals, or refuge in case of danger.
It is not known when Inca Pisac was built, as it does not seem to have been occupied by any pre- Inca civilization. However, it was not built before 1440. Unfortunately, none of the Spanish chroniclers mentioned the Inca complex despite its size and proximity to Cusco.
This Inca site was destroyed by the Spanish conquers and Pizarro in the early 1530s. Viceroy Toledo built the modern town of Pisac in 1570 in the valley below the ruins of the complex.
Details of the Inca site of Pisac:
- Altitude: 3347m
- Distance: Located 5km from the town of Pisac.
- Difficulty: The ruins themselves are fairly easy to walk around, but the altitude may be a problem for some.
How to get to the Pisac Ruins
Get to the town of Pisac on your own or on a tour from Cusco, here are some options to think about.
Location and how to get to Pisac
The Pisac Ruins are located in what was a very strategic point for the Incas. They guard not only the Urubamba River, but also a pass that leads into the jungle to the northeast.
The size and location of the site also suggest that Pisac was an important defense against any possible invasion on Cusco, which was the capital of the entire Inca empire.
How to get to Pisac own your own?
One of the best ways to get to Pisac is on an organized tour of the Sacred Valley of the Incas; but if you want more time in Pisac, maybe stay a few days, you should know how to get to Pisac on your own.
Get to Pisac by bus
There are buses that leave from Puputi street 15 minutes from the main square of Cusco. They take about 45 minutes to get to Pisac and have a cost of S/. 7 (US $ 2).
In Pisac you will find local buses to other places in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. You can walk a few minutes up and you will find the main square of the town to an incredible handicraft market, and although you can visit it every day, the best day to visit the handicraft market of Pisac is Sunday.
Get to Pisac by taxi
Hire a taxi at the official office of the taxi located just in front of the bridge on Avenida Amazonas in Pisac. Prices start at S/.25 (approx. US$7) each way.
What to Do in Pisac
Main attractions of Pisac.
The actual town of Pisac is built on top of the Inca constructions. Pisac is renowned for its large number of Inca sites, as well as its charming and colorful atmosphere.
Below, we show you some fantastic attractions that you should not miss on your trip to Pisac.
- Pisac market
- Community of Pisac
- Potato park
- Botanical garden
- Enchanted Ñusta.
- The ‘City’ of Pisac
The Traditional Market of Pisac
This handicraft market is one of the most traditional that you will find on your trip to Cusco, which we are sure will dazzle you with its unique products made by artisans and local people.
The market of Pisac is an ideal place to buy traditional souvenirs, it offers tourists an extensive offer compared to Cusco. On your trip you can find from silver jewelry, flutes, backpacks, ornaments, chullos, alpaca wool and other handmade accessories decorated with bright colors. We recommend visiting this traditional market on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, although it is open every day. Sunday is the ideal day to visit as there are more vendors and more bargains, and the local people come out to sell many organic products. If you are happy to visit this Inca site, Peru Spirit Adventure can plan your visit on the day you prefer.
Community Museum of Pisac
This museum was inaugurated in 2009 on the corner of Federico Zamalloa Avenue. It exhibits pottery created by the villagers themselves and traditional textiles produced by the local Quechua communities.
The popular potato park
Peru is the country where this food is grown in large quantities and of hundreds of varieties. During your visit to Pisac, you have an option to visit the Potato Park.
Beautiful Botanical Garden
Also known as the Felipe Marín Moreno Botanical Garden, this garden was created in 1917 by a Peruvian botanist and explorer.
For many years he built up his collection through correspondence with botanists from all over the world. You can also schedule your visit to this botanical garden.
The Enchanted Ñusta
It is a rock formation on the road to the south that is said to be the remains of the princess Inquill carrying bags on her back on the Nustayoc hill. According to legend, the cacique Huayllapuma and his people suffered attacks from their neighbors who took advantage of the rainy season to attack the kingdom. Chumpi, the Wankar Kuichi oracle, prophesied that only a price that could build a bridge over the river overnight could marry the princess. Once a young man came along and decided to build the bridge overnight as the princess walked along carrying her belongings on his back. She was not to look back at any time. When the ground shook, she looked back and turned into a rock.
Allow yourself to be absorbed into the culture as much as possible when visiting a local village. Stop exploring as a tourist and explore as a local. The tips here will help you visit Pisac like a local while you’re in Pisac.
Take cash in Peruvian soles
Don’t expect to find ATMs or exchange house in the town of Pisac. if you find a exchange house, consider that the exchange rate is much lower than the current exchange rate in the Cusco city.
Note: When recieving Peruvian bills, make sure they are not ripped or counterfeit. Also, try to get 10- and 50-sole bills, as larger denominations can sometimes be hard to use.
When you buy a souvenir in Pisac market, it is common practice to bargain for prices. Bargaining for price doesn’t offend anyone so that feel free to do it. Except in stores or places where prices are set.
Locals will often increase the price of the product to see if you have enough money to pay for it. When they see you haggle or give up buying the product they will drop the price considerably.
Learn some phrases in Spanish
Most common Spanish phrases out there are super easy to learn:
No gracias: No thanks
Por favor: Please
Donde están los baños?: Where are the toilets?
Mi nombre….: my name is…
Me puedes ayudar?: Could you help me?
Cuanto cuesta esto? How much is it?
Esta muy caro: It is very expensive
Carry an extra layer
Take an extra layer with you when traveling to Pisac. No matter how warm it is, the weather can change suddenly in seconds. It is best to be prepared.
Do you have any questions about this blog? Here are the most relevant ones, scroll down to see more.
How much does it cost from Cusco to Pisac?
If you want to go to Pisac on your own you must take a public transport (minivan) in Puputi street, located 15 minutes from the city center. This trip costs 5 Peruvian soles (less than 2 dollars) and takes about 1 hour.
Can I hire a tour guide at the entrance of Pisac?
A tour in Pisac with a tour guide is optional. You can hire one at the entrance gate.
Can I walk up from the town of Pisac to the Pisac Ruins?
Yes, the hike is arduous and starts near the main square of the village. It covers about 3.6 kilometers and can take about 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Where to buy the Cusco Tourist Ticket?
You can buy the Cusco Tourist Ticket at Avenida El Sol 185, a few steps from the Plaza de Armas of the city.
Where to buy a tour to Pisac?
You can buy any of our tours that include a visit to the Pisac Inca Site, remember that, if you travel with, Peru Spirit Adventure, you will have the guarantee of experienced and knowledgeable guides of our culture in addition that will make your trip an unforgettable experience.
How long does it take to tour the Pisac Ruins?
The archaeological site of Pisac is huge. Walking around its neighborhoods, buildings and roads can take 2 hours or even more.
Is the hike through Pisac dangerous?
No, the archaeological site of Pisac has well marked trails with signs for tourists.
Is Pisac open all year round?
Yes, the archaeological site open to tourists every day of the year, except in cases of emergency (natural disasters, strikes, etc.).
What is the entrance fee to the Pisac Ruins?
With the Cusco Tourist Ticket, you can visit Pisac because it also includes many other archaeological sites:
- General tourist ticket: S/. 130
- Partial tourist ticket: S/. 70
What are the hours of entry to the Pisac Ruins?
rom 7 am to 6 pm. Serves every day of the week.
What is the best time to go to Pisac?
The low rainy season (April to October) is the best time to visit Pisac. During those months. It is recommended to visit in the early hours of the morning.