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Pisac is a small town nestled in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, just 45 minutes outside of Cusco. The breathtaking drive from Cusco is a renowned scenic route that dramatically drops into the Sacred Valley. Pisac is known as the gateway to the Sacred Valley, and the Living Museum Town. The sacred Apu Linly Mountain and ancestral terraces heighten the spectacular natural surroundings, with the beautiful Wilkamayu River running through the fertile valley’s heart. The pleasant climate, lower altitude and the enchantment of the small town combine with proximity and easy access to Cusco, Machu Picchu and other places in the Sacred Valley making it an ideal base.
Pisac is most well known for the daily Traditional Market on the plaza and the Archeological Site perched above the town. It also has a small but nice Communal Museum worth visiting, a Corn Museum well presented by a local Piseño family, the Felipe Marin Moreno Botanic Garden, Kusi Ñan Organic Farm, and activities such as horseback riding and ample hiking options. The traditional communities above Pisac maintain their ancestral way of life, and their presence in Pisac adds a vibrant flare. The Apu Runawana Weaving Association sells their beautiful weavings right out the front door of Pisac Inn, and offers uniquely authentic experiences in their community of Amaru for those not interested in mass tourism.
Pisac Elevation: 2,972m (9,751ft)
Pisac Inn is located on the corner of the quaint plaza of Pisac. Settling into your own space for the duration of your stay while taking day trips to the surrounding extraordinary sites is appealing to many travelers who enjoy a more personal contact with the local life.
The cobblestone streets, communal wood burning ovens, children playing on the plaza in the evening, combined with the nearby agricultural fields full of corn and quinoa give the small town of Pisac it´s quaint typical feel. You can hear the birds, roosters and church bells in the early morning, and catch the scent of freshly baked bread.
Pisac Archeological Site
The Pisac archeological site is located 3.5 km kilometers above the town of Pisac at 3,347 m above sea level, with incredible vistas up and down the valley. The expansive and stunning agrarian terraces of Pisac are heritage of an ancient culture that knew how to live within their environment without destroying it. An entire side of the mountain was transformed into colossal productive agrarian terraces featuring the highest irrigation technology, considered among the most advanced for their time and serving as an inspiration for developing technology in balance with the environment. This site is renowned as one of the best-preserved and impressive archeological sites, with multiple sectors and functions. For example, the Intiwatana sector exemplifies an astronomical observatory with structures that use light and shadow to measure the Solstices and Equinoxes with exactness, very important dates for an efficient agrarian calendar. This site simultaneously served as a ceremonial center to celebrate and honor these cosmic moments. The rockwork is considered as some of the finest found in the Valley, and is admired for the architectural skills with which it was built. The burial site is the largest pre-Columbian cemetery in the Americas. Eleven miles of mountainside are filled with approximately 400,000 traditional burials. Sadly, most of the tombs have been looted.
The archeological site served for science, ceremony and agriculture; all woven into the reality of daily life. Some consider Pisac just as majestic and admirable as Machu Picchu. It is worth taking your time to profoundly explore the site and surroundings. You can walk or take a taxi; for information on getting to the Pisac Archeological site, you can download the PDF here.
For more information on our guided Pisac Archaeological Excursion click here
Admire the beautiful faces and calm excitement that transforms Pisac at the famous market that is set up every day on the plaza. The colorful Pisac market offers handcrafts featuring textiles, ceramics and jewelry. Textiles are not to missed, and you should look for the traditional women from the highland communities above Pisac who sell their one of a kind weavings using all natural plants. Weavings from Amaru and Chaihuatiri are especially fine and world renowned, worthy as collector’s items. Right out the Pisac Inn’s front door you will find the Apu Runawana Weaving Society. Pisac is most known for hand painted ceramics including plates, ashtrays, tea sets, and chess sets. Many Piseños still paint these intricate traditional geometric Inca designs in their family workshops. Look for these works of art in wood now, to prevent breakage.
Sunday is the most festive market day when the highland native communities come to town in their best traditional dress to trade and sell their prized agrarian products. The proud presence of the Varayoc (authorities) of the ayllus (communities) walk through town in their ponchos blowing conch shells adding a distinctive air to the festivities of Sunday Market. It is fun to explore the typical food section of the market on Sundays, where you will find all types of native Andean potatoes, and exotic fruit brought from the nearby rainforest, as well as typical dishes such as caldo de gallina (hen soup) and more.
Make a day of it, and apart from shopping for lovely gifts, let the market be an experience in itself as you meld into the explosion of colors, smells and human warmth. Pisac Inn is ideally located on the plaza, providing you with a place to rest between explorations!
Apu Runawana Weaving Association
Amaru is one of the 13 traditional communities above Pisac and home to the Apu Runawana Weaving Association, composed of a group of traditionalist’s who consciously preserve and practice their traditional way of life and values in face of many obstacles. Experience this ancestral culture first hand, and learn about the importance of weaving and agriculture connected to celebrations of the Andean calendar. For information on visiting this traditional community, click here. They also offer the Sacred Lakes Trek, an unforgettable trek in the high Andes for experienced high altitude trekkers.
For information about the Sacred Valley, click here: Sacred Valley of the Incas