The Andean, hippy town of Pisac has become the most popular destination in the Sacred Valley – and it’s not just because of its proximity to Cusco. The small, Andean community still keeps its traditional way of life and offers visitors spectacular Inca ruins that cling to the cliffside high above the town. The confluence of Andean traditions and new-age mysticism – throw in plenty of textiles and souvenir shopping – has made Pisac the highlight of any trip through the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
The locals of Pisac still keep many of their traditions, one of those being their traditional attire. The women wear the best examples of the traditional Andean outfit, wearing lliclla, which are the blankets tied around their necks and used as backpacks; polleras, the colorful and vibrant skirts; and jobonas, their colorful jackets.
Inca city planning
Pisac is a perfect example of Inca city planning still intact. You’ll find your narrow, cobble-stoned streets that lead to the Plaza de Armas. When walking around, look up and you’ll be able to spot the magnificent ruins etched into the canyon side.
Andean people are farmers and the people of Pisac and those who commute there keep that tradition. You’ll find fresh vegetables and fruits from nearby farms as well as herbs and spices.
If you’re looking for some classic Peruvian food look no further. You’ll find wood-stove empanadas and, of course, rocoto relleno and cuy (guinea pig), if you’re feeling a bit adventurous.
Pisac’s Sunday market is without a doubt the best time to visit the little Andean town. The laid back community comes to life every Sunday when the Plaza de Armas is transformed into a makeshift market that expands to occupy every inch of available space in the market. You’ll find food, drinks and plenty of shopping.
Souvenirs for days
Aside from its jaw-dropping ruins, Pisac is probably most well known for its shopping. Store-after-store-after-store will offer you classic Andean souvenirs, so don’t feel like you missed out if you didn’t get what you were looking for in Cusco. Pisac will probably have it.
Andean women are famous for their beautifully crafted textiles, which you’ll find an abundance of in Pisac. Nearby weaving communities come to Pisac every morning to sell their goods in the market and usually for a cheaper price than in Cusco.
The view from the top is spectacular, but that’s not even all of it. Once you’ve climbed to the very top of the mountain, you’re overwhelmed by the extraordinary architecture of the Incas, who managed to build a city on the side of the canyon in Pisac. You’ll hike along a trail that connects houses, temples and military posts – ruins that seem to never end.