Girl’s Guide to Travel in Pisac, Peru!

I first visited Pisac, Peru in 2016, as a solo female traveler ~ & absolutely fell in love with this enchanting market town, filled with Inca ruins, at the base of the Andes Mountains.  And yet, I’m only writing about it now….years after my first visit (I visited again earlier this year).  Why did it take me so long to write about??  Perhaps, I just don’t want the secret of Pisac to get out!  I love this town, its colorful market stalls (where you can stock up on gorgeous Peruvian goods!), & it’s quaint charm…& maybe I just want it to stay that way.  In any case, here’s your “Girl’s Guide to Travel in Pisac, Peru,” complete with video footage from both my trips there ~ including the massive hike from the valley floor up to the ruins!

Girl's Guide to Travel in Pisac, Peru, Girl Who Travels the World

Climbing up the back side of the ruins, thousands of feet up…in Pisac, Peru.

Top Tips for Travel in Pisac, Peru

  • Bring extra room in your suitcase, or even an extra bag, to stock up on gorgeous Peruvian handicrafts at the Pisac markets.  You can buy shawls, scarves, purses, backpacks, blankets, wallets, paintings….virtually anything you can think of ~ at better pricing than the markets in Cusco. 
  • The largest “Market Days” in Pisac are on Sunday, Tuesday, & Thursday ~ & these days are also the most touristy.  If you prefer fewer crowds (like I do), come on an “off” day. 
    Girl's Guide to Travel in Pisac, Peru, Girl Who Travels the World, Pisac Market

    After hiking the Inca ruins, stock up on beautiful shawls for the cool Peruvian nights…

  • Consider starting your Sacred Valley trip in Pisac ~ not Cusco.  Why?  Because Pisac’s elevation is only 9,700 feet (still really high, I know!), compared to Cusco’s 11,000+ feet.  Most Cusco visitors experience altitude sickness of some kind; by coming to Pisac first, you’re giving your body time to adjust to the effects of altitude. 
  • What are the best ways to get to the Pisac ruins?  The traditional way is to take a taxi or tuk-tuk from town up to the ruins (about 20 soles/$7 US).  The ride takes 15 minutes, winding up the mountain.  OR, if you’re looking for a strenuous workout with gorgeous views, consider hiking up the backside of the ruins yourself!  Your starting point is the Hotel Royal Inka; find a foot path on the left side of the hotel, that follows a river up the mountainside.  About 3/4 of a mile up, choose the path that heads towards the river & cross a log bridge.  From there, all you need to do is climb straight up the huge Inca stepped terraces!  (**This hike is documented in photos below, & is a “free” way to enter the ruins.) 
  • Bring cash ~ you’ll need it for many market stalls, food, & taxis.  If you don’t have any cash, head to the Blue Llama restaurant (which has one of the only ATM’s in town).

Girl’s Guide to Travel in Pisac, Peru ~ Video!

Apologies for my heavy breathing in the video ~ but Nina & I had just climbed thousands of feet in less than an hour!  Heavy breathing aside, this 2-minute video will give you a great overview of Pisac, & the hike to its ruins.

What You Need in Pisac, Peru

The absolute, #1 most IMPORTANT thing you need for a trip to Pisac ~ & to Peru in general is:  STRONG SUNSCREEN!!!Find the strongest sunscreen you can find ~ & make sure it contains titanium and/or zinc oxide, so that it starts working RIGHT AWAY!!!  Peru is not only near the equator (where the sun is strongest), but in Pisac, you’re at almost 10,000 feet in elevation.  The sun is SO strong, even on cloudy days!!  I recommend a medical-grade sunscreen, like Elta MD Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen.

 

Where I Stayed in Pisac

  • Pisac is filled with cute guest houses & hostels, but it’s definitely not a place with any chain hotels (thank God).  On my first trip, I stayed at La Chikana Pisac Guesthouse ($25+/night) ~ which is part hostel (has a kitchen & some shared bathrooms), part hotel (most are private rooms).  It has gorgeous views of the ruins, is a 15-minute walk from town, & definitely has a “hippie” vibe ~ offering Ayahuasca ceremonies & such.  I liked it, but it really wasn’t my scene.  On my second visit with Nina, we stayed at the darling Pisac Inca Guest House ($35+/night) ~ which was closer to town, & tucked behind high walls with a lovely garden.  Our room was darling, & the mountain views were gorgeous.  And breakfast was to DIE FOR!!!  Nina & I still talk about the amazing mango we had….no words can describe it.  I’d highly recommend staying at Pisac Inca Guest House if you like a safe, peaceful, family-run environment, located close to town (5-minute walk).
    Girl's Guide to Travel in Pisac, Peru, Girl WHo Travels the World

    Our adorable room at Pisac Inca Guest House.

  • What’s the “nicest” hotel in Pisac?  The Royal Inka Hotel Pisac ($50+/night).  I never stayed at the Royal Inka, but I had several meals there & paid $10 to enter their massive grounds, that extend on both sides of the street, just outside of town.  They have a huge pool, tennis courts, several gardens & restaurants ~ it’s a great place to spend the afternoon relaxing after hiking to the Ruins.
    Girl's Guide to Travel in Pisac, Peru, Girl WHo Travels the World

    Huge lap pool on the sprawling grounds of the most luxurious hotel in Pisac: the Royal Inka.

  • For a more complete list of hotels in Pisac, click here.  

Photo Guide to Pisac, Peru

Let’s continue this journey to Pisac, Peru by taking a look at photos of this spectacular place ~ many of which were taken on a hike up the backside of the ruins (which starts on a path just to the left of Hotel Royal Inka).

Girl's Guide to Travel in Pisac, Peru, Girl Who Travels the World

The narrow, colorful streets of Pisac lead to outstanding views of the Andes Mountains.

Girl's Guide to Travel in Pisac, Peru, Girl Who Travels the World

If you want to climb up the Pisac ruins the back way: you’ll need to be able to climb this mountain…

Girl's Guide to Travel in Pisac, Peru, Girl Who Travels the World

And you’ll need to be able to cross this bridge over a small river…(which is a little scary with camera & phone in hand)!

Girl’s Guide to Travel in Pisac, Peru!

Girl's Guide to Travel in Pisac, Peru, Girl Who Travels the World

Then it’s time to climb….& climb…& climb some more.

Girl's Guide to Travel in Pisac, Peru, Girl Who Travels the World

My friend Nina, about halfway up this massive hill of ruins.

Girl's Guide to Travel in Pisac, Peru, Girl Who Travels the World

But views like this will reward you, after all your hard work (this photo was shot in 2016, near sunset).

Girl’s Guide to Travel in Pisac, Peru!

Girl's Guide to Travel in Pisac, Peru, Girl Who Travels the World

Standing at the top of the Pisac ruins, near the ticket entrance. Cascading below me (which you can’t see here), are the famous, terraced Inca ruins.

Girl's Guide to Travel in Pisac, Peru, Girl Who Travels the World

If you head more towards town (at the top of the ruins), further from the main entrance, you’ll come to this viewpoint.

Girl's Guide to Travel in Pisac, Peru, Girl Who Travels the World

You can see how different your pictures will turn out if you visit on a cloudy day (as we did in 2018, here), or on a sunny day (previous 2 photos).

Girl’s Guide to Travel in Pisac, Peru!

Thanks for reading this “Girl’s Guide to Travel in Pisac, Peru!”  I hope the post & video have eased your mind about female travel in this phenomenally gorgeous Peruvian town!  It’s truly one of my favorite places in Peru (so far…).  Have you been to Pisac, & what did you buy at its colorful market??  Let me know below!

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