Písac, or P’saq, is a small sacred Peruvian barrio that rests in the valleys alongside the Urubamba River. This quaint yet enchanting little village is home to a mix of nearby Inca sites, and although the ruins are not considered nearly as “epic” as the infamous Machu Picchu, you can discover just about every type of architecture that existed in this pre-Columbian time period.
If you are thinking about taking a trip to Peru, and want to avoid the chaos and inflated tourist prices of Machu Picchu, Písac may be a good alternative. Below are three ways to experience this exquisite little village in three days or less.
Staying at these Spots
Písac attracts foreigners who lust for a new age, spiritual and eclectic vibe. There are a variety of accommodations that cater to this theme. If you are traveling on the cheap I advise checking out, Andenes Písac Lodging House, located just 200 meters from the main square and market, this quaint little guesthouse offers mountain views, a large garden setting, and an affordable price tag of around $12 U.S dollars per night. If you crave luxury, and have the budget to do so, I suggest the Písac Inn, located right on the historic plaza, it has artesian styled rooms, a spa, and a restaurant serving organic, locally sourced Peruvian cuisine. A standard room runs around $70 U.S dollars per night.
Sightseeing and Tours
To visit the ruins you can either book a trip the local tour group boleto turistico, or take a taxi up the main highway to the entrance of the ruins. The ancient ruins are divided by a large ridge and compiled into four groups, known as P’isaqa, Inti Watana, Q’allaqasa, and Kinchiraqay, each representing its own unique spiritual or topographical quality. The ruins also feature, intihuatanas, mysterious rocks that were carved by the Incas for astronomical observation and predictions. Most tourist sites recommend allowing yourself an hour or two for observation, I advise preparing yourself for a whole day of site seeing, as the site is immense and there is much to be ogled at.
The vibrant village market that happens in the main plaza every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday may be one of Písac’s main attractions. On these days, the entire town is transformed into an open-air market that sells a variety of goods, from hand-woven ponchos, to ornate instruments, to “fresh” produce and traditional Peruvian treats that will keep you fueled and shopping all daylong. If you truly want to experience the hustle and bustle of this wild market, consider going on Sunday between 9am and 5pm when hundreds of locals from Písac, and surrounding towns set up shop. If you plan on buying something, whether it is a pair of socks or a decorative Andean vase, come prepared to bargain. Peruvians are familiar with a few English numbers, but it’s best to have a basic understanding of barter language in Spanish.
Have you visited the Sacred Valleys of Písac?