Písac is a village located on the Urubamba River in the Sacred Valley. It is a popular place to stop on the way to Ollantaytambo and is famous for its markets which are held each Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday.
There is plenty of Peruvian craft for sale but the local market is fascinating and some lovely fresh fruit can be bought for a few Sol. It is in this part of the market where you find the local women in their traditional and very colourful dress.
There are several Inca sites close by and from the township you can see traditionally terraced hillsides.
The Pisac Market in Cusco is a classic open air tourist market consisting of fifty or so booths owned by local merchants. All manner of T-shirts, woolen sweaters, hats, and gloves, alpaca blankets, tapestries, toys, belts, postcards, arts and crafts, and other goods can be purchased here. Merchants are accustomed to bargaining and prices can often be negotiated below the original asking price. Stores also surround the open air market and I purchased a small wooden pan flute from the proprietor of a local music store selling guitars, drums, flutes, and music. While the market is a bit touristy, it is worth a visit and provides an ideal source of souvenirs for friends and family back home.
Definitely go to the famous Pisac market to find great bargains on local handicrafts, pottery, jewelry, textiles, alpaca scarves and sweaters. This is the place to haggle away until you get to a mutually acceptable price. Although the alpaca scarves and sweaters here are mostly synthetic and not 100% genuine, it is still worth the purchase for me because I could care less about these things. I think the fun of the experience is to go out there, see what interests you, haggle away, and buy the item if you really fancy it. The best time to go is during the weekdays as I have heard that the prices are way elevated during the more famous Sunday market.
Here, you're in for a real treat. The panoramas from here are outstanding, and you won't believe your eyes! It is beautiful!!! Make sure you take your time walking if you are not yet acclimatized, since there is lots of steps to climb and it will make you out of breath. Totally worth the effort!
The Pisac craft markets are well known in the Sacred Valley. There is booths after booths of stuff, for all your souvenir needs for your family and friends waiting for you at the airport when you go back home. Remember to barter as hard as the locals want to sell their stuff. As I have been around, the articles are all the same between the cities, so if you think you have a good price, buy it!
There is a cash machine (ATM) on the north east corner of the market and they give cash either in USD or in Soles.
When I was in Pisac, I didn't get the chance to do this because I was suffering from headaches the first day I arrived in Peru, but I heard that visiting the ruins is worth the strenuous climb up the large mountainside terrace.
The outdoor market in Pisac happens every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. Basically it consists of many stalls covered with tarps selling various wares from jewerly, alpaca made products, leather goods, art and one end even has a produce market for the local Peruvian people. Its much like the flea markets back in the States. The market is colorful and its fun to wheel and deal with the local merchants. If you haggle well, you can find really great deals at the market, especially on beautiful oil paintings.
Everytime i`m in Cusco i can`t miss going to the Pisac market..there are so many nice things to buy.....bags, pretty silver jewelry with beautiful stones..textiles, etc......some prices are higher than in the city but you will see things that you can`t find in Cusco....so get ready to go shopping.
All around the valley north of Cuzco you will find many inca ruins and citadels. Most agencies organize 1-2 days tours visiting all the ruins, but you can easily do it by public transport (much cheaper) though it uses to be crowded.
The main ruins are:
- Puca Pucara
... though there are many more!
The only way to visit the Pisac ruins is with the Boleto Turístico. This is a ticket sold for all the Cuzco area, that lets you into many inca ruins around:
- Sacsayhuaman, Pisac, Ollantaytambo, Q'uenco, Chinchero...
- And in some museums in Cuzco (though NOT in the main ones).
It costs 70 soles (about 23 USD) and is valid for 9 days.
Is a good buy if you wanna visit a few ruins in the Sacred Valley. But for Cuzco is not a good deal, as most of the top museums are not included.
You can buy it at the Pisac ruins.
There are some nice ruins on a mountain near the village. The ruins place has 2 entrances:
- The main part, where most of the ruins are, is the lower. Most buses and taxis will leave you there, as those are the most accesible.
- In the upper part there are some ruins here and there, specially deffensive, but you have to hike up and down and could take you about 1 hour to see it all.
A good tip is to start in the upper part and go down till the exit in the lower part.
You can also reach them WALKING. Take the little stairs at the end of the main square and climb about 5 kilometres. Start early, as it may get really hot!
The main reason why most people come to Pisac is for the SUNDAY MORNING MARKET. This is a big colourful interesting market, with local crafts, food, local items and many peasants from the villages around come on sunday morning to sell and buy. Most of them (but not we, tourists) just exchange one item for another, without money transactions.
We drove through the Sacred Valley on a Wednesday, so no markets going on. But the ruins beyond Pisac, in pre-Inca and Incan Pisac, were spectacular.
We hired a guide, who pointed out the agricultural and potters areas, and the holes in the hillside, which he identified as tombs. Still acclimating, we took it slow toward the pre-Inca agricultural area, then up to the Inca ruins, with some good examples of traditional "perfect" Inca stonework.
Our guide pointed out the Inca "cross" (see picture) - symbolizing the three major Inca cities and their respective animals - the snake, the puma and the llama, I believe. The snake stood for intelligence, the puma for strength, if it was the llama, I'm afraid I don't remember what that was for. Anyway, you'll see replicas of these crosses for sale throughout the area - mostly half black/half white.
Entrance is with the $10 Boleto Turistico.
If you visit Pisac on a Sunday, you'll also be able to attend a mass in Quechua, the native Indian language. Although all the younger people do talk Spanish, lots of the older Peruvians who live in the mountains surrounding Cuzco do not speak much Spanish, if any, their native language being Quechua.
The church is small, and on Sunday all the locals from the surrounding villages come to Pisac to attend mass.
Pisac is a lovely town about 1 hour away from Cusco. The town is close to the ruins of Pisac. I was really surprices when they turned out to be impressive with several military and civilian buildings. I took a collectivo from town uphill to the side and slowly made my way down back to town. The scenery was breathtaking in and on itself. In addition, I got to see Inca terraces all over the place.