Peru with Kids: Pisac in The Sacred Valley

Pisac, Peru with kids
Pisac

 

The Inca ruins at Pisac can be found at the far eastern end of the Sacred Valley, approximately 45 minutes from Urubamba or 1 hour from Cusco. Set high into the mountainside overlooking the market town of Pisac, this archaeological site is considered by many to be one of the finest Inca sites in the region. The views are also spectacular.

 

 

Visiting Pisac with Kids (Height: 2972m / 9751ft)

Pisac, Peru with kids: The residential settlement (centre left) at Pisac
The residential settlement (centre left) at Pisac

 

After negotiating your way through all the tourist buses undergoing 10-point turns in the tiny car park, you enter the site through the remains of an ancient residential settlement. Tell the children to see if they can spot where the doors in the house used to be (clue: there are holes in the door frames where the hinges once were). They should also look out for the large boulder that resembles a giant guinea pig. Guinea pigs have always played an important role in Peruvian culture. Besides being a local delicacy they were often used in religious and social ceremonies as well.

 

Pisac, Peru with kids: Looking out from the remains of an ancient Incan house, over the thatched roof of another Inca house.
Looking out from the remains of an ancient Incan house, over the thatched roof of another Inca house.

 

Pisac, Peru with kids: Inca house, Pisac: Holes in the stones where the door hinges were placed.
Holes in the stones where the door hinges were placed.

 

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Pisac, Peru with kids: guinea pig stone, Pisac
Who can see a giant guinea pig?!

 

A path leads the way via an impressive set of rippling agricultural terraces to a series of ceremonial baths that flow with water sourced from a lake at 4500m. Here our guide, ‘Roosevelt’, told our children that the Incas would wash themselves under these jets of water and clean themselves with moon quartz. He handed them each a sample stone to try for themselves.

 

Pisac, Peru with kids: The spectacular terraces at Pisac, Peru
The spectacular terraces at Pisac

 

Pisac, Peru with kids: The terraces at Pisac, Peru
The terraces at Pisac

 

Pisac, Peru with kids: The terraces at Pisac
The terraces at Pisac

 

Pisac, Peru with kids: The ceremonial baths at Pisac
The ceremonial baths at Pisac

 

Opposite these baths is the cemetery – a steep hillside marked with lots of large holes. The Incas were buried in the foetal position within these holes, together with many of their valuable possessions to take with them to the after life.

 

Pisac, Peru with kids: An Inca cementry at Pisac
An Inca cementry at Pisac

 

From here the trail passes through a beautiful doorway – built in the shape of a trapezoid to resist earthquakes – and alongside a spectacular Incan stone wall. A bit further down the path cuts its way through the mountain wall, forming a little tunnel, much to the children’s delight.

 

Pisac, Peru with kids: A trapezoid door, Pisac
A trapezoid door

 

Pisac, Peru with kids: One of the many impressive Inca walls we saw
One of the many impressive Inca walls we saw

 

Pisac, Peru with kids: The stones in a Inca wall were precisely cut and shaped so that could fit together without mortar. Incredible!
The stones in a Inca wall were precisely cut and shaped so that could fit together without mortar. Incredible!

 

Pisac, Peru with kids: The tunnel at Pisac
The tunnel at Pisac

 

If your children allow you to (ours were getting too tired) the path eventually leads to a temple complex further down the mountain. From here is it possible to walk all the way down to Pisac at the foot of the valley – a 1.5 to 2 hour walk (or so we’re told!), but be warned, there are sections of the path where the signs disappear and you are forced to follow your inner compass.

 

Pisac, Peru with kids: Muna leaves
Our guide pointed out muña leaves (my son’s favourite drink in Peru)

 

Pisac, Peru with kids: cactus
Examining other Pisac plants up close

 

The town of Pisac is home to a very good artisans market, open on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. A smaller version operates on the remaining days of the week.

Although we didn’t have lunch in Pisac, Ulrikes Restaurant is recommended by many online guides and publications. 613 Pardo Street, Sacred Valley, Pisaq (+51) 84 203 195 9am – 9pm

 

Video:

Watching artisans at work in one of Pisac’s jewellery workshops.

 

Pisac, Peru with kids: Pisac is also known for its arts and crafts, including jewellery.
Pisac is also known for its arts and crafts, including jewellery.

 

Video:

Take a video tour of Pisac in The Sacred Valley, Peru.

 

Time guide:

Excluding the walk down to Pisac you should allow at least 1.5 hours to explore the Inca ruins and another hour in the market, or longer if you’re having lunch there.

 

Getting there:

Pisac is located in the eastern end of the Sacred Valley, around 45 minutes drive from Urubamba or 1 hour from Cusco.

 

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Family Guide to Peru

To view all our blog posts and videos in the Peru with Kids series see our Family Guide to Peru.

 

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Pisac Peru with kids via @Farflunglands

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