20 Best Day Trips from Cusco

Machu Picchu Citadel - Among the Best Day Trips from Cusco

Cusco may be one of the best home bases for any avid hiker or adventurer. The place is best known for Machu Picchu, but besides the famed UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s also home to the best day hikes one can possible take on.

While nomading in Cusco, I only have half of the day to explore while the next half is spent working. This is mostly the reason why I always have massive list of day trips that I constantly refer to when I find myself looking for a new adventure.

In this guide, I’m sharing with you the best day trips from Cusco that I’ve gathered when doing my personal research and recommendations from locals. Whether you like something challenging or something a bit more laid back, there should be a day trip for you on this guide.

That said, let’s get to it!

Sacsayhuaman to Tambomachay Circuit (Most Convenient Day Trip from Cusco)

The Sacsayhuaman to Tambomachay Circuit is a standout day hike near Cusco, celebrated for its convenience and impressive scenery. Offering stunning views and often featuring llamas grazing among ancient ruins, this trail is a mere 20-minute hike from Cusco’s city center, making it a top choice for those seeking an unforgettable experience in the region.

Sacsayhuaman - One of the best day trips from Cusco

How to Get There

To embark on this captivating circuit, several options are available. Opt for a taxi ride to Tambomachay to initiate the hike, passing through notable ruins like Tambomachay, Puca Pucara, and Q’enko, and concluding at Sacsayhuaman. Alternatively, choose minibuses or the economical ‘Sr del Huerto’ bus line for a straightforward journey. Adventurous hikers can enjoy a two-hour walk from Cusco to Pisac, reaching Tambomachay and Puca Pucara, for a more immersive experience.

Costs

All attractions along the Sacsayhuaman to Tambomachay Circuit are covered by the Boleto Turistico ticket, ensuring access to the archaeological wonders. If opting for a taxi from Cusco to Sacsayhuaman, budget around S/ 15, with a travel time of approximately 10 minutes. This comprehensive ticket and transportation costs ensure a memorable and enriching day exploring the historical and natural wonders of the circuit.

Inkilltambo & Temple of the Moon (Best if you’re looking for free day trips from Cusco)

Inkilltambo: Inkilltambo Archaeological Site, situated in the district of San Sebastian within the Saqsayhuaman archaeological park, is a remarkable shrine surrounded by andens, aqueducts, and drainage systems. This ancient sanctuary, known as ‘Huaca’ in Quechua, was a significant place of worship during the Inca period. Carved into an immense igneous rock, it features five hornacins—three outside the rock and two within. La Huaca, designed for water worship, includes niches and water channels supplying terraces supported by massive stone walls. The site also boasts a finely carved main temple and storage colcas, where food was stored.

Inkilltambo - One of the best day trips from Cusco

Temple of the Moon and Kallachaka: The nearby Temple of the Moon is a set of stones surrounding a mysterious cavern symbolizing fertility, located just 2 kilometers from Inkilltambo. Additionally, Kallachaka, with its circular pyramid shape, served as a site for Inca religious ceremonies and offers beautiful landscapes along with Inca trails and stone banks. Both the Temple of the Moon and Kallachaka provide unique insights into the spiritual and cultural practices of the Inca civilization.

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How to Get There

To explore these fascinating sites, you have a few transportation options.

You can hike from Cusco although it will can be a full day affair.

Take a collectivo from the bus stop on Recoleta Avenue, served by Inka Express (green buses). The 15-minute journey costs only 1 Sol. Once dropped off at the Shop stop, a pleasant walk leads to the entrance gate. The hike from the gate to Inkilltambo takes about an hour, especially if traveling with family.

Alternatively, some tour operators offer a bike tour through Inkilltambo, with prices ranging from 15 to 30 dollars per person. Check with your preferred tourism agency for details.

Costs

The cost for visiting Inkilltambo and its neighboring sites is primarily associated with transportation. Public transport buses to the Temple of the Moon or the southern zone of Sacsayhuaman charge 1 Peruvian sol (approximately 0.3 dollars). Other than that, if you opt for a guided bike tour, prices vary between 15 to 30 dollars per person, depending on the tourism agency you choose.

Rainbow Mountain – Vinicunca

Rainbow Mountain, or Montaña de Siete Colores, is an extraordinary destination drawing up to 1,500 visitors daily, accumulating a staggering 365,000 hikers each year. This awe-inspiring natural wonder, nestled in the Andes at a high altitude, features vibrant mineral layers resembling a rainbow. The iconic Vinicunca peak, standing at 17,060 ft (5,200m), offers a more challenging 7km hike with a steep incline to the top. Adventurous trekkers can extend the journey to explore the Red Valley, where mountains don various shades of red.

Vinicunca - One of the best day trips from Cusco

The trip, typically a day excursion (or extended to two days for a more extended hike), requires an early departure from Cusco, around 3 or 4 am. However, the breathtaking scenery comes with a real risk of altitude sickness, alleviated by the option to hire horses for a significant portion of the trek, stopping at the base of the final steep ascent. The cost for a horse to Rainbow Mountain is 80 soles (approximately $25).

⚠️ Warning
Careful with altitude sickness in hiking Rainbow Mountain. I hiked with my friend to the Rainbow Mountain and she had a bad bout of altitude sickness despite hiking the Inca Trail with me just three days ago.
Read our guide on how to avoid altitude sickness in Cusco

How to Get There

To reach Rainbow Mountain, various transportation options are available:

Tour Bus: A minibus takes you to the mountain’s base, requiring an additional 3-hour hike to reach Rainbow Mountain. This can be a cost-effective and less cumbersome choice.

Colectivo from Cusco to Checacupe: Depart from Av. Tomasa Ttito Condemayta, opposite the Hospital Adolfo Guevara Velasco Essalud, by 8 am. The colectivo, costing 8 soles, reaches Checacupe in a 2-hour ride. From Checacupe, arrange for a driver to take you to the Vinicunca trailhead, involving an additional 2-hour drive. It’s advisable to have the driver wait for your return, given the difficulty of securing transportation back.

Taxi: Alternatively, a taxi, costing around 100-120 soles, can take you from Cusco to Checacupe, wait for you during the hike, and return you to Checacupe. From there, catch another bus back to Cusco, with an estimated arrival time between 8-9 pm.

Costs

The entrance fee to Rainbow Mountain is 15 soles (4 USD), excluding transportation expenses. Various transport options offer flexibility based on budget and convenience, providing visitors with the opportunity to explore this remarkable natural wonder.

Rainbow Mountain – Polccoyo

Polccoyo offers a unique experience with not just one but three rainbow mountains, making it a distinctive destination. The visual spectacle begins right from the parking lot, continues along the hike, and culminates at the final viewpoint, showcasing the breathtaking array of colors. Additionally, Polccoyo features a lesser-known site named Palccoya, where visitors can witness several slopes adorned with rainbow hues.

Unlike its more famous counterpart, Polccoyo sits at a slightly lower elevation of 16,076 ft (4,900m). The 4km hike is characterized by a slow and steady elevation gain, making it more accessible compared to the Vinicunca trek. Beyond the natural wonders, the journey to Polccoyo provides an opportunity to observe Andean farming communities at work during the drive.

How to Get There

The best way to get there is either to take a tour or drive from Checacupe. he drive takes approximately 2.5 hours, and taxi costs may be slightly higher than the trip to Vinicunca due to the increased distance.

Costs

The entrance fee to Polccoyo is 15 soles (4 USD), similar to Rainbow Mountain (Vinicunca) plus transportation expenses. This allows visitors to explore not only the renowned Rainbow Mountain but also its lesser-known yet equally enchanting counterpart, Polccoyo.

Chinchero

Chinchero stands as one of the most overlooked archaeological gems in the region, chosen by Inca Tupac Inca Yupanqui as his residence. The site boasts beautiful palaces built for the Inca and his panaca, surrounded by the majestic snowy peaks of Salkantay, Verónica, and Soray. Despite its historical significance, Chinchero is only a brief 30-minute drive from Cusco’s city center.

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Visitors have the unique opportunity to witness the cultural richness of the area, observing women in vibrant costumes engaging in the traditional processes of spinning and dyeing wool with natural dyes. The Chinchero weavers continue this ancient tradition, providing a glimpse into the enduring cultural heritage of the region.

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How to Get There

Colectivo: For a cost-effective option, a $1.50 colectivo ride provides convenient transportation to Chinchero, allowing visitors to explore this historical site and its cultural treasures.

Costs

The cost to visit Chinchero includes transportation and the Boleto Turistico, ensuring access to the archaeological wonders of the site. This affordable option offers a rich cultural experience and a chance to appreciate the historical significance of Chinchero, often overshadowed by more well-known attractions in the region.

Huchuy Qosqo

Situated at an elevation of 3550 meters above sea level, Huchuy Qosqo, meaning “Small Cusco,” is a hidden gem located 5 km from the province of Calca. This small Inca settlement holds a rich historical tapestry with its series of temples, plazas, and storage buildings. Notable structures include the Kallanka (Great Halls), serving as resting places for high-class individuals, and Qolcas, storage buildings for food like corn in the elevated areas.

In his final year of government, Inca Wiracocha chose to retire to Huchuy Qosqo, reveling in the breathtaking views offered by nature until his passing. This lesser-known site sees fewer than 50 visitors each day, offering an intimate and serene exploration experience. The diversity of plant life, including orchids, ferns, and Andean lilies, along with fauna such as Andean condors, llamas, alpacas, and vicunas, adds to the natural allure of Huchuy Qosqo.

How to Get There

On Foot or Horseback: The site can only be accessed on foot or horseback. A dirt road runs from Lamay to a viewpoint, approximately 150m (492 ft) from the ruins. Travelers can reach this road by car. For a day trip, starting points include Chinchero, Quenqo Village, Tambomachay, or Lamay in the Sacred Valley.

Costs

To explore Huchuy Qosqo, hiring a tour guide through Salkantay Trekking is priced at $100 per person. This cost ensures a guided and informative journey through the historical and natural wonders of this unique Inca settlement.

Waqrapukara (Most Scenic Day Trip from Cusco)

Waqra Pukara, translating to Horned Fortress, stands majestically overlooking the Apurimac River, creating a scene reminiscent of Lord of the Rings. This archaeological site is a hidden gem, attracting few tourists, making it an ideal choice for those seeking an off-the-beaten-path adventure. The historical significance of Waqrapukara is underscored by the last stand of the Qanchi people, who, before surrendering, fought valiantly, ultimately pledging allegiance to the Incas to spare their lives. The experience of exploring Waqrapukara involves a full day of hiking, with routes that may include significant elevation climbs, reaching an altitude of 13,500 feet.

How to Get There

Tour Company: Given the remote nature of Waqrapukara and the logistical challenges involved, opting for a tour company is highly recommended. The journey typically starts with a 4 AM wake-up call, followed by a 4-hour drive to the site and an additional 4 hours for the return journey. The scenic drive is well worth the effort. For those inclined to explore independently, camping along the trails is a feasible option.

Bus Option: For those adventurous souls who choose the DIY route, Transportes Ramos offers frequent buses to Sicuani. These buses depart near the Coliseo Cerrado, and you should exit at the village/stop of Chiquicahuana rather than going all the way to Sicuani.

Costs

The cost of exploring Waqrapukara with a tour company typically ranges from USD 45 to 100, offering a guided and organized experience. This expense covers the transportation, logistical planning, and ensures a memorable journey through the enchanting landscapes and historical wonders of Waqrapukara.

Tipon Archaeological Site

Tipon stands as one of the lesser-visited Inca ruins, offering a serene exploration experience with breathtaking views of the Andean peaks due to its elevated mountain location. Beyond its Inca legacy, Tipon preserves remnants of the Wari civilization from a time preceding Inca dominance in the region. The site’s distinctive feature is its 12 agricultural terraces, still in use, and functional water channels running throughout the area. Independent travelers have the opportunity to follow these water channels up the mountain, gaining a panoramic view of the local agricultural fields.

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The hike to Tipon takes approximately 45 minutes to an hour to reach the entrance. Exploring the main ruins requires around 1.5 hours, with the option to extend the visit by hiking up the mountain. The hike is relatively easy, covering a distance of 2 km at an altitude ranging from 3100 to 3500 meters. Tipon is conveniently located 20 km from Cusco, making it an accessible and rewarding destination.

How to Get There

Collectivo from Cusco: Collectivos depart from Cusco on Calle Belén or Callé de la Cultura. Upon reaching Tipon, travelers can either walk the 2 km uphill to the ruins at an altitude of 3,560m or take a taxi from the town.

Costs

The cost of visiting Tipon includes the option of a Full Tourist Ticket (130 soles) or Partial Ticket Circuit 2 (70 soles), along with transportation (4 soles for the return journey). This affordable fee allows access to the archaeological wonders of Tipon and ensures a memorable journey through its historical and natural landscapes.

Ausangate

Ausangate, the highest mountain in the Cusco region, stands among 11 sacred apus, embodying a profound pilgrimage route during the Qoyllur Rit’i festival. Celebrating the Pleiades constellation’s reappearance in late May or early June, this trek holds spiritual significance marking the harvest season. The Ausangate circuit, stretching across 70km, weaves through remote Andean landscapes, offering breathtaking views of turquoise lakes, hanging glaciers, and vibrant mountains. Less-traveled than other routes, it provides a unique camping experience at designated sites for $1.5 per tent. Whether admiring the scenery or opting for day tours to the 7 lakes and Rainbow Mountain, Ausangate’s allure lies in its sacred aura and awe-inspiring natural wonders.

Ausangate, the highest mountain in the Cusco region, stands among 11 sacred apus, embodying a profound pilgrimage route during the Qoyllur Rit’i festival. Celebrating the Pleiades constellation’s reappearance in late May or early June, this trek holds spiritual significance marking the harvest season. The Ausangate circuit, stretching across 70km, weaves through remote Andean landscapes, offering breathtaking views of turquoise lakes, hanging glaciers, and vibrant mountains. Less-traveled than other routes, it provides a unique camping experience at designated sites for $1.5 per tent. Whether admiring the scenery or opting for day tours to the 7 lakes and Rainbow Mountain, Ausangate’s allure lies in its sacred aura and awe-inspiring natural wonders.

How to Get There

Conveniently accessible by a 2.5-hour public bus journey from Cusco’s Terminal Paradero Levitaca, Ausangate beckons adventure seekers. However, due to its high altitude and remote nature, hiring a guide or opting for a guided tour is recommended for a safer and more enriching experience along the Ausangate Trek.

Costs

Tour options abound, with a 1-day guided tour typically costing around $45, offering a curated exploration of Ausangate’s highlights. For a more immersive experience, designated campsites along the route provide camping at $1.5 per tent. Day tours efficiently showcase Ausangate’s beauty, while independent travelers can tailor their journey based on preferences and budget constraints.

Cerro Pikol

Cerro Pikol, also known as Pillku Urqu, holds a distinct honor as the tallest mountain in Cusco, rising to 4000 meters above sea level. This day trip from Cusco in the southern valley of Cusco, particularly in the San Jerónimo district, its summit serves as a communal border between different peasant communities. The 16.4-km out-and-back trail near San Sebastian is renowned for its challenging nature, taking approximately 6 hours and 26 minutes to complete. Beyond its hiking appeal, Cerro Pikol is a sought-after mountain biking destination, offering thrilling descents amidst breathtaking views of Cusco and the neighboring Valley de Corral.

How to Get There

Accessing Cerro Pikol involves taking a bus to Tambomachay, followed by a potential additional fee for transportation to the crossroads. Alternatively, one can opt for a taxi from town or embark on a scenic walk from Tambomachay. While the ridge hike offers a more relaxed experience, ascending to the summit requires stamina for a vertical lung-busting climb. Safety precautions are crucial, especially during the descent, avoiding the ravine on the left. Travelers should carry their passport and entrance ticket, aiming to arrive 2-3 hours before closing time.

Costs

Exploring Cerro Pikol comes with minimal financial requirements. For group transportation to the crossroads, a nominal fee, such as the 4 soles paid by a group of 11, may apply. Apart from any transportation expenses, the experience of Cerro Pikol is relatively budget-friendly, making it an accessible adventure for nature enthusiasts and hikers in Cusco.

Machu Picchu Citadel

Machu Picchu, the awe-inspiring citadel, stands as a multifaceted marvel. Beyond its potential role as a center of worship and astronomical observation, it might have served as a residence for the royal family of Inca Pachacutec, the empire’s founder. Home to 200 to 300 individuals of high social rank, Machu Picchu is a testament to Incan ingenuity. Recognized as one of the Seven Wonders of the New World, this mountaintop marvel sits at an elevation of 8,000 feet amidst a tropical forest, providing a breathtaking backdrop for its precincts, plazas, temples, tombs, and unique urban design.

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How to Get There

Visiting Machu Picchu needs a bit of planning. You can get tickets at www.machupicchu.gob.pe for different circuits. To travel from Cusco to Machu Picchu, you can take a train from Ollantaytambo. The train ride takes about 1.5 hours and offers great views. When you reach Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu town), you can either take a 2-hour steep hike on Camino Peatonal trail or a bus. The bus is a bit expensive, starting from $24 USD and going up to $34 USD if you book online.

Costs

Going to Machu Picchu involves some costs. Apart from your travel expenses, you’ll need to pay S/ 152.00 for the ticket to enter the site. Make sure to plan your budget accordingly so you can fully enjoy your Machu Picchu experience.

Machu Picchu Citadel with Huayna Picchu or Huchuy Picchu

Huayna Picchu is a standout feature at Machu Picchu, rising to 2720 meters (8,924 feet). Getting tickets for it can be a bit challenging, especially during the busy season, so it’s a good idea to plan ahead. Huayna Picchu, meaning “young peak” in Quechua, is the green mountain you always see in pictures of Machu Picchu. It offers an adventurous climb with steep stairs and narrow paths. The top might be crowded, but the view over Machu Picchu and the Urubamba River is worth it. There’s also Huchuy Picchu, which used to be part of the route to Huayna Picchu.

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How to Get There

To visit Huayna Picchu or Huchuy Picchu, you can get tickets for Circuit 4 at www.machupicchu.gob.pe. The climb up Huayna Picchu is a bit demanding, so having a moderate fitness level is recommended. It’s a unique experience, providing a different perspective of Machu Picchu.

Costs

Apart from transportation expenses, you’ll need to pay S/ 152.00 for the ticket. Plan your journey well, ensuring you have the right tickets and fitness level for the climb, and you’ll enjoy this special adventure at Machu Picchu.

Machu Picchu Citadel with Machu Picchu Mountain

Machu Picchu Mountain promises one of the most breathtaking panoramic views in Peru. Standing at 3,051 meters (10,010 feet), it provides an extraordinary perspective of the Incan city. The trail to the summit involves ascending 1600 stone steps along a wide path, taking about an hour and a half to reach the viewpoint. Unlike the steeper climb of Huayna Picchu, Machu Picchu Mountain offers less daunting trails, potentially used for rituals, astronomy, and surveillance. The journey is not just about the destination; it’s an exploration of intriguing ruins and stunning viewpoints.

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How to Get There

To experience this unique adventure, secure passes for Circuit 3 at www.machupicchu.gob.pe. The path to Machu Picchu Mountain aligns with the route to the citadel, adding an extra layer of exploration to your visit.

Costs

If you buy it from the official site, it costs S/152

With only 400 tickets available daily, planning in advance is crucial, especially during peak seasons when tickets can sell out up to six months ahead. Ensure you plan your journey meticulously to savor the extraordinary views Machu Picchu Mountain has to offer.

Humantay Lake

Humantay Lake, tucked away in the high Andes along the Salkantay Trek, is a hidden gem worth exploring. If you’re not up for a four-day trek, you can take a day trip from Cusco with a group tour. The lake, surrounded by stunning mountains, is known for its vibrant blue-green water. The 6.2-mile round-trip hike might be a bit challenging due to the high altitude, so it’s a good idea to spend a few days in Cusco to acclimate. Booking an early morning tour helps you avoid the crowds and fully enjoy this breathtaking spot.

How to Get There

Getting to Humantay Lake is easy with a group tour from Cusco to Soraypampa, where the trail starts. The 2.5-hour drive from Cusco takes you through the Andes, offering scenic views and setting the stage for your adventure.

Costs

You can join a day tour for as low as S/65 through local agencies in Cusco. Another option is to combine your visit to Humantay Lake with the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu for a more comprehensive exploration. Whether you go for the budget-friendly day tour or the combo trek, Humantay Lake promises a stunning natural experience filled with beauty and adventure.

Moray and Maras Salt Mine

Moray and Maras Salt Mines is among the most fascinating day trips from Cusco with two distinct attractions. Moray features mysterious circular Incan terraces whose exact purpose remains unknown. These terraces, forming rings on the mountainside, provided different climates for growing various crops, similar to modern greenhouses. Maras Salt Mines, located nearby, showcase staggered terraces where locals have been harvesting pink salt for generations, using ancient methods.

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How to Get There

The sites are around an hour and a half drive from Cusco in the Sacred Valley. While many tour operators offer half-day trips, you can also do this tour independently. Take a colectivo from Avenida Grau in Cusco to Urubamba, informing the driver you’ll get off at Maras. From Maras, a short 15-minute taxi ride can take you to the salt mines. After exploring the salt mines, ask your taxi driver to take you to Moray and then back to the colectivo station in Maras for your return trip to Cusco.

Costs

Entrance to Maras Salt Mines is not included in the Cusco tourist ticket and requires an extra fee of 10 soles (3 USD).

Lares Valley

A day trip to Lares Valley promises an adventure off the beaten path, providing a glimpse into the traditional way of life in the Andes. Starting in the village of Quiswarani, the journey encompasses Inca terraces, local markets, and encounters with the friendly residents. The valley, standing at over 10,600 feet above sea level, offers stunning views of the Andes, with fewer tourists and more opportunities to engage with the local communities. A highlight of the trip is a visit to the Natural Thermal Baths, featuring four pools ranging from 36 to 44 degrees Celsius.

Getting There

While the Lares trek is typically a multi-day experience, a day trip can be arranged through a tour company for a condensed yet enriching adventure. If opting for public transportation, take a collectivo from Puputi Street in Cusco, passing through Pisac and Calca before reaching Lares Valley. The scenic journey takes about 2 hours, and upon reaching Quiswarani, follow the signs to explore the village.

Costs

For those embarking on the journey from Calca to Quiswarani, the cost is approximately 10 PEN ($2.50 USD), lasting around 1 hour and 25 minutes. The collectivos operate from 6:00 to 18:00, departing when full. The leg from Cusco to Calca costs around 6 PEN ($1.75), taking about 1 hour, with departures when the collectivo is full.

Ollantaytambo

Ollantaytambo offers a captivating blend of history and natural beauty, making it a must-visit day trip from Cusco. Climbing 200 steps to the top rewards you with breathtaking views of Ollantaytambo and the river valley. The town itself, with its cobbled alleyways flanked by the ruins of Pinkuylluna and Ollantaytambo, exudes a unique charm. Serving as a gateway to the Amazonian corner of the Incan Empire, Ollantaytambo holds a rich history, including a successful defense against the Spanish conquistadors. The fortress, a major highlight, sits atop the mountain, offering panoramic views of the Sacred Valley.

Ollantaytambo features various intriguing sites, including the military area, the Temple of the Sun, and the Princess Bath, showcasing Inca architecture and craftsmanship. The terraces, storehouses, and the Face of Wiracocha add layers to the historical significance of the town. Don’t miss the Inca quarry, a 6km hike from the town, believed to be the source of the large blocks used in construction.

Getting There

Taking a bus early in the morning from Cusco ensures a less crowded experience. Colectivos, available at the taxi terminal on Pavitos Street, offer an easy and affordable way to reach Ollantaytambo, with the journey taking approximately 90 minutes. The town and its surrounding ruins are a delight to explore.

Costs

The adventure to Ollantaytambo involves transportation costs plus the boleto turistico, granting access to various archaeological sites in the region.

Pisac Ruins

Pisac Ruins are a hidden gem, my favorite Inca site after Machu Picchu. They sit high on a mountain, overlooking the stunning Sacred Valley. The hike from town is challenging but totally worth it. The site is massive, and you can spend hours exploring ancient buildings, Andean terraces, and Inca architecture wonders. As you climb, the views of Valle Sagrado are breathtaking. The town of Pisac itself is charming with cobblestone streets and locals in traditional attire. A Sunday visit treats you to the vibrant Pisac Sunday Market, offering a glimpse into Peruvian village life.

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A day trip to Pisac is a quick journey from Cusco, giving you a taste of small Peruvian village life. The ruins, once a significant Incan military complex, are well-preserved and easily accessible, just an hour by bus from Cusco. The site is also a great hike if you’re up for a challenge. The trail starts at the back of the Pisac market, and although it’s short, it’s steep and demanding due to the altitude. Don’t forget to carry water! The Boleto Turistico, costing 40-70 soles, is your ticket to explore this historical wonder.

Getting There

Catch a colectivo from Cusco to Pisac at the top of Puputi Street. Once there, you can stroll around the town or head straight to the ruins. At the ruins, get your Boleto Turistico stamped, and if you wish, hire a guide for more insights. For those not keen on the uphill trek, plenty of taxis are available to drive you, wait for you, or let you hike back down at your own pace.

Pisac’s 3 Lakes (Kinsa Cocha)

Discover the hidden gem of Pisac’s 3 Lakes (Kinsa Cocha), an easy, flat, and off-the-beaten-track one-day hike offering stunning views of three serene lakes. Tailor the hike to your desired distance while meandering through beautiful valleys, fields, and mountains with occasional encounters with Alpacas. With scarce tourists, the route provides a tranquil escape, ensuring you have the path all to yourself. The journey includes a colectivo ride from Cusco to Pisac, followed by a taxi to Kinsa Cocha. You’ll negotiate with the driver to wait during your 3-hour hike, visiting two interconnected lakes and the mesmerizing Laguna Azul. The return trip includes exploring Pisac’s bustling market before heading back to Cusco.

How to Get There
Begin your adventure by driving 30-40 minutes from Cusco or opt for an affordable colectivo (shared van) from Cusco to Pisac, costing only 5 soles / $1.25 per person. Colectivos depart frequently from the top of Puputi street, offering a 45-minute journey to Pisac. Upon arrival, find taxi drivers on the main street, negotiate a round-trip price, and ensure the driver waits for you at Kinsa Cocha lakes, given their remote location. The average cost for the round trip is 115 soles / $35 USD, covering approximately five hours, including the driver’s waiting time.

Costs
Enjoy the Kinsa Cocha experience without an entrance fee; your expenses will be solely for transportation. Colectivo fares from Cusco to Pisac are 5 soles / $1.25 per person, providing an economical means to reach your destination. The negotiated round-trip taxi cost, averaging 115 soles / $35 USD, includes the driver’s waiting time during your exploration of the lakes. A budget-friendly escapade into nature’s tranquility awaits, with minimal expenses beyond transportation.

Wrapping up

These 20 day trips from Cusco are only a handful of what’s there to explore in this fantastic city. Most people know of Machu Picchu when they learn about Cusco, but sometimes the better hikes are ones that are less known. I personally loved Ollantaytambo and Pisac because the towns themselves are worth staying in. Whichever day trip you decide to do, I’m sure you’ll find something appreciating.

Happy travels!


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