Advice for visiting Inca ruins: It takes time and energy to see Pisac

The Inca ruins at Pisac start just above the small town. Everyone’s recommendation was to take a taxi to the top and hike down through the ruins and back into town. However, we discovered when we arrived, that officials had closed a zone in the middle of the ruins a few months ago due to a tragic accident and unsafe conditions. Our group of four decided to hike up from town and see the lower half. If time allowed, we could take a taxi to the top of the ruins and see the upper half later.

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Did we underestimate what it would take to climb up to the ruins and back down? Even though we agreed on a route that was less steep on the ascent, it was still a relentless climb. And, by the way, coming down was even worse.

We stopped at an overlook on the way up and shared the benches with other tourists – who came all the way from Hong Kong! They graciously shared some candied ginger.   Back on the trail, we found ourselves on a narrow path with breathtaking views of the valley.

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We arrived in Pisaqa, one of the residential complexes. The walls were constructed of simple stone and adobe. We later learned that the precise stonework we generally associate with Inca construction is used primarily on buildings of religious or ceremonial importance.

Up the hill was the temple complex. It was perched on a ridge with views overlooking the valleys.

Up the hill was the temple complex. It was perched on a ridge with views overlooking the valleys.

We noticed that water channels and wells seem to be found in the areas of religious importance.

We noticed that water channels and wells seem to be found in the areas of religious importance.

The perfectly shaped rocks of pink granite identified this as part of the temple area.

The perfectly shaped rocks of pink granite identified this as part of the temple area.

A curved wall wraps around a giant rock. This is the Sun Temple featuring an Intihuatana, or "the sun´s hitching-post", a sundial that tracked the Inca’s astronomic calendar.

A curved wall wraps around a giant rock. This is the Sun Temple featuring an Intihuatana, or “the sun´s hitching-post”, a sundial that tracked the Inca’s astronomic calendar.

We had reached the upper limit of what we could see in the lower part of the ruins. All paths up were blocked off. The truth is that we were very tired after the strenuous climb up and the hours spent exploring and we knew the hike back would not be easy.

Five and a half hours (and 1,750’ in elevation gained and lost) later we walked back into town. Pisac turned out to be one of our favorite Inca ruins but required the most time and energy.

 

August 2016

About simpletravelourway

Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
This entry was posted in Peru, South America - 2016 and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Advice for visiting Inca ruins: It takes time and energy to see Pisac

  1. plaidcamper says:

    Beautiful, and worth the effort (says the armchair traveler…)

  2. Cliff Mail says:

    That is a seriuos climb, bring on the Himalayas?

  3. zoomeboshi says:

    I will be there in a week’s time. Thanks for the warning about the blockage.

  4. I feel like I am huffing and puffing while reading this!

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