Sacred market of the Incas in Pisac Peru

High in the Andean mountains, about an hour’s drive from Cuzco is the market town of Pisac.  Located on the Urubamba River in the famed Sacred Valley of the Incas. Pisac is highly regarded for its Sunday market, which is very popular with both locals and tourists, and for the smaller markets which set up each Tuesday and Thursday.

At a height of 2,970 metres above sea level, Pisac may take some getting used to by those visitors who have not experienced life at altitude before.   Located in the central square, the Sunday market retains much charm as locals mingle with tourists to barter with the stall holders, many of whom trudge hours to get to Pisac in time to set up their stalls from which to sell their produce and handcrafts.  Most people attend the Sunday Market, so it may be possible to get better bargains by going to the quieter Tuesday and Thursday markets.

Being religious people, the Sunday market doesn’t really start operating until after Mass when a colourful procession leads people to the market.  When it does begin it becomes a hive of activity  as people join the throng to grab a bargain.  There’s even a pub in the market so that those who tire of shopping can retreat to the beer tent for refreshments and entertainment by a local band.

Pisac is also known for its Incan ruins, which entail a climb to a hill overlooking the town where the main features are intricate agricultural terraces that have been carved out of the hillside and a massive stone door which leads to stairs and a carved tunnel.  Other features include agricultural channels, ceremonial baths and Incan tombs that have, sadly, been plundered so much that they are now off limits.

The climb to the ruins can be quite arduous, so people who are not in the peak of physical fitness are recommended to catch a taxi to the top of the ruins.

There are a couple of hotels in Pisac for anyone wishing to stay in the town for a more thorough investigation of the ruins.  The cheapest way to get to Pisac from Cuzco is by local bus, which will give you a chance to interact with the locals, or hire a cab, but negotiate an agreed fee before leaving Cuzco.

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