The Pisac Indian Market is one of the most popular and picturesque of the indigenous markets in the Cusco region. Travelers from all over the world make the pilgrimage to this mountain town to purchase all manner of textiles, ceramics, jewelry, ponchos, rugs, hats, gloves, Andean instruments, ceramics, alpaca and llama woven clothing, and a host of lovely souvenirs.
This atmospheric village, snug inside the Sacred Valley of the Incas, was once a lofty citadel protecting the Inca Empire from invaders. These days, the only invaders are friendly ones—shoppers looking for beautiful handicrafts and housewares from talented local artisans.
Travelers have many options: you can explore the Pisac Indian Market as part of private or group half-day, full-day or multi-day tours that incorporate other attractions inside the Sacred Valley of the Incas, including the archeological sites on the way to Machu Picchu.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Bargaining for prices is expected; feel free to offer what you feel is a fair price, while considering the skill and time that goes into making the wares.
- Wear comfortable shoes, as you will be walking on uneven stone pathways.
- Because of the high altitude, be sure to stay hydrated and take it slow. Chewing on coca leaves or drinking coca tea helps alleviate symptoms of altitude sickness.
- Many tours include ground transportation, transfers, entrance fees, camping and hotel accommodations, and guides. Check individual tours for precise arrangements.
- Tours operate in all weather conditions, so remember to dress appropriately. Bring sweaters for colder months and a rain poncho for rainy season, generally January through April.
How to Get There
The Pisac Indian Market is in the mountain town of Pisac, which is about 20 miles (32 kilometers) northeast of Cusco in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Minibuses run from Cusco and take about an hour; hire a cab or join a market tour. Tours include round-trip transport from your hotel.
When to Get There
The Pisac Indian Market is open Tuesdays and Thursdays, but nothing compares to Sundays when the market expands exponentially. Arrive in the morning so you can catch a mass (conducted in both Quechua and Spanish) attended by artisans in vibrant garb; Sunday hours are 9 am to 5pm.
Visit the Pisac Ruins
Combine a market visit with a tour of the nearby Ollantaytambo ruins, the Inca Temple of the Sun, and a fortress made of gigantic 12-foot (3.5-meter) stones, mysteriously placed to perfection. Hike about an hour from Pisac to the ruins, which are perched dramatically on a magnificent mountain top.