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Best ruins?

Denver, Colorado
posts: 61
reviews: 1
Best ruins?

First of all, I have spent lots of time the past couple of weeks browsing the Peru forum, I have found a wealth of information and some excellent advice. Thanks everyone for your contributions!

I will be in the Cusco area the first full week of May. My primary interest is visiting ruins. I have decided to spend two days at MP and one day in Cusco City Center. This leaves four days. I am not a day tour type - too many markets, too much driving, and not enough time in the ruins.

So right now I am thinking day trips to my top 4 places:

1. Ollantaytamo

2. Pisac

3. Cusco City - Sacsayhuaman, Qenko, Pucapucara, and Tambomachay

4. South of Cusco - Tipon and Pikillacta

I understand I will be missing some very cool places, I guess that is the price I pay for being old and slow :-)

Does anyone disagree with my top 4?

Lima, Peru
posts: 89
reviews: 3
1. Re: Best ruins?

I fully agree !

california
Destination Expert
for Los Angeles, Palm Desert
posts: 11,436
reviews: 156
2. Re: Best ruins?

If you are going between Cusco and Ollantaytambo, I would try to throw in Chinchero, Moray and the Salineras. They don't take much time and the entry for the first two is included in your boleto turistico. The Salineras is interesting and only a few dollars equivalent admission.

Ica, Peru
posts: 788
reviews: 17
3. Re: Best ruins?

Spending one entire day in Pisaq is crazy, there are NOT enough ruins there to spend 7-8 hours.

You should add a visit to Moray/Salineras like mlgb says.

Cusco, Peru
posts: 339
reviews: 13
4. Re: Best ruins?

Agreed, Moray is very cool and Salineras are working salt mines which are a great visit

Mark - www.trektheandes.com

Kamloops, Canada
posts: 3,516
reviews: 27
5. Re: Best ruins?

If you plan accordingly and take the train to Aguas Calientes from Ollantaytambo you can visit the PIsac ruins, and the fortress at Ollantaytambo on the way there or on the way back to Cusco. This way you save time by combining your travel with sighseeing. You can also squeeze Maras and Moray by taking a taxi between Ollantaytambo and Cusco and arranging to sop on the way. Each site only needs a half hour to an hour (IMO) so its not that much of a detour.

Sacsayhuaman isnt really a day trip since its just above Cusco in the hills. I would reccomend planning to take a taxi up to the site and walk back down into Cusco. Dont forget to go check out Christo Blanco. Its just my opinion but I would save your time and skip Qenko, Pucapucara, and Tambomachay unless you have absolutely nothing else to do/see or I guess you could try to squeeze it in on the way to/from Pisac.

Denver, Colorado
posts: 61
reviews: 1
6. Re: Best ruins?

Cuscoguides - thanks for chiming in!

Regarding Pisac: the plan is visit on a Sunday, see the market in the morning, and the ruins in the afternoon. The Footprint Handbook says: "allow five or six hours on foot". Is this bad advice?

Salerinas: these are active salt mines, correct? I always feel funny as a tourist visiting places where the locals are hard at work. Then again, the locals are probably very used to tourists. It does look spectacular.

Moray does look interesting, I may adjust my schedule to see it.

california
Destination Expert
for Los Angeles, Palm Desert
posts: 11,436
reviews: 156
7. Re: Best ruins?

Yes I think Footprint is right on that time, a few hours if you are going to see the market and on Sundays only the mayors (around 11 am), then have lunch in Pisac (Ulrike's is nice), then take a taxi to the top of the ruins and walk down (maybe 2 or 3 hours depending on how many of the paths you take). Bear in mind that sunset is early, since near the equator.

I think most of the people here do not walk down from the Pisac ruins hence the conflicting recommendations.

Salineras is definitely worth seeing, they charge admission and sell souvenirs (salt!) so are used to visitors. Try to go on a clear day since it's a great spot to take photos.

Edited: 6:29 pm, March 16, 2013
california
Destination Expert
for Los Angeles, Palm Desert
posts: 11,436
reviews: 156
8. Re: Best ruins?

PS Salineras are not underground mines, they are open air salt evaporation pans. Have a look on the internet at photos.

Denver, Colorado
posts: 61
reviews: 1
9. Re: Best ruins?

mlgb - thanks for the clarification on Salineras. I do know they are open air evaporation pans, my mistake to call them mines.

Footprint actually recommends walking up the Pisac ruins - I think I like your taxi idea better.

Sunset in early May will be around 5:30, correct?

california
Destination Expert
for Los Angeles, Palm Desert
posts: 11,436
reviews: 156
10. Re: Best ruins?

The sunset time sounds about right, it would be wise to be back in town by 5:00 pm. Yes downhill is much easier! The earlier you go, the more other people will be around to ask directions, too.

There are several paths to take, the one that goes uphill to the tower and then down thru terraces (altho scary in bits if you get vertigo) is a bit easier overall.