The region of Cuzco and Machu Picchu is known as the Sacred Valley because of the lush and fertile lands fed by the Urubamba River. Throughout the valley, the Inca built settlements and some believe more land was cultivated during the Inca empire than present day. Pisaq is one of the better preserved sites remaining, and an easy day trip from Cuzco. Our word of advice: do not go with a tour group. We saw plenty of tours when we visited, and they missed out on the best parts of the ruins.
If you’d like to follow our route, we took the public bus from Cuzco to Pisaq. After arriving in town, we caught a taxi straight up the switchbacks to the top of the mountain. Entering the ruins at the towering citadel we had to contend with tour groups, but this is where the tours also left us. From the citadel, the hike down the mountain is stunning, and only independent travelers visited the Intihuatana and its remarkable, religious stonework. With the countless hikes we’ve done in the past year, we both agreed that the hike from the citadel back to town was easily one of the best.