Peru is famous for archaeological ruins from Inca times. But few know that there are also other ruins worth exploring, from the times before the Inca Empire. One of the best examples are the Pikillacta or Pikillaqta ruins of Wari culture. Pikillacta, which means in Quechua “flea city” is actually an enormous set of ruins. A lot of them are covered with grass and trees but the cleaned part alone will leave you in awe. The whole complex of Pikillaqta is located at an altitude of 3350 m. (11000 feet) and covers an area of around 2 square kilometers. This pre-Inka city was probably occupied in the times about 550 to 1100 AD and contains approximately 700 buildings. The city has a geometrical design and is divided in blocks with straight streets.
The Pikillaqta site is situated about 25 km from Cusco, in the south-east on the way between Cusco and Puno. However, you will not be able to see the ruins from the main road, because they are about 1 km away from it. So I recommend that if you have some extra time it is worthwhile to visit this place. I recommend you do a trip very early in the morning and connect it with the archeological site of Tipon, which is on the same route as Pikillacta, just much closer to Cusco.
Even if you are not interested in the Pikillacta ruins, the trekking around this place alone will give you an experience. The area around there is beautiful, with very nice landscapes and there is nice path to walk through with the ruins in the background.
How to get to Pikillacta ruins near Cusco?
There are some options available, depends on how much money you want to spend, how much time you have and what kind of transportation you prefer.
You can catch a taxi to Pikillacta. For sure it will not be a cheap journey, but definitely faster than by bus.
By public bus
You can also catch the bus which goes directly to Urcos and leave it on the way in front of Pikillacta ruins. You just need to tell for the bus driver that you want to visit this place and it should not be a problem. The bus terminal is on Av. Huaruropata. The bus ticket costs around 5 soles. It is also possible to catch this bus at any bus stop along the Avenida de la Cultura. But if you want to have a place to sit, it is better to go to the main terminal.
Of course this bus option will take you a little bit more time than the journey with a taxi, but there is one huge advantage of choosing it. You will have possibility to spend almost one hour with local people. If you are curious and very open, for sure there will be someone to talk with.
By private bus with the travel agency
A lot of travel agencies organize the tours to Pikillacta and Tipon. The tour takes half a day, so is a good option for all of you who wants to visit these two sites in a short time and who prefer to have a tour guide. If you have more time, and the explanations of the guide are not so important for you, do not lose money and discover these places on your own.
How much does cost entrance ticket to Pikillaqta
The cheapest way is to buy a special ticket, called “Boleto Turistica del Cusco”. There are some kinds of this ticket, depends on which things and places do you want to visit. If you wish to discover the South Valley of Cusco, then you need to buy Partial Cusco Tourist Ticket (BTCPII) / Circuit II – City & South Sacred Valley. This ticket includes entrance to 8 places: Museo Histórico Regional, Museo Municipal de Arte Contemporáneo, Museo de Sitio de Coricancha, Centro Qosqo de Arte Nativo, Monumento de Pachacutec, the Inca archaeological site of Tipon and ruins of Wari culture Pikillacta. If you do not like museums you can visit with this ticket only Tipon and Pikillacta and also if you have time Museum of Korikancha and Monumento de Pachacutec (which are worth to visit if you have time). Thanks to all this places, you will learn about history of Inca Empire and not only and for sure you will understand Peru and its culture much better.
Remember only, that this partial ticket is valid only for 2 days. But do not worry, it is possible to visit all of the places included in the ticket price in that time.
The price of the partial ticket in 2014 is: S/. 70 or US$ 25
Buy your Boleto Turistica when you arrive in Cusco at the COSITUC office on 103 Avenida del Sol in the centre of Cusco.
Opening hours: Monday – Friday 08:00 – 18:30 and Saturday from 08:00 – 14:00 Sunday Closed