The mountain people dressed in traditional costumes at the door of the church of Pisac Sunday market day. Pisac. Sacred Valley. Pisac, or Pisaq in Quechua, is a small town about 35 km from Cuzco. Pisac is best known for its Sunday market, but is also known for some ruins dating from about the same time as Machu Picchu.
Whatever charm Pisac may once have had, however, is long gone.
The main plaza is filled to overflowing with a hundred or more stalls selling the same forgettable tourist junk available all over Peru, with more stalls spilling over onto the surrounding streets and the area in front of the church. The nearby streets are lined with overpriced restaurants serving mediocre fare.
Even in the less touristy parts of town, such as the main drag down by the river, the streets are crowded with aggressive taxi drivers trolling for fares, and restaurants double their prices for tourists, even in one case handing you a menu full of options ranging from S/. 6 to S/.12 and announcing that now every dish is S/. 18. Even bottled water is overpriced, with the 2.5l bottles that sell for anywhere from S/. 2 to 3 in Cusco going for S/. 3.5.
The only attraction left unspoiled in town is the new river-side promenade, which is fairly pleasant and uncrowded. But it's not enough to make the short trip from Cusco worthwhile. Photo by: Sergi Reboredo/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images