A Hippy Haven in the Andes: Things to do in Pisac, Peru
My darling little Pisac!
So much love and bonding, creating and exploring happening in such a small little corner.
Hugged by Andean mountains on all sides, a whimsical winding river, exuberant green foliage, and pristine Azul skies, it’s no wonder why anyone would fall for Pisac.
If it’s not the scenery that gets you then it’ll definitely be the people you meet. From the bustling and inviting spiritual scene to the warm and friendly locals. This place will have you feeling home in no time.
Moments happen serendipitously every day, synchronicities fleeting around every bend just waiting to catch your attention.
Shamanism rules the roost in these parts, and if you’re looking for some tools just hit up the huge artisans market, especially on Sunday when people come from all over for a look.
Grab delicious fresh juice from the lovely ladies at the local “Mercado” and then kick back that evening at the coolest local Cafè, Ulrikes, to chat with friends and most definitely make more.
Attend Kirtan, meditation groups, yoga, ecstatic dance, reiki, and breath workshops, and if that doesn’t fill your cup, the master plants Ayahuasca and Huachuma are never in short supply.
Pisac is a place of higher energies.
Many come for a day or two, some for a week, but if you’re one of the many people like I’ve encountered in this charming little wonder, then this place has stolen your heart forever.
With such a varied array of esoteric activities and soul-enriching goodness, it’s no wonder I keep coming back to Pisac. Collectively over three different journey’s to Peru, I’ve spent 5 months in this peaceful pueblo. The friendships, knowledge, and growth that I’ve attained in this town will last eons.
There are hundreds of things to do in Pisac and the surrounding Sacred Valley. Below, I’ll dive into some of my absolute favorites.
Discover Ecstacy at Ecstatic Dance
Treat your soul to a radical evening of self-expression. This free-form style of sober dancing will give your thinking mind a much need vacay into realms of uncharted bliss.
I was pretty skeptical of Ecstatic dance until I actually got the opportunity to try it for the first time in Pisac.
Now I’m hooked.
It’s easy to lose yourself in the ego eradication that comes from moving your body without fear of judgment. Take solace in the sober and friendly vibes that entice you to let-loose and become one with the music.
Check out Alchemica for their weekly offerings and experience the magic for yourself.
Sweat it out at Hampi Wasi
A come and go style sauna without strict guidelines and traditional ceremony, Hampi Wasi is the perfect way to sweat it out without committing to anything more demanding as you would in a Temescal or Native American sweat.
Once or twice a week, community members, passers-by, and hardcore devotees of the sauna congregate at Melissa Wasi to enjoy the heat, play their instruments, and sip on complimentary tea lovingly prepared by the events proprietor.
Typically every Wednesday and second Saturday but the event is sometimes postponed. Check the Sacred Valley Spirit Events group on Facebook to find out more.
Located at the beautiful Melissa Wasi in the Rinconada neighborhood of town (locally known as “Gringoville”). Just grab a mototaxi anywhere in town and ask for Melissa Wasi, the ride should be no more than 3 soles.
Take A Sound Healing Journey
Prepare your panties for something unquestionably frigging life-changing. The art of sound healing will take you on an exciting journey of soul tingling transformation.
Sound Healing or Sound Therapy as it’s sometimes called is a healing model based on the therapeutic properties of sound.
Sessions usually begin with a chakra cleanse, typically with the aid of giant crystal singing bowls. Next, after a full chakra calibration and alignment, you are asked to lay back and enjoy the serenade.
The Practioner(s) will then treat you to a symphony of sound with various instruments and vocals to the realms of relaxation and beyond.
Sessions can last anywhere from 40 mins to a few hours, and leave you feeling airy, refreshed, and renewed.
If you’re looking for an outstanding practitioner, I can personally recommend Sound Shaman (Alexandra Zachary). Not only was Alexandra completely personable, professional, upbeat, and extremely friendly, she was an outstanding musician. I could really feel her loving, empathic, tender energy as she brought me on that wonderful journey of sound.
Stretch to new heights at Andean-Style Yoga
Yoga. It seems to be everywhere these days. Hot yoga, yin yoga, stoned yoga, and even goat yoga (yeah, you heard right). The sheer enormity of diversity when it comes to yoga is a true testament of its popularity and reach.
Yoga has helped me through so many different highs and lows throughout my path, and it continues to be my go-to when I’m overwhelmed or disenchanted. A simple practice of 20 minutes or more daily can completely change your life around!
I can think of no better place to unwind, connect, and to practice yoga than in picturesque Pisac.
The town is no stranger to Yoga and it’s evident in the plethora of weekly classes and training offered by a slew of local instructors and yogis passing through.
A personal favorite to myself and many others happens at Nidra Wasi. A nice yoga flow infused with Andean Cosmology.
Be sure to check them out and get your yoga on while in Pisac.
Catch a breath at a Breathwork workshop
Breathing. Pretty straight forward right? We do it every day.
But are we TRULY harvesting our pipes to their full potential? Many gurus over the years have preached the power of full, conscious, and controlled breathing and the positive effects it has on overall health. From the Wim Hof Technique to Holotropic Breathing, there’s a method for everyone.
I had my first breathwork experience during my second visit to Pisac and it was one of the most powerful breakthroughs I had that entire trip. I continue using the techniques I learned, the benefits to every aspect of my life have been profound!
The transient nature of Pisac brings breathwork practitioners of all walks so be sure to check out the bulletin boards around town for any classes coming up.
Conscious breathing is a tool everyone should have in their belt.
Express your inner God/Goddess at Kirtan
I never knew how profound the act of singing could be until I discovered Kirtan.
Kirtan is a tradition of singing Hindu hymns or mantras, accompanied by instruments, and sometimes expressed through dance. Originating in India, it has recently exploded in popularity amongst the new age community
Pisac is no exception.
The weekly ceremony held at Nidra Wasi is one of the most beautiful events I partook in while visiting Peru. Housed in a maloka style ceremonial building, complete with 360-degree panoramas of the Andes, and ultra-cozy atmosphere, the location is next to none.
Wednesdays at 3:00 pm
– CEREMONIES –
Attend a San Pedro Ceremony
The San Pedro or Huachuma cactus is a tall columnar cactus native to Andes of South America, with some variations reaching heights of over 30 feet!
Andean shamans have been using this plant in ceremony for thousands of years. Pottery has been found in northern Peru depicting its consumption by the Chavin people (1000 BCE) in a ritualistic fashion.
Rich in the phenethylamine alkaloid mescaline, its psychedelic effects have been used to help heal addiction, cancer, general bad luck, and a plethora of other human ailments.
There are many different styles of Huachuma ceremonies, which I will focus on in further depth in a future post.
If the cactus is calling, I recommend you answer its beckoning. Remarkable things have happened for me since I embraced this groovy plant.
Attend an Ayahuasca ceremony.
The better-known sister psychedelic to San Pedro, ayahuasca has taken the alternative medicine scene by storm the past few years.
A mixture of two native Amazonian plants, one containing DMT and the other monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), the two work together synergistically to produce a profound entheogenic experience.
People tout its potent capabilities in the fight against addiction, depression, cancer, and other historically treatment-stubborn disorders.
This has caused a major influx of ayahuasca tourists, psychonauts, and soul seekers of all sorts to flock to Peru and other parts of South America to experience its healing.
In Pisac, there is no shortage of opportunity. From one on one sessions to full moon ceremonies of sometimes 100 people, it will take a bit of sifting and sorting to choose the ceremony that best suits your needs and experience.
During my last stay in Pisac, I had the unique opportunity to work one-on-one with an American healer who has been living in Peru and working with the medicine now for over 3 years. The attention to detail and care I was shown during my ceremony amounted to the most incredible ayahuasca journey I’ve experienced to date. Her combination of energy healing (reiki) and traditional ayahuasca shamanism was the perfect combination for my needs! The music was breathtakingly beautiful and I was lucky to receive full recordings of my journey to reflect upon back home in Canada. I highly recommend checking out Angelica and her partner Eugene at Aguila Wasi Retreat Center
Attend a Kambo Ceremony
Phyllomedusa bicolor (or the giant waxy monkey frog) secretes a very peculiar substance known as Kambo.
During a Kambo ceremony, the secretion is applied to small burns that are applied to the outer layer of skin, typically on one’s arm. The frog secretion is then carried throughout the body via the lymphatic system causing heavy purging and sometimes defecation.
It has been shown very effective in battling many different ailments, most notably Lyme disease, cancer, liver disease, addiction, and chronic pain.
I wouldn’t recommend this to the faint of heart. Kambo is a potentially life-saving medicine but it is a serious one and should be approached with caution! Do your research before taking any new medicine including the others on this list. And while I do promote caution with this medicine, I can say from experience that it has worked wonders on assisting me in my battle against mental health and addiction.
Attend a Cacao Ceremony
Theobroma Cacao or “Ka’kau” as it is known in the Mayan language is a tree native to the tropical regions of the Americas. Its fruit has been considered sacred by the Maya and Aztec for hundreds of years.
It was so highly regarded that the Mayans adopted it as their official means of currency, trading the beans much the same as we use money today.
Now that’s a currency we should get behind.
Jam-packed with essential nutrients and feel-good chemicals, its no wonder this plant was considered sacred. So sacred in fact, that its consumption was reserved for royalty. Even today, chocolate is considered a sentiment of love and strikes memories of joy in all those who have indulged.
But there is more to this wonderful plant than meets the taste buds. When used in its pure form, cacao can be a tool for spiritual transformation and expression.
I was first introduced to the ceremonial usage of cacao during a pilgrimage to Peru. Having heard from fellow travelers of the transformational qualities of the medicine, I knew I had to investigate for myself.
I can honestly say that experience has changed my entire relationship with chocolate. It has allowed to open my heart, process emotions, and develop a deeper connection with my creativity. I now use it at least weekly, and I couldn’t be more grateful for the positivity it has brought to my life.
Be sure to keep your eyes out for this absolutely MUST EXPERIENCE offering during your visit to Pisac. You’ll thank yourself immensly.
-Where to Eat-
Sacred Sushi Sunday
If you’re kickin’ around Pisac during a Sunday, you’re in for a real treat.
Once a week and always on Sunday the community comes together to feast on some of the most delicious vegan dishes I’ve ever had the privilege to consume.
Sacred Sushi, started by a local expat, is a pop-up style sushi restaurant serving up vegan rolls, gourmet curry, and orgasmic chocolate deserts.
A simple menu, consisting of a few staple dishes. Spring rolls, sushi, curry, and buddha bowls, the hardest part is really making the choice. (Which is why I choose to order everything!)
Try the pineapple kombucha – it’s friggin’ fantastic.
WHERE: Calle Callao
WHEN: Every Sunday starting at 12
Buses known as “colectivos” depart Calle Pututi in Cusco roughly every 15 minutes. Just catch a cab to Pututi street which shouldn’t cost more than 5 soles anywhere in the city.
You’ll see many bus drivers ushering folks into partially filled vans and buses. Opt for a fuller vehicle, as these will be the first to depart. Expect to pay no more than 4 soles each way.
When you reach Pisac the driver will drop passengers off before crossing the bridge to Pisac. Simply gather your belongings and walk the short distance across the bridge. Your Pisac adventure can now begin! (You can also catch a taxi for a considerably larger fee)
-Where to stay-
While there are many different lodging options in Pisac, the hostel I recommend the most is Chaska Wasi. I have stayed here twice for longer periods of time, first in 2017 and again in 2018.
I cannot praise the kindness and warmth shown to me by the management enough. Not only did I get a great bargain on my room, but during my stay, I went on a few outings with the manager himself, who brought me and my friends on an epic road trip through the Sacred Valley to visit the famous Lares hot springs.
The cozy rooms were cleaned daily, there was laundry on site, and the showers were surprisingly hot for the Andes. Venture a few feet from your bedroom door into the courtyard to be greeted by a refreshing variety of plants, an outdoor gym, and a centralized tiki-style hut for socializing and kicking back.
Chaska Wasi is the perfect base for your Pisac epic.
Well, there you have it. A brief but solid list of my most recommended happenings that occur in beautiful Pisac. This town is a pure treasure and it bestows its gold upon most who find it. I hope if you visit it delivers the same magic that it has to me countless times.
This shortlist mainly covers the spiritual flavored activities that you can partake in, however, I will be posting a more comprehensive and broader overview of ALL the things to do in this region including obscure hikes, tasty eats, remarkable locals, indigenous ceremonies and much more!
Ciao for now <3