Pisac, Peru
Alpaca Many believe that Pisac once was the largest city in South America. Then it slowly declined over the years for some unknown reason. When the conquistadores arrived they only witnessed a small town in the valley and the ruins of a fortress above. The newcomers definitely broke a wall or two but they didn't change a whole picture. It explains why Pisac is not mentioned in many historical documents and has no clear date of its foundation. They say it happened in about 1440 but who knows for sure?

Urubamba River Things hasn't change much today. Pisac is still small with its population around 10,000 people. No one counted how many visitors live there though, permanently or temporarily. Pisac attracts tourists because of a beautiful valley and a life style that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. When you arrive there you get a feeling of time travel. They still use a plow in their gardens and a brutal force of a buffalo attached to it. They cultivate most of their vegies and fruits without chemicals. You don't keep those products for a long time but they are tasty! They don't have hot water in their homes and use firewoods for cooking.

Pisac main street It takes 4-6 days to start breathing normally (relatively) because Pisac is located at 2,900 meters of elevation. A complete acclimatization requires 3 months according to the science. Once your heart stops jumping out of your chest after you bend to tie shoelaces you are ready to climb even higher. Let's say up to 4,500 meters. Going further is not wise although achievable. Unless you hit snow. Or it hits you. Another thing that is not wise is to try to defeat the mountains without trails knowledge. Storming to the top straightforward most likely will end with some cactus needles in your tender flesh. Surrounded by thorny shrubs you'll have a lot of time to rethink you strategy and tactics.

Pisac The town of Pisac itself is walkable in two hours. Beware of dogs activity while doing that and mototaxi drivers. The rule is simple: the faster moving object gets an advantage. So, watch your steps, people. At the same time there is a zero crime in Pisac. The only danger is presented by your hotel neighbours from a civilized world. The police is nice in general but don't expect them to speak English. Therfore use your common sense and the maps for directions. If it is raining the red clay will cover your feet. It is sticky and strong. They made bricks of it.

Pisac streets The shopping in Pisac is easy. Buy fruits and veggies from the market (mercado) and the rest is better to be bought from stores. The prices are low, the food quality is better than in any FDA controlled supermarket. As to the clothes and shoes there are some small issues. Locally made staff doen't last long. Also they don't sell large sizes. Prepare to go to Cusco if you are over 6 feet tall. The assortmnent is fine in general. The salesmen are aware of you, tourists, so they even have some "healthy" things imported from you Motherland.

Sunset in Pisac Peruvians are nice. Not beacuse you bring your money to them but because it is their nature. They accept all things that come their way. They accepted Christianity 400 years ago, today they are doing the same with the "reversal conquer" (it is when europeans come to Peru with their new age ideas based on beliefs originally from Peru or India). At the same time they won't rush to become your amigo. You need much more than just paying for a dinner with them.

scarecrow In conlusion, you find Pisac a heartwarming place. You might even consider to stay there longer in order to break your visa terms. The Peruvian government will charge you roughly 4 soles per day of illegal presence in the country. If you decide to get you immigration status in Peru, it is not that difficult with your good income or savings. Enjoy!