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Piuray Lagoon
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Piuray Lagoon in Cusco

The Piuray lagoon is an adventurous option just 31 kilometers from the city of Cusco. In addition to the beautiful mountainous landscapes that can be seen there, it is possible to practice sports such as kayaking, stand up paddle, cycling, hiking or ATV routes. Its waters supply a large part of Cusco and the Sacred Valley of the Incas. There are various legends about its origin. Learn more about this interesting alternative tourist attraction.



Tourists kayaking in the Piuray lagoon
Piuray Lagoon

Description of the Piuray lagoon

  • The Piuray lagoon is one of the most important water sources in all of Cusco. It supplies 42% of drinking water in the city. Also in the Sacred Valley of the Incas and other provinces of the region. The Incas themselves led their waters to various parts of the city through a formidable system of canals.
  • It is also an ideal tourist attraction for practicing adventure sports such as kayaking, stand up paddle, cycling, hiking or ATV routes.
  • The landscapes that surround the lagoon are truly dreamlike. In the distance, the snowy mountains Soray, Verónica and Salkantay stand out. Here and there there are fields with crops of potatoes, quinoa and other products. Finally, the dark blue water of the lagoon reflects the immense Andean sky.
  • The perimeter of the lagoon is approximately 8,750 meters (465 meters wide and 3,000 meters long). The depth of its waters is from 20 to 50 meters. The temperature of its waters is below 0 degrees Celsius.
  • The lagoon can be visited throughout the year. It is possible to go with an all-inclusive tour or on your own. Most tourists take advantage of their visit to see the town of Chinchero, famous for its textile centers and archaeological site.

Location

  • The Piuray lagoon is located in the town of Chinchero, about 31 kilometers by road from the city of Cusco.
  • The lagoon is located in the upper part of the Sacred Valley of the Incas, at about 3,689 meters above sea level. It is located near the Pacchaicoc stream.
  • At the top you can see the imposing snow-capped mountains Soray, Verónica and Salkantay, the latter being the second largest ‘Apu’ in all of Cusco.

How to get?

To get to the Piuray lagoon from the city of Cusco, you must follow the following steps:

  • Walk or take a taxi to the bus stop on ‘Belén Pampa’ street (located just 2 kilometers from the center of Cusco).
  • Board one of the buses that in approximately 1 hour will take you to the town of Chinchero. The cost of the trip is 4 Peruvian soles (a little more than 1 dollar).
  • Finally, in the town of Chinchero, take a taxi or motorcycle taxi to the Piuray lagoon. The journey takes only 10 minutes and costs approximately 3 Peruvian soles (1 dollar on average).

Map to get to the Piuray lagoon

Map to get to Piuray
Map to get to the Piuray lagoon

Legends about the Piuray lagoon

There are numerous legends related to the Piuray lagoon:

  • Legend has it that the Inti (sun god) asked his son, the ruler Manco Capac, that the Inca’s children accompany him to his decline (death). They did so. However, these suddenly became loopholes. The son who went the furthest became the Huaypo lagoon. The daughter who was delayed became the Piuray lagoon. Both lagoons are only 18 kilometers away. They are considered by the population as twin brothers.
  • Another legend has it that an old man came to a wedding looking for food and shelter. However, those attending the event despised him and kicked him out of the place. Only one woman took pity by providing him with food and shelter. The man, in gratitude, ordered him to leave the place towards a mountain without turning his eyes. The woman did so. Although, upon hearing that the town was flooded in the waters of a lagoon, she turned her eyes and was turned to stone. His gaze remained perpetuated on the Piuray lagoon.

Adventure sports in the lagoon

During your visit to the Piuray lagoon you can practice the following adventure sports:

  • Kayak – The waters of the lagoon are ideal for practicing this sport. In the place there are tourism agencies that offer all the necessary equipment such as kayaks, paddles, suits, life jacket and even previous training.
  • Stand up paddle – This sport is also offered by tourism agencies located near the place. It includes all the necessary instruments as well as a specialized instructor.
  • Cycling – The nearby mountainous geography of the Piuray lagoon is ideal for cycling. Tourists can bring their own bicycle or rent one in town (or in the city of Cusco). The Andean landscapes that are covered are impressive.
  • Hiking – Around the Piuray lagoon there are easy paths close to farmland of tarwi, broad beans, barley, potatoes and more. It is possible to do this adventure with a tour or simply on your own.
  • ATV – ATV tours are one of the most requested adventures by visitors. In addition to the Piuray lagoon, it is possible to visit the circular platforms of Moray and the famous salt mines of Maras. Cusco tourism agencies offer these services.

How much does it cost to visit the lagoon?

  • Tours to the Piuray lagoon to practice some adventure sports have a cost of approximately 50 to 70 dollars per tourist.
  • Visiting the lagoon on your own is very inexpensive. The trip by public transport can cost between 5 to 10 dollars maximum.

Weather

  • The weather in the Piura lagoon is cold. During the day the temperature can reach a maximum of 18ºC. At night, the cold can drop to -5ºC. at least.
  • The rainy season runs from November to March. The dry season (with little rain) runs from April to October. According to specialists, these are the best months to visit the lagoon.



Other nearby tourist attractions

During your visit to the Piuray lagoon you can visit other tourist attractions such as:

  • Textile centers – The town of Chinchero has dozens of textile centers where tourists can learn about the ancient techniques of spinning and dyeing garments made of alpaca. Admission is free. The different products made with this ancient technique are for sale within the premises.
  • Chinchero archaeological site – In Inca times the place was the palace of Emperor Túpac Yupanqui. The wars between the Incas and the Spanish, as well as the passage of time, have damaged their structures. Today it is possible to appreciate its immense platforms, walls, stairways and Inca roads (qhapac ñan).
  • The salt mines of Maras – The more than 2 thousand salt wells that make up this place were formed millions of years ago. The Incas used it for their benefit just like the current population. The place offers one of the most incredible landscapes of Cusco. It is located 19 kilometers from the town of Chinchero.
  • The circular platforms of Moray – This immense set of platforms were built by the Incas to experiment with the cultivation of agricultural products in different artificial climatic conditions. It is one of the most photographed places by tourists visiting Cusco. It is only 27 kilometers from the town of Chinchero.

More information

  • In the vicinity of the Piuray lagoon, the new Chinchero international airport is planned to be built. This building would multiply the number of tourists visiting Cusco, the Sacred Valley of the Incas and Machu Picchu.
  • The water from the Piuray lagoon supplies the demand for drinking water in much of Cusco. That is why it is important not to pollute its waters. It is forbidden to bathe there, much less to throw garbage.
  • If you like to visit lagoons in the Andes Mountains, do not forget to visit the famous Humantay lagoon, one of the most beautiful in Cusco and Peru.
  • During your visit, do not forget to bring with you: a poncho in case of rain, comfortable hiking shoes, clothing in several layers (do not forget a jacket), sunscreen, a hat, snacks and rehydrating drinks.

 

By Ticket Machu Picchu – Last updated, July 8, 2021