If you have extra time in Cusco, visiting Kinsa Cocha which are Pisac’s three lakes is a perfect day trip because they are so amazing and easy to get to.
This is a unique hike and totally off the tourist radar; which means that even though you are visiting Cusco in the high season, you will be the only ones enjoying all the amazing views
Another perk of visiting the Kinsa Cocha lakes is that you can get dropped off by a taxi right at the first one, which means you can hike as much or as little as you want and still get great views. They lie in a valley, so the trek is flat and easy for all ages.
If this sounds like a trek you might be interested in; we have the best information here for you. So, keep reading to learn exactly how to hike to Kinsa Cocha and enjoy Pisac’s three lakes.
Pisac is a tourist town in the Sacred Valley, so getting to the starting point of Pisac’s three lakes hike is easy.
First, take a colectivo (shared van) from Cusco to Pisac.
Colectivos cost only 5 soles / $1.25 per person. They leave often and you can catch them anytime at the top of Puputi street. From there, it is a 45 minute drive to the town of Pisac.
Once you arrive in Pisac, walk down the main street and I promise you; taxi drivers on the side of the road will stop you and ask where you need to go or you can ask them.
Tell them you’re heading to the Kinsa Cocha Laguna and negotiate a price.
It’s important to negotiate a round trip price and have your driver wait for you at the Kinsa Cocha lakes because they are far off the beaten path and you won’t be able to catch a ride back home.
The average price is 115 soles / $35 usd for the round trip taxi ride, which was about five hours (including his waiting during your hike) from start to finish.
When you negotiate your price, make sure it’s to visit the Kinsa Cocha lake and the Blue Lake (Laguna Azul) because the third lake is about 3 km down the road from the first and won’t be included in the price if you don’t specifically ask for it.
If you don’t want to go to Kinsa Cocha on your own, there are also tons of guided treks near Cusco on Airbnb that you can book instead or you can ask SAM Travel Peru for a guide.
Lakes One and Two on the Kinsa Cocha trek in Pisac
This is a fairly budget-friendly day trip from Cusco because there are no entrance fees required. The only major expense will be the transportation from Cusco to Pisac and Kinsa Cocha. The average price you spend will be around 50USD.
Alpaca field aka the perfect place for a picnic break
You’ll definitely need a full-day to complete this Cusco day trip. The list be will help you get an estimated itinerary for your Kinsa Cocha hike.
In total, you should budget around seven or eight hours from start to finish for an unhurried trip to Kinsa Cocha and the town of Pisac.
The trail leading around Lake One at the start of our hike
Once you grab a taxi and make the drive to the starting point of the hike, your driver will drop you at the first of Pisac’s three lakes.
Before you set off, make sure to agree to a time with your driver for how long you want to hike (we chose three hours).
From here, there are trails going around both sides of the lake and you can choose your route.
We decided to cross the bridge and begin our hike on the left side of the Kinsa Cocha lake.
We walked along the lake for about 30 minutes, and then came to the area where the first lake connects with the second.
Afterwards, we came out into a field with a large herd of alpacas, which was definitely the highlift of the trip. It was an awesome experience to just sit and watch them graze for a bit before continuing.
After passing the first two lakes, Daniel and I walked further into the valley, where I felt tiny and awed walking with the mountains rising up on both sides of me. It was such a beautiful hike.
We walked to the end of the valley and came to a mountain wall. We decided to turn around, so we climbed up on the rising ledges on the left side of the valley to walk back on the trails high above the green valley, overlooking the lakes in the distance as we returned toward them.
After we ate a picnic back near the alpaca field, we crossed to the other side of the valley.
Now, we were climbing up the other side of the mountains because the trail also returns on the opposite side of the lakes than we had started out on. This time, though, we were walking above the lake with a gorgeous view of the mountains, valley, and fields spread out below us.
It was breathtaking.
Our walk to the end of the valley and back, with time for a picnic, took three hours in total.
Boat tied up at the (pretty underwhelming) Laguna Azul
Once we returned to our taxi, he drove us 10 minutes more down the road to the third lake.
It’s possible to hike to this lake instead of walk, but it requires a steep and long walk up the mountainside.
If you choose to walk, then when you arrive at the first lake, take the trail on the right side of the lake.
Walk past the first two lakes, and eventually on your right you’ll see a dip between two peaks high above you. The trail goes up on switchbacks here.
Climb up the side of the mountain and get a view of the third lake once you reach the top. From here, you can walk down to the third lake and return to your taxi on the road, or you can circle around the peak and back to the first lake to return.
However, I’m lazy and prefer to avoid strenuous uphill hikes when I can, so we chose to take our taxi to the third lake instead. Our driver dropped us off at Laguna Azul, the third lake, and we climbed up on the hillside to snap a few pictures.
The first two lakes and the first valley were more beautiful than the Laguna Azul in my opinion, and you don’t need a lot of time at the third lake. After about 15 minutes, we headed back to the taxi to return to Pisac.
The drive from Kinsa Cocha to Pisac was another 45 minutes down dirt roads but the views were beautiful.
Me and 100 new friends on the Kinsa Cocha hike
The hike to the Kinsa Cocha lakes isn’t too strenuous but it’s always a good idea to head out into nature prepared. I recommend bringing a small day pack with:
This is the hiking gear I can’t live without:
A scenic 10 m drive from Ollantaytambo, follow the river and the train tracks to the Veronica View Hotel. Along the way, watch across the river for the original terraces from Incan times! Arriving at the hotel, you will be greeted amid gardens of native flowers and orchids. Take in the stunning sight of the Veronica Mountain, covered with glaciers year-round. After you settle into your room, walk through the gardens to the pool and restaurant area. There is a steam sauna, dry sauna, spa, heated swimming pool and restaurant at your feet.
Three comfortable single beds, ideal for groups of friends or family, enjoy the same spectacular view of the Veronica Mountain as the other rooms in the main building. Each room has a private bathroom with beautiful marbled counter tops.
Enjoy the luxury of a King size bed, along with all of the other indulgent services offered by the Veronica View Hotel. Each room is carefully situated to give you the best view of the Veronica Mountain. King rooms are in the main building on either the first or second floor. All King Rooms include jacuzzi
Double rooms are located in the main building, a beautiful room with an expansive view of the snow covered Veronica Mountain and the Urubamba Valley. Double rooms have one double bed, one twin bed and a private bathroom. These rooms are located on the first and second floor