Planning a visit to the Cusco region and don’t want to deal with big crowds the whole time you are here? There are actually several locations in the region that you could visit to get a break from the large crowds, and many of these are even on well-traveled routes. In this new series I plan to cover seven locations in particular.
For the first location I’d like to start with is Tipón which is in the Southern Valley. This is actually to the east of Cusco, but I suppose it is south of something. Many visitors actually travel through the Southern Valley when traveling between Cusco and Puno, but few do so on their own, likely because not many agencies promote it.
Tipón does get some visitors and has been slowly increasing in popularity since we moved to the region in 2012. Still, it’s a good place to visit if you want to escape the crowds. As with many of the archaeological sites, the weekends can get a little busy because this is when many of the locals visit; compared to larger sites, like Saqsaywaman, Pisac and Ollantaytambo, this site will typically appear pretty empty.
The site of Tipón is located on a hill overlooking the city of Tipón and offers an excellent view of the Southern Valley below. It is approximately 26 km east of Cusco and easily reached by public transportation, however I would recommend hiring a car and driver so that you can more easily visit other locations in the valley, such as Pikillacta.
(Photo: Lyle Walker)
Based on the tight fitting stonework and the number of water features at this site, Tipón is believed to have once been a site for water worship and ceremonies. The main section of the site which is comprised of large terraces and water features is easily accessible from the parking lot, where a short climb up a series of stairs will take you to the bottom of the complex and provide you with an amazing view of this terraced valley. After the initial climb, you can walk the perimeter of the terraces in relative ease, and even enter some of the larger terraces to relax a bit on the grass if you want.
If you are up for more of a climb, I would recommend taking the trail up to the top left of the site, when looking from the parking lot side. At the top of the lower hill on the left you will not only find the remains of a temple but, if you follow the trail that runs between the temple and the main site for just about 20 meters, you will find one of the many original Inca Trails that used to connect all of the ancient Inca sites. This one also happens to have an aqueduct running down its center.
(Photo: Lyle Walker)
Tipón is a very interesting site to visit and one I would definitely recommend to anyone that would like to escape the crowds for a while. For a truly memorable experience, a visit to the next site I will be covering is a must, so stay tuned…
Lyle Walker was born in California, served in the Marines and has spent much of his career working as an industrial engineer. In 2006 he met and married his Peruvian wife, Lily, and in 2012 they moved to the Cusco region to open and run GringoWasi bed and breakfast, where they not only host guests, but also help them with their planning. Lyle can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org