Take the time to visit one of the least visited and most spectacular sites in the sacred valley.
Tipon is one of the more interesting ruins in the surrounds of Cusco and even today water flows through the terraces and channels that form the complex. Less frequented than many and all the better for it. Less is known about Tipon than the other sites though there is spectulation that it was used as an agricultural site.
The aquatecture here really quite phenonmenal both purely from a design perspective and also magnificently preserved, the place seems ancient and modern all at once. By and large the site still operates as it did eons ago nestled in the straw coloured hilltops an anomoly that time forgot. If one chooses to do so they can follow the channels up the hills where they continue seemingly forever before slowly drying out, the channel itself ceasing a while after. From here it is possible to visit Pukara which at time of writing was being excavated by a couple of friendly archeologists and whilst less impressive is a worthy diversion. The surrounds of the complex are equally lovely golden grassen hills dotted with the green of trees and the occasional collection of houses lend a wistful air to the place. It is also possible to visit the petroglyphs at cruzmodo another diversion from the main complex.
The ruins seem both incredibly simple and yet cleverly complex, beautifully functional yet still holding a mysticism, as with most there’s a lot still to be unearthed but what’s already present is well worth your time. This is not just another archaelogical tourist trap (didn’t see a single person selling things once out of Cusco) but feels a lot more like a slice of history.
Getting there and back:
Buses to Tipon leave from Psje Carrasco, off Av. de la Cultura on the south side opposite the Hospital. From Plaza real this is either a 40 minute walk or a bus from Pampa El Castillo (S 0.70 8mins). Bus to Tipon is S3.50 and takes around 35mins, drops you on the side of the main road opposite the road leading to Tipon. From here there will be taxis (S10) offering to take you up here and saying you can’t walk or it will take hours. Ignore them, if you really don’t want to walk up the hill it’s best to walk into the township and get a taxi from there for far less. The ruins are about 5km from roadside and relatively easy to get to basically if you keep going straight you will get there (you can either follow the road or take a slight detour along a dirt path and trickling stream before re-joining the main road), after a while there are signs saying “camino” so just follow them about. Walk is ~40mins from road side to ruin entrance, all downhill on the way back :).
Buses leave for cusco from the corner of the road to tipon and the main road, this took about an hour and was S1.50 to Plaza San Francisco. Yes I am aware these are two different prices, no I’m not sure why…