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How to hike to Kinsa Cocha

Written by: Incatrailhikeperu May 9, 2022

A short day hike this is a great option if you are looking for a nice day trip near Pisac. A very unknown hike where you will most likely not see any other hikers on the trail the hike is a short one only about 45 mins from Pisac the hike is only about 5.8 km or 3.6 miles round trip. If you are visiting Cusco and the Sacred valley consider discovering for yourself what what Kinsa Cocha is all about.

What is Kinsa Cocha?

Kinsa Cocha is a group of three lakes near the city of Pisac the first two lakes are connected by a narrow stream. The third lake is called Laguna Azul and is a bit farther from the first two. The trail is a loop around the first two lakes. It’s recommended to start the hike by taking the left trail, you’ll go around the first lake then come to the second and wrap around coming back to where you started. To get to Laguna Azul instead take the other path which starts at the first lake.

***PLEASE NOTE: There will be tons of alpacas and llamas in this area grazing and roaming freely if you are an alpaca lover then you’ll absolutely love this hike!

How to get to the Kinsa Cocha lakes solo?

Kinsa Cocha means “three lakes” in Quechua and in order to get to the three lakes you’ll first need to get to the touristic town of Pisac which is in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Generally there are not tours offered for this lake because it’s not a popular destination. Most likely you’ll have to get there and hike the trail solo.

Cusco to Pisac

From Cusco you’ll need to take a collectivo to Pisac which should cost around 5 soles per person. You can take one on Calle Puputi which is just next to Avenida del Sol. Colectivos leave frequently you shouldn’t have and problem with catching one. The trip will take around an hour as you drive through part of the Sacred Valley.

Pisac to Kinsa Cocha

Once you have arrived in Pisac you’ll need to find yourself a private taxi to Kinsa Cocha. I hope your spanish is good, because you’ll not only have to describe where you are going but, also explain that you want the taxi to wait at the trailhead for your return.

To find a taxi just walk down the main street in Pisac until you see a taxi. It shouldn’t take too long to find one. Ask the driver to take you to Kinsa Concha and wait for you to come back. It depends on your haggling skills but it should cost around 150 soles. Not cheap but, if you think about it, the driver will have to wait for you to complete the hike which depending on the group could take anywhere from 3 to 5 hours. Basically the driver will be waiting for a long portion of the day so the price isn’t too bad. The drive up to Kinsa Cocha takes around 45 minutes.

***PLEASE NOTE: If you want to see the third and final lake you can ask the driver beforehand to take you there after returning fro the first two lakes

Getting to the third lake

There are two ways to get to the third lake, you can either hike or have the taxi you hired take you there after visiting the first two lakes. Obviously, it’s much easier for you to take a taki there rather than walk but if you’re feeling adventurous why not hike a little bit more.

Hiking to the third lake

If you decide to hike to the third lake you’ll have to walk up a fairly steep section of trail. This is going to be the hardest part of the hike so make sure you pace yourself and have water with you. When you get to the first lake there will be a fork in the trail take this other trail to the third lake. Once you get to the top of the steep section you’ll get great views of the surrounding area and the last lake. Take this opportunity to snap some photos then walk down to the lakeshore.

Driving to the third lake

If you don’t feel like hiking more your driver take you to the third lake which takes only about 10 minutes. Make sure you negotiate this when you first talk about prices. Waiting until you arrive at the trail to ask the driver will most likely lead to an additional cost.

Hike to the first two lakes then when you return get back in the taxi and your driver will take you on a dirt road around the hill that you would otherwise have to hike up.

Guided tour to Kinsa Cocha

There are some companies that offer guided tours to Kinsa Cocha but it’s really not very common at all. Most tour companies will probably take you if you ask but because it’s so uncommon there is not really a standard price and you could easily get overcharged. If you are looking for a reputable tour operator to take you such as Orange Nation you can avoid the headache of figuring out the transportation.

Kinsa Cocha Entry Fee?

There is some conflicting information and different experiences some people report having to pay a small cost to the local landowners only around 3-5 soles. However most hikers say they didn’t have to pay any entry fee. Either way, the main cost for this hike will undoubtedly be the taxi from Pisac to Kinsa Cocha try and get a group together so you can split the cost.

How long is the trip from start to finish?

This is for sure a full day trip the earlier you start the better but, you don’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn like most of the other trips in the region. You can get away with starting your day around 7:00 or 8:00 am.

  • Cusco to Pisac: 45 min
  • Pisac to Kinsa Cocha: 45 mins
  • Hiking the first two lakes: 3 – 4 hours
  • Hiking to Laguna Azul: 45 mins there and back
  • Kinsa Cocha to Pisac: 45 mins
  • Pisac to Cusco: 45 mins

***PLEASE NOTE: If you haven’t already explored the Pisac Market this is a great time to do so. Take your time and explore all of the different stands and maybe get a souvenir to remember your trip to Kinsa Cocha.

Difficulty Rating

Considered an easy hike the majority of the hike is around the first to lakes and is fairly flat the entire way. If you are decide to hike to the third lake Laguna Azul keep in mind this is by far the most strenuous part. Apart from the section to Laguna Azul the altitude will be your worst enemy. Although not at an extremely high elevation when compared to some of the other hikes in the region like Rainbow Mountain for example, you’re still at a decent height 13,125 ft. (over 4,000 m). Make sure that you have acclimated in Cusco or in the sacred valley before trying this or any other hike. The last thing you want is to get altitude sickness.

Drink lots of water and bring some coca tea or coca leaves with you to make the hike easier and you should be just fine.

***PLEASE NOTE: Remember to pace yourself when you are in elevation! The easiest way to get altitude sickness is by ascend to quickly. Keep a slow steady pace and you’ll be fine.

Kinsa Cocha Packing list

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:

  • Day bag: Small bag to carry your daily essentials
  • Reusable water bottle: About 1 – 2 liters should be fine
  • Sun protection: Sunscreen hat and sunglasses in the Andes the sun is stronger than at sea level
  • Wark Jacket: Warm fleece or down jacket in case it gets cold
  • Rain gear: Even in the dry season the weather can change in an instant alway be prepared for rain
  • Snacks: Trail snacks or a light lunch
  • Cash: To pay your transportation and to buy something at the Pisac Market

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