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How to hike to KinsaCocha (three lakes) & Pisac ruins

Written by: Incatrailhikeperu May 9, 2022

If you have extra time in Cusco, visiting Kinsa Cocha and Pisac’s three lakes is a perfect day trip because they are so amazing and easy to get to.

This is unique and totally off the tourist radar, which means that even if you visit during high season, you will be one of the very few enjoying all the amazing views.

Another perk of visiting the Kinsa Cocha lakes is that you can get dropped off by taxi right at the first one, which means you can hike as much or little as you want and still get great views. They also lie in a valley, so the trek is flat and easy for all ages.

Sound like a trek you might be interested in? We have the best information for you. So keep reading to learn exactly how to hike to Kinsa Cocha and see Pisac’s three lakes.

How to get to the Kinsa Cocha lakes tour?

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 8 soles / $2.00 per person. They leave often and when. 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, taxi drivers on the side of the road will stop you and ask where you need to go.

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 is about five hours (including his waiting during the 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 INCA TRAIL HIKE for a guide.

How much does it cost to hike on the Kinsa Cocha tour?

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 Kinsa Cocha and Pisac. The average price you spend will be around 50usd.

How much time do you need to hike at the Kinsa Cocha lakes?

You’ll definitely need a full day to complete this Cusco day trip, and this list of times will help you get an estimated itinerary for your Kinsa Cocha hike.

  • 45 minues – colectivo from Cusco to Pisac
  • 45 minutes – taxi from Pisac to Kinsa Cocha
  • 3 hours – hiking at the first two lakes
  • 20 minutes – photos and view at the third lake
  • 45 minutes – taxi from Kinsa Cocha to Pisac
  • 1 hour – exploring the Pisac market and grabbing a snack in Pisac
  • 45 minutes – colectivo from Pisac to Cusco

In total, you should budget around seven or eight hours from start to finish for a well-paced trip to Kinsa Cocha and the town of Pisac.

How to hike at lakes one and Two?

Once you grab a taxi and make the drive to the starting point of the hike, you will be dropped off 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 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.

Afterward, we came out into a field with a large herd of alpacas, which was definitely the highlight 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, walk further into the valley, where you feel tiny in relation to the mountains rising up on both sides of you. It is an extremely beautiful hike.

Do not walk towards the mountain wall. Instead, climb up on the rising ledges on the left side of the valley to walk back on the trails high above the green valley. The valley overlooks the lakes in the distance.

A great spot for a short picnic lunch is the After we ate a picnic alpaca field, on the other side of the valley.

Walk above the lake with a gorgeous view of the mountains, valleys, and fields spread out below.

It is breathtaking.

The walk to the end of the valley and back, with time for a picnic, takes around three hours in total.

How to visit three lakes( laguna Azul)?

Once you return to your taxi, the drive takes another 10 minutes down the road to the third lake.

It’s possible to hike to this lake instead of taking a taxi, 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 encountering a few switchbacks.

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.

The driver drops you off at Laguna Azul, the third lake, and climbs up on the hillside to snap a few pics.

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 is another 45 minutes down dirt roads but the views are stunning.

Where to stay in Pisac

A few hotels and other lodging options are available in Pisac, if you want to stay longer. Your budget would be a little bit greater if you wanted to make reservations in advance.

Casa intihuatana
Hospedaje Inti
Bamboo lodge saced valley

What Is the Difficulty Level of the Hike Around Laguna Kinsa Cocha?
The height will be the most difficult aspect of Laguna Kinsa Cocha. The altitude was a minor issue for a couple of us, but not the trek itself. The hike has a few steep sections, but for the most part, it is a rather flat hike. It frequently switches between uphill and downhill. The landscape may get muddy and swampy, especially during the rainy season, which is when we visited. The only significant challenges are the heaps of alpaca poop.

If you move quickly, you can complete the loop around the lagoon in about two hours. However, there is no need to haste. There is so much to discover, and the scenery will never bore you. You’ll come across plenty of stunning locations where you’ll want to stop for at least a few minutes.

What to pack for your hike to the Kinsa Cocha lakes?

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:

  • A large water bottle
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen! Cusco is at a high altitude and you can and will get burned even in the winter
  • Extra layers like a sweatshirt or light jacket
  • Snacks and a packed lunch
  • Sturdy hiking boots
  • Cash for the collective and taxi

Is it necessary for me to bring my original passport?
It is not necessary to bring your passport.

What about the tour guide?
Their language skills are superb, and they are incredibly professional. They have a wealth of knowledge and a passion for the Inca history and tradition. We recommend that you visit the Orange Nation Peru website for further information.

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