Tipón is generally famed for the traditional dish of cuy and for its beautiful Inca ruins. Tipon is one of the less visited sites in the Sacred Valley. It is situated in the southeastern sector valley and is about 30 minutes from Cusco. The site is located high in the mountain tops of the valley. Trekking your way along a slowly winding dirt track you will come across a serious of well-maintained terraces, which are were cleverly irrigated by the Incas.
The Ruins of Tipón
The Tipón ruins are some of the most impressive, architecurally, in the Sacred Valley. They are located away from the other main Sacred Valley highlights, on the Cusco to Puno road, leaving them tranquil and relatively tourist free. The Inca citadel is well hidden in the mountains above the valley and town below. Tipón is beautiful sight of well-preserved Inca terracing, fountains and finely designed water channels. Again it is clear that the terraces were constructed for agricultural purposes. The water channels feed the whole site with fresh water, harnessed from a natural spring near the top of the site. Some of the Incan aqueducts are still in use today. On further exploration of the site you will be come across more aqueducts, a small reservoir and traditional Inca stonework. The ruins of Tipón are not as extensive as other Inca sites but are beautifully architecturally designed. These ruins are heavily water based and display to us how advanced the Incas were architecturally. All the while at Tipón take time to take in the stunning setting of these ruins.
It is possible to hire a guide at the ruins or to explore yourself. If you take the time to visit these ruins from Cusco by yourself it will give you more opportunity to discover the ruins. The ruins are a 30 to 45 hike uphill, however it is easy to get a local taxi to the top. Ask the taxi driver to wait for you, as it is difficult to find a taxi back down and can be pricier. Agree a cost for the return fare with the taxi driver before you set out. Usually you need a Cusco Tourist Ticket to enter the ruins but sometimes the guard is off somewhere else and nowhere to be found. You can just slip in!
Give the Guinea Pig a Go!
After your morning or afternoon of exploring why not treat yourself to a traditional meal of crispy cuy, guinea pig. Cuy is a national delicacy and the town of Tipón is said to be the cuy capital of Peru. As you stroll down the narrow streets you will be enticed by the roasting guinea pigs on display. Don’t let the fact that they are still full bodied with their teeth and eyes put you off! When you build up the courage to actually order one you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised by the taste. Although not that meaty, the cuy is succulent and tender. The skin is fine and crispy. Some people compare it to chicken, others to rabbit. Taste it and make your own mind up.
The nearby town of Opresa is famous for its bakeries. If you have time stop here for some freshly baked breads. This picturesque little town also has a beautiful adobe church with a three tiered belfry, full of overgrown flora.
Getting to Tipón
If you are opting to visit Tipón without a private tour it is possible to catch a collectivo for 4 to 5 soles. These shared minivans can be taken from Plaza San Francisco; Bus Leones, or from Avenida de la Cultura 1320; Cusco to Urcos route.
A Cusco Tourist Ticket is ideally needed for entrance into the ruins. However, it is known that some people have paid 10 soles at the gate, or not even paid at all. Although there is a chance that you might just meet a grumpy security guard on the day.