Tipon is a less visited Inca site in Peru’s Sacred Valley, which can be reached by bus from Cusco (follow the link to read about our stay in Cusco). There are also many tours available that include Tipon.
Getting to Tipon
To get to Tipon independently, as we did, you can take the bus from Cusco’s Avenida de la Cultura to Urcos, and get off at the Tipon stop. From there you can get a taxi up to the site, although we decided to walk instead. It is a walk of approximately 4 km on an ascending, winding track, through small communities, and with great views of the river valley. We really enjoyed the walk.
If you prefer an organized tour, Viator have a range of tours in the Sacred Valley, including Tipon.
Arriving at Tipon we were struck by the peace and the spaciousness of the site. It is very different to the other Inca sites we visited in the Sacred Valley. Instead of the massively impressive walls at Saqsaywaman or the steep walled terraces at Pisac and Ollantaytambo, here there are more widely spaced, intricate terraces with irrigation channels between gentle cultivated slopes. Stepped paths wind around the site, and there is open space all around.
There were also no crowds of tourists, just a single minibus with a small party and a few individuals. It was so nice being able to wander around on our own. Tipon is one of the sites covered by the Cusco Tourist Ticket (Boleto Turistico – see Peru Practicalities), but there was nobody there to check the ticket the day we went.
Tipon is noted for its irrigation channels and water features, some of which still have water flowing.
Above the main site we found the irrigation channel (which was dry when we visited) in the photo below. We started following this up into the hills, and it just went on and on. We didn’t find out how far it actually goes. It is hugely impressive and demonstrates the ingenuity and engineering skills of the people who built it.
Flowers and Birds
It is easy to stroll up above Tipon for views over the site and of the surrounding mountains.
We came upon this lovely plant (possibly a type of agave – if anyone recognises it we would love to know!)
Whilst staying in the Sacred Valley we had been fascinated by the lovely hummingbirds. We were particularly intrigued when we heard that there is a giant hummingbird, which is rarely seen. A giant hummingbird was difficult to imagine.
So we were absolutely delighted when a giant hummingbird approached the plant above and started feeding. Unfortunately we were so enthralled watching it that we didn’t manage to get a decent photograph! At least the one below gives an idea of the size of the bird, which although not giant was substantially bigger than other hummingbirds we saw. We felt very privileged to see this unusual bird feeding so close to us.
Walking back through Tipon we also came across this lovely bird of prey which I think was an American kestrel. Again if you know different we would love to hear from you!
If you are staying in Cusco it is definitely worth making the effort to visit Tipon. It is a really atmospheric site with very few tourists, and is surrounded by lovely countryside. We remember it as one of the best days of our tour.
Please remember that this site is based entirely on our own experiences, therfore kindly note the disclaimer.