The communities of Willoq and Patacancha are important Andean communities situated in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. These villages still maintain the same customs and daily life practices of the ancient Andean populations. They also dedicate time to raising awareness to their lifestyle through the opportunity of Experiential Tourism. Experiential tourism has become very popular in recent years and involves tourist’s emersion in the way of life of rural communities. You can take part in working, cooking, creating art and teaching. The overriding principle is that nothing is adapted for the tourists; rather preservation of the normal way of life is carried out. The attraction of this trip lies with the dynamic, magical settings and total immersion into a different life. You will witness a culture so starkly different in terms of economy, organization, religion and family practices. Perhaps the most important realization will be the harsh realities faces by these isolated communities in an increasingly globalized world.
During this trip you will stay with host families in Willoq and Patacancha. You will help prepare meals and assist in the harvesting of crops and herding the animals. You will get the opportunity to create art and weave with the local woman and artists, as well as have a lot of fun. This trip is recommended for all ages and group sizes.
Type: Cultural, landscape, and Adventure tour.
Length: 3 days, 2 nights.
Difficulty: Easy to moderate.
Group size: 2-9 participants.
Your first day will start with collection at your accommodation at 8:30am, where you will travel in private transport to Ollantaytambo. Ollantaytambo is the capital of the Sacred Valley of the Incas and holds special significance for the local people. The many villages and communities still regard the mighty fortress here as a protector and reminder of the greatness of the ancient Incan Empire. Every week a huge market happens that allows all communities to buy and sell their goods. Here, you will have an opportunity to explore the town and visit the archeological site of Pumamarka. Your next destination of the day is the village of Willoq. You must travel around 40minutes to reach this village by private transportation. Amidst all the tourist attractions and ‘comings and goings’ is the small but important communities inhabited by truly ‘Incan People’. Willoq offers a great experience in ‘Vivencial Tourism’, or Experiential Tourism, and it is one of the only places that truly remain with a lifestyle alive with the same customs and traditions as their ancestors. Tradition pervades here, and you will witness (as well as partake) how the people practice with the same unique techniques to cultivate their land. You will understand the difference in politics and social standards. For example, each village like Willoq has a president, and law dictates that his right hand man must be a young boy. This is a very important tradition as the Andean people believe that children are pure and do not lie.
Once you have reached Willoq, you will be taken to your host family. The husband/ head of the house will greet you with a unique dance. This is a customary way of opening their home for a special occasion. This is followed by a home cooked lunch that you will enjoy with the whole family. You guide, who can speak the Quechua language, will be on hand for communication and translation. Following lunch, the woman living in the village will show you how they are living here: their roles and responsibilities. They are an important part of the community. The women dominate the loom with their textiles being an essential and famous export from their village. You will be given a detailed demonstration of the weaving process, as well as shown how their textiles are dyed from natural sources. You will have dinner and spend the night with your host family.
Following a typical breakfast of local fruits, grains, potatoes and homemade cheese (typical of this region) you will have the opportunity to visit the local farms. The families here will give explanations and demonstrations on the unique ways they harvest their produce without any modern day appliances. They grow corn, potatoes, wheat, carrots and other root vegetables. It is hard laborious work and you have the chance to pitch in and help- it is an experiential tour after all! You will notice that the groups of workers have a break every two hours. This is an important part of socialising, as this is when the people share the coca leaves- helping to give energy for the hard work that they are undertaking. This is a custom that has been practices for centuries. Around midday you will return to your home for lunch or some families will like to prepare a picnic at the farm. In early the afternoon you will go to visit special farms that are home to Alpacas and Llamas. There will be further chance to participate in herding them and perhaps the sheering of their wool- depending on the season.
Next, you will travel onwards to your next village of Patacancha. You will walk a short distance to this village, enjoying the views of the Sacred Valley, as well as the indigenous flora and fauna. Patacancha is located in a mountain are that stands at 3,654m (13,000ft). The village is home to 15 Quechua speaking families that, again, make their livelihood from farming and raising livestock. The typical and picturesque high Andean architecture can be seen in the houses of the local families. This community lives simply but practices the mystical ancient ways of their forefathers.
On arrival at Patacancha your second host family will greet you. The locals will host a special ceremony in the evening, with music, food, drinking and dancing.The people will play local instruments and share stories with you. It is a truly extraordinary night. You will spend the night in the second home.
In the morning, you will have your last meal with your host family. After breakfast a Shaman of the community will lead a ritual for offerings to the mother earth. This includes offering to the mountains. You will participate in the ceremony of “Haywarisqa” – that is still widely practiced in these areas. You will offer dried coca leaves, alcohol, rice, fruits etc. to say thank you and ask for blessing during the harvest. If you wish the shaman could also give you a special blessing that involves being washed, by him and a prayer said on your behalf. These ceremonies are hugely important and respected in the Andean community. Many believe in their power to bring good fortune upon their farms and thus, trade for the coming months.
Lunch will be a plentiful and tradition ‘parilla’ or grill. You can eat the local delicacy of “cuy’ (guinea pig) and other meats such as alpaca. There will be local potatoes and vegetables from the farms of your host families.
In the afternoon you will travel back to Cusco by private transport. This journey will take around 1 hour.
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Welcome to Nativa Expeditions! We are a tour agency based in Cusco, focusing on providing the most authentic and exciting trips in Cusco.
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