Exploring Chinchero Peru in the Sacred Valley of the Incas

May 7, 2018

Chinchero

Chinchero Peru was the first Inca site on our schedule in the Sacred Valley of the Incas.  Eager to get to my “real” bucket list destination, Machu Picchu, I wasn’t expecting much at the Moray archaeological site.

After driving 19 miles from Cusco with AdventureSmith Explorations, I got out of our transport van and strolled over to the edge of a grassy knoll and looked down.  Spread out beneath were rows-upon-rows of circular agricultural terraces moving down in steps. The fact that there were virtually no other tourists in sight only enhanced my first glimpse into the fascinating Inca culture.

According to local folklore, Chinchero is where the Incas claimed to be the birthplace of the rainbow. At an altitude of 12,500 – even higher than Cusco – frequent rainbows appear in the sky, especially in the rainy season.

Chinchero is known for its colonial buildings as well as its past as an important agricultural center during the reign of Inca Emperor Tahuantinsuyo.

Exploring the Town

We wandered through cobblestone streets of town to get to Chinchero’s main attraction, the archaeological site of Inca ruins.  At the archeological site are sweeping views of the 18,140-foot Chicón snow-capped mountain and the Vilcabamba and Vilcanota ranges.

Chinchero Peru

Just outside of the ruins, on the central plaza, we immersed ourselves in an authentic indigenous market bursting with culture and color.  It’s one of the most traditional markets in South America, complete with vendors wearing gorgeous traditional Peruvian apparel and hats, and women with long black braids running down their backs.  Myriad of handmade blankets, Pachamama dolls, and other handicrafts were on offer on canvases on the large grassy area. I was dazzled by such varied culture spread out before me – truly a feast for the eyes.

Visiting the Weaving Co-op

Just outside of the archaeological area, we took a short drive to a traditional cooperative. Local women educate (and entertain!) visitors about the centuries-old process of transforming and weaving alpaca wool into colorful textiles and soft sweaters so well-known of Peru’s Sacred Valley.  The process consists of washing raw wool in boiling water, letting it dry, and then spinning it onto a… [read more]

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