A Guide to the Culture and Traditions of the Andean Communities of Peru
In the Andean mountains surrounding Cusco there are some beautiful Quechua communities. Although there are literally hundreds of small highland villages we've highlighted a small selection of some of the most interesting and picturesque below.
Calca Province (more info about the Provinces and Districts of Peru)
Pisac (district of Pisac)
Small town in the Sacred Valley famous for its markets on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. About 1 hour in bus from Cusco. Some may consider it to be a bit commercial and overcrowded with tourists especially between 10am and 1pm on market days but there are plenty of excellent handicrafts on sale. You'll enjoy Pisac much more if you go there independently and not as part of an organised Sacred Valley tour. Great Inca ruins perched up on the hillside overlooking the town, well worth a visit.
Amaru (district of Pisac)
Small community located up in the mountains behind Pisac (approx 40 minutes by bus from Pisac up a narrow winding road). Great views. Very friendly. Recently started a homestay program where you can spend the night staying with local families.
Chahuaytire (district of Pisac)
Other communities in the district of Pisac
Pampallacta, Cuyo Grande, Ampay, Sacaca
Tiracanchi (district of San Salvador)
One of the poorest villages in the Cusco region, Tiracanchi is a small village located at an altitude of about 4000m, a two hours drive (by 4x4) NE of Cusco.
Cancha Cancha (district of Lares)
Other communities in the district of Lares
Lares, Quishuarani, Choquecancha, Rosapata
Urubamba Province (more info about the Provinces and Districts of Peru)
Ollantaytambo (district of Ollantaytambo)
Small town located at the western end of the Sacred Valley (about 2 hours by bus from Cusco). The town has been built on top of original Inca foundations and is the best surviving example of Inca town planning. The town is divided in canchas (blocks) which are almost entirely intact. Interesting Inca fortress overlooking the town. Just like Pisac, Ollantaytambo is visited as part of an organised Sacred Valley tour. Tour groups usually arrive early in the afternoon but have only an hour to visit the ruins and town centre. You can easily spend a day exploring this interesting town and surrounding area.
Patacancha (district of Ollantaytambo)
A small community located up in the mountains to the north of Ollantaytambo (approx 40 minutes along an unpaved road from Ollantaytambo). Locals still maintain the custom of wearing bright red traditional dress.
Huilloc (district of Ollantaytambo)
Located along the road between Ollantaytambo and Patacancha about a 20 minute drive from Ollantaytambo. Famous for beautiful hand-woven textiles. Many men from these communities work as porters on the Inca Trail.
Chinchero (district of Chinchero)
Chinchero is a small Andean village located high up on the windswept plains of Anta at 3762m about 45 minutes by bus from Cusco. There are beautiful views overlooking the Sacred Valley of the Incas, with the Cordillera Vilcabamba and the snow-capped peak of Salkantay dominating the western horizon. Chinchero is believed to be the mythical birthplace of the rainbow. Its major claim to tourism is its colourful Sunday market which is much less tourist-orientated than the market at Pisac.
Quispicanchi Province (more info about the Provinces and Districts of Peru)
Tinqui (district Ocongate)
Upis (district Ocongate)
Pachanta (district Ocongate)
Checaspampa (district Ocongate)
Other communities in the district of Ocongate
Ccolcca, Pinchimuro, Cco˝amuro, Lauramarca,
Canchis Province (more info about the Provinces and Districts of Peru)
Paucartambo Province (more info about the Provinces and Districts of Peru)
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