- Dates: May 27 – June 6, 2019
- Duration: Twelve days/eleven nights
- Where: Peru
- Departing and ending point: Cuzco
About a Textiles of Peru
In the immersive, personal, off-the-beaten-path style of Traditions Mexico, we present you textile traditions of Peru!
There is no place like Peru for weaving. Ancient skills madly alive, fibers like alpaca, vicuna, and wool, a heritage of rich design and the crispy cold air of the towering Andes that make those warm fibers just that much nicer. On our 12 day/11 night sojourn into the mountain realms of the Quechua, where the echoes of the Inca are alive everywhere, from the stone temples to the woven designs, we take you deep into the traditional world of Peruvian weavers.
In communities seldom visited by outsiders we will meet groups of weavers who, with great pride and humility, share with us the skill of their hands; from the art of drop spindle spinning alpaca wool while walking, to the variety of fine techniques used to create designs, borders and fringes as well as the knowledge and skills of natural dyeing. Indeed, we take natural dyeing even deeper, with a hands-on workshop with a master of the art to learn his approach to beautiful tones and learn about gorgeous, little known Andean dye plants.
What makes this grand Peruvian journey beyond special is our partnership with Threads of Peru. Threads of Peru is a not-for-profit social enterprise that connects the world to handmade treasures of the Andes helping to strengthen ancient craft techniques and empower artisans. Together with them, we meet artisans committed to bettering their lives. Our access to the world of these weavers is one-of-a-kind, meaningful and by being here we contribute a drop of goodness to the tide of bettering lives; ours and theirs.
And there’s more! From stays in beyond-beautiful towns, utterly breathtaking mountain views at every turn, chocolate, and chicha, wood-oven bread, medicinal plants, eye-candy everywhere in the community fashion of the Quechua people and heart opening connections.
- Visits to amazing villages in the back of beyond
- Women’s weaving cooperatives working for change
- Gorgeous Quechua loom work of handspun alpaca wool
- Natural Dye Workshop with unique Andean species
- Cusco and the Sacred Valley, the dramatic land of Incas
- A Change Maker tour that highlights social enterprise
Important Travel Note:
The entire region of Peru we travel in is above 9,000’, and at certain points of the trip, we’ll be at elevations of 14,000 for several hours. Our trip begins in Cuzco (11,000) but the next day we drop into the Sacred Valley at around 9,000 feet and have two slow days of visiting planned there to acclimatize. Please study up on adjusting to the high altitude. This link is a good place to start.
The optional add-on of going to Machu Picchu before the tour is also a good way to begin to acclimatize, given that these ruins are at 7,900’.
There are no long walks on this tour, but you must be able to walk many blocks on cobbled streets, short trails in villages and (optionally) longer trails at archeological sites.
There are NO straight roads in the Andes. If you are at all susceptible to motion sickness take precautions as you will get it here. We recommend Relief Band as very helpful for motion sickness.
Optional Machu Picchu Pre-Tour
It is hard to come to Peru without visiting Machu Picchu. Our tour is focused on off-the-beaten-path villages and textiles and Machu Picchu is not on our schedule. If you’d like to visit it, we suggest you coordinate the visit through our trusted travel partners in Peru. There are 1 day, 2 day and 5-day options. Click here to learn more (https://www.apus-peru.com/excursions/tours-of-machu-picchu). Our recommendation is to visit Machu Picchu before the main tour. Because it is at a lower elevation than everywhere else we’ll be visiting (7,970’) it is a great place to begin adjusting to Andean altitudes.
- What's Included
11 nights accommodation.
11 Breakfasts, 10 Lunches, 5 Dinners
See itinerary for those that are included. We have chosen to leave some dinners out when we are in places where people can easily find dining on their own. This gives people a chance to explore, have time away from the group, chose not to eat if their stomachs are satiated (almost always the case on our tours) and gives the guides some recovery time as well.
Hotel in Cusco.
Hotel Amaru Colonial.
Hotel address. Calle Chihuampata, 642
Cusco City Centre
- Not Included
- Insurance. Full Comprehensive Travel Insurance is mandatory for this tour
- Additional Services
- Travel and medical insurance
- All services, meals other than those indicated above, alcoholic beverages
- Any changes to the proposed and confirmed program.
- All items of a personal nature e.g. drinks, laundry, telephone calls, tips etc
- No past traveler Discount
Day 1/ Mon, May 27– (D) ARRIVALS Our journey begins in the amazing old capital of the Inca and Spanish jewel, Cuzco at 6 PM at our hotel. We’ll meet, greet and get some dinner.
DAY 2 / Tues, May 28 – (B,L) THE SACRED VALLEY OF THE INCA is, in a word, breathtaking. It is a deep, fertile valley cut by the Urubamba river which is dotted with ancient towns a lined with Incan terraces, palaces, and sacred sites. Above it rise the stunning, jagged peaks of the high Andes. This valley will be our home for the next three nights and we’ll avail ourselves of its relatively low altitude for the Andes (~9,000ft) to acclimatize to the thin air. We leave Cuzco in the morning and drop into the valley and will spend a slow and fun day learning about old-time traditional trades. We’ll learn about chocolate making (cacao trees are native to the Amazon, just on the other side of the Andes), beekeeping and chicha today. Chicha is a kind of corn beer with deep roots here. In the afternoon we travel to Ollantaytambo (Ollanta), our home base in the sacred valley and settle into our beautiful hotel. You will have time to wander in Ollanta this afternoon and you will want it. This is a truly beautiful place on earth. A village that dates back to the time of the Incas, with many of the houses built on the Incan foundations with Incan doors. The streets are pedestrian only with water canals running their length. On two sides of the village rise steep mountains, each adorned with gorgeous Incan ruins. Ollanta is a place worth staying!
DAY 3/Wed, May 29 – (B,L) COLLECTING COCHINEAL Our morning will be spent visiting a small community collective re-mastering the lost art of natural dyeing. We’ll take a walk with them to collect dye materials, including cochineal harvested straight off the cactus. They get fires going beneath their pots and show us different dye methods, including the use of tara to make a purple-grey. They’ll pull out their looms (be sure to ask to see the condor bone thread picker) and we’ll make pompoms for fun. Plus they’ll cook us lunch! Not so bad. Back in Ollantaytambo for the evening.
DAY 4/ Thur, May 30– (B,L) INTO THE LAND OF THE QUECHUA The country road that winds out of Ollanta and out of the sacred valley goes up and up, past ancient terraces, snowmelt marshes, sweeping mountain valleys dotted with herds of alpaca looking like giant poodles and surrounded all around my majestic mountains. This may be one of the most beautiful drives of your life. But it’s simply the road to Chaullacocha, a grand metropolis of 15 houses at 14,000 feet. And the home of a collective of dedicated weavers thrilled with the rare opportunity to host visitors. We will sit in a circle under the endless sky and meet. And there will be textiles, one after another treasure pulled from a bundle. Pearls of cloth and the oyster is the loom. Descending back towards the sacred valley and thicker air, we visit a second cooperative in Rumira. Here we will be blessed with the beauty of good work, smiles, looms, wool and lunch!
DAY 5/ Fri, May 31 – (B,L,D) TIME TRAVEL. Climb the slopes of the Ollantaytambo ruins this morning, walk into the fallen regal world of the Inca. Mid-morning we bid farewell to this sweet town and head deeper into Peru. Afterward, we broaden the understanding of this places dense history by visiting Museo Inkariy where we’ll get a creative and enjoyable understanding of the cultural diversity and history of Peru. It is good to know the place upon which one stands. Peru is one of those places on earth with a particularly fascinating story in the journals of mankind. We are meeting the sons and daughters of the great cultures of this place. Then we travel out of the sacred valley to the mountainside village of Totora to visit a collective of weavers that includes male weavers in beaded and ribboned hats with deep smile wrinkles. We will visit, fondle silky alpaca cloth and enjoy a village lunch. And then onward, winding high into the mountains, driving across the moon. We will stop to soak in the endless views. We will stop to explore an old Inka city called Ankasmarka. And then we wind our way down a long valley to the town of Amparaes where we will be met with dinner and lodging at the home of dear Melchor. This small town hostel is a bit like a stage stop in the old west. Most very simple, rustic-homey and a cozy berth in a vast wilderness. Maybe we can make a campfire in the courtyard. Bring harmonica!
Day 6/ Sat, June 1 – (B,L,D) COLOR! The town of Parobamba sits on the high edge of a deep river valley and on the high Eastern edge of the Andes. Out beyond one can see the greening, the influence of the humid, warm breath exhaling from the Amazon basin far below. This is a landscape of diversity and today we spend colorful hours learning from a master dyer about a diversity of plants, including turquoise from k’insacucho. It will be a hands-on day of skeins of wool and smoking dye pots. Our teacher is also rich with knowledge about the meanings of the designs in the weavings we’ll be seeing. Then we make a reverse migration out of the mountains, back to our Mecca of the Sacred Valley where night will find us arriving in the lively town of Pisac. Cafes and cute shops together with an international small-town bustle. We are no longer at an old west stage stop in the back of beyond.
Day 7/Sun, June 2 (B,L,D) BREAD AND HERBS. We meet a fascinating young man and his family today at a traditional home that is like a museum. He has created a large garden filled with medicinal plants and will share with us knowledge about their uses. We’ll get a peek at the diversity of potatoes grown here (Potatoes are native to the Andes, there are hundreds of kinds!) and quinoa and corn. And in the families wonderful earth oven, we’ll prepare and cook bread and ultimately culminate our morning at a lunch we’ll have had a hand in making. Then we travel onward to new horizons, up a long valley, and time allowing, an exploration of the Incan ruins of Piquillacta. The evening will find is in the old town of Huaro, with its beautiful church and our comfortable country hotel.
DAY 8/ Mon, June 3 – (B,L) UPIS is the name of a little Quechua village spread along the foothills of the tallest mountain in southern Peru, Ausangate. This is a village of free-ranging alpaca herds, sheds for raising guinea pigs and a cooperative of dedicated and skilled weavers in great hats who we’ll have the joy of meeting. We’ll sit in a circle of beautiful women in amazing beaded vests and talk weaving and fibers while children run around the periphery and perhaps a few alpaca come wandering by. Be, for a moment, part of a village and a circle of artisans. Soak this up, this high, remote corner of a mountain country with gorgeous old ways and rosy cheeks. After a home-cooked lunch and hearts satiated by good visiting and lovely textiles, we close the circle of our journey, returning to the city of Cuzco
Day 9/Tues, June 4 – (B,L) HELLO CUSCO! We have returned to where we began, but now we know where we are at what we are looking at. We’ve seen more than most who visit this city do, and that gives us new eyes as well look at the city, which we’ll do with a walking tour to get the lay of the land, learn about Cusco’s Incan roots and soak up the colorful atmosphere. But first, even before that, we’ll do…nothing! Enjoy a free morning to sleep in, find a spot of sun in a nearby plaza, sit in a cafe, catch up on writing about these amazing days…
DAY 10/Wed, June 5 – (B,L) THREADS OF PERU AND ANOTHER CUSCO Over the course of this trip we’ve traveled to six communities and met with six cooperatives that work with Threads of Peru. Today we visit the home office of Threads of Peru, learn about the work they do and see how all the weavings we’ve been seeing come together to make the beautiful collection they offer to the world. Afterward, we’ll meet another side of Cusco, visiting one of the new neighborhoods on the edge of the city, filled with rural migrants looking for the opportunity in the city. We’ll meet with a neighborhood organization and hear their stories. We’ll also enjoy an early dinner with members of the neighborhood organization, getting to know, understand and appreciate a side of this touristy city seldom seen by outsiders.
Day 11/ Thurs, June 6 – (B,L,D) GOOD-HEARTED LEATHER AND A BIT OF CHOCOLATE
Mid-morning we begin our final visits in our Peru and Cusco stories. This has been a journey largely about folk arts… and how they make a difference in people’s lives. We have seen how the 7 villages cooperatives benefit through the collaboration with Threads of Peru. Today we look at one more positive collaboration at a home for adolescent mothers that provides them with a safe place to stay while they raise their children and send them to school. While there they also learn the trade of leather making which can serve them when they move on. We join this unique family of women today, learn about them, the facility and together we’ll play with leather and make a little something. We’ll even share a lunch with the young women and their children before heading on. For dessert we’ll try our hands at another trade, visiting the kitchen of a chocolate confectioner and learn how cacao beans from the Peruvian jungle become chocolate. Finally, you’ll have a bit of free time before we gather for our final dinner on this great journey.
DAY 12/Fri June 7 – (B,) DEPARTURES. You will want to arrange flights from Cuzco to Lima, and then onward to your home destination. Morning flights from Cuzco to Lima (1:20 mins) often allow enough time to catch flights from Lima to North America. Or, stay in Cuzco and enjoy, or book a post-tour extension to Machu Picchu. Buen Viaje!