- Dates: May 17 – 28, 2020
- Duration: Twelve days/eleven nights
- Where: Peru! Lima, Cusco, Sacred Valley and remote high Andean villages
- Departing and ending point: Cuzco, Peru
- Want your own room? Single supplement option available for an additional $385
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 hand-spun 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
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. Contact us to learn more.
Day 1/ Sun, May 17– (D) WELCOME TO PERU! Welcome to the Southern Hemisphere and welcome to Lima! Our journey begins in the ocean side capital city of this nation. We will meet at our hotel at 6PM and begin our collective exploration of a fascinating land.
DAY 2 / Mon, May 18 – (B,L) LIMA and THE SACRED VALLEY OF THE INCA. We begin with the ancient. Threads that have survived the centuries and speak of the depth of the textile heritage that continues to thrive in this land. Our morning is spent at the gorgeous Amano museum learning about pre-Columbian Peruvian textiles and cultures. Preparing our eyes and minds for what is to come. Then we fly to the highlands in an included flight from Lima to Cusco. Upon arrival we will be whisked away to the lower and more breathable altitudes of the Sacred Valley of the Incas. A place that is, in a word, breathtaking. It is a deep, fertile valley cut by the Urubamba river which is dotted with ancient towns and 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 four nights and we’ll avail ourselves of its relatively low altitude for the Andes (~9,000ft) to acclimatize to the thin air. Ollantaytambo (Ollanta) is our home base in the sacred valley. You will have time to wander in Ollanta this afternoon and you will want to. 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. Most of 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/Tue, May 19– (B,L) Chicha, Chocolate and Mercado. Market first! One of the best ways to meet a new place is through the market, that gathering place of humanity where everything is said and sold. The Urubamba market is the principle produce market for the Sacred Valley, the food bellybutton of this valley. Women in bowler hats and bright shawls, men with calloused hands and knit hats and foods you’ve never seen before. Welcome to someplace else! We’ll also meet some keepers of the old time trades. Perhaps the most important is chicha. This is a kind of corn beer that is central to rituals throughout the Andes, as well as being a simple and pleasing sip on a Friday afternoon. We’ll meet a chicha maker in her adobe courtyard and learn from her how this brew is made. Another very important trade, I think you’ll agree, is the making of chocolate! Cacao, mother of chocolate, is native to the Amazon jungle, which happens to be just over the mountains from here. We’ll spend time with a family learning how to make chocolate in the traditional way.
DAY 4/ Wed, May 20– (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 using local plants. They’ll pull out their looms (be sure to ask to see the condor bone thread picker). Plus they’ll cook us lunch! Not so bad. Afternoon finds us back in our lovely village with a bit of free time to putter around. Do putter, there is plenty to absorb!
DAY 5/ Thur, May 21 – (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, snow melt 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 13,500 feet. And it’s 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. We’ll also we visit a the cooperative in Rumira. Here we will be blessed with the beauty of good work, smiles, looms and wool. These groups of weavers, and the others we’ll meet on this trip, work hand in hand with the non-profit, Threads of Peru, to find markets for their excellent work out in the big wide world. It is our fortune to meet these masters on their own soil today.
Day 6/ Fri, May 22 – (B,L,D) TIME TRAVEL. Climb the slopes of the Ollantaytambo ruins this morning, walk into the fallen regal world of the Inca. This ceremonial site was never finished, the work was ended with the invasion of the Spanish. Still, it will blow your mind. There is no finer, more precise and incomprehensible stone work than that of the Inca. If you can figure out how they perfectly fit together ten-ton boulders, let us know! Mid-morning we bid farewell to this sweet town and head deeper into Peru. 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 learn about the work they do, who they are, even how they farm, and very likely fondle lots of silky alpaca cloth plus 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 and we will stop to explore an old Inka city called Ankasmarka just beneath the peaks of the Andes. 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 basic small town hostal is a bit like a stage stop in the old west. Rough around the edges, rustic-homey and a cozy berth in a vast wilderness. Maybe we can make a campfire in the courtyard. Bring harmonica!
Day 7/Sat, May 23 (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 the rare turquoise color obtained 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 8/ Sun, May 24 – (B,L, D) PISAC BREATHER & PIQUILLACTA We have done a lot of travel over the last few days. This morning we take a breather. Out the front doors of the hotel is the town of Pisac with a wonderful street market, shops, cafes, people watching galore and walking opportunities. We set you free to enjoy at your own pace. Then we travel onward to new horizons, up a long valley, with a stop to explore of the Incan archeological site of Piquillacta with its defensive walls and grand views. Evening will find is in the sleepy old town of Huaro, in a comfortable, simple country hotel. And a plus tonight is a specially prepared dinner, with an orchard as the setting.
Day 9/ Mon, May 25 – (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. There might even be an opportunity to shear an alpaca! 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 leave the ancient villages of the highlands and travel to the glorious city of Cuzco.
DAY 10/Tues, May 26 – (B,L) HELLO CUSCO! This is one of the beautiful cities of the world. It was once the heart of the Incan empire and that is astoundingly evident as you walk the streets, many of which are lined with walls built by the Inca and now supporting buildings put up by the Spaniards nearly 500 years ago. The architecture, history and vibrant life that hums in this city makes it a place worth being. It is easy to fall in love with Cusco! We will offer you a tempting peek, with a walking tour of the old city that gives you an overview of this place on earth, with a couple of stops in very textile specific shops, including the gallery of famed Peruvian tapestry weaver, Maximo Laura. In the afternoon we’ll visit a place with an enormous heart that addresses the harder side of life. Casa Mantay is a home that nurtures the health of young women and their children who have escaped abuse and neglect. We’ll learn about the work being done here, participate in a hands-on leather workshop and meet with the young women and children at Casa Mantay.
Day 11/ Wed, May 27–(B,L,D) ANOTHER CUSCO Here’s the bad news, today is our last day 🙁 The good news is that we are in Cusco and there is so much to take in. We highly recommend you add a couple more days to your travels and dig into this city more deeply. Whatever the case may be, this morning is wide open so that you can do just that. Go out and wander! Perhaps sit in the grand plaza, or explore the Incan fortress just above town, or get lost in endless tempting shops, or simply chill in a nice cafe. It’s up to you, choosing is the hard part. Post lunch we wrap up our journey with one final visit. Over the course of this trip we’ve travelled to six communities and met with six cooperatives that work with Threads of Peru. This afternoon 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. In the evening we gather for a final group dinner.
Day 12/ Tues, May 28–(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, better still, stay in iCuzco and enjoy, or book a post tour extension to Machu Picchu. Buen viaje!
INCLUDED IN TOUR PRICE
A Professional, bilingual guide
All local transport in private van
11 nights accommodation based in double occupancy
11 Breakfasts, 10 Lunches, 5 Dinners
Entry fees, tips for meals
High quality, small group travel
Regional flight Lima – Cusco
We will meet May 16 at 6pm at our hotel at Lima for a trip orientation and to head out to dinner. Meet your tour guide 6pm at the Hotel’s lobby.
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.
Max Group Size: 11 pax
Transportation Lima Airport – Barranco Neighborhood, Lima.
Check this link for further details http://limainsider.com/lima-airport-transportation/
* Flights before and after the tour are not included in the tour price. You can organize your flights separately at any point.
* 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
*Tips to tour guides
*No past traveler Discount
- 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 they are very helpful for motion sickness.