29 May 2016 Pacchanta Homestay

As photographers, sometimes we find ourselves in the most remote locations on earth.  Today was one of those days.  We woke up bright and early from our Cusco hotel with our private guide and driver and headed for the Andes.  The diversity of our experience has been incredible.  First Cusco then Ollanaytambo, Aguas Calientes, Machu Picchu, Pisac, and the Andes…

The journey was long, we drove nearly 3 hours and hiked another hour and a half before we reached the last community at the base of the Ausangate Mountain deep in the Andean mountain range.  The air was clean and the scenery breathtaking.  The Andean people have a very traditional style of dress that isn’t replicated anywhere else in the world.  The women wear bright colored skirts and shawls, with large & colorful hats on their heads.

When we arrived at the village we were greeted by herds of llamas and little children running towards us.  The village was breathtaking, and arriving there on foot made it even more of an experience.  We were escorted to our humble hostal (homestay) where we were to sleep for the evening, shortly after which a late lunch arrived.  

At such a high elevation there are actually very few crops that the people can grow.  As a result the majority of the people’s diet comes from potatoes and alpaca meat.  They do purchase a few staples in bulk from the villages below (i.e. quinoa, chicken, eggs, vegetables).  It was very interesting to learn about a cuisine that exists above the tree line.

After dinner the light was perfect to go out and explore the village.  We watched the local women weave blankets and shawls, explored the gorgeous hot springs that Pacchanta is famous for, played with the children, and marveled at the array of stars that appeared in the evening.  The Milky Way and the Southern Cross were absolutely breathtaking.

This is a place I will be visiting again.

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