While there are so many things to do and see in Peru, some of the most treasured experiences can’t be planned for.

Today was a very special day as we were invited to participate in a llama (or alpaca) Blessing festival in one of the villages outside of Ollantaytambo.

After breakfast we traveled through the mountains to the Latis Valley (on the other side of the sacred valley) on a scenic journey through the tiny villages fringing the mountainsides. After about 1 hour of driving we reached the first main village, where we were introduced to the local people and observe through our bus windows how they live their day to day lives. We continued on another hour or so until we reached the mountain highlands where the majority of Peruvian llamas live.

As we hopped out of the vehicle, Juan and his family were there to greet us with big hugs, and in the distance I could see all the llamas gathered together for the blessing.

The blessing is very special, as the people believe it brings good luck and heath to their animals, which are an important part of the livelihood in Peru.

First all the llamas are gathered together, and the youngest are brought forth to the front of the herd. Our baby llamas were just 2 weeks old. Cocoa leaves, incense, feathers, and other items are gathered up in a pouch and burned. Special water is thrown over the tops of the llama heard, and the baby llamas are decorated with flowers & natural colors as prayers are spoken. At the end of the ceremony the people dance around the heard with flags, and colorful clothing until all the llamas are released back into the mountains.

In the late afternoon we continued onwards to Juan’s village for a traditional Pachamama lunch. And then continued onwards to Pisac, to visit the local markets and buy traditional Peruvian textiles & ceramics (two of the best souvenirs you can bring back from Peru).

Such a great day!

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