Villagers from Janac Chuquibamba used to see the Achupalla as a spiny plant that could only be used as fuel for heating homes and cooking. However, after listening to the elders of the community, they found that they could make cups, plates, belts, ropes, bags, wallets - and even found out that the Achupalla is a source of food! In the Route of the Achupalla activity you will learn the importance of this plant, learn how to make Incan handicrafts out of the Achupalla, walk through pre-Incan ruins on the way to harvest the plant - and, if you desire, try an exotic Susacuro Pizza (made with a worm that grows in the core of the Achupalla) accompanied by a crispy guinea pig with mashed potatoes and beans. Your soul will thank you. Optional one night extension includes rural homestay lodging, authentic Andean cooking, and cultural ceremony.
The Route of the Achupalla
We will depart Cusco at 7:30 AM after breakfast in the hotel. After a 1-hour 15-minute drive to the Sacred Valley town of Lamay, we will drive another 45 minutes up the Lamay canyon to the village of Janaq Chuquibamba. Upon arrival, we will be greeted by an amazing community reception ceremony complete with traditional music and beautiful Incan flowers (Kantu). This ceremony represents an offering to the “Pacha Mama” (Mother-Earth in Quechua) to thank her for this new day and the chance for people of different cultures to share an intercultural experience together.
After the welcoming ceremony, we will begin the activity “The Route of the Achupalla.” In this activity, you will learn the importance of the Achupalla plant for the community of Janaq Chuquibamba. At first glance, the Achupalla plant seems threatening due to its spines and the fact that it tends to grow on steep ledges that are hard to reach – most casual observers will be inclined to distance themselves from the foreboding shrub. However, this plant is regarded as a gift from Mother Earth by the members of the community – from it can be made authentic Andean utensils, plates, belts, ropes, bags and wallets – and it is also a source of food! In the Route of the Achupalla activity you will learn the importance of this plant, learn how to make Incan handicrafts out of the Achupalla, walk through pre-Incan ruins on the way to harvest the plant - and, if you desire, try an exotic susacuro pizza (made with a worm that grows in the core of the Achupalla) accompanied by a crispy guinea pig with mashed potatoes and beans. At 6:00 PM, we will enjoy our homemade dinner as well as a traditional dance and theatre performance by the locals. At 7:00, we will return to Cusco.
Rural Tourism Overnight
Rural homestay accommodations are available. They are clean and comfortable, and bathrooms with running water and hot showers are provided. Dinner will be provided and before eating, passengers will be treated to a unique intercultural presentation with local dancing, Andean poetry and storytelling, and a warm campfire. You can relax under the starry sky and truly become part of the rural Andean lifestyle for a night.