Bike Ride: Patacancha to Ollantaytambo
(with optional Awamaki weaving workshop )
Days: Half Day or Full Day (6 hours with weaving tour, 4 hours without
Difficulty: Easy to medium, the ride is all downhill on a rugged dirt road
Highlights: The mountainous terrain and alpine scenery on the route is spectacular, but what sets this trip apart is the optional visit to he community of Patacancha, known for its traditional cultural practices. We partner with Awamaki, a non-profit specializing in preserving the weaving traditions of this Quechuan community, to bring you the option of visiting Patacancha and participating in a community visit and weaving workshop. This is optional though, and we also run the trip just as a biking excursion. Patacancha visits only available on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays
The trip leaves from KB Tambo Hotel in Ollantaytambo at 9:00am, where you will meet your guide and then get in our private vehicle and head out. The drive up the Patacancha valley is stunning – Incan terracing, waterfalls, and traditional Andean farming practices make up the landscape as we ascend nearly a 1000 meters. The communities along the valley are known for their traditional culture, ancient weaving and lifestyle practices. This drive takes about forty minutes.
Upon arriving to Patacancha, we will begin unloading the bikes while you have time to look around this quaint village. If you have chosen to include the Awamaki weaving tour (recommended, must reserve in advance), we will visit the Awamaki weaving center (www.awamaki.org). The Awamaki fair trade weaving project aims to support disadvantaged Andean women by revitalizing their ancient weaving tradition. Awamaki connects these women to market, purchasing textiles directly, so that they have a reliable source of income. Awamaki’s weaving project supports 44 weavers and their families in the community of Patakancha and another 14 weavers in the community of Kelkanka.
During scheduled, respectful, and low-impact Quechua Community Visits, Awamaki hopes to educate the responsible traveler about the ancient weaving tradition and Andean Indigenous culture. On a visit to the weaving center you will see a demonstration of the weaving process, from shearing the wool from the alpaca or sheep, spinning it into yarn on the Andean drop spindle, or phuska, an explanation of natural plant dyes, and finally the tools and techniques used to weave the yarn into cloth, and then a wearable garment. It is truly fascinating to see it all come to life, in its original environment. Visitors also will have the chance to purchase textiles directly from their creators (optional), and visit a traditional Andean home.
After a delicious and healthy boxed lunch (provided) we will gear up for a thrilling downhill mountain bike ride through the Patacancha valley, back to Ollantaytambo. The ride will be led by one of our experienced, multi-lingual guide and includes a full suspension mountain bike with hydraulic disc brakes, helmet, full fingered gloves, and optional knee/shin pads. Along the way down, we will have plenty of time and opportunity to rest, take photos, visit a secluded waterfall, and see several Incan ruins. The ride ends right where we began, at KB Tambo Hotel and Tours where you can go up to our rooftop deck and enjoy the cold beverage of your choice. (You are always welcome to invite your hard-working guide one as well!) It is not a great video by any means, but here is a short segment that shows what the riding is like
* Please note that due too religious practices of the community of Patacancha, we do not offer this trip on Sunday.
The cost of this trip is $79 per person for the bike tour, or $115 for the full day trip that includes the Awamaki community visit and weaving workshop. We leave at 9am and return approx 3pm, depending on the speed that you bike, length of photo stops, etc. Minimum three people, discounts available for groups of more than 5 people. Two person price is $99 per person. Trip includes all transportation in private vehicles, quality mountain bike, gloves and helmet, box lunch, and bilingual guide. The Awamaki extension includes everything as detailed above.