Trek: Ollantaytambo to Lares Awamaki Weaving Trip
Days: 2 (possible in 3 at more relaxed pace, ask for details)
Difficulty: Moderate to High (high altitude trekking crossing 4400 meter pass)
Highlights: This trek accesses both the popular natural hot springs of Lares with the equally popular Awamaki weaving center visit in Patacancha, home to a very strong Andean / Incan culture.
The trip begins in Ollantaytambo, where we willl take private transport for the drive up to Patacancha. The drive up this valley is stunning – Incan terracing, waterfalls, and traditional Andean farming practices make up the landscape as we ascend nearly a 1000 meters up the valley to Patacancha, which is known for it’s traditional cultural, weaving, and lifestyle practices. The drive takes about forty minutes.
Upon arriving to Patacancha we will go to the Awamaki weaving center (www.Awamaki.org), built as a collaborative effort with the local womens weaving cooperative. Here we will enjoy the full educational experience of seeing first hand the process of how their unique clothing is made – from shearing the wool from the llama or sheep, spinning it into yarn, using natural plant dyes to give the yarn its vibrant color, and finally using ancient tools 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.
After a local lunch featuring native potatoes and other fresh ingredients from the region cooked in an underground earth oven lunch,(known in Quechua as a “pachamanca”, we will begin our trek. Using horses and/or mules to assist on the steep climb up to our camping spot for the evening, we will enjoy the route out of Patacancha and it’s accompanying views of the surrounding Andes mountains and glaciers. Our campsite is alongside a glacial lake, very beautiful and at an altitude of approximately 4000 meters a bit chilly as well ! Depending on the time of day and pace of the group, we will either camp at a lake just below the final pass, or else on the other side. The pass itself is part of the Continental Divide ridgeline of Peru and has outstanding vistas in all directions. We use only high quality camping equipment to ensure your comfort. Tents, sleeping bags, and sleeping pads are always included free.
After a nights sleep under the stars and a hot and hearty breakfast we will either begin the last, short but steep climb up to the pass or if we did it the night before we will begin the long descent towards the high Amazon jungle and the Lares Hot Springs.
The air gets noticeably thicker and warmer as we begin to encounter locals taking their animals out to pasture, a sure sign that we are approaching the classic Andean village of Huacahuasi, known also for its traditional weaving and cultural practices. Continuing downard, the trail will turn to road but the beauty of the landscape just keeps getting better as the vegetation thickens. We will stop for a trail lunch along the way, before finally arriving at the hot springs themselves.
Needless to say, we will be taking a long and well-deserved soak in these natural hot springs that have been developed a bit in order to improve the flow of fresh hot water but remain very low key, and the lush jungle surroundings take center stage. While you are soaking, we will be preparing a BBQ of chicken, potatoes, and fresh vegetables that will be sure to hit the spot. After, we will get into our private van for the long (about four hours) drive back to either Cusco or Ollantaytambo. * It is also possible to spend the night camping in Lares right next to the hot springs and leaving in the morning, instead of returning late the night before. This adds a little cost and one half a day to the trip but definitely allows for a more relaxed pace. Ask us for more details.
Cost: $265 per person, minimum three people
Includes: Everything ! – Day 1 breakfast, lunch and dinner plus snacks, Day 2 breakfast, lunch and snacks (dinner not included); Private transport from Ollantaytambo to trailhead at Soccma; private or public transport on the return; mule team and/or porters to carry all your gear; cook to prepare all meals; English speaking guide; all camping gear including tents, sleeping bags and sleeping bads; Not included; personal drinking water (bottles and filters available upon request)