About an hour drive from Cusco , you will find Chinchero , known to the Incas as the birthplace of the rainbow.
There are two things this typical Andean town is famous for : Sunday Market , colonial church and Inka ruins . I would like to add the majestic views of icy mountains surrounding the area here as well .
The Sunday Market is am attraction of its own . Imagine the plaza is full of local women wearing colorful textiles and selling vegetables and potatoes; mestizo women from the salt mines of Moray wearing tall, white hats and trading their coarse iodized product; and women in straw hats from the jungle, just 20 kilometers, or about 12 miles, over the mountain range, trading medicinal herbs that cure asthma and prostate cancer .
I will tell you about them all .
Chinchero, now an adobe village of cobbled streets, was once a major Inca city. Today, Chinchero springs to life on Sundays for a market as lively as Pisac’s, but more localized . If you follow the Inca wall past the 17th-century church raised on its massive stones, you can descend a staircase to a deep niche that may once have held the mummy of an Inca leader; now children play in the ruins and wait to sell watercolors of street scenes.
The elevation here(12,300 feet) is cutely higher than in Cusco(11,000 feet) , so it’s good idea to let your body acclimatize a little before heading to Chinchero .
The church, built in the early 1600’s, contains wonderful frescos that cover the entire ceiling which date back from the time the church was built. The towns plaza is the upper portion of the main plaza of the Inca city, and to one side, Inca ruins – some buildings and many terraces – run down the valley, destroyed but not built upon.
The Chinchero Ruins
The terraces were simply amazing . The view , the clouds – the complete mysterious feel , the one that surrounds all of the Inca ruins . The majestic views of icy mountains surrounding the area overlooking a sharp ravine.
Here terraces, which the Incas cultivated with cotton, tobacco, coca leaves and hot peppers, are devoted to beans and barley (used in making the excellent Peruvian beer).
Chinchero was the royal estate of Topa Yupanqui, the tenth Inca king and son of the great Pachacuti. He built this estate during his reign in the late 1400s.
The Chinchero Market , when is the best time to visit ?
The Chinchero market is held on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays
This colorful and vibrant event is a must visit. A lot of people debate between Pisaq Market and Chichero Market . The only difference between these two , I think is the “march of mayors” .
I did find the Chinchero Market very vibrant and memorable . Also , I took some of my ,most favorite and the most genuine photos …ever . Check them out below .
The market is indeed very touristy , but it is not only for tourists . We got to see how Andean indigenous people still have bartering , everyone was wearing traditional costumes (and not for pay-per-photo activities). I saw so much going on there that at some point I stopped , sat down and just watched the incredible local Sunday life going on . Colourfully dressed villagers from the surrounding communities all come to the market to sell vegetables selling their products on blue canvases on the ground, animals and textiles . People watching is definitely a must do activity if you make it there on Sunday .
There , you can find some delicious street eats , get the feel of the busy Sunday market life , take incredible photos and shop for the unique items !
I took two of my favorite pictures in Chinchero , this on kind of represents the entire Peru that I got to see in person : A boy eating some street food on the market, feeding his little brother or sister and having a bite himself .Are you even supposed to let the babies eat while they are laying down ?! The stray dog watching them with envy. Around them , the market life going on.
Chichero is very well known for its weaving traditions , in fact I think only the Taquile Andean Weavers beat them when it comes to weaving . So be ready to see some demonstrations and a lot of unique hand made items . I found great fabrics with incredible designs . The bargains were better than in Cusco , but I was buying in bulk – hats and scarves for all my relatives and friends .
Chinchero women proudly wear their hand made creations , with the famous wide – brimmed hats .
You’ll find weavers everywhere, creating their beautiful and colorful textiles. They’ll be out in the streets creating their masterpieces
Chichero is a typical Andean town , charming , high altitude , historic little place in between the majestic mountains .
Very authentic .