Willoq and Patacancha
Willoq community is situated 2900 masl, and 19 kilometers from Ollantaytambo, or 45 minutos by car in a dirt road. Patacancha is a small village of 250 families located one hour’s drive from Ollantaytambo, first passing by the Willoq community.
Homes are made from adobe bricks with thatched or tin roofs and, while most families have some electric lighting, each village has only one telephone.
The residents of both villages are also called Wayruros. Their typical dress is red ponchos, wool hats, flannel pants, sandals and ropes tied to the body. Women wear traditional dress including layered skirts with woven trim, red jackets decorated with white buttons, and a bowl-shaped hat with a hand-beaded chin strap. They are illiterate and speak only Quechua, although this is changing with the younger generation.
But it is good to know that these people are more than just porters. They belong to a culture that keeps some of the finest artistic expressions of the ancient Peruvians. Since it is possible to find families with Inca names, traditions, and customs; they will transport you several centuries into the past.
They offer another kind of alternative tourism, called Living Tourism. It offers its visitors habits and lifestyles that remain stuck in time. It is one of the last towns where you can witness the living culture of the ancient Peruvians.
The traditions these people have been able to practice and maintain include the learned techniques of cultivating the land and weaving quality textiles. In 2012, the Patacancha Weaving Association produced it’s first order for export with much success. Women dominate the skill of weaving and weave their clothing. In the structure of community, the government includes children, because they do not lie; the right arm of the president must be a child.
Anyone can appreciate the beauty of the Andean landscape along with the magic and charm of seeing their traditions, but is also important to recognize their poor living conditions. Many of them also work as porters on the the Inca Trail and lately have learned to open their doors to provide experiential tourism, which is why we must show respect of the lifestyle that they have.
Experiential tourism is the process of learning about their traditions, customs and way of life from the point of a curious visitor who wants to see and learn something new and different. This is an excellent way of knowing the civilizations of Peru.
On the route to Willoq can be found Pre-Incan remains like Markacocha and a small colonial church in a top of the hill, showing once again the Spanish authoritarianism that happened in Andean lands.
During rainy season from December – March it can be difficult to visit the Patacancha community so check road conditions before you leave.