Our second stop on our honeymoon, after being in Lima, Peru, was Sacred Valley. Hands down, Sacred Valley was my favorite place we stayed in Peru. It’s off the beaten path just a tad and made up of smaller towns and villages. While I love time in the cities, I always tend to love the smaller communities and towns when traveling. Then, of course, there are all the alpacas.
We stayed in a town call Urubamba, about 1-1/2 hours drive from the major city of Cusco, at the Belmond Hotel Rio Sagrado. Urubamba had a downtown area with an abundance of hotels, restaurants, markets, and shops. I could have easily spent a few more days exploring the area – more on the Urubamba Wednesday markets in my next post. The valley consists of a handful of towns including Urubamba, Aguas Calientes, Cusco, Ollantaytambo, and more.
On our first day, a local guide named Marco took us to a town called Chinchero to visit a famous Alpaca textile mill.
After a quick detour to giggle over excitement about feeding the alpacas, the women of the mill gave us a tour and taught us some of the procedure for making alpaca wool, dying it, and weaving it into tapestries, clothing, and more. The entire process is done complete by hand and quite time consuming from hand-spinning the alpaca fibers into wool string, dying it with a varieties of roots, berries, seeds and even bugs that live on cactus, to get a desired color (some cooking for days to achieve the color they want), to weaving all the fabrics on hand looms.
When it comes time to weave, the women work on hand looms, and tirelessly weave every row by hand. The designs are passed down from generation to generation – no patterns being followed here! To create one small tapestry, it can take up to 3 months or more.
And, if you so chose to be a tourist, you can pose for a picture with decorated alpacas and adorable children from the tribe. But, they will likely expect you to give them a couple of Sols for their time.
At our hotel, the Belmond Hotel Rio Sagrado, they had three alpacas living on the property which allowed us even more one-on-one time with these adorable guys.
This alpaca was the mommy-bear of the three living on campus and I wasn’t too sure at first if she liked me or was about to bite off a chunk of my hair.
I was pleasantly surprised to find out that even though she made some very strange throat noises, all she really wanted to snuggles and kisses. She rubbed her face into my hands, pushed her way up into my arms, and even insisted on some kisses. Um, I literally can die happy now.
There were also two “baby” alpacas on the property who were CRAZY soft, but a lot more timid than their mother. So, let’s take a moment to appreciate this sassy little baby alpaca:
“Bitch, please…don’t touch me.”
“UM! BYE FELICIA!”
We absolutely loved spending time in Chinchero learning more about the long passed-down tradition of alpaca textiles and getting to get up close and personal with some of the animals. It was definitely a highlight of our trip to Peru. If you missed it you can see my post about our day in Lima in the Barranco District, or see a recap of Hotel B in Lima.