DISCOVER THE Q’ESWACHAKA BRIDGE AND MEET WHO KEEP IT ALIVE
CULTURAL IMMERSION AND MORE HIDDEN TREASURES IN THE SOUTH VALLEY OF CUSCO
The new experiences of which we communicate in this post have as a great protagonist the Q'eswachaka Rope Suspension Bridge and the communities that keep it alive. For this we have prepared a full day excursion that is possible to convert it into a two-day excusion if combined with more attractions of the South Valley of Cusco, an unexplored area that keeps many spectacular istes such as the 7 colors Mountain Vinicunca and the Stone Forest of Palccoyo.
The objective is to reach the rope suspension bridge 'Q'eswachaka', declared by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, which is three hours away and learn about the context in which it takes place. On the way we will have views and stops, we can look fleetingly from the window of our vehicle the pass through the Huacarpay lagoon and Pikillacta archaeological center of the pre-Inca Wari culture, until we reach our first stop: the town of Checacupe. In this first stop we will introduce you to the bridges in the Andes; as for samples a button, in Checacupe have been built three types of bridges lost in time and that pass over the Pitumarca River; one from the Inca era, another from the Colonial era and another from the Republican era.
The Inca bridge was built between 1400 and 1448 by order of the Inca Wiracocha as part of the road network of Qhapaq Ñan, the Inca foundation is original, but not the suspension bridge that is renewed from time to time. The second bridge was built in the Colonial era and is a robust bridge made of stone carved and joined with lime built in the style of a Roman arch, a road work very ingenious for its time, they say it was built by order of the King of Spain Carlos III between 1759 and 1788. Last but not least is the Republican bridge that denotes less concern for the aesthetic but more functional; a bridge of metal columns made with train rails but which is the only one through which vehicles pass. In addition, this town, has a church with a beautiful interior decoration on the altars, giant paintings and meticulous work frames bathed in gold, it has inside the image of the oldest Immaculate Conception of Cusco and possibly of America.
We will continue our journey and half an hour from the road we will stop to see a curious earth formation: a mini volcano in the middle of a community. This volcano, called Machu San Pedro is between the houses, but happily inactive, we will make a curious approach and it is even possible to climb to see its crater.
We will continue about an hour and a half and we will arrive at the district of Qehue, the hanging bridge 'Q'eswachaka', more than 500 years old and its communities are located. The Q'eswachaka (Q'eswa means "to braid" and "Chaka" means "bridge in Quechua), is the last bridge that has survived modernity and continues to pass its ritual from generation to generation, measuring 28 meters long and 1.20 meters wide and served as part of the Qhapaq Ñan road system. We will have the opportunity to meet and share with the communities that care for this living legacy of the Incas, build and renew it every year: Perccaro, Huinchiri, Ccollana and Qqewe. The bridge is considered a sacred expression of the link of the communities with nature, tradition and history, and the annual renewal is accompanied by ritual ceremonies.
We will make a stop in the community of Perccaro to meet our local guide and who will take us to the house of the assigned community and where they will demonstrate the braiding technique of the ‘ichu’, a pasture from the high areas of the Andes. which is the material used for centuries for this rope suspension bridge. It is an impressively laborious job, it requires a lot of effort, technique and teamwork. After understanding the context surrounding this attraction, we will go to see it, cross it and admire the natural landscape through which it was built. They say that once you understand what things are about, it is when you really value them, with the understanding generated and having met some of those who keep it alive, we will go to the bridge where magic and admiration will be awakened. After visiting the bridge, we will go to one of the communities to have lunch in a local house, where we can learn more about their way of life and customs.
After lunch, we will return to Cusco for a relaxing and colourful scenic route.
Take note: the Q'eswachaka bridge is renovated every first Sunday of June, a process that lasts 4 days of hard work and local festival. An unforgettable cultural expression that you must see!
You can see more in the following video: https://youtu.be/9xCpAy_8p3U
This full day excursion can be combined with the visit of other attractions such as the mountain of 7 colors Vinicunca or the Stone Forest of Palccoyo; both spectacular scenic activities that can be done in route extending one day and sleeping in the communities of Qehue as part of an activity of experiential tourism and cultural immersion with the people of the locality. Also, there is the possibility to be part of the bridge renovation festivity.
At Vipac we are committed to provide you with different options so that you can learn more about the cultural and natural wealth of Peru, check with your executive the options to carry out these activities.