Get to know the weaving community of Patacancha and learn their techniques during a hands-on experience!
For generations, the community of Patacancha has maintained a cultural and artistic traditions that date back to the age of the Inca empire. This commitment to art and culture is reflected in the community’s traditional dress – garments painstakingly woven using naturally dyed fibers and embroidered using beads and buttons.
In the community of Patacancha, women are the master weavers, passing down knowledge and art from generations of mothers and grandmothers to their daughters and granddaughters.
The tour begins at 8:30 am from Ollantaytambo (or 7:00 am if from Cusco) with the pick-up from your hotel. When booking the tour, you can select if you need transportation or Cusco. Please, make sure you make your selection. The price for both transfers is the same.
Patacancha is located deep down in the Sacred Valley, about 88 km away from Cusco. If you are in Cusco, we will take the paved road that goes to Ollantaytambo and from there a rural path toward the mountains (a drive of 2,5 hours in total). Upon arrival in Patacancha, you will be welcomed by the inhabitants with great cordiality and joy.
During this one-day workshop, you will experience their textile-making process from start to finish. You will participate in washing the alpaca wool, dyeing it with natural products obtained from plants in the area, spinning through the “pushka” or spinning wheel, and using the looms. Ultimately, you will create a piece of textile with your own hands, with personalized instruction and close mentoring from the cooperative’s artisans.
In the Andean worldview, everything has a meaning. The use of colors not only seeks harmony but also alludes to various representations. Symbols of each design also keep a story. You can identify geometric (stars, diamonds, and crosses), iconographic and zoomorphic patterns.
The day includes a home-cooked lunch and extensive demonstrations or local traditions that many visitors aren’t able to experience intimately during their visit to Peru. You will be back in Ollantaytambo or Cusco in the afternoon, after a full day of learning about the Andean culture.
Note: For an added layer of traditional Andean experience, you can choose to join the community for a Pachamanca lunch (a festival meal prepared in an underground hot stone oven). Don’t forget to select this optional service (which has an extra fee) when booking the experience!
If you want to get event closer to the traditional Andean lifestyle, you can check out our other Cultural Experiences in the area: you can make your own Torito de Pucará, bake your own Tantawawa, or even participate in Inka rituals and ceremonies!
Yes, you can take pictures during the whole experience. Don’t forget to bring your camera with you!
Yes, the workshop is suitable for children! Please, let us know in advance if you are going with babies or small children in order to provide you with a adequate service.
No, they mostly speak Quechua and a bit of Spanish. But there will be a translator who will help to communicate with the local weavers.
The Patachancha weavers are a group passionate about the preservation and exchange of culture. Here you will have an authentic and honest experience!
Patacancha is located at an altitude of 3400 meters / 11,155 feet above sea level, so at about the same altitude at Cusco If you have already spent some days in Cusco, you are acclimatized well enough to participate in this activity. If not, you should spend some days in the Sacred valley (cities like Ollantaytambo, Urubamba, Lamay, Pisac) before going to Patacancha.
Sonya is a lover of traveling and food, a grateful resident of Peru, and the founder of Aula Artesana and Aulita Restaurante. She was born in the United States but has lived for many years in Cusco. And, she has studied International Relations and Spanish in college and has a master’s degree in psychology.
She has been working with rural communities for many years and has always greatly admired the knowledge and art that exists in the minds and hands of artisans. Through the experiences of Aula Artesana, Sonya hopes to be able to facilitate the exchange of tradition and culture between artisans and visitors, in addition to creating an environment in which you can get to know each other better through an activity as intimate as crafts.
“For us, sustainable and responsible tourism is the way to ensure an authentic experience for visitors and also the way in which the tourist movement reaches all the countrymen of a place, not only the most visible ones.”