Andeana Treks: Women's Retreat 2023

December 06, 2023  •  Leave a Comment


I am just now back in Los Angeles, California, looking through all the photos that I got to take on my most recent trip to Peru! This trip had us founders of Andeana Hats, Pats Krysiak and I, leading a group of women around our favorite spots in the Sacred Valley thanks to Pleiades Tours! We arrived to Cusco on our first day and took the day to settle in and adjust to the new altitude!

The Misminay Community on the outskirts of Cusco was our first stop on our grand adventure! We looked at a day in the life of a Quechua local and got to participate in many of their traditions: experiencing a unique Pachamama ceremony to honor Mother Earth, learning a bit of the Quechua language, and trying out some of their agricultural methods of plowing or harvesting the soil. From there, we had an authentic picnic lunch at Tiobamba with amazing views of the Sacred Valley and cathedral, explored the beautiful Maras, salt flats and Moray agricultural ruins from colonial times.

The next day, we hung out at Andeana Hats’s Peru headquarters, the Incan citadel of Ollantaytambo! We walked around this adorable old fortress town, shopped, climbed the  Ollantaytambo fortress ruins, and walked to the nearby organic farm, El Albergue for a very traditional Pachamanca lunch (earth-oven), coffee, and distillery tour!! The tradition of Pachamanca is where they prepare your meal by digging a hole in the ground, burying your meat and vegetables with heated up lava stones, and then covering it back again to cook in the Earth. This is an ancient tradition dating back to the Inca times.

The day after we went to a rural town of Patacancha to visit one of the weaving communities. We met up with our non-profit partner, Awamaki, to learn about what they do and experience a full weaving demonstration from the female artisans there. We had a delicious lunch at Patacancha hosted by the expert weavers themselves, and then visited their local impact and community center! Here we learned how we could help and donate to these communities.

Day five had us trekking to the gorgeous, ancient Inca citadel of Pisaq where we hiked around and explored some of the most beautiful architectural sites of indigenous Inca, then visited the modern town of Pisaq to shop the lovely artisan markets in town and see all the incredible sights and meet more lovely townspeople. From there, we headed to Cusco and spent the next day there with a tour and checking out more of the nearby Incan ruins of the Temple of the Sun and the archeological site of Saqsayhuaman. And, of course, we wanted to get lost in the narrow cobblestone streets and discover all of the hidden cafes and shops, too!

From this point, we did the big hike to Choquequirao! It is an intense trail - a minimum of eight hours a day of scaling mountains up and down and up again just to reach the top in a few days. It is known as the last refuge of the Incas after the Spanish came to the area, and it is very similar to Machu Picchu. This 39-mile (63km!) trek has recently caught a lot of attention thanks to National Geographic highlighting it as one of the best places in the world to visit in 2023, so of course I had to check it out! It did not disappoint and it was full of some of the most incredible sights I’ve seen of Peru. We also donned our llama onesies and had a whole photoshoot (found out that that is not allowed...) around the llama wall where llamas had been sacrificed! The whole trip was such an adventure and I’m so glad to have gotten to go with an amazing group of women!

We’re definitely planning to lead more trips to Peru like this again so if that is of interest to you, you can reach out to Pats & I at our email, [email protected]!

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