This small Mountain town is almost completely an archaeological site, to visit this town centre, the church or the ruins you need to have purchased the correct Cusco Tourist Ticket. If you want to return to a bygone era and have an authentic experience of how life was in the 15th and 16th century then this town is the place to go. Distance from Cusco: 30km Distance via Bus: Approx 45min Altitude: 3762m Tourist ticket needed for : The majority of the town center, including the church.
At 3762 meters above sea level this dinky town which is 363m higher than Cusco raises you up to meet the Vilcabamba mountain range. It is overseen by the God of weather, the Salkantay mountain. Chincheros believed to be the birthplace of the Rainbow exhibits a lot of the same Peruvian draws such as ruins, markets and a historical church. Although the positioning and size of this settlement means you will be able to have a more authentic experience, seeing local traditions and customs along with everyday living of native Quencian communities without the mass influence of touristic pursuits. Its amazing walls encompass the town as this was once a direct route to Machu Picchu and an important Urban Tambo along the route. It also is abundant with hikes and beautiful landscapes, questionably a reason why it was the country resort of the 10th Inca when he was a Prince.
The historical town has many Aqueducts and terraces that are still in use today that were commissioned by the 10th Inca, Tupac Yupanqui. The land surrounding this town is claimed to be some of the most fertile within the Sacred Valley, so don’t forget to sample the tasty local produce on offer. Most of the architecture here is in a lavish Incan style due to its use during this period. Carving, stone work and thrones adorn the town. However, the church within the main square is purely colonial and Spanish built in 1607, distastefully by the contractor on top of a destroyed Incan Palace. Despite this clear statement of power and control the church is beautiful with ornate paintings adorning the ceilings and walls. There are also remnants of shrines outside of the town center which are huge blocks of limestone carved into ornamental objects such as seats and stairways. These 3 shrines are called : Titiqaqa, Pumaqaqa, Chincana.
This wonderful market sells much of the same as others you will visit in Peru and especially within the Cusco region. However, what makes it so special is that it is the meeting place for other neighboring communities who all travel to Chincheros on a Sunday morning to congregate for the market. This market is also one of the best places to buy fabrics and textiles as it is renowned for its weaving community which regularly holds demonstrations showcasing traditional techniques. If this is something you are interested in you can also receive lessons on how the materials are washed dyed and spun and taught the authentic ways of the native women who weave their alpaca daily. In front of your eyes, they will make a soft Alpaca jumper for which you can then purchase. In fact weaving is so big here it has been crowned the waving Capital of Peru and host a center that is dedicated to Andean Textiles.