Cusco is known as a magical and marvelous city. It can surprise visitors with its different customs and its attractive traditions. It captivates with the various beliefs its people have that enclose more than one mystery.
The people of Cusco have faith in many things such as, for example, rue. It is a plant used to cure the evil wind though it is also used by people who are dedicated to selling things. They use it to attract clients and money. Just as this plant has power people also believe in palo santo, or holy wood. They give it a lot of respect.
The palo santo tree grows in the jungle. It has a surprisingly intense and pure aroma. Furthermore, its trunk is very straight and, as a result, the people of the jungle use it to build their houses. In this tree also live a lot of ants. People of the region tend to tie people to the tree for the ants to sting them as punishment. It is hoped that in this way they can get people to change their behavior.
In Cusco we do not use the tree this way. Instead it takes a role in ceremonies and rituals, such as in payments (offerings) to the earth. For these ceremonies the papachos, Andean priests, always tend to have palo santo sticks close at hand. They light the palo santo to scare away whatever bad vibes might be in a place before they make their offering.
Many people also use it in their homes just to enjoy its delightful aroma. They light the palo santo every so often and let it smoke for a while in order to fill the air with the scent that makes them enter into a great tranquility.
You can find palo santo in different parts of the city as well as in many several markets. It is sold in small bags and each has 5 or 6 pieces of wood for 1/S.
Besides palo santo. You can find several other incenses people use at any time of the day.