Paru Paru Community, Living Culture in the highlands

The Paru Paru community is located almost reaching the highest peaks of the Apus (mountain spirits) of Pisaq, it is about 3800 meters above sea level, its adobe houses treasure a community that continues to transmit its traditions and ancestral customs to all visitors who come to the place, it is located within the national potato park and is undoubtedly one of the richest communities in the production of native potatoes in Peru.

This community has about 500 inhabitants among the elderly, youth and children, it is located two hours by car from the city of Cusco and 45 minutes from Pisac. There on top of its location, you can still feel and observe the ancient secrets that connect you with Pacha Mama (Mother Earth).

“Pisaq” is a Quechua word that means “partridge”, at the top of its sacred ruins natural, ancestral secrets are still kept that still fly and are processed at that level. Pisaq is divided into two zones, the old and the current.

The old one is located in the high parts, where there are still the archaeological sites, the Apus, the charming lagoons and people who, even with the passage of time, preserve their ancestral traditions and their charming colorful way of seeing life, in Their typical clothing shows details of the local geography that is shown in colors, their costumes are a true work of art, they are unique and made with their own hands.

The current area is located at the foot of the mountains, in the Sacred Valley, its history dates back to colonial times. Its ruins are part of one of the most important archaeological sites. Its foundations are based on a solid history, built with each piece rich in culture, it is a very distinctive place with a unique value, many details can be seen in its ornate houses, in this part you can find a great variety of things, it is a craft trade area, where many national and international visitors come to buy nice souvenirs.

Papa Sancochada, refrigerio andino

In the community of Paru Paru, climatic changes are a blessing, everything feels and vibrates when you are breathing at that level, the icy wind, the intense sun, the freshness and sweetness of the land together with all its agricultural blessings, are some of the things that wake you up in life.  

The community members feel happy to live related to mother earth, since she always provides them with everything they need to live well, food, materials to build their homes, materials to carry out their textile work, among other needs.

To reach this ancestral community, we contacted Juan de Dios Huaraca Pacco, he lives in the place and gratefully transmits everything learned from the teaching of our ancestors, the visitors who come to Paru Paru live, connect and feel the experience of working the land.

Juan de Dios is a kind, cheerful and very communicative person, his figure has inherited Andean traits. He invited the entire Cuzco Eats team to visit his community, at 9 in the morning, he was already waiting for us at the Pisac market, from there we left 5 people in a car, Luis, Walter, Brayan, Juan de Dios and I, The entire route up the mountains marked 45 minutes on the clock. Along the way, all modernity was being left behind, through the windows of the car you could see adobe houses (mud blocks), roofs with tiles or straw, you could also see the colored agricultural production farms, with recent crops, other , already harvested and some in full growth of potatoes, corn, tarwi and barley. The eucalyptus trees, chachacomas, pine and the flowers of the field perfume the entire course to the town.

When we arrived at the house of Juan de Dios, we were received by about 10 families, including young people, children and adults, each dressed in their traditional local costumes, made by themselves, gathered in the courtyard of the house of Juan de Dios. God to welcome us and receive us with instrumental music, we danced and introduced ourselves for a while, while the drums and quenas sounded, they invited us to go to their dining room, where they served us parboiled potatoes on a large plate to share along with a cup of fresh herbal teas that grow in the place, muña, mint and chulluco, its flavor is unique when resting, it made you feel relieved with each sip, “I loved mate”, the cheerful, warm and welcoming welcome made us want to return more often.


Niños de Paru Paru – Pisaq

After the pleasant reception, the ladies got together to show us their textile works made with love, time and dedication, at their artisan tables made with queuña tree sticks, they exhibited their colorful textile products, bracelets, belts, ponchos, blankets, scarves, chullos and skirts. All the fabrics are 100% baby alpaca, 50% baby alpaca and sheep’s wool. To learn to weave one has to start from the smallest, from the bracelets, one of the ladies told us, also He explained that the figures shown in his works are inspired by the nature of the place. They taught us a little about the production process and the dyeing of wool, alpaca and sheep, all with traditional herbs that grow in the place.

Their costumes full of meanings, are inspired by the locality and nature. In their suits it is possible to distinguish if a person is married or single, when it has many ornaments and it is almost new, it is known that the person is single, vice versa with people who are already married.

Tejido Tradicional Andino

By 1 in the afternoon, we walked up for about 10 minutes and we were already next to the tutelary apus that surround the magical lagoon of Kinsacocha, the inhabitants know each Apu with a different name. Cóndor Puñuna (where the condor sleeps), Qepor (thorns), Runa Chiriana (enchanting woman) and Wiracocha (creator), that is what the guardians who appear in the surroundings are called.

The beautiful Kinsacocha Lagoon reflects the blue sky along with the golden glow of the sun, while on the slopes of the apus, the people of the community are shown in full harvest of the delicious chemical-free native potatoes, these solar foods that only there they are enjoyed prepared in huatia (Andean oven made from pieces of earth) or simply parboiled.

We followed the narrow paths that border the Apus, the fresh wind bathed by the sun’s rays felt good throughout the body, as we walked, at every certain distance there are viewpoints towards the lagoon, everything that transmits that place is truly magical, Juan of God says that the relationship with its waters of the lagoon is a blessing, since thanks to it life is felt in all its splendor. In this cold land, sacred seeds are sown that paint the mountains in a hundred colors.

On the way back to Paru Paru, Juan de Dios told us about the daily work carried out by the residents in his community, we are dedicated to the production of native potatoes with traditional tools and community tourism, there we offer everything that is, the walk to the 4 lagoons, we recognize the native medicinal plants, we explain the usefulness of their leaves, stems and roots. We also explain the 3 ecological floors in which agriculture is carried out.

First floor, Hanan: This is where the 180 varieties of organic potatoes that are produced on site are worked in general.

Second floor Chaypi: On this floor other tubers such as mashua, oca and olluco are worked.

Third floor Urin: there we work cereals, barley, quinoa, wheat, broad beans, corn and tarwi.

The small streams that flow down the ravines are born in the 4 lagoons, Kinsacocha, Puma Cocha, Azul Cocha and Chaillwa Cocha, these bring life to the 3 ecological floors, thanks to their waters all products grow. The residents also make chuño and moraya.

Back at Juan de Dios’s house, the ladies were waiting for us with a delicious farewell lunch, they served us a chairo soup with lamb meat, as a main course, a hearty broad bean capchi with its piece of guinea pig a la firewood, the entire Cuzco Eats team is speechless, its local cuisine is a true delight and everything is made with local products.     

Almuerzo tradicional de la comunidad de Paru Paru

In this community there are terraces that show a radiant geography with views of the mountains that continue to grow with every step you take, the white clouds walk combined in the blue sky and on the ground there are still colorful native plants that adorn the fields with Her beauty. The mama cocha connects you from the body to the soul, touching her cold waters, she feels how her energies enter the body and relieves the heavy load that one carries.

Paru Paru is the highest healthy community in the district of Pisac, province of Calca, Department of Cusco, there you can see a varied flora and fauna typical of the area.

Come and live the community experience with the brothers of Paru Paru, we invite all visitors from the world, to live the experience with these people who are happy to teach and share their ancestral Andean roots.

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