The Chinchero Market & Ruins, located about 45 minutes away from Cusco is another attraction that shouldn’t be missed when you are in Peru!
Chinchero is a tiny village that is located even at a higher elevation than Cusco, at 3700 meters above sea level. The views of the village are amazing. You will love the peaceful local vibe so much that you would want to stay here for a few days.
You can easily reach the Chinchero village from Cusco by taxi or shared van. Although you should remember that there is no single entrance ticket to the archaeological site in this beautiful village. Instead, you have to visit it after buying the Cusco Tourist Ticket.
What’s so special about Chinchero is that it has many Inca ruins. The local markets blends the Incan traditions and culture beautifully even after centuries have passed!
There are many ruins in the Chinchero village. It is widely believed that the Incan Tupac Yupanqui, son of Pachacutec, constructed the establishments as a way of seeking refuge in times of danger.
The most famous attraction is the Catholic church which was built by the Spanish in the early 1600s. It was built after the Spanish invasions on the foundations of the Incan palace. It was a way of telling people in that era to embrace Catholicism. Even now the majority of the locals living in Chinchero village follow Catholicism as their religion, and the church is still in use.
However, it was the Incan constructions, such as high terraces and aqueducts that made Chinchero one of the most fertile lands in Cusco region. The locals grow many crops in these fertile lands such as potatoes and quinoa to be sold at the Chinchero Market.
It will take about 30 minutes to 1 hour for you to explore the Inca ruins at the Chinchero village.
The Chinchero Market is brimming with locals and tourists on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Sundays. Sunday is the busiest. Locals from nearby regions coming to sell their goods at the market. For example, from Maras come sellers of the famous Maras Pink Peruvian salt!
You can also find other kinds of goods starting from fruits, vegetables, Peruvian fabrics, handmade craft items, and even alpaca wool. One of the most fascinating things you will see here is the practice of the “Barter System”. Locals refer to it as Ayni. It is a process where one seller trades goods with another seller without the usage of money. For example, one may trade lemons for potatoes and salt for coffee and so on.
In addition to visiting the Chinchero Market, you can also stop by to see how famous Peruvian fabrics are being made. The local women in traditional attire, show you how to make the fabrics. Starting from the cleaning of alpaca hair, to the dyeing process and how to spin the yarn to make the fabric. You can also buy fabric from them or just give a tip to these local women for their lovely effort.