Stories

In the spirit of the Andes

Learning from local people is one of the privileges of real travel, says Hebert Peralta Gonzales, explora guide in the Sacred Valley

Hebert Peralta Gonzales Guide in explora Sacred Valley, Peru

 

In the first week of August – the month of Pachamama, Mother Earth – I set off with a couple of travelers to the Verónica exploration. This high altitude trek in the private conservation area, Thastayoc, offers an outstanding view of the snow-capped Verónica, the highest peak in the Sacred Valley at 5,683 meters.

 

An unexpected encounter

After crossing the highest point, we came upon a group of people, locals as well as others from all over the province, who were participating in a ceremony to Pachamama. We approached them and asked if we could join in. They gave us coca leaves and blew Mapacho smoke over us. Then one of the Andean teachers asked the nationality and profession of each traveler and invited us to stay and talk.

 

Wise words

At the end of the ceremony, he performed a spiritual cleansing ritual on each of us, giving us a Jiwaya, a special stone, to hold. He then told us things that no one apart from us could know and gave us advice that he said would change our lives.

…he performed a spiritual cleansing ritual on each of us, giving us a Jiwaya, a special stone, to hold….

 

A chance to reflect

We walked back in silence through the forest of queuña trees, listening to the different birds along the route. Then, one of the travelers suddenly remembered that a gypsy friend had told her that in the mountains of Peru she would find a priest who was going to tell her something very important. At that moment, I felt that everything was a dream. We didn’t get back to the van until 5 pm that day, but thanks to the coca leaves, we didn’t feel hungry.

 

explora Sacred Valley

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