The Willoq community brings tourists closer to the daily life of a high Andean community of Ollantaytambo in the department of Cusco, which is known as experiential tourism, but with the clear idea of maintaining and preserving the customs of the Andean man. Perhaps the magic and enchantment that visitors to Willoq experience resides both in the vast and diverse landscape that expands their view and in the various manifestations of a living culture so different from their own in terms of: organization, economy, religion and sustained interaction over time with its environment. In addition, in Willoq you can see the harsh reality of the difficulties faced by its inhabitants, as well as the enthusiasm and hope with which they see an increasingly globalized world.
The community of Willoq is located at 2,900 meters above sea level, 19 kilometers from Ollantaytambo or 45 minutes by car on a dirt road.
The houses are made of adobe bricks with thatched or thatched roofs, and while most families have electricity, each village has only one telephone.
The residents of Willoq are also called Wayruros. Their typical clothing is red ponchos, woolen hats, flannel pants, sandals, and ropes tied to the body. The women wear traditional clothing, including layered skirts with woven trims, red jackets decorated with white buttons, and a bowl-shaped hat with a hand-beaded chin strap. They are illiterate and speak only Quechua, although this is changing with the younger generation.
But it's good to know that these folks are more than just chargers. They belong to a culture that preserves some of the best artistic expressions of the ancient Peruvians. Since it is possible to find families with Inca names, traditions and customs; they will transport you several centuries to the past.
They offer another type of alternative tourism, called Live Tourism. It offers your visitors habits and lifestyles that remain trapped in time. It is one of the last towns where you can witness the living culture of the ancient Peruvians.
The traditions that these people have been able to practice and maintain include the techniques learned from cultivating the land and weaving quality textiles. Women master the skill of weaving. In the community structure, the government includes children, because they do not lie; the president's right arm must be a child.
Anyone can appreciate the beauty of the Andean landscape along with the magic and charm of seeing their traditions, but it is also important to recognize their poor living conditions. Many of them also work as porters on the Inca Trail and lately they have learned to open their doors to provide experiential tourism, so we must show respect for the lifestyle they have.
Experiential tourism is the process of learning about their traditions, customs and way of life from the point of view of a curious visitor who wants to see and learn something new and different. This is an excellent way to get to know the civilizations of Peru.
On the road to Willoq you can find pre-Inca remains such as Markacocha and a small colonial church on top of the hill, showing once again the Spanish authoritarianism that happened in Andean lands.
Approximately in the early eighties, the wayruros of Willoq began to work as porters of the Inca Trail. The payment for the service they provide is previously agreed upon and depends on the travel agency and the season. On many occasions, when the demand for porters decreases, they have to lower their prices due to the lack of employment.
However, the agencies grouped to the Association of Tourism Agencies of Cusco (AATC) have set the rate for the four days in 125 soles.
To get to Willoq you need to go to Ollantaytambo about 45 minutes by car, crossing the Sacred Valley of the Incas and its spectacular beauty, you reach Willoq, a peasant community that is visited by national and foreign tourists since 1992.