• Photo: Felix Lipov / Shutterstock


Indigenous lore says that Chinchero, one of the valley's major Inca cities, was the birthplace of the rainbow, and frequent sightings during the rainy season might convince you of the legend's truth. Chinchero is one of the few sites in the Sacred Valley that's higher (3,800 meters, or 12,500 feet) than Cusco.

Today, tourists and locals frequent the colorful Sunday artisan market on the central plaza, an affair that gets rave reviews as being more authentic and less touristed than the larger market in neighboring Pisac. A corresponding Chinchero produce market for locals takes place at the entrance to town. The market is there on other days, but on Sunday there are artisans who travel from the high mountain villages to sell their wares.

Amble about the collection of winding streets and adobe houses, but be sure to eventually make your way toward one of the weaving cooperatives, where a gaggle of local women will entertain you into understanding the art of making those lovely alpaca sweaters you eyed in the market.

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