We spent a day and night in the Colca Valley learning more about the area. The valley is located in southern Peru and is about 100 miles Northwest of Arequipa. It is gorgeous countryside and the canyon is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon. Since before the Incan empire, the tribes people in the region constructed stepped terraced farms in the mountains. The land was incredibly remote and there were no passable roads into the area until the 1940’s. As result, there is very little Spanish influence in the area and the native language and culture is still very much intact. We enjoyed a stay in a beautiful inn which was nestled in the Colca Valley with a smoking volcano viewable in the distance. We ended a long day of touring laying in hammocks overlooking the sun setting over rolling green hills and stepped terraces.
So much culture and history was lost upon the arrival of the Spanish. This region gave us a glimpse into what life might have been like devoid of European influence. I think up to this point in the trip I have focused a lot of my thoughts towards understanding the European influence in South America because it is so front and center in Argentina and Chile. Yet after spending time in Bolivia and Peru, it is becoming apparent to me how much influence the indigenous cultures had. They had such an abundance of power, wealth, and technological prowess, it is apparent to this day. While the Spaniards endeavored to cover remnants of those dominant cultures that preceded them in South America, the cultural survival of this part of the continent has revealed to me the power of the indigenous cultures. I feel regret that many important secrets have been lost that we as a society could have benefitted from. // Jeff