Peru Women’s Weaving Co-op – A Planeterra Project in the Sacred Valley

On my trip to Peru, I was very lucky and got to spend a day in the Sacred Valley. Up until I started looking at Peru trips, I didn’t know the Sacred Valley existed. It’s not far from Cusco and the Incas built some amazing cities in that valley. But unfortunately, since the Inca culture vanished, economy slowed down and these days, most people living on the mountains are farmers. Some can work in tourism but there’s not much to do for the rest.

That’s where Planeterra comes in. Planeterra was founded in 2003 by G Adventures and they’ve built projects all over the world to help local communities. What’s so cool about the organisation is that the G Adventures trips usually include a visit to one of the projects. By bringing in tourists, they’re helping the locals even more. And we, on the other hand, get an insight into local life that we would otherwise miss out on.

The community we visited on our day trip to the Sacred Valley is called Ccaccaccollo. The men living there get hired by G Adventures as porters and cooks on the Inca Trail. The women, on the other hand, are left behind. To give those women a chance, too, G Adventures has founded a women’s weaving co-op.

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One of the village’s ‘main streets’

We were met in the middle of the village by one of the local women. She introduced herself to us and talked a bit about the community before she took us to see the weaving co-op. There, two women showed us the different kinds of wool that were available to them. Did you know there’s more than just lama and alpaca wool? Don’t get too excited, though. The more rare the wool, the more expensive it gets.

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The demonstration continued with some washing and dying tactics that are used every day. Once we were done, we got to walk around and take a look at the finished products. There were also a couple of lamas that we could feed.

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Isn’t it cute?

The lamas were cool and I’m in love with the alpaca wool gloves that I bought there. It was ridiculously cheap, too, compared to what I’d pay here in Germany.

But what’s really exciting is what Planeterra managed to do for the community. Donations from travelers have allowed the women to buy 8 alpacas which now supply everyone with wool. They’ve also funded a 3-day dental clinic and the women got support when it came to sales strategies and product diversification.

I’m really happy we got to go there. I don’t think I would have visited Ccaccaccollo if it wasn’t for G Adventures and Planeterra and I’m glad I got a deeper insight into Peruvian life.

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