The textile mill at Awana Kancha is an entertaining and culturally-rich stop on the journey between Cusco and the Sacred Valley. Set 30 minutes outside of the Cusco city center, this popular artisan outpost is a budget-friendly place to experience alpacas and Andean culture.
With no entry fee, visitors to Awana Kancha can marvel at traditionally-dressed women and the colorful textiles they spin before your eyes. Using the wool of alpacas, llamas, guanacos, and vicunyas, the women create patterns using natural dyes that have existed in the Andes since the time of the Inca. What’s more, in addition to the textiles, visitors have the chance to hand-feed llamas or nurse baby alpacas with milk from a bottle.
The name Awana Kancha literally translates as the Palace of Weaving, and the fine works of handicraft which are on sale at the co-op are arguably nicer than you’ll find in larger markets. Everything from scarves to sweaters and alpaca wool hats can be purchased directly from the women who wove them, and the wool comes directly from the same alpacas you just finished feeding alfalfa in the yard. An intriguing and authentic outpost, a stop at Awana Kancha should be on any itinerary between Cusco and the Sacred Valley.