Quechuas and the Wool of the Inkas

More than 5000 metres above sea level, in a remote valley of the Peruvian Andes, the inhabitants of the community of Palccoyo are getting ready for the day of Chaccu, a group activity involving hundreds of indigenous Quechua, who corral and capture the wild mountain vicunas. This animal has the finest and most expensive wool in the world. Camelids and humans put their lungs to the test in a frenetic race that ends with a sustainable shearing. For yet another year, the vicunas are vaccinated and have their parasites removed and their wool is sold in the market of Cusco. Chaccu organizers Hermelinda and her husband open the doors of this event to us, an event that has survived since the times of the Inka Empire.


“I would ask to the mountain gods to protect the vicuñas from danger. To protect them from the attacks of pumas and the cold temperatures.”