Q’eswachaka is a long rope bridge that extends across the Apurimac River. Techniques have been passed down from one generation to the next since the Incan times making it a 600-year-old tradition (more or less).
Every year without fail, locals come together to build it again, just like they used to. As you can imagine, it’s no easy feat and requires a lot of hard work. Around 800 members from local communities come together to rebuild it annually.
It is 28 meters long and 1.2 meters wide. It’s extremely important to the folk from the area as it keeps ancestral traditions alive and is actually known as the last Inca bridge in existence. Let’s take a closer look at the construction process.
How it’s Built
Day 1 – On the first day, they begin with a celebration of Apu Quinsallallawi as their ancestors did. It’s at dawn and during the course of this the material, Ichu, is braided by women of the community.
Day 2 – The previous bridge is taken apart before implementing the four principal ropes for the new bridge that will be the main hold of the structure.
Day 3 – On this day they lay and braid the bridge floor and handrails of each side.
Day 4 – They celebrate finishing their project with plenty of food and regional dances.
How to Get There
There are two ways you can visit the bridge and experience its wonder and incredible craftsmanship.
By Yourself – This way is a little tougher, but some prefer it. You’ll need to begin by finding a taxi driver who knows the route. There aren’t many around who know the exact way, so perhaps asking someone at your hotel or hostel might be a good way to start.
They will take you all the way to the town where the bridge is situated in around 3 hours from Cusco. Then you can take all the time you want to appreciate the bridge and snap some photos.
We recommend taking food for the day in case you don’t find anything you would like to eat. It’s a long journey and the food in the village can be fairly basic. This is especially required if you suffer from allergies or have dietary preferences.
You will have to negotiate with the taxi to wait for you and take you back to Cusco. You can expect to pay around 200 soles for this service for the whole day.
With an Agency – This option tends to be cheaper and you’ll be guaranteed to get there safely. With these trips, you should also get food included so you only need to take snacks. You will also get to stop off at different places to see more along the route.
Take the Time to Visit This Wonderful Place
So, if you are in Cusco and you have the time, make sure you take a day from your trip to visit this marvel. It’s something that not a lot of visitors get to see and it’s such a lovely thing to see that the community still comes together to rebuild this impressive construction year after year.
Written by: Liv Palmer