Peru: Lamas and Raqchi designated “Best Tourism Villages” by UNWTO

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The towns of Lamas, in the region of San Martín, and Raqchi, in the region of Cusco, Peru, officially appear since March 13, 2023 on the exclusive list of the best tourist villages in the world 2022, established by the World Organization of Tourism (UNWTO), after receiving this distinction during a ceremony organized in Saudi Arabia.

The UNWTO has awarded the authorities of Lamas and Raqchi the label “Best Tourism Villages”, which distinguishes rural destinations that conceive of tourism as a driver of development, opening up new prospects in terms of job creation and income while by contributing to the preservation and promotion of local values ​​and production.

Lamas, a charming village

Known as the “folk capital of the San Martin region”, Lamas is located 22 kilometers northwest of the city of Tarapoto, capital of the San Martin region. Founded in 1656, it is one of the oldest towns in the Peruvian jungle. Located on top of a hill, it has steep streets and its main territorial feature is its terraced layout. Its population has an important cultural heritage of the Chanka civilization.

Among the main tourist attractions in Lamas is the Chanka y de la Diversidad Lamista Museum, which exhibits various objects of great historical and artistic value from the Lamista culture. Also worth discovering is the “El Wayku” Kewhua community reception centre, whose mission is to accommodate this community in the Peruvian Amazon. The place keeps its ancestral customs intact, such as its language (Kechwa Lamista), its clothes, the architecture of its adobe houses with palm or tiled roofs, without windows.

Raqchi and his Inca identity

For its part, Raqchi is a city located in the province of Canchis, 119 kilometers southeast of Cusco. This small town of about 80 families is mainly devoted to agriculture and crafts. Many families have adapted their homes to accommodate tourists as part of a new experiential tourism program.

In Raqchi, everyone uses traditional clothes and tools, eats locally and speaks Quechua. Raqchi’s concept is to transform the community into a living museum, where the visitor can immerse themselves in authentic aspects of Quechua culture, by spending a few days with the locals. The families offer visitors traditional dishes prepared with indigenous ingredients such as corn, indigenous potatoes, beans, peas, tarwi, quinoa, wheat or any products from their plots.

Travelers have the opportunity to learn more about the process of making ceramic pieces, and even participate in it. Raqchi pottery has an ancestral heritage and among its most emblematic pieces are the “raquis”, which are large reservoirs for storing chicha, a ritual drink obtained from the fermentation of corn and other Andean grains.

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