On our recent trip to Lake Titicaca my wife and I had to opportunity to meet several travelers and talk to them about our Bed and Breakfast, during these discussions the question would usually come up ‘Why did you decide on Huarocondo?’, the main reason I think most people asked is it is a city that is not yet on the tourist radar. Aside from the overall look and feel of the home, this is probably the main reason that we chose this quiet little town, but let me expand on this a little.
Let’s start with kids, I find kids can be fun to photograph, difficult sometimes, but fun. Most of the kids that you come across, not only in Cusco but most of the areas frequented by tourists, are working.
They are usually girls dressed in traditional outfits and carrying baby sheep or maybe a llama, they will pose nicely for you and then ask for propina (a tip).
While they do look cute in their outfits and carrying there little critters, There is no joy in their eyes, these children are working a job. You can occasionally see them happy, when they return to mom in the market, get out of the outfit and then run off to play with their friends. If you happen to get off the beaten path you may come across kids that are having fun and playing, these can be good subjects to shoot but will still ask for propina after you take their picture. Don’t get me wrong, it can be a tough life for many here and people do what they can to make ends meet. Now let’s discuss the children here in Huarocondo, we enjoy taking pictures of the kids here in town, they are full of joy and life, and most of the time intrigued by the big gringo with the hairy face. We have taken many pictures of the kids here in town and not once has a hand come out for propina afterword’s.
The second reason, while similar to the first, is there is no tourist culture here yet. Huarocondo does not get many tourists, occasionally a bus will arrive with a small group to eat lechon, and maybe they will visit the church. I have also herd that occasionally volunteers will come in to do work, painting or fixing up public buildings. Aside from these rare occasions, Tourists don’t get here, what this means for us and our guests is that you can actually walk around town, or sit in the square without someone trying to sell you something. For example, on a recent trip to Cusco my wife and I sat on a bench in the main plaza (Plaza de Armas) to relax and people watch. In a 20 minute period we had 14 people approach us with goods or services for sale, that is almost a vender every minute and a half. Here in Huarocondo you could sit all day in the plaza and never have anyone approach you with something for sale, you will probably get a few good mornings or good afternoon’s depending on the time of day, but no one wanting to sell you paintings, gourds or other items. Again I understand that people have to make a living and we have purchased things from these venders in the past, but it can get old if you spend more than a few days in Cusco.
The final reason is location, while Huarocondo is not well known at this time, it is still in a good location to visit all the sights in and around Cusco, being roughly midway between Cusco and the Sacred Valley we can easily access either one. For those guests wishing to visit Machu Picchu, being closer to Ollantaytambo could mean a little more sleep and a shorter train ride to Aguas Calientes, or even an extra hour or so in the Sacred Valley to explore. We are only 10 minutes from the trail to the archeological site of Wata; additionally the site of Andenes Zurite is 10 minutes in the opposite direction. To sum things up, we believe we have found a little diamond in the rough here in Huarocondo and look forward to sharing it with others.