While visiting Peru, you may hear many of the locals talking about the Qeswachaka Inca Bridge. This suspension bridge is very popular for many reasons and you can now take a tour of it to understand the importance of the bridge and all the effort that goes into it.
This is the only remaining rope bridge built by the Inca empire. The bridge is handwoven and is the last of the remaining usable bridges that were handwoven by the Incan people. These types of bridges were once very common on the road traveled by the Incan people.
The bridge is now a cultural heritage. It is considered as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity.
The rope bridge is one hundred and eighteen feet across and dangles about sixty feet above the Apurimac river. It is made with woven grass. The women from the Incan tribes would braid small ropes that were also thin. The men would take them and braid them again into support cables that were large in size.
These bridges were part of the Inca trail that existed over five hundred years ago. If anyone was ever caught tampering with a bridge like this, their punishment was death.
Naturally, over time the Inca rope bridges began to decay and needed to be removed. The bridges would also sag down over the canyon river so to avoid any danger, the Incas would destroy the bridge and rebuild it as part of an annual ceremony.
People from the Ccollana, Huinchiri, Chaupibanda and Choccayhua communities gather to rebuild the bridge every year. It is a four days event.
This was a way that the Incas could socialize and do something together as a group. Since then, the gesture is still acknowledged every year. Afterwards, the communities celebrate with music, food, and dancing.
The bridge is located in Canas province in Quehue district. It is a few hours drive away from Cusco city.
You can take a day tour from Cusco. If you are in Peru during June, you can participate in the four days event and witness the locals rebuilding the bridge.
It is important that you prepare for the Qeswachaka bridge tour before you go. This tour is normally a full day tour from Cusco. The minimum amount per group is two with a maximum of twenty. It is wise to book the tour of the bridge well in advance because with the peak season being from May to September, the tickets will sell out rather quickly.
You may or may not feel as though you should go over the bridge to try it out. Your tour guide will have some information on what it was like walking across the bridge. The weather will most likely be sunny and warm with a breeze blowing down by the lagoons. You will want to dress light with a light jacket in case you get a little chilled.
There are many different companies that will offer tours of the bridge. If you prefer to take a tour, then you will be given an itinerary that will list everything you will accomplish while on the tour. It will even give you options to be picked up at your hotel/motel or you can take another route to the bridge. You can also choose to spend one night or two nights on this bridge tour.
When the tour is over and the bridge ceremony is complete for another year, you will have those wonderful memories of how you went to see the past come back to life.