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Inti Raymi: The Incan ritual for Peru’s tourists is out of reach for many locals

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Many of the cusqueños of indigenous roots who live in the surrounding towns have never been to the Inti Raymi celebration and have only seen it in pictures.

“People come from all over the world to see the Inti Raymi and we in Andahuayalillas, just 45 minutes away by bus, have never been,” said a local women named Betty.

Many of the people of Andahuaylillas and the surrounding towns of Cusco cannot afford the bus fair to get to Cusco, Betty explained. The bus fair costs two soles, the equivalent of less than US $1. To travel to Cusco and back would cost Betty four soles and if she decided to bring her son that would cost her eight soles. That money could buy dinner for her whole family.

I was haunted by a comment made by a woman named Mica. “The tourists that come here have seen more of Peru than I have,” she said in a soft voice as she put down the tiny doll dress she was stitching.

Peru is a hotspot for tourism. The country now faces the challenge of advancing in a way that is sustainable and reaches the country’s marginalized populations so that the gap between the rich and poor does not continue to grow.

Gabrielle Gorder recently graduated from American University in Washington, D.C. She is currently working at the the Q’ewar Project based in Andahuaylillas, Cusco. Read more about Gabrielle and her travels in her blog.

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