The Coca leaf has a rich and important history in Peru. Visitors are mostly familiar with their ability to relieve altitude sickness, but locals incorporate these important leaves in so many different ways. They can be consumed on a daily basis, either chewed or used to make tea. You’ll find Peruvians enjoy them daily, much like others may enjoy coffee. Coca leaves are also used in celebration ceremonies, funerals, labor, and religious practices, among other occasions. These traditions have deep roots in Peru. There is strong evidence found from traces of the leaves in mummies dating back to around 1,000 B.C. that the plant has been used for several millennia. Ancient depictions of Inca rulers show the leaves in a pouch over their heart, signifying the important role they played with the famous kings as well.
Coca leaf reading
A special experience we offer to our travelers is a coca leaf reading. This ceremony provides a unique insight to the culture, traditions and maybe even your own future! The shaman learns the skill from their own family, as it is an important ritual to pass down to subsequent generations. During this experience, you will be invited to sit with the shaman in a circle with your fellow travelers. You will be welcomed, then asked for your name and reasons for visiting. A prayer is offered to the god of the mountains, or Apus. It’s a prayer of protection and a sign of respect. After 3 leaves have been blown toward the god, he’ll lay out a handful of leaves on the blanket in front of you. Their arrangement will be deciphered as to the message the gods intend to send your way. Now, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about matters important to you, such as family, friends, work and health. Maybe you’ll learn a little bit about the future, but you’ll definitely learn about the local traditions and culture of this truly special place. It’s quite the privilege to be able to participate in such an age old practice.
Coca leaf readings can easily be added to any of the Class Adventure Travel Peru vacation packages. Our travelers give great feedback on this ancient experience, citing the authenticity and interesting cultural observations made during the visit. Note that the coca leaf reading is a very local experience, the shaman will most likely know very little English, but an interpreter will accompany you to ensure you can communicate perfectly. Contact your Travel Specialist to find out more about this incredible opportunity!