A rejuvenating rose-chamomile facial mist recipe…
Now that the fabulous Jessa Blades has put us on the road to natural skin care (see last week’s interview with the natural beauty expert), it’s time to get down to business. I love browsing the beauty aisles and treating myself to an organic mascara or under-eye cream, but I also try to make many of my own skin care products, my favorites being skin toners and facial mists. That way, I know exactly what’s in it and that the ingredients are fresh.
Toners are an oft-overlooked step in face care, but are actually quite beneficial to the skin. Below is my favorite make-at-home rose-chamomile facial mist recipe. It’s both refreshing and healing, which is especially beneficial in the summer when you’re likely to face more intense sun exposure. Chamomile is clarifying, helping to prevent acne and redness while tightening pores and softening the skin; rosewater, meanwhile, is gently antiseptic. This mist should be stored in the refrigerator, and remade every couple of weeks.
A note: I’ve added optional vitamin E oil to this recipe. There is plenty of controversy over the effects of vitamin E oil on the skin (does it help, or does it harm?) Vitamin E has been praised as a powerful antioxidant that blocks free radicals, thereby reducing wrinkles and helping the skin stay younger. However, it is also heavy and oily, which can cause breakouts and rashes for those with sensitive skin. I’ve used it for years and, personally, i love it: it speeds the healing of my dry skin and other blemishes. I encourage you to try it, but you know your skin best. If you break out easily or have sensitive skin, proceed with caution. If you don’t like it, just omit it the next time you make your mist.
- 1 pure chamomile tea bag
- 1 cup hot water
- ½ cup rose water
- 2 capsules vitamin E oil (optional)
- A clean, dark blue or amber glass spray bottle
- Brew the chamomile tea and let it cool.
- Once the tea is cool, add the rosewater and break open the vitamin E capsules and add those.
- Stir well and pour into the spray bottle.
Store in the refrigerator and shake well before use. After cleansing your face and neck, spray or apply gently with a cotton ball. Swipe upward to tighten skin. Allow to dry before moisturizing. Occasionally, I’ll apply my moisturizer directly over the mist. Skin accepts moisture easily when it’s wet, so this feels lovely when my skin is extra dry.
Let me know how it goes in the comments below. If you have any favorite facial mist additions, I’d love to hear them. Stay radiant!
How smart to add those capsules!
Read on to enter our sweepstakes for the trip of a lifetime!
We’ve thrilled to announce we’ve teamed up with a group of partners to give away one spot on our upcoming FP Escapes retreat to Peru! One lucky winner will receive the trip of a lifetime – a chance to travel with the Free People team into the heart of ancient knowledge. Hiking the ruins of Machu Picchu, practicing yoga with guide Ashleigh Sergeant, and exploring nutritionally rich superfoods… Expect to leave this journey a new person, changed forever. Enter here!
Prize package includes:
-9 day multi-location journey through the Sacred Valley
-Flights to/from Cusco Airport
-Daily yoga classes with Ashleigh Sergeant
-Superfood workshops, farm visits, tastings and more
-Entrance fees to Machu Picchu, Sacsaywaman + Ollantaytambo
-Private local guides on all excursions
-Daily Peruvian breakfast + dinner (lunches not included)
-Transportation during trip & roundtrip airport transfers
-$500 Free People product
Enter the Sweepstakes HERE
…And that’s totally fine
Everything I know about beauty, I learned from Seventeen magazine.
And Teen. And YM… Remember YM? Growing up, I was the odd duck of our forest-loving, outdoorsy family. I loved nature, sure, but I was also born with a seemingly random and insatiable
blood lust desire for all things fashion, beauty and avant-garde. When I was five, I renamed myself Dolly and made an outfit entirely out of scarves. As a twelve-year-old, I discovered Rocky Horror and spent weekends learning the Time Warp while practicing the perfect Tim Curry-approved red lip. As a teenager, I dyed my hair and the bathtub a deeply satisfying and deeply permanent shade of purple. There were few limits placed upon my siblings and I — fabulous for creativity — but also no guidelines given. While I was taught to identify a variety of mushrooms, cloud formations and soil horizons while simultaneously chopping wood and building an acceptable fire, my more pressing teenage questions largely went unanswered. Questions such as, how does one shave? What’s foundation all about? And, eyebrow plucking? That’s a thing? My mother was always there, standing over the fire, axe in hand, bare-faced and beautiful and offering zero guidance when it came to outward appearance.
Some girls sat at their mother’s vanity, playing with makeup. In my house, there was no vanity to speak of. And if you were to ask me about the beauty tips, tricks and secrets my mother imbued, my mind would draw a blank. Beauty secrets? No. Those were left to the pages of magazines, skilled college roommates, and my own inexperienced fumbling. I applied the same DIYODS (do it your own damn self) philosophy — also known as hard-headed self-sufficiency — to solving these beauty riddles as I was taught to apply to other areas of life. However, anti-beauty secrets? Yes. Those I did learn from my mother.
Makeup isn’t necessary to know the value of yourself in the world.
If you don’t know how to do something, learn.
If you’re feeling anxious, drink some water. You’re probably just dehydrated.
…OK, that last one might sound random, but I had to throw it in because it works.
While I may not have appreciated it at the time, growing up under the care of a mother who was too busy being creative and curious — and teaching my siblings and I to be the same — to care much about outward appearance allowed us to fully explore our own capabilities, minus the pressure of perfection. We could learn about the world around us, learn to chop wood and be self-sufficient, while also exploring the interests that were all our own. Minus the makeup tray, my siblings and I discovered who we were before we decided who we wanted to project to the world, and I will forever be thankful for that. Now, who wants a bonfire?
See how the stars are aligning this week and what it means for you….
April 20–May 20
Venus in Taurus is clicking with several other planets this week, enhancing your mood and your interactions. You should feel quite sociable and be able to relate to others with little or no effort. Friendships and group activities will have a sense of natural flow, while romance, creativity, time with children and playfulness will inspire you and bring out the best in you. Mercury is meeting up with the sun and Venus, encouraging you to try to convey your emotions, your artistic sensibility and your personality despite the challenges that Mercury retrograde presents. Hard-earned wisdom, powerful convictions and compelling principles can fuel your self-expression now. You may have the opportunity to connect on a deep level with people, ideas, cultures or beliefs that are unfamiliar to you, so extend yourself beyond your comfort zone.
May 21–June 20
A planetary gathering in the last house of your chart lures you to slow down and engage with life on a different level this week. Creative work can give you a sense of accomplishment, especially if you do it behind the scenes in a low-key setting. Your imagination and intuition are dovetailing, possibly bringing insights and artistic breakthroughs. You need peace and quiet, so spend time by yourself daydreaming, reflecting on the past, journaling, meditating, letting go of something or someone that no longer serves your growth—and anything else you think will put you at ease. This is also a good time for taking care of another person or making a sacrifice for a loved one. You’re feeling very private, and sexual intimacy, confiding in somebody you trust or processing psychological turmoil will be cathartic.
June 21–July 22
With the sun, Mercury and Venus interacting in your group zone, you’re in a gregarious mood this week. A trip, an adventure, a spiritual or educational experience or an effort to serve others will be enjoyable if shared with friends. Common interests, goals and views can bring you together with people, and you’ll be able to learn a lot from each other. Professional networking should go well, as a Venus-Jupiter collaboration favors expanding your contacts. An open mind and a positive attitude will allow you to easily connect with others who lie outside your everyday circle. Although Mercury is retrograde, communication with a wide range of people could bring a power player into your life — or facilitate a powerful attraction. Don’t spend too much time alone now, because dialogue and socializing will enliven and satisfy you.
July 23–August 22
You shouldn’t have much trouble shining in public or in your profession this week, with three planets in your ambition angle clicking with each other and a few other planets. Outside resources or a partner’s support could facilitate creative work. In spite of Mercury being retrograde, you’ll be able to project a positive image and convey your true aims to someone in authority. Your appeal with higher-ups could be strong enough to earn you a raise, or the quality of your work may lead you to develop an additional source of income. You might get involved in something related to beauty, fashion, the arts, communication or PR. Hard work and a determination to build up your résumé will make you look good, and enjoying what you do will give you a happy glow.
August 23–September 22
After four months retrograde, Jupiter is turning direct in your sign this week, giving you a sense of anticipation and excitement, though you may feel overstimulated. In the next four months, maintain your focus on self-awareness, learning and expansion. If you’ve been incubating anything related to this mission since January, start considering how you can put your plans in motion. With Mars retrograde through June, jumping into action isn’t feasible just yet. A planetary pow-wow in your exploration sector underscores this theme of broadening your horizons. In your quest for personal growth, seek out topics, beliefs, people, experiences and places that are foreign to you. Such encounters can change you and change your relationships as well. Take a chance for the sake of happiness, love, knowledge or creativity; it’s likely to pay off.
September 23–October 22
The sun, Mercury and Venus are placing a great deal of emphasis on sharing this week, and you’re encouraged to go beyond superficial inquiry and relating and delve deeply into something or someone. Spending time with a confidant or sexual partner will have a healing effect, helping you to release stress and feel more at peace. Any form of intimacy can regenerate you and bring you comfort. Introspection will enable you to process your emotions, understand where you’re coming from and be more aware of what drives you and how you operate. Closeness, trust, investigation, research, psychological probing and profound dialogue are all apt to yield positive results at this time. Don’t skim the surface. Make a choice to dive into the complexities of a subject, a relationship or your own soul.
October 23–November 21
A planetary summit in your one-on-one angle nudges you to connect with other individuals this week. Since Venus is rendezvousing with dreamy Neptune in your love sector, romance is favored, but that meeting could also indicate a creative collaboration. Venus is meshing with Jupiter in your group house as well, so interactions with friends, professional contacts and other peers should be pleasant and beneficial to you. Compromise, team spirit, mutual support and shared interests are emphasized. Both Mercury and Venus are syncing with Pluto — your ruling planet — in your thinking-and-talking corner, alluding to penetrating conversations that could shift your mindset. Plus the depth of your own communication can enhance a relationship now. Even though Mercury is retrograde, you should have a good rapport with others and enjoy companionship and group interactions.
November 22–December 21
After four months of backtracking, Jupiter — your ruling planet —goes direct this week, stimulating your aspirations and reinvigorating your quest to succeed. As Jupiter gets back up to speed in the coming weeks, your intention to achieve your goals should return, but with Mars still retrograde in your sign, you probably won’t feel inclined to spring into action. The sun, Mercury and Venus are gathered in your productivity sector, so you might want to revise your game plan and focus on whatever you decide is most doable at this time. Factoring in your resources, attending to practical matters and fostering good relationships with colleagues will increase your odds of success. A willingness to cooperate will be beneficial, and a chance to be both creative and useful can make what you’re doing deeply satisfying.
December 22–January 19
The planets continue to encourage you to enjoy life this week as they assemble in your happiness zone. A Venus-Neptune connection favors expressing romantic feelings and affection, while a Venus-Jupiter link alludes to creative vision, fun adventure, traveling for pleasure and faith in love. You need to express your personality and tell your story. You’ve been going through a lot, and it will feel good to let it out in some way. An experience of love or creativity can expand your awareness. Both Mercury and Venus are gelling with Pluto in Capricorn, so you’re likely to pour a great deal of yourself into such experiences and to in turn be changed by them. So ultimately, love and creativity can be transformative. If you take a risk now, chances are it will be worth it.
January 20–February 18
With three planets hanging out at the bottom of your chart, your focus is drawn to home, family and your inner life. Venus is collaborating with releasing Neptune in your resources zone, making this a good week to consider what you want in your space and get rid of some stuff. She’s also vibing with enhancing Jupiter in your depth house, suggesting that connecting with family or spending quiet time at home will be good for your psyche and may enlighten you. Getting close to another person in the privacy of your home is also favored. Mercury and Venus are both in sync with Pluto in your subconscious corner, encouraging you to reflect on the past, tune into your emotions and process a memory, loss or wound that is still affecting you.
February 19–March 20
Venus in your thinking-and-talking corner is jibing with Neptune in Pisces this week, helping you to perceive love and beauty and convey what’s inside you. Venus is also meshing with Jupiter in your one-on-one angle, promoting positive relationships and warm communication. Your interactions should be pleasant and maybe even uplifting. Socializing and networking are favored, as Mercury and Venus are both clicking with Pluto in your group zone. And you’ll feel better able to express yourself to your friends and peers, even though Mercury is still retrograde. You’ll especially appreciate being in contact with others who share your interests or goals. To take advantage of this week’s planetary activity, you should make an effort to reach out to people. And don’t hesitate to ask questions; someone will be keen to share their knowledge.
March 21–April 19
A few planets are congregating in your worth house, putting extra focus on your resources and self-confidence this week. Since covetous Venus is collaborating with releasing Neptune, this would probably be a good time to get rid of some stuff. Mercury is retrograde there, helping you to review what you have and reassess what you need. The sun’s presence in that house may introduce a tendency to identify with your possessions, but as an Aries, you like to simplify matters and move on. Venus is also meshing with Jupiter in your job sector, suggesting that taking on more work and being enthusiastic about what you’re doing can boost your finances or your self-esteem. Appraising your assets such as natural talents and sorting out your priorities will enable you to generate more earning power in the long run.
It’s that time… what do you want to do this summer?!
This post comes from our blog intern, Emily.
Summer is quickly approaching. This year, (I swear I say this every year) I want to get the most out of the warmest months… summer always hits and fades away all too quickly. Before I know it, I’ve only done a few of the things I hoped to do and long for more time. But, I’ve got a plan this year and it starts with making a list.
1. Beach, beach, beach. Swim in the ocean 5-100 times
2. Shoot 10 rolls of film
3. Go paddle boarding
4. Do 3 new hikes
5. Drink rose at a picnic in the park with all my friends
6. Have a bonfire
7. Make popsicles
8. Go slower: think slower, move slower, act slower
9. Swim in a Colorado river
10. Go fishing with my dad
11. Enjoy the golden hour as much as possible
12. Host a dinner party
13. Kiss more
14. Wake up earlier
15. Ride my long board
16. Join a CSA
17. Be kinder to my body
19. Cook with my mom
20. Say YES
21. Read a good book, or two. Or three. Or four.
22. Wear dresses
23. Use fresh herbs like crazy
24. Buy fresh flowers weekly
25. Go rock hunting
26. Visit a new park, and return to an old one
27. Play with kids
29. Do what it takes to feel free
30. Farmers’ markets
31. Go to the zoo
32. Make homemade pizza
33. Watch the stars
34. Find a waterfall
35. Get outside of my comfort zone!
36. Be more sun-safe
37. Eat outside
38. Walk and wander more
39. Go to yoga on the pier
40. Take that ceramics class
41. Make more meaningful conversation
+What’s on your list? Let us know in the comments!
What a lovely list of things! I should put number 8 on mine as well…
Good article, been thinking about the same thing myself. Summers keep rolling by and my son keeps getting older. I’m ready to create some more experiences and your list is very appealing. Please check out my blog at Khezcorner.blogspot.com
Headed to the gym? Eat this first.
When I was younger, my dad had a favorite analogy he would use for how healthy eating impacted sports performance. He would compare the human body to that of a sleek hotrod car. “Hotrods,” he would tell me, “are state of the art machines that deserve only the best gasoline.” He explained that if the car wanted to be used to its full potential, it needed high performance gas. Anything less than that and the car would sputter, stall and eventually stop.
“Now, Joanna,” he would say with a furrowed brow, “the body is just like that hotrod car. It’s meant to work at its full potential. But if we put unhealthy sugars and fats into our body, it’s going to eventually sputter and stall.” His example has stayed with me over the many years of playing sports and working out. I still think of his analogy when I go on a run on a stomach of, say… gummy worms and a cheese quesadilla, and, even after a short while, I begin to feel like I am running out of gas. It’s a great reminder that our bodies are magnificent machines and need (also, deserve) the premium gasoline.
Below are four options (two morning and two afternoon) for pre-workout snacks. These foods will provide energy and give you endurance throughout your burn. These picks, my friends, are the good gas.
Steel cut oats and berries. Steel cut oats are slowly digested so they will keep you feeling fuller for longer. The complex carbs will give you endurance and energy throughout your workout. Berries are one of the richest foods when it comes to anti-oxidants, which protects from free radical damage. They also have anti-inflammatory properties which helps muscle recovery and damage.
Banana and almond butter. Optional: whole wheat bread. This is one of my favorite snacks. Bananas are givers of energy due to them being a high quality complex carb. They are also rich in potassium, which prevents muscle cramping. Almond butter is high in protein and good fats, which keeps you satisfied throughout your workout. If you want a higher carb count, throw your almond butter and sliced banana on a piece of whole wheat bread!
Farro and steamed broccoli. Farro is one of the healthiest ancient grains, rich in fiber and protein to sustain your energy level. The magnesium that farro provides helps muscle, bone and nerve function. Broccoli supports your body’s detoxification process, is high in fiber, and has anti-inflammatory properties. Pile it on!
Carrots and hummus. Optional: whole wheat crackers. Hummus is a great combination of complex carbs, unsaturated fats, and protein. The carrots add high water content, beta-carotene, fiber, potassium and antioxidants properties to the snack. Carrots are low in calories so if you want to increase your calorie intake, pair with whole wheat crackers or bread.
+What do you like eating before a workout? Please share in the comments!
Follow Joanna on Instagram.
Giving love to all of the moms (and dog moms!) out there…
We love them. And sometimes…well, let’s just say that, depending on the situation, that love can be challenged a bit.
But inherently, we all know that moms want only to ensure that their children’s lives are full, and rich, and happy. (Yes, that includes pets, too.) On May 8th, we honor all the selfless and generous and thoughtful things that our moms do. Today — and every day, really — we want to celebrate all of the moms we work with here at Free People. They, and their families, are amazing and we’re so very lucky to call them our friends.
A few of our FP moms recently asked their kids to share what they love and know about their mommas… please enjoy some of our favorite responses below.
What does your mom do for work?
Austin: “Work out.”
What’s your favorite thing about your mom?
Marlo, age 4: “You love me and read me stories.”
Eddie age 2 “A shirt” and “A Chocolate.”
My mom always tell me…
Mazzeo and Juniper: “To do the right thing.”
What’s your favorite thing about your mom?
Benji, age 16: “She is a very fun-loving person.”
What does your mom do for work?
Frida, age 9: “She works at Free People as a boss.”
My mom always says:
Olympia and Adele: “Love you guys.”
What’s your favorite thing about your mom?
Brooks: “I love when she makes me laugh, like when she sings the fanny, fanny, bo-banny song, but messes up the words.”
What does your mom do for work?
Declan: “A catalog at the printer.”
Nolan: “The computer.”
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY, EVERYONE <3
Well, 11 simple steps…
This post comes from our blog intern, Emily.
The ONE thing I would encourage everyone to do to better their health, including my own, is… drink more water. I am addicted – it’s my rescue, it’s the one thing that always has my back. If I am feeling off, it’s usually because I haven’t had enough water. And I believe that’s true for most people, whether they know it or not.
I carry a large (1.5 L ) water bottle with me, and refill it 2-3 times a day. It is big, and it is heavy, but I’ve gotten used to it…because it’s worth it to be hydrated. My friends sometimes wonder why I bring my water with me everywhere…
Because water is my everything.
We all know that water is good for us, but there are many people throughout my circle who drink no more than one glass daily — that is some seriously crazy sh*t. You should be drinking at least 8-10 glasses a day.
Water is the cure for many health issues we currently encounter. Staying hydrated can improve your digestion, your skin, headaches, allergies, immunity, inflammation…literally everything.
I challenge you to drink 1-2 liters of purified water for the next 10 days, and monitor how great you feel. Here’s how to make it a habit:
- Make it the first thing you do in the morning. Try to drink 1-2 glasses of room temperature water each morning before anything else. Follow up with warm lemon water for an alkalizing, metabolism boost!
- Drink a glass of water after every bathroom break. When you get up from your desk, return with a sip of water!
- Use a straw. For me, drinking with straws helps my beverage to disappear before I can blink. Don’t know what it is, but straws are effective and I like it!
- Invest in a good water filter and water bottle. Drinking clean, purified water is the best way to go, and make it more enjoyable by picking out a water bottle you like. Then keep it on you at all times. Have a full water filter on the kitchen counter, nearby, or at your desk to make it easier for you to reach for the good stuff.
- Eat your water. Eat more fruits and vegetables that are primarily comprised of water like cucumber, celery, watermelon, radish, lettuce, citrus and bell peppers.
- One for one. Each time you have a soda, juice or alcoholic beverage, drink a glass of water. (This is a big one.)
- Set/make reminders. Notes for yourself on the mirror, the fridge, the door. Or get an app that tracks your daily intake and reminds you to drink water!
- Infuse. Lemon is amazing. Try cucumber and mint in your water. Infuse your water for added nutrients and flavor.
- Drink sparkling mineral water. If you’re a soda fan, this might be an easier way to cut down on soda and drink more H2O.
- Eat spicy foods! I’m always reaching for more water when I eat spicy foods.
- Set a goal for each day and be mindful. Make progress. You’ll start to see how good you feel.
+How do you keep up on your water intake? What helps you stay hydrated?
I’ve recently started drinking WAY more and it’s helped so much. Lemon water sounds so nice and refreshing for the morning. I’ll have to give it a shot.
Living Aloha in our newest book.
It’s a given — Hawaii is one of THE most special places on earth. The all-encompassing natural beauty of the land, the perfect pace by which locals live, and the fresh and colorful food… yes, it all seems too good to be true. Alas, it is real and Aloha is present every day. Aloha is a familiar Hawaiian term used to say hello and goodbye but, in actuality, it has a much deeper and soulful meaning. To possess the Aloha spirit is to live life in compassion, love and peace, when your heart is so full of love and generosity for others that it spills out and onto the people around you. It is a guideline on how to live the good life.
While the FP West Coast crew was on location shooting in Hawaii, we were smothered in an outpouring of love. Thank you to the islanders, and to everyone we met along the way and showed us the true Aloha spirit. We will never forget the time we spent on your beautiful island.
Have a look below at a few of our favorite shots from the May book, and remember… live in the Aloha spirit.
Top Photo: Kalea Striped Sleeveless One Piece
+What is your favorite look from the new catalog? Share in the comments!
Follow Joanna on Instagram.
Take a taste of Peru’s awe-inspiring beauty in preparation for our upcoming FP Escapes retreat…
A visit to Peru’s Sacred Valley is one of those bucket list, once-in-a-lifetime kind of trips. Not only is the verdant region in the Andean highlands home to the ancient city of Machu Picchu, but it also houses the charming town of Cusco and a number of small colonial villages as well.
The region is a vibrant feast for the senses, from the lush, green landscape to the bright, graphic local textiles worn (and sold) by local villagers. And, at the height of the Incan Empire, this was the civilization’s capital, lending it a rich cultural heritage, too.
A couple of months ago, writer and photographer Lucy Laucht was lucky enough to make the journey to this magical place. Her wanderlust-inspiring Instagram account and beautiful blog gave us a taste of the Sacred Valley’s awe-inspiring beauty. Here, her guide to this otherworldly region, a taste of what to expect on our upcoming FP Escapes retreat with Yogascapes and guide Ashleigh Sergeant into the heart of Peru.
Where to stay:
Inkaterra La Casona in Cusco is an exquisite 16th century colonial mansion which was, at different times, a training ground for Incan soldiers, the home of a conquistador and his family and lodging for Simon Bolivar, Peru’s “El Libertador.”. Today, that heritage is evident in antique furnishings, local art and bright traditional Peruvian rugs in each of the rooms.
Also in Cusco, Los Ninos is run by a Dutch-founded non-profit foundation that serves underprivileged children in the town. It’s a rambling colonial home with a sunny courtyard and a little store selling great textiles woven by local artisans.
In the mountains, Inkaterra Machu Picchu in Aguas Calientes is a haven nestled in the cloud forest below the Incan ruins. It’s a lovely, welcoming, sustainability-focused hotel.
Where to Eat and Drink:
In Cusco, UCHU Peruvian Steakhouse had amazing smoked alpaca (really!) and steaks and an awesome wine selection. Plus, the food is served on cool volcanic stones.
Limo is another great option in town. The menu is a fusion-style mash-up of Japanese and Peruvian cuisines. The ceviche, tiradito and sushi are excellent, but there are also many traditional Peruvian dishes on offer.
Before or after dinner, head to El Pisquerito, a pisco bar with delicious cocktails and a sophisticated vibe.
What to do:
Visit the Centro de Textiles Tradicionales, a great artisan workshop that promotes the empowerment of local textile weavers.
San Pedro market is great for souvenirs and flowers, as well as for cute little cafes that serve food and fresh juices.
El Barratillo is a sprawling market with three streets dedicated to textiles. Go on Saturday and you’ll find street vendors with stacks of beautiful old woven mantas (the traditional woven cloths used to carry everything from food and firewood to small children). Be careful with cameras and wallets, as pickpockets ply these streets.
In the colonial villages…
The Pisac markets on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday are an incredible place to find woven fabrics, embellishments and pottery.
In Chinchero, a little town about an hour from Cusco, you’ll find Incan ruins, views of snowcapped mountains, colonial churches and colorful markets. The markets here, too, are open Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday but slightly less touristy than those in Pisac. On market days, the locals come down from the hillside villages to sell their wares. And don’t miss the church or “Iglesia Colonial” in the small town center. It’s one of the most beautiful examples of colonial architecture in the Sacred Valley, its interior walls covered with ornate fresco paintings.
Take a car or bus up to the remote weaving community of Huilloc, perched high in the mountains above the Urubamba Valley. The town is known for its textiles and the locals are clothed in brightly patterned pink and red wool garments.
In and around Machu Picchu…
Down the mountain from Machu Picchu is Ollantaytambo, the best surviving example of Inca city planning. This is a common starting point for hiking the Inca trail.
A base camp of sorts for those heading to Machu Picchu, the town of Aguas Calientes is cut off from main roads and enclosed by dramatic stone cliffs, towering cloud forests and two rushing rivers. While most people take the bus up to Machu Picchu, there is actually a winding path up the mountainside from Aguas Calientes, which passes through dense rainforest and gives you glimpses at untouched (and crowd-free) Inca ruins. The hike is strenuous, but the amazing experience is well worth it.