Known as Q’eswachaka (the first syllable is a lateral “click”) or Keshwa Chaca, this is one of the only remaining example of the Incan handwoven bridges once common in the Incan road system.
Made of woven grass, the bridge spans 118 feet and hangs 60 feet above the canyon’s rushing river. The Incan women braided small, thin ropes, which were then braided again by the men into large support cables, much like a modern steel suspension bridge. Handwoven bridges have been part of the trail and roadway system for over 500 years, and were held in very high regard by the Inca. The punishment for tampering with such a bridge was death.
Over time, however, the bridges decayed, or were removed, leaving this last testament to Incan engineering. The bridges’ sagging was addressed by destroying and rebuilding it in an annual ceremony – originally considered a social obligation under Inca rule, and now preserved as a way of honoring their history by the nearby community of Quehue, Peru. This bridge has been christened with a traditional Incan ceremonial bridge blessing and is in extremely good condition.
Know Before You Go
Form Sicuani, follow signs to Arequipa (a left turn if you are on the main highway facing toward Cuzco). Continue on that road until you begin seeing signs for Quehue. From Quehue, continue through town to the west (probably best to ask directions from a local at this point. When you cross the Apurímac River on the steel roadway bridge, Q'eswachaka is on your right. There is one walkway down to it on either side of the roadway bridge (about 100 m away from the bridge in both cases.
The geocoordinates are -14.3811214,-71.484012.