A little less than 500 years ago, it did not matter what Fray Diego Ortiz would order to indoctrinate the Catholic faith in the Indigenous peoples of Yanacachi. The Inca and their belief were there long before the Spanish. Today, this heavenly place conserves characteristics that only can be found there, together with its calmness and its stunning scenery.
Walking in Yanacachi’s street, focus shifts towards the houses that were built with flagstone, images that easily transport us to the past. This town is located 87 km from the city of La Paz, in Sud Yungas, sitting in an altitude of 1.900 meters above the sea level.
A sign at the town’s entrance reads that it is a Pre-Columbian town, and it was one of the last Inca towns before the massacre. Yanacachi, which means “black salt”- according to Fray Gonzales Holguin- it was due to the tungsten mines that existed nearby and it is far more famous that the celebrated Takesi Inca trail. It’s such an old place, that even Spanish times, it referred as Paganism University due to its importance as a sacred place and religious center for the Inca.
Fray Diego Ortiz used this to his advantaged, and built a church– known to be the oldest in the Yungas region, it was built under express orders of Viceroy Toledo in the 17th century to try and get rid of the Inca religion. But, in 1567, Fray Diego Ortiz left the town as the people in Yanachachi did not want to follow Catholicism.
Yanacachi it is also considered the gateway to Vilcabamba, a town close to Cusco, Peru. Its pride is its climate, its stone houses and are the townsfolk are always eager to receive tourists that arrive by foot through the Inca Trail.
When it rains, it pours in Yanacachi, and after the rain, the fog covers the entire town, and that’s when the past meets the present, where Catholic faith and Inca belief once clashed, where there are stone houses with its calm existence, and vibrant nature, awaits its visitors witht the same warmth as always.