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Llama Herding with Don Eugenio Challapa in Chulluncane, Desert of Atacama

Llama Herding with Don Eugenio Challapa in Chulluncane, Desert of Atacama ⠀ The Aymara people have been around the Andes for centuries, and are the second largest indigenous group of South America after the Quechuas. However, the population of Chilean Aymara’s is the smallest one at around 40K, and the towns they have inhabited for ages are disappearing as their youngest move to the cities looking for opportunities, merging in with modern culture and leaving their traditions behind. ⠀ During the Adventure Travel World Summit 2015 in Chile, I was assigned to document the Pre-Summit Adventure organized by Extremo Norte Expeditions through the Atacama region. Extremo Norte is run by Jaime Droguett, a man with a kind soul that is very concerned about the conservation of these ancient cultures and traditions. ⠀ We went to the town of Chulluncane, hidden in the highlands close to the border of Bolivia. This town, once a sizable community, is down to about 15 inhabitants now that are struggling to keep their way of life alive. ⠀ Don Eugenio Challapa, leader of this community invited us to visit him, stay at his house, meet his family, try their delicious home-made food, and to join him through his daily activities, where we could enjoy the beautiful surroundings of Chulluncane, and learn more about his community and their practices and traditions through his stories. ⠀ Visiting the Challapas was a real privilege. Normally, the Aymara people are very shy when it comes to foreigners, but with the hard work Jaime and Don Eugenio are doing to make this happen, they are figuring out a way to keep Chulluncane’s Aymara community alive without sacrifying their authenticity. ⠀ This photo is from the morning we joined Don Eugenio to graze his llamas. After a while of exploring the area, we took a small break to snack on some fruits and hear some Aymara legends, while enjoying this beautiful view with the Cerro Cariquima, an extinct volcano, in the background.

Llama Herding with Don Eugenio Challapa in Chulluncane, Desert of Atacama

The Aymara people have been around the Andes for centuries, and are the second largest indigenous group of South America after the Quechuas. However, the population of Chilean Aymara’s is the smallest one at around 40,000, and the towns they have inhabited for ages are disappearing as their youngest move to the cities looking for opportunities, merging in with modern culture and leaving their traditions behind.

During the Adventure Travel World Summit 2015 in Chile, I was assigned to document the Pre-Summit Adventure organized by Extremo Norte Expeditions through the Atacama region. Extremo Norte is run by Jaime Droguett, a man with a kind soul that is very concerned about the conservation of these ancient cultures and traditions.

We went to the town of Chulluncane, hidden in the highlands close to the border of Bolivia. This town, once a sizable community, is down to about 15 inhabitants now that are struggling to keep their way of life alive.

Don Eugenio Challapa, leader of this community invited us to visit him, stay at his house, meet his family, try their delicious home-made food, and to join him through his daily activities, where we could enjoy the beautiful surroundings of Chulluncane, and learn more about his community and their practices and traditions through his stories.

Visiting the Challapas was a real privilege. Normally, the Aymara people are very shy when it comes to foreigners, but with the hard work Jaime and Don Eugenio are doing to make this happen, they are figuring out a way to keep Chulluncane’s Aymara community alive without sacrifying their authenticity.

This photo is from the morning we joined Don Eugenio to graze his llamas. After a while of exploring the area, we took a small break to snack on some fruits and hear some Aymara legends, while enjoying this beautiful view with the Cerro Cariquima, an extinct volcano, in the background.

Photo taken at: Atacama Region

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