Smithsonian Journeys Inca Road Issue

Handicraft Heaven: Nine Unique Gifts to Buy Along the Inca Road

Leave room in your suitcase for these irresistible items

Smithsonian Journeys Quarterly

Crafts in Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru have ancient pedigrees and contemporary appeal. Decorating gourds is a 4,000-year-old practice; weaving palm leaves draws on techniques reaching back to 3,500 B.C. and the region’s much admired textiles date back 3,000 years. All these treasures are handmade. All reflect the land’s rich natural resources.

Items assembled by Carmen Arellano in Peru, Ruxandra Guidi in Ecuador and Sara Shahriari in Bolivia.


Local communities are granted the right to keep bees on the protected land of the Pomac Forest, an arid tropical preserve on the northern coast of Peru. The amber-colored honey they collect comes from the nectar of the flower of carob trees. Noted for its woodsy aroma and buttery flavor, the honey can be bought at regional markets.

More from our "9 Things" series: Nine Unique Gifts to Buy in Paris


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