The sun is setting over Lake Titicaca, turning the sky several spectacular hues of crimson and gold. Perched high above the bay amidst some bizarrely hewn rocks-the ruins of an Inca astrological site-I’m taking part in an Andean Pachamama ceremony, offering gifts of coca leaves to the omniscient Earth Mother and protector.
The typical traveler who’s been seduced by the cosmic vibe of the place where-according to Inca legend-the sun and the moon were born, I’m hoping for some kind of meaningful, spiritual experience.
My friendly local guide, Ramón, is missing a few teeth but full of engaging facts about traditional practices. As we meditate over an assortment of symbolically shaped sugar tablets, then set them alight, I do my best to feel connected to the energies of the awe-inspiring surroundings.