Uncovering the Virgin Inca bath

Millions of travelers head to the sacred lands of Machu Picchu every year to see the natural world wonder in person. But after the long, 2-3 day trek, it’s best to unwind at some of the top spas in Cusco, Peru.  Located on the famous Avenida del Sol, Cusco the Inca Spa offers thousand-year-old ancient Inca beauty rituals like Inti Raymi,which brings sun and fire together to renew your inner and outer light.  The spa settles within rock fixtures, giving the perception that you are in a mountain cave. Inca Spa focuses on treatments that administer natural Andean ingredients and connects you with the Inca culture. They offer beauty rituals that include offerings, a full-body exfoliation and a one-hour massage.

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My travel buddy Linda and I decided to try the Uma Rymi Quilla: a relaxing water ceremony for cleaning and purifying the body and mind.

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Warm water and bubbles filled the underground spa bath surrounded by colored candles which signified the unity of love and the rainbow Inca flag. The sounds of the Spanish guitar and drums awakened our spiritual calling and the therapist raised her hands to us, honoring our goddess spirit. This ritual holds a sacredness within the material and spiritual world. As she passed her hands over our faces and bodies, she spoke in Quechua, the language of the Incas. She released energy to cleanse us before the ceremony. We instantly felt relaxed and a sense of freedom from our own minds.

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As we stepped into the bath, we were blessed with rose water filled with flowers and herbs. The crown of our heads  were covered with flower petals, as was the third eye. For those who don’t know what the third eye is, it’s found on the forehead between the eyebrows. It is a nerve point that is considered to be the consciousness of where all wisdom is gathered.

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Legend has it that virgin girls would bathe in similar waters for purification as a coming-of-age before a wedding night or for ceremonial Inca beginnings. The young woman would be prepared with certain offerings to bring fortune, fertility, protection and other elements. It was popular among men as well before heading to work thousand of miles away and for war.

IMG_5444The bath is covered with small, multicolored confetti to represent celebration. Steam encompassed our bodies which caused us to sweat out all impurities. Inca baths are sacred as many consider water a purification tool for the soul.  It is thought to hold healing and cleansing qualities. Each offering that can be submitted symbolizes something different:  prosperity, wealth, health, good luck, and fertility, along with other elements. After 20 minutes of purification in the sacred waters, their signature massage followed. It consisted of an exfoliation and deep tissue massage using a mixture of oil and cacao leaves.

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Pachamama (translated as Mother Earth or Mother World) is a goddess who is celebrated by the indigenous people in the Andes. In the Inca culture, Pachamama is the mountains, air, fire, water and soil from which we all live. She is the fertility goddess and our connection to the cosmos and universe. Every ritual offered is in honor of Pachamama.

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This beautiful spa resides in one of the busiest cross towns of the world. Cusco, known as the alpaca home, connects to the mountain of the lost city. The Peruvian culture holds onto their native history, which is a gift to the world. While wandering the streets, the influence of their traditions are apparent even in today’s world, where people are quickly adopting a technological and fast-moving way of life. Their legends and myths of the wind and mountains still, thankfully, exist all around us…

Written by Stephanie Flor Edited by Karen Mowls