Coca Museum – The Quechua Culture in Puno, Peru
We had some time to kill so we decided to stop by the Coca Museum (Museo de la Coca) in downtown Puno, Peru. Once through the front door, we made our way up a flight of stairs and into the museum. There were three rooms, one like a gift shop where you paid the 5 Sole entrance fee, one full of pictures and information on the history of coca and how it has affected the culture of the surrounding areas, and the third dedicated to traditional dancing and dress. We started in the third room, surrounded by crazy and colorful dancing costumes. They played a short documentary for us, in English, explaining the different dances and what they mean. After the movie, we got to try on some costumes!
Well worth the 5 Soles (under $2) just to play dress up, the Coca Museum was informative and interesting. Did you know that coca leaves have more protein, calcium, iron, and vitamin A than corn, wheat, rice, barley, quinuoa, or yucca? It’s too bad people have to go and do bad things with an amazing plant. To close, here’s a quote displayed at the museum that proved chillingly prophetic:
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