The Incan relay system could transport news 150 miles per day. The runners, stationed every 2 miles, would run at top speeds and blow a conch shell to tell the next runner they were arriving. The next runner would fall into step beside them, hear and memorize the message, and then run at top speed to the next messenger. The system was so fast they could carry fresh fish from the Pacific Ocean to the Incan king in the Andes valley of Cuzco – without the fish spoiling.

Coca Does Not Equal Cocaine

Use of coca leaves, the leaves which can be used to make cocaine, is traditional in the Andes. In fact, its consumption dates to the very earliest of ancient South American cultures. We have evidence that coca was consumed in what is today Ecuador as early as the 8000s BCE. This is hardly surprising. Coca is extremely useful.

The leaves contain a powerful alkaloid which acts as a stimulant. Its effects include raised heart rate, increased appetite, and suppressed hunger and thirst. Its muscle-relaxing properties mean coca leaves are great for menstrual cramps. And that also helps treat altitude sickness, by opening up the respiratory tract and relieving the feeling of shortness of breath and tightness in the chest. Further, coca leaves have antibacterial and analgesic properties. It also aids in digestion and preventing constipation. Finally, the leaves themselves are nutritionally beneficial. They are rich in iron, vitamin B, and vitamin C. No wonder coca leaves continue to be a large part of Andean culture through today.


Choquequirao is a 15th and 16th century settlement associated with the Incan Empire, or more correctly Tawantinsuyu. The site had two major growth stages. This could be explained if Pachacuti founded Choquequirao and his son, Tupaq Inka Yupanki, remodeled and extended it after becoming the Sapa Inka. Choquequirao is located in the area considered to be Pachacuti’s estate; which includes the areas around the rivers Amaybamba, Urabamba, Vilcabamba, Victos and Apurímac. Other sites in this area are Saywite, Machu Picchu, Chachapampa (Chachabamba), Chuqisuyuy(Choquesuysuy) and Wamanmarka (Guamanmarca); all of which share similar architectural styles with Choquequirao. The architectural style of several important features appears to be of Chachapoya design, suggesting that Chachapoya workers were probably involved in the construction. This suggests that Tupaq Inka probably ordered the construction. Colonial documents also suggest that Tupaq Inka ruled Choquequirao since his great grandson, Tupa Sayri, claimed ownership of the site and neighboring lands during Spanish colonization.

It was one of the last bastions of resistance and refuge of the Son of the Sun (the “Inca”), Manco Inca Yupanqui, who fled Cusco after his siege of the city failed in 1535.

According to the Peruvian Tourism Office, “Choquequirao was probably one of the entrance check points to the Vilcabamba, and also an administrative hub serving political, social and economic functions. Its urban design has followed the symbolic patterns of the imperial capital, with ritual places dedicated to Inti (the Incan sun god) and the ancestors, to the earth, water and other divinities, with mansions for administrators and houses for artisans, warehouses, large dormitories or kallankas and farming terraces belonging to the Inca or the local people. Spreading over 700 meters, the ceremonial area drops as much as 65 meters from the elevated areas to the main square." The city also played an important role as a link between theAmazon Jungle and the city of Cusco.


[Mythological Female Figures 2/?]

Incan Mother Earth Goddess of Fertility and Harvest

In Inca mythology, Mama Pacha or Pachamama is a fertility goddess who presides over planting and harvesting. She also causes aearthquakes. Her husband was Inti, the Sun God, depending on the source. Llamas are sacrificed to her. Since Pachamama is a “good mother”, people usually toast to her honor before every meeting or festivity, in some regions by spilling a small amount of chicha on the floor, before drinking the rest.

Pachamama is usually translated as Mother Earth, but a more literal translation would be “Mother world” (in Aymara and Quechua since there is no equal even in modern Spanish or English it was translated by the first Spaniard Chronists as follows: mama = mother / pacha = world or land; and later widened in a modern meaning as the cosmos or the universe)

A moment of Incan mythology for you–

This is an artist’s rendition of Catequil– the Incan god of thunder and lightning.

He’s actually rather boring, except for one really strange little morsel of myth…

Catequil is the creator of twins… in that he will come down as a lightning bolt and enter a woman while she is in bed with her husband, causing two babies to be born.

So I guess– if you want twins, do the dirty during a lightning storm.  Cheers!