Learn Quechua (Part 2): Language of the Incas

Learn Quechua in Cusco

Learn Quechua: Language of the Incas in Cusco

The decision to learn Quechua, or even just a few words of it, is an important one when you travel to Cusco or make Cusco your home. By learning the language, you are embarking on a journey through time and culture. The ancient capital of the Inca Empire, Cusco, is a place where the past seamlessly blends with the present. Among the many aspects that make this city and its surroundings enchanting is Quechua—a linguistic treasure that resonates with the heartbeat of its people and history.

Quechua is more than just a language; it’s a connection to the Inca heritage, a bridge to the local people, and a window into the rich tapestry of Andean culture. With approximately 8-10 million speakers, Quechua holds the distinction of being the largest spoken indigenous language in the Americas. Its importance cannot be overstated, and its influence continues to grow, not just in Peru but worldwide.

In recent years, Quechua has been experiencing a resurgence in popularity, fueled by a renewed interest in indigenous cultures and traditions. Even Google has recognized its significance by adding Quechua to its translator, making it easier for travelers and language enthusiasts to delve into its beauty and depth.

In this blog series, we’ll take you on a linguistic journey through Cusco’s unique dialect of Quechua, highlighting 10 essential words or phrases in each post that will not only enhance your Andean experience but also bring you closer to the welcoming local community. So, let’s start our exploration of this fascinating language, one word at a time. Part 1 here!

Words of the Day

Adj. Big

Hatun tayta

noun. Grandfather

Hatun Mama

noun. Grandmother


noun. Village

Hatun Llaqta

noun. City


verb. To go


verb. To come


noun. Garden


noun. Person


noun. Trail

Fun fact: The Inca Road System, known in Quechua as Qhapaq Ñan, was a complex series of ancient roads that connected the entire Incan Empire. They stretched all the way from Colombia to Argentina!

If you are looking to further immerse yourself in indigenous Andean culture, consider these tours!

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