Cuzco
The colorful traditional dress of the Quechua-speaking indigenous people of Cuzco, topped with bowler-style hats for the women and woolen chullos for the men, will quickly become a familiar sight for visitors. Quechua itself pre-dated the arrival of the Incas, and today's indigenous culture is an amalgam of pre-Incan, Incan, and colonial influences. Traditional dance enlivens Catholic ritual, while apus (mountain spirits) and other nature deities coexist alongside Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary. The coca leaf is a vital part of local culture, chewed as a mild narcotic or to mitigate the symptoms of altitude sickness, and has an important ceremonial role.