The Last Inkas

A Quechua-speaking indigenous people of Peru, the Q’ero dwell in highland areas in the region of the sacred Ausangate mountain a day’s journey from Cuzco. Their geographical isolation frames both their challenges as well as their unique culture, which has survived for centuries. While their isolation has acted to protect their traditions, it has also severely limited their access to opportunities, education, and services. Even today the Q’ero face severe economic, social and cultural pressures.


When the Spanish invaded South America, the great empire of Tawantinsuyo, known to modern times as the Inka, was decimated. The Q’ero people have been called the “last Inka community.” Subsistence farmers and preservers of an ancient culture, the Q’ero live in tiny remote villages in the harsh and remote highlands of the Andes. Little has changed for five hundred years.

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Current Challenges

Life is harsh for the Q’ero people, who subsist on potatoes and other tubers they grow in the highlands. Alpacas, llamas, and sheep provide wool for weaving clothing and utilitarian items. Only a few villages have access to potable water, electricity, or schools. With no options to earn wages, cash is very limited for essentials like salt, cooking oil, and other necessities. Heart Walk Foundation partners with Q’ero communities to address these challenges.