Patacancha is a traditional Quechua community about an hour’s drive above Ollantaytambo  on a dirt road. People in Patacancha live much as they have for centuries, weaving, farming, and raising animals.
While in Patacancha please be aware that tourism can be harmful. Be sensitive and discreet in shooting your photos, avoid gaping into people’s doorways, and don’t go visit the school, as this is very disruptive to classes. Be aware that you will probably be flocked by women trying to sell you things, much of it junk purchased in Cusco. Look for the naturally dyed, hand-woven textiles for which the community is known.
Patacancha is difficult to visit independently, as very little Spanish is spoken and there is no daily public transportation. Combis do leave the plaza of Ollantaytambo Wednesday and Friday very early in the morning (6-ish). Or, just head up Patacalle. It’s a 4–5 hour walk to the community, and most drivers, if you see any, are willing to pick you up for a few soles.
For a deeper understanding of life in Patacancha, the Ollantaytambo-based NGO Awamaki (Calle Convención s/n, across from the temple, www.awamaki  us.org) offers alternative community visits. The half-day tour, in English, includes transport, a visit to the Awamaki cooperative’s weaving center, a demonstration of the weaving process, and the opportunity to buy top-quality, authentic weavings directly from the women.
The tour also includes a visit to a Quechua house with permission, a respectful environment for photo-taking and nutritious snacks and a small tip for the women who participate. All proceeds benefit the project. US$10–30 depending on group size; contact tours [at] awamaki [dot] org for information. Awamaki can also arrange weaving lessons and home stays in Patacancha.