This is our guide to the Colca Canyon showing us the correct method to chew coca leaves….we had stopped at a store where most of us bought a small package of coca leaves for 3 soles ( about $1.15). She wanted to make sure we were all okay since we would be traveling up to 16,000 feet. It was funny watching her detailed demonstration. There is a technique. First you take 5 to 6 leaves and put a small bit of licta on them (it comes in the bag and is a solid grey matter that you crumble a bit off of) then fold the leaves over the licta to make a small compact package. Insert in mouth and chew for 5 to 7 minutes and spit out. Your tongue will be ever so slightly numb afterwards, but you will avoid soroche (altitude sickness). Every hotel after I left sea level has also has a large pot of coca tea available at all times.
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