Carol Cumes is the founder of Willka T'ika, which means sacred flower, and first visited the Sacred Valley in 1984.
She was so captivated by the powerful healing energy that she continued to return year after year and in 1994, decided to purchase a barren strip of land where Willka T’ika now stands. A longtime yoga practitioner, Carol wanted to create a retreat center synergizing Andean culture and cosmology with yoga philosophy and lifestyle. Over the next two decades, Carol cultivated long term, meaningful and fruitful relationships with authentic native healers and sincere knowledgeable local guides. Integrating their genuine services, she pioneered and developed her renowned all inclusive magical retreat journeys and uniquely comprehensive program itineraries.
Building Willka Tika
Over the next decade and a half, Carol and her team of local Quechua farming neighbors designed and constructed the grounds, guest rooms, gardens, ceremonial spaces, and gathering spots that would become Willka Tika.
While the first buildings were completed, Carol began developing the entirely organic gardens. The land was cleared and rocks unearthed by hand. Giant natural boulders were left to decorate the gardens, while smaller stones were used in building construction. Compost heaps turned kitchen waste and garden cuttings into rich soil. Manure was brought on donkey trains from far-off mountain communities. Adobe mud bricks, which keep rooms warm on cool Andean nights and pleasant during the hot sunny days, were made on-site and baked in the sun alongside wood that was carved into doors, floors, windows and original furniture that fills guest cottages today. Giant septic tanks were built, as well as large storage tanks to collect Willka T’ika’s weekly allotment of mountain water from the local water cooperative.
Gradually the buildings and gardens took shape and the once overworked, rock-filled land regained its health. Plants flourished, birds and insects arrived, and nature, with its timeless wisdom, took over. Today, throughout the gardens, butterflies and bees can be seen visiting brilliant flowers. Dozens of birds, including more than eight species of hummingbird and other vibrant nectar gatherers, make the grounds their home.
Willka T’ika is an example of land revitalization made possible through cooperation with and giving back to Nature.