Hualhuas, a weaving town 20 minutes north of Huancayo , produces tapestries, rugs, and clothing—mostly from hand-spun wool and natural dyes. Weavers here are keeping alive a tradition of making the unmistakably vibrant natural dyes that were pioneered by pre-Inca cultures such as Nasca and Paracas.
The dyes are made by grinding up roots, leaves, flowers, fruits, vegetables, minerals, and even bugs. Some of these are seasonal, so certain dyes are only available during certain times of the year. After the dye is made, hand-spun wool is soaked in the color, then fixed with minerals and hung to dry. Here are a few of the sources for the natural dyes:
The highest quality weavings are found at Victor Hugo Ingaroca Tupac Yupanqui (Huancayo 315, Hualhuas, tel. 064/967-0462). His weavings, based on pre-Columbian techniques used by the Nasca and Paracas cultures, are stunning. His rugs sell for close to US$400 at www.novica.com  but can be bought for a better price at his home.
Antonio Cáceres (28 de Julio 888, Hualhuas) produces more affordable weavings and is an expert on the natural plants, bugs, and minerals used to make his bright, natural dyes.
To see a busy workshop of weavers at their looms, stop at Taller Ecotextil (Alfonso Ugarte 1175, Hualhuas, tel. 064/67-0353, ecotextil [at] hotmail [dot] com). Production here is high volume and of a wide variety, with purses, ponchos, and rugs of various sizes and styles.
A mother-and-daughter team sell their weavings at affordable prices at Artesenia El Inca (Parque Principal 1046, Hualhuas).
To reach Hualhuas, catch a combi at the corner of Giráldez and Huancas in Huancayo  (US$0.50, 20 minutes).