In addition to providing top quality vacation packages to our customers, Peru For Less takes pride in being a positive influence in the Peruvian communities where we operate. Recently, we had the honor of partnering with our top pick 3-star Cusco hotel, Casa San Blas Boutique Hotel, in a community outreach project for local children.
It is an unfortunate reality that many villagers who live just hours outside of Cusco have never set foot in the city, primarily for economic reasons. So last month, Peru For Less donated transportation and personnel support for an initiative led by Casa San Blas Boutique Hotel to provide more than 20 rural children and several teachers and parents from the Qota Taki community with the opportunity to spend a day in the city.
Our team member, Dunker Torres Escalante, accompanied the group to the main highlights of the city (the same ones featured on our Cusco city tour): Sacsayhuaman, Plaza de Armas, the main Cathedral, and a history museum. At each site, Dunker and other supervisors explained the importance and function of each site in Quechua, the children’s native language. Quechua is the language once spoken by the Incas, and is still the primary language for 16% of Peru’s population today.
The children were amazed by the massive stones at Sacsayhuaman and the detailed interior of the Cathedral—just like most of our Cusco visitors are. However, since they had never left their small village, the children were also amazed by things most of us would find ordinary, like seeing foreigners, busy roads and airports.
In fact, one attraction popular with the children that is NOT on our typical Cusco city tour was a special visit to the airport. The children were mesmerized by the large airplanes, the baggage conveyor belts, and the bustle of the tourists. They especially enjoyed the escalators. With the help and reassurance of a friendly police officer, most of them overcame their initial misgivings and braved a ride up the shiny, electrical steps.
Although Peru has one of the fastest growing economies in the world, for the 28% of the population that lives in rural areas, the wealth hasn’t fully trickled down. Poverty affects more than 50% of Peru’s rural households (compared to only 19% of those in urban settings). Some of the poorest and most isolated groups in Peru are its indigenous communities.
By the end of the day, most of the kids had drooping eyes and dragging feet—many had woken up at 4 am for the journey to Cusco. Despite the yawns, everyone agreed it had been a very exciting and educational day.
Those of us at Peru For Less enjoy sharing our travel experiences with people from all walks of life. Working with the rural communities around Cusco is something we look forward to hopefully continuing to do in the future.
If you’re interested in supporting local communities during your Peru vacation, or would like to learn how you can help, ask your travel adviser for recommendations and more information.