Sure, you’ve heard of Machu Picchu – but did you know that some of the best Peruvian destinations are off the beaten path? Rural tourism is an exciting new form of tourism becoming popular around the world for those who aren’t content with long lines for often visited tourist attractions (not exactly “new” per say, it’s been around for years but has not been widely promoted, well developed, or effectively marketed).
Nothing compares to the experience of visiting or staying in a rural community – the native traditions, clothing, landscapes, music, textiles, gastronomy – and it helps out the locals by giving them a sustainable source of income. Rural tourism allows for rural communities, who are mainly subsistence level farmers living in extreme poverty, to engage in an all new micro-entrepreneurship activity. These communities have been trained in customer service, food preparation, and tour activities – so you don’t have to worry about the quality of the experience. Many tourists have already visited these communities, and is evidenced by our testimonials, they had an awesome time!
We know and work with the locals in the communities and help them with development projects – also, we have native bilingual guides that can help you understand all the amazing cultural activities. Check out the list of our current Rural Tourism Travel Packages:
1. Decoding the Andean Textile 1d or 1d/1n
Experience the magic of authentic Andean weaving, from the shearing process of the llamas and sheep all the way to the final product. The vivid colors of the clothing worn by the villagers of Amaru come from natural dyes extracted from plants and other organic elements. The weavers create fantastic geometric shapes that enclose ancient Incan codes. The communities knit their identity, customs and desires – creating a conversation with them by means of visual patterns. The Amaru villagers will teach you how to speak this language through textiles as you build your own design with their help. Optional one night extension includes rural home-stay lodging, authentic Andean cooking, and cultural ceremony.
2. Flavors of the Andes 1d or 1d/1n
The villagers of Huchuy Qosqo are masters at preparing ancient Andean recipes as well as modernized takes on classic Andean fare. This savory experience will have you traveling back in time with flavors that you have never tasted before. Learn different ways of preparing and presenting dishes from a wide-range of cuisine that uses the biodiversity of the Andes. Products such as potatoes, quinoa, corn, grains and organic vegetables are the stars of this culinary exhibition. All villagers have been trained in sanitary food preparation, and the food is guaranteed to be safe. Our guides will be with to explain every step of the process so you can give these recipes a try when you get back home! After the meal enjoy and participate in traditional dance and theater performances by the villagers of Huchuy Qosqo. Optional one night extension includes rural home-stay lodging, authentic Andean cooking, and cultural ceremony.
3. Children of the Earth Andean Agriculture 1d or 1d/1n
The “Yachaqs” (Quechua word for “wise”) collect the fruits of the Earth. Decoding the cycles and the desires of the Pachamama (Mother Earth) is not only an ancient knowledge, but also a way of ensuring their subsistence. In the community of Huayllafara you will make a complete journey of the art of Andean agriculture and the importance of the environment, all through the perspective of the Andean man. The community members will teach you the importance of vertical control, time cycles, seasons and agricultural rituals. Then you get to practice using traditional tools to plant or harvest food and manage a team of oxen! Optional one night extension includes rural home-stay lodging, authentic Andean cooking, and cultural ceremony.
4. Andean Textiles, Agriculture and the Route of the Llama 2d/1n
This package combines the activities of “Decoding the Andean Textile” and “Yachaqs – Children of the Earth” and adds an amazing 5-hour nature hike called “The Route of the Llama” that exceeds altitudes of 4000 meters (13,000 feet!). Herds of llamas walk through rugged landscapes. They represent one of the most important treasures for the Yachaqs, as the provide wool and food for the villagers. The route of the llama is an unforgettable journey through the countryside where llamas are the kings. This route joins the communities of Amaru and Huayllafara at a distance of 3.5 miles (5 hours). During the walk you get to see the lakes of Kinsacocha and Hulchacocha, and pass through the Abra of Collaccasa and the Abra of Zapacto (the highest point of the route is 4344 meters or 14,031 feet). You will also observe the villagers working the giant fields of native potatoes that grow at these high altitudes.
5. The Route of the Achupalla 1d or 1d/1n
Villagers from Janac Chuquibamba used to see the Uchupalla as a spiny plant that could only be used as fuel for heating homes and cooking. However, after listening to the elders of the community, they found that they could make cups, plates, belts, ropes, bags, wallets – and even found out that the Achupalla is a source of food! In the Route of the Achupalla activity you will learn the importance of this plant, learn how to make Incan handicrafts out of the Achupalla, walk through pre-Incan ruins on the way to harvest the plant – and, if you desire, try an exotic susacuro pizza (made with a worm that grows in the core of the Achupalla) accompanied by a crispy guinea pig with mashed potatoes and beans. Your soul will thank you. Optional one night extension includes rural home-stay lodging, authentic Andean cooking, and cultural ceremony.
6. Builders of the Tawantinsuyo 1d or 1d/1n
In the warm Sacred Valley, the Incan Royalty constructed great palaces. One of such was Huchuy Qosqo (“Little Cusco” in Quechua), which was the country residence of the Inca Ruler Wiracocha. It is a huge complex of terraces and buildings constructed on solid polished stone bases. Like all great Inca centers it is divided into a sacred palace, an agricultural section and a recreational zone. Departing from the town of Huchuy Qosqo, we will reach the ruins after a moderate hike of four hours and visit the archaeological complex located at an altitude of 3652 meters above sea level (11,800 feet). There you can enjoy of an exquisite view of the Sacred Valley and you will also gain a better understanding of the Inca´s idea of space. Optional one night extension includes rural home-stay lodging, authentic Andean cooking, and cultural ceremony.
7. The Huchuy Qosqo Rural Experience 2d/1n
The Huchuy Qosqo Rural Experience combines the activities of Builders of the Tawantinsuyo and Flavors of the Andes. Enjoy one day of Andean cooking workshops and become an expert in the culinary arts of the Incas. The second day, we will hike to the off-the-beaten path ruins of Huchuy Qosqo and appreciate the splendor of Incan architecture. Lodging will be provided in rural home-stays in the Community of Huchuy Qosqo and we will enjoy an amazing cultural celebration and campfire with community members. A great experience for families and groups of friends!
Rural Tourism home-stays are available in all of these communities. They are clean and comfortable, and bathrooms with running water and hot showers are provided. Dinner will be provided and before eating, passengers will be treated to unique intercultural presentations with local dancing, Andean poetry and storytelling, and a warm campfire. You can relax under the starry sky and truly become part of the rural Andean lifestyle for a night.