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Andean Homestay Program

Home > Destination Guide > Cusco > Andean Homestay Program

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Other Information

Transport

 

The Andean Homestay Project is an initiative aimed at promoting tourism in the rural communities in the mountains surrounding Cusco. Although Cusco receives almost 750,000 visitors each year, the principal beneficiaries of this income are the owners of hotels, tour companies, restaurants and shops. Very few people from the surrounding countryside are given the opportunity to share in the real financial benefits of tourism. The Andean Homestay Project aims to address this problem by giving visitors the opportunity to stay with local Quechua families and learn about their rich culture and traditions as well as bringing direct economic help to the people who really need it.

 

We are currently running the project in the mountain community of Amaru:

   

Amaru, The village of Amaru is located high up in the Andes at an altitude of 3800m. It is a 45 minute drive north from Pisac along a narrow track that winds up into the mountains. The village has a pleasant microclimate sheltered from cold winds with plenty of sun allowing a wide variety of crops and wild flowers to grow. Hummingbirds can often be seen. The community has formed an Association for Rural Tourism and offer a warm and inviting welcome to visitors who are adventurous and interested in learning about the culture and traditions of this community. Visitors can stay with these families on any Saturday night from May to December.

 

Typical Program and Costs
The cost of staying with a local family is 20 Peruvian Soles per person. This includes an evening meal (vegetable soup, bread, herbal tea) and breakfast (bread, jam, herbal tea or coffee). The price does not include transport to the community. Visitors to Amaru can take local transport to the village (see the section below on how to get to Amaru).

The Andean Homestay Project is sponsored and promoted by the trekking company Peru Treks. All payments are made directly to the families. Peru Treks takes no commissions or payments for its services. Ten families have been carefully selected by the community to participate in the initial phase of the project (pilot scheme). The families have been chosen on the basis of financial need rather than the biggest and best houses. Peru Treks has donated money and equipment to make home improvements to these houses (new outside toilet dedicated for the use of visitors, new beds, mattress covers, glazing and wood flooring where necessary).

 

Reservations
Please note that the homestay program cannot be reserved in advance. Reservations can only be made by going to the Peru Treks offices in Cusco preferably at least one day in advance.
Peru Treks & Adventure Tour Operator
Calle Garcilaso 265, interior patio, 2nd Floor, Cusco, Peru (See Map of Office Location)
(located between Plaza San Francisco and Plaza Regocijo, just 2 blocks from the Plaza de Armas (main square)
     

Departures every Saturday afternoon (May to December)
12:30pm - 1:00pm Meet in the Peru Treks office
1:15pm Taxi to bus station. Local bus from Cusco to Pisac
2:15pm Transport from Pisac to Amaru
3:00pm Arrive at Amaru. Introduction to host family
4:30pm Group activity / short trek / football with village kids / weaving display etc
6:30pm Evening meal with family (vegetable soup, corn, herbal tea)
7:30pm Group reunion in selected family house, local music and dance with children
8:30pm Try to find your way back to your house !! (donít forget to bring a flashlight)
9:00pm Tucked up in bed. Lights out!    

Sunday

8:00am (the following day) Breakfast with family
8:30am Trek to Pisac (Sunday market) via Inca ruins or take local bus back to Pisac. The spectacular trek to Pisac is mainly downhill and takes 2hrs 30mins walking slowly. The trek passes the Inca ruins at Pisac so you will need to have your Boleto Turistico handy.    

 

What to Bring
Warm sleeping bag, warm clothing, flashlight, toilet paper, snacks and water. You can also bring fruit for your host family
 
How to Get to Amaru
During the first six months of the homestay program (June to December 2007) we thought it best if people wanting to visit Amaru go to the Peru Treks office to meet up first. People interested in participating in the homestay project should come to our office between 12:30pm and 1:00pm (Every Saturday afternoon, June to December). We can then take a local bus to Pisac and either a local bus or a taxi from Pisac to Amaru depending on how many people there are in the group.
A taxi from our office to the bus station in Avenida Tullumayo costs 2 or 3 Soles (shared between up to 4 persons). Buses depart every 20 minutes to Pisac. The cost is 3 Soles and the ride takes about 50 minutes. In Pisac we have a couple of options to take us to Amaru. A taxi is probably the quickest method costing 35 Soles (shared between up to 4 persons). Alternatively we can take a local minibus costing 3 Soles per person but the departure times can be a bit unreliable (basically they depart when full). If there are 6 or more persons in the group we can make arrangements for the local minibus to meet us in Pisac and take the group to Amaru, this service costs 5 Soles per person. Final arrangements for transport can be agreed upon when we meet in our office. Peru Treks plan to send a representative from their company with the group to help things run smoothly. The representative may have only very limited English speaking ability and will not be a trained guide. However this service is provided free of charge, you only have to pay for your accommodation and meals (20 Soles paid directly to your host family) and transport costs.

 

More Information and Photos

We are currently producing a website www.myperu.org  dedicated to promoting the homestay program and culture and traditions in the Andean communities surrounding Cusco. The website can be viewed in a draft form online. The design and contents are still in their early stages but hopefully will be completed towards the end of August. You can view information about Amaru at www.myperu.org/amaru  We hope to include photos of the homestay program together with your feedback and experiences so if you want to send any photos or email us please use the email address amaru@myperu.org We will try to print out all photos that we receive and take them to the families. However please try to keep the total size of the email and attachments below 1MB.

 

If you have enjoyed your stay with the family please try to help promote the project by telling other travellers. Leaflets are available in the Peru Treks office.

  

Basic Do's and Don'ts when staying with local families

The price of S/.20 per person that has been agreed with the families is a fair price for their services. It is important that the families provide a good quality and friendly service in return for this payment and the payment is not seen as a hand-out. We do not want the local families to get into bad habits or grow lazy so it is important that the local families and visitors follow some basic rules.

1. Fixed price. The cost of staying with a family is 20 Peruvian soles including evening meal and breakfast. Please do not leave tips or extra payments.

2. Please do not leave gifts such as clothing, money, school equipment, Swiss-army knife etc. We recommend taking smaller gifts such as fruit, coca leaves, long-life fruit or milk drinks, tins of tuna etc.

3. Please don't give any money or school equipment directly to any town official or school teacher. At the beginning of the school year Andean Travel Web has donated school equipment (pens, books, crayons, paper, rulers etc) to the school in Amaru. If you want to donate school equipment for use in other communities then please talk to the staff in the Andean Travel Web / Peru Treks office in Cusco. (Calle Garcilaso 265, office 11)

4. There is no problem taking photos of members of the host family you are staying with. You do not have to pay any money to take any photos although it is always polite to ask before taking a photo. Photos cannot be used for commercial use or financial gain. When outside the family house please try to limit taking photos of people as much as possible. Landscapes are fine and general views that include people in them are also OK but try to avoid close ups of people who are not members of the Andean Homestay Project.

5. If you do take photos of the family and you promise to send the photos to them please try to keep your promise and maybe include a postcard of yourself and your own hometown as well. Photos can be mailed to the Andean Travel Web office. See section 12 below about sending photos or feedback by email.

6. Don't give the kids candy, sweet things etc.

7. In the evening there may be the opportunity to buy a beer or two. If you have been accompanied by a member of your host-family it is fine although not obligatory to invite them for a drink as well. Please enjoy the occasion but try not to drink too much and please don't invite each member of your host-family to more than one drink. Donít stay up late.

8. The best way to help the community is to buy one of their weavings. However there is absolutely no obligation to buy anything. We have encouraged the community to produce some smaller inexpensive items as well as the usual ponchos, rugs and larger textiles. Only buy items from the communal shop / stall. The prices and names of the family should be clearly marked on each item. These are fixed prices. Please don't buy any weavings or other handicrafts in the homes of your host family. The only exception being woven friendship bracelets made by the children which should cost no more than 2 Peruvian Soles.

9. Please bring plenty of small change as it is often difficult to change larger bank notes of S/.50 or higher.

10. Please do not leave valuables in your room. Keep them with you at all times.

11. If you have enjoyed your stay with the family please try to help promote the project by telling other travellers. Leaflets are available in the Peru Treks office.

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Home *About Us * Peru Highlights * Volunteer Work & Community Projects * Travel Info * Photo Gallery * Ecotourism Guide * Travel Stories * Language Schools * Books * Handicrafts * Links * Search * Contact Us

Tour Operators in Peru * Overseas Tour Operators * Mountain Biking * Rafting * Climbing * Birdwatching

TREKKING IN PERU: Classic Inca Trail / Short Inca Trail / Salkantay / Ausangate / Lares / Choquequirao / Vilcabamba / Huaraz 

DESTINATION GUIDE: Lima / Cusco / Machu Picchu / Sacred Valley  / Arequipa / Puno / Huaraz / Nazca / Iquitos / Manu / Tambopata

RECOMMENDED HOTELS: Lima / Cusco / Machu Picchu / Sacred Valley / Arequipa / Puno / Huaraz / Nazca / Iquitos / Jungle Lodges

  

 

Andean Travel Web Guide to Peru. Copyright Andean Travel Web Guide to Peru 2000-2010. All material used within this web site is original work and is subject to international copyright law. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited without prior permission from the editor. This web page was last updated in November 2010.