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Peru Treks is working to help develop tourism in some of the smaller rural villages in the Andes. One of these projects is our Quechua Homestay program aimed at visitors to Peru who would like to experience Andean culture and hospitality first hand.
We are currently arranging trips to several families in the village of Chinchero (one hour's drive from Cusco) which is famous for it's Sunday market, picturesque church and plaza and Inca ruins.
Click Here to read an article published in the Independent Newspaper (UK) written by Ann Noon, a journalist who took part in our Homestay program.
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Saturday: Depart Cusco after lunch for the one hour scenic trip to Chinchero. Introduction to your host family. Overnight with family.
Sunday: Visit to the traditional morning market in Chinchero. Return to Cusco.
Facilities at the family houses are very basic. You will be provided with a private room with a bed but it is best to take sleeping bags if you have them. If you don't have sleeping bags you can rent them from several equipment hire shops around the Plaza de Armas. All the houses obviously have bathrooms with flush toilets and running water but they are communal and shared with the family. Most families will be happy to prepare a soup for you in the evening and breakfast in the morning for a small cost. However meals are optional so you can take sandwiches or snacks from Cusco if you prefer.
The cost of staying with a local family is 50 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. All monies go directly to the families participating in the project and there are no administrative costs and Peru Treks does not take any commission.
US$3 per person each way on public transport or US$20 each way in taxi (the price is per taxi not per person)
Other Information & how to make a reservation:
Most of the people in the villages speak Quechua as their first language and Spanish as their second. It helps if you can speak the basics of Spanish but if you can't you will usually find waving your arms around and shouting loudly often works !
We can't accept advance bookings. In order to make a reservation just turn up at our office 2 or 3 days before your want to stay with the family. This gives us a chance to contact the family and let them know that you are on your way. It is often easier if we arrange a taxi to take you there and you come back by public bus since we can find a taxi driver who knows the family and can take you straight to the door.
You are not restricted to depart on a Saturday afternoon, in fact you can go any day of the week and stay for however long you want. The program is very flexible and informal.
The price of S/.50 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 50 Peruvian soles per person including evening meal and breakfast. Please do not leave tips or extra payments. 100% of all payments go directly to the families participating in the project, Peru Treks takes no commissions and there are no administrative costs involved.
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. 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.
4. 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 Peru Treks office.
5. Don't give the kids candy, sweet things etc.
6. 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. Don't stay up late.
7. 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 5 Peruvian Soles.
8. Please bring plenty of small change as it is often difficult to change larger bank notes of S/.50 or higher.
9. Please do not leave valuables in your room. Keep them with you at all times.
10. If you have enjoyed your stay with the family please try to help promote the project by telling other travellers.
"This was a fascinating experience and one we shall remember for a very long time. Our family were very warm and friendly and could not have treated us better. I thoroughly recommend this trip to anyone else visiting Cusco. The market at Chinchero was very beautiful and we bought several weavings at good prices. Thank you to everyone at Peru Treks and Andean Travel Web who helped us to arrange this trip and make it successful. We wish you continued success with this project and your many other community schemes"
Linda & Graham Shaw, Quebec, Canada
Peru Treks & Adventure Tour Operator
Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Specialists, working to help the community
Office Address: Avenida Pardo 540 (in the corner of the small park), Cusco, Peru
Telephone: 00 51 84 222722 (from overseas), 084 222722 (from within Peru), 222722 (from Cusco)