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 two communities:
This project was established in 2006 and now involves 10 families. 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.
More information >>>
Chinchero, which is a 45 minute
drive from Cusco and is famous for its beautiful colonial church,
Inca ruins and Sunday morning market (more traditional than
Pisac). This project is well established and has been running
since 2003. Only one family is involved in this project. Visitors
can stay with this family any day of the week throughout the year
although Saturday night is more popular.
Basic Do's and Don'ts when staying
with local families
The price of S/.30 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
1. Fixed price. The cost of staying with a family is 30 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. 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 Peru Treks office in
Cusco. (Avenida Pardo 540, Cusco)
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 Peru Treks 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 our office.