“Highly recommended Community Visit for Authentic Peruvian Experience!”
I recently did the Community Visit to a small Andean village 1 hour from Cusco with Cusi Travel. While I made time to visit all of the major tourist sites in Cusco, I found that I wanted to get away from all the other tourists and see the authentic side of Peru. The Community Visit gave me an inside perspective that I could not have otherwise obtained during my stay in Peru. The village is beautiful overlooking the Sacred Valley and is surrounded by majestic snow-capped mountains. We visited a local house and got to try the traditional drink called chicha, which is made from fermented corn. We learned that local chicherias (places that sell chicha) are really just someone’s adobe house. The key is to watch for a red flag raised outside the house to know when the chicha is ready. Our guide, Jose, really made the entire experience a possibility. While I speak Spanish, I do not speak Quechua. I found that many of the people in the village (including our chicheria host) only spoke Quechua. Jose translated for us, and explained various aspects of the lifestyle and culture of the local people. While in the chicheria, we were able to visit the kitchen which is also where they keep their guinea pigs running around the floor! The host was very willing to share her home with us so that we felt very comfortable and welcomed. After that Jose took us out through the fields and taught us about their crops and farming techniques. We also went down to visit the schools and learned about how Cusi Travel is supporting the village by providing school supplies, jobs for porters, and by providing an English teacher. Also, Jose was fun, informative and listened closely to our feedback, questions and any concerns we had. The experience felt genuine and it was clear that Jose is working hard to help the village. Although there are many agencies that say they do community service, we saw that Cusi Travel actually is doing it. I definitely recommend doing the Community Visit with Cusi Travel for a chance to get away from the city and see how the local Andean people really live.