Ever wanted to experience life in an Andean village and learn more about its traditional culture? Then the community stay near Huaraz is what you are looking for!
ravelers stay within a traditional community in a comfortable, renovated room. They will experience daily life in the Andes and will learn about the local culture and nature through a wide range of activities. Before your departure, you will be offered a list of activities from which you can choose the ones that interest you the most. Your local guide will make a personal program for your stay with your chosen activities. Activities range from hikes to workshops on traditional architecture, agriculture and handicrafts or cooking traditional dishes.
"We booked the community stay near Huaraz with Alternative Peru and it was one of the highlights on our 3 week trip through the country. We spent 3 unforgettable days with Cristian and his lovely family in Wilcahuain. this homestay experience completely took us out of our comfort zone and let us soak into the everyday life and habits of not only an Andean family but an entire village." M.H.
This is just an exemplary itinerary. Each stay is customized!
You will be met at your hotel in the evening for a short introduction talk and then taken to the bus station by a private taxi. The bus company you will travel with is known for its excellent and safe service with ergonomic semi-bed seats so you can relax and rest while the bus takes you first along the Panamericana highway and then up into the mountains.
If you are awake early, spend the last hour of the bus ride enjoying the great views. In this beautiful scenery you will spend the next few days! The bus will arrive early in the morning at the Huaraz bus station where you will be welcomed by your guide. He will take you on the 6km ride through the small towns surrounding Huaraz to your destination: Wilcahuain. You will be welcomed by your host family with a breakfast and shown around the house and your room. After settling in, your guide will take you on your first activity, a visit to the pre-Inca ruins of Wilcahuain. After the visit, your host mom will show you how to make a local Andean dish. After the cooking workshop, you’ll of course get to taste it for yourself! After lunch, you have the option to rest a bit or to start right away with the next activity (activities below)! In the evening before and after dinner, you will have some free time. You can walk around town, talk to the locals or ask your guide for other suggestions!
A day full of activities! You could go for a full-day hike with your guide and see one of the beautiful lagoons, you could learn how to harvest quinoa or learn more about traditional architecture and build your own construction in the typical style of the region. In the evening, your guide will show you how to prepare the famous drink of the Incas and while you’re enjoying this ancient drink, he will share his incredible knowledge on this ancient culture.
There is still plenty of time to try out an activity you haven’t tried before. In the evening, your guide will accompany you back to Huaraz and drop you off at the bus station. It is now time to say goodbye to your guide and head back to Lima. You will arrive back in Lima around 7 AM.
You will be introduced to the most important activity of the Andean communities, agriculture, and some of their most typical foods: quinoa, a variety of potatoes, oyucu, a variety of corn, mashua and oca. Depending on the season, you will help to sow or harvest some of these on the field or, as they call it in the Andes – a chakra, with a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains. You will also be taught how to make Pachamanca (food cooked on hot rocks in an ‘earth oven’) and finally, when you are starving after the work on the field, you will try this traditional Peruvian dish. As part of your duties, you will collect straw on the fields and feed the cuys (guinea pigs).
You will be introduced to 3 different traditional building styles: stone construction in the style of the Wari culture, tapial construction and contemporary adobe construction. You will not only observe our expert but you will get your own hands dirty and help in the preparation of the materials, the adobe, tapial and stones and in the actual building of a small construction. In the tradition of the Andes, you will drink chicha and chew coca leaves while working.
The food of the Andes is unique, very natural and easy to prepare. In this workshop, you will learn how to cook a typical Andean dish from this region and then, the best part, taste it yourself. If you feel up for it, you can learn how to prepare cuy (guinea pig) and its side dishes (a delicious sauce and Andean potatoes). If you prefer another dish, there are many other options, such as preparing Andean tamales. If there’s a specific dish that you would like to learn to prepare, you can request this in advance or ask the cook herself!
If you feel sporty, this one-day, relatively easy hike, is an excellent opportunity to discover the natural beauty of the area and to see why most tourists come to Huaraz. There are several options among which the easy walk to the lagoon of Radian with its beautiful views or the more difficult hike to Aguak (4560 m altitude) with its view of Huaraz and the mountains of Huascaran.
Our experienced guide can also take you to Lake Churup or Lagoon 69 for an extra fee of 60 USD per group (for transport and entrance fee of national park). These beautiful hikes are rated as medium. It is a full-day trip to a glacial lake at the altitude of 4550m surrounded by the pure nature of the Cordillera Blanca and some stunning colors.
The archaeological site of Wilcahuain consists of temples of overlapping platforms built completely out of stone by the pre-Inca Wari culture. There are various sites in the area that are well worth to be explored. A small museum explains the history of the site and shows visitors some of the artifacts that were found here.
Drinks of the Incas: Learn how to prepare and of course taste the drinks of the Incas such as the chichas of the 7 seeds.
Traditional handicrafts workshop: Pottery, weaving, hat-making, … : you can witness how these are made by hand and perhaps take some souvenirs home.
If you are more in a historic mood, you can also visit the archeological site of Chavín de Huantár, containing ruins and artifacts constructed at least three thousand years ago by people from a pre-inca culture. The cost of the trip to Chavín is not included in the price (enquire for prices).
If you would like to do another hike with our experienced guide, we can accommodate the program (enquire for prices with specific requests, f.i. Laguna 69, Laguna Churup, …). Enquire for prices.
If you choose to stay another day in Huaraz, you will be dropped off at your hotel in Huaraz at the end of day 3. You will stay at a family-owned hotel that is 5-10 minutes walking from the main square in a beautiful part of Huaraz.
After the complementary breakfast on day 4, you can walk around the city by yourself or relax at your hotel. At noon, you will be picked up by your local guide for your afternoon activity. You will get to know the work of Dutch foundation To Be a Child. You will travel with a local bus to one of the soup kitchens of the foundation. About 60 people a day receive a healthy meal here. You will share a typical lunch in the soup kitchen with the mothers and children. After lunch, you will participate in activities with children and/or mothers. You can play sports in the garden with the kids or you can teach them English. If you are more into crafts, you can learn some new skills with the mothers. There is also a knitting workshop in which mothers participate and knit different products to improve their economic situation.
After spending time at the soup kitchen, you will take a bus back to the city where you will visit a recycling workshop. This workshop employs disabled people and uses different types of recycled material to create new products. After all these activities you will be brought back to your hotel around 4.30-5pm. You still have plenty of time to walk around the city or take it easy before your night bus leaves back to Lima at 10 pm. You will be arriving back to Lima the next morning around 7am.
Not included, but possible to organise (please inquire for price):
Unfortunately, the minimum amount of travelers is 2 persons. Check with us if someone else booked for the same dates.