Cultural travel has the power to create positive economic and social impacts by allowing travelers to directly support local communities and small businesses. Participation in cultural activities and events plays a crucial role in preserving local customs, traditions, and cultural identities, which is especially vital in multicultural or diasporic communities. When handled responsibly, tourism can have a long-lasting and transformative impact, potentially helping to sustain indigenous communities facing challenges. As travelers increasingly seek culturally conscious experiences, an enticing itinerary awaits for exploring indigenous Peru.
Mery Calderón, the founder of luxury travel company Kuoda Travel, draws her inspiration from her roots in Cusco, Peru. Her journey began while working at her parents’ souvenir shop, instilling in her a deep passion for tourism. Calderón’s mission from the outset was clear: to provide travelers with authentic cultural and natural experiences in South America. She said that travelers’ contributions benefit local communities, both in terms of environmental conservation and the preservation of cultural heritage.
Embarking on an indigenous travel journey in Peru not only provides travelers with unforgettable experiences but also supports and celebrates the rich heritage of local communities. Travelers can explore Peru like a local and leave with a deeper understanding of the region’s diverse cultures and traditions.
Here are four community-led indigenous travel experiences that Kuoda Travel offers.
1. Chinchero: Weaving Traditions Frozen in Time
Known as the “birthplace of the rainbow,” the Chinchero community is a living testament to Peru’s rich textile heritage. Travelers can step into the world of “awanas,” loosely translated as workshops, to witness the intricate art of textile weaving firsthand. Here, the tradition comes to life as skilled artisans pass down their techniques.
2. Rituals and Music: Connecting with Ancient Spirits
Las Qolqas, in partnership with Kuoda Travel, arranges rituals led by shamans, especially during solstices, to honor Pachamama, or ‘Mother Earth.’ Guests can participate in these meaningful ceremonies and even have their fortunes told through Coca leaf readings. Spiritual guides like Maestro Intiwari Yatiri enhance the experience with traditional music ceremonies.
3. Uros People of Lake Titicaca: A Floating Culture
The Uros community on Lake Titicaca lives atop islands constructed from Totora reeds. These remarkable floating structures offer travelers a chance to experience a homestay with local families. Guests are encouraged to engage in daily activities, such as harvesting reeds, navigating the lake in reed canoes, and setting up nets to catch fish. It’s an immersive encounter with a unique way of life.
4. Pachamanca Tradition: Culinary Gratitude to the Earth
Participate in a centuries-old Incan tradition, Pachamanca, which pays homage to the Earth. This culinary ritual involves marinating lamb, pork, chicken, and potatoes in Andean ingredients and cooking them to perfection in an underground oven. It’s a delicious expression of gratitude to the land and a true taste of ancient Peru.