Peru's turismo vivencial, or homestay tourism, is becoming increasingly popular with today's discerning and independent traveller who wants to develop a deeper understanding of this magical destination and its people. Homestays offer visitors an exclusive opportunity to live within local communities and discover their heritage, language and ways of life first-hand, delivering a truly unique travel experience.
The homestay experience in Peru is as diverse as its people, with a variety of home-types and communities across the country, from city dwellings to country farmhouses, inviting international guests through their front doors to share with them their warm welcomes, stories, traditions, and home-cooked dishes.
To get off the tourist trail and experience a Peru beyond the brochures, check out some homestay destinations and their local communities below:
Peru Potato Park, Sacred Valley, Cusco
The Peruvian Potato Park is a wonderful example of best practice when it comes to local conservation activities, and is a living monument to the descendants of the Incan empire and their most prized food - the potato.
The Potato Park provides the perfect escape for tourists who want discover more about the ways of life of the people who live in the valley of the Incas today, not just 600 years ago.
The eco-reserve invites visitors, who can sign up for one-, three- and five-day tours, to meet with the local farmers, weavers and cooks throughout their stay, and enjoy this esteemed vegetable, in its many forms, colours and flavours, for each meal. For more information visit: www.andes.org.pe / www.parquedelapapa.org
Isla Amantani, Puno
For a true Peruvian escape, visit Isla Amantani, a remote island on Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. Isla Amantani preserves an authentic experience for visitors, offering insights into the community's customs and traditions in a tranquil setting amidst the blue waters of Lake Titicaca - a far crowd from the bustling cities associated with South America.
Travellers can stay one night or more on the island, and homestay experiences are becoming popular as a key source of income for the islanders. Guests can take part in weaving, handicrafts, cooking family meals and farming depending on the family taking them in.
Misiminay, a small Andean village located in Peru's Sacred Valley, and just a little over an hour from Cusco, is home to a community of more than 300 families, continuing lifestyles built around traditions passed down over centuries. Guests of this rural community will enjoy the unique opportunity to participate in agricultural workshops, handicrafts, weaving, and informal lessons in authentic Peruvian cuisine.
A trip to Misiminay allows visitors to peek behind the tourist infrastructure of the the Sacred Valley, to witness how the people of this region traditionally live amidst the attention given to this world-famous area.
Amazon, Pacaya Samiria Reserve
In search of el Dorado: This is the name of a product specially designed for bird watching, for avid photographers of unique images in the Peruvian Amazon and for nature lovers. For a week, travelers are integrated into the communities and participate in activities for the conservation of the environment, such as reforestation of the Huasai palm and the renesting of taricaya turtle eggs. For more information visit www.pacaya-samiria.com
Getting to and from Peru's homestay communities:
A number of well-known Australian tour operators offer sensational itineraries which include community tourism. Contact your nearest travel agent for more information.
For further information on Peru please visit www.peru.travel