For many years we have been supporting the Huchuy Yachaq community project in the marginalised neighbourhood of Hermanos Ayar with the help of everybody who has travelled with Andean Trails.
Anually, we donate USD 3,000 to this community project on the outskirts of Cusco, perched in the hills that overlook the city.
You can also read about Maria’s week volunteering in her blog, as well as Nigel’s visit.
The project has been set up by volunteer social workers and teachers to provide much needed social and educational support to the children and families of this impoverished neighbourhood.
Children are encouraged to attend study and games sessions held each afternoon and participate in holiday projects.
Our contributions have so far paid for educational books and games, tables and chairs, structural improvements to the community-owned building including adding toilets, school materials and books for the children and holiday programmes.
You can volunteer or help by donation. If you would like to donate materials, please get in touch with us to work out logistics.
In this neighbourhood there are high poverty levels and little in the way of guaranteed income.
Most houses have had water and electricity installed recently, but most adults work long hours in poorly paid insecure jobs with many of the children also having to work, usually on the street selling postcards to tourists, cleaning shoes, washing cars etc. There is no public transport.
In 2006 the project started a programme of “useful holidays” with a 2 month programme of educational activities for 120 children involving five teachers.
During the holidays courses are run in logic and maths, communication, dance, theatre, crafts, and the kids go on organised visits to local attractions etc.
Also in 2006 a small library was established, to provide support to the children that come to the centre after school to do their homework and school projects.
Assistance is also provided to some of the children so they could register for school, providing text books, note books, pencils, school clothes and so on.
How can I help?
If you wish to contribute please send a donation to the Andean Trails office stating what it is for.
Every penny donated will be given to the Community – it costs USD 30 for a child to receive all the materials necessary for one year at school.
The project has also encouraged mothers to generate their own income by providing training in handicrafts, which the project sells.
Items available to buy include leather bags, jewellery and textiles such as wall hangings.
The project is very happy to receive volunteer workers on a short or long term basis. Daily help is required with the kids, helping with games and studying. Help is also required to look after the building, and volunteers are always made welcome.
Please contact the office for more information on how to get involved.
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The highlight of our holiday was the amazing trek and being in such a remote location surrounded by the most majestic, beautiful mountains. It was absolutely awesome.
Accommodation: It was great in Lima and comfortable in Huaraz with a fantastic rooftop breakfast!
Food: The food on the trek was excellent - we are vegetarian and the cook (Estaban) provided us with delicious, creative and beautiful food throughout and plenty of it. He was like a magician, conjuring up the loveliest food whilst camping in a remote setting.
Guide: Our trek guide (Yunmer) was great. He was extremely informative, had a great sense of humour and was really enthusiastic. He helped carry Jane's water and bag at times - not that we asked him to. He insisted! I have recently had my collarbone plated and he was keen to relieve me of the burden of carrying anything to heavy.
Trek staff: Our donkey / horse driver (Gusman) was brilliant, hard working and quietly helped around camp, setting up, taking down and moving us from one home to the next. The trekking team as a whole were exceptional, really supportive and kind and worked really well together.
Overall organisation was excellent. We felt we were in good hands and looked after well both before and after the trek.
Acclimatising: Acclimatisation walk around Huaraz with Rodolfo was a perfect start to the holiday. Rodolfo is extremely reliable, efficient, well informed and a lovely person. It was great to gain a little insight into the people and culture of the region.
The acclimatisation walk to Laguna Churup with David was another fantastic day. David has been living in the mountains for many years and shared some of his experience and knowledge with us as we surveyed the landscape of peaks, glaciers and lakes.
Benefitting local communities: The local people benefit from the presence of tourists as we provide them an income. Visiting tourists encourages everyone to look after and help maintain this pristine environment- those in the remote communities and also our own trekking team. Visiting tourists also need to respect this. The local people were very grateful that we visited them and also very grateful to Andean trails for their support. They encouraged us to return or send other friends and family. We had some great interactions with our little team and a lot of fun. Sharing our time with these lovely, charming people was very special and we felt that they benefitted as well as us.
Overall: We would strongly recommend anyone who loves nature, being outside and has a sense of adventure to do it.
It is a very special, magical place. Having seen people undertaking the trek unsupported, we felt that having a supported trek was perfect for us as we could really enjoy just being there.
Jane & Greg Windsor, Aus, Sep 2019
» Cordillera Huayhuash Trek, Circuit Walk
We had an absolutely amazing trip and everything was perfect.
Highlights – there were loads of highlights. We loved Quito – especially the morning we went up the Teleferico. We could see for miles over the city to snow capped Volcanos beyond. Our Equador guide and driver were brilliant – Miguel and Memo. They went out or their way to make sure we saw as much as possible – we wouldn’t have seen or learned as much without them. We saw humming bird, toucans, tangers and a fantastic bird of prey sanctuary that wasn’t on the original schedule.
The Galapagos Islands were amazing. Again we saw so much and the guides were brilliant. They were so enthusiastic about their islands, the animals and conservation.
Accommodation etc – the hotels were all excellent. We loved the quirkyness of the hotel in Quito. The staff were very helpful and friendly. The Septimo Paraiso eco lodge in the cloud forest and the Hacienda Las Palmeras near Otavalo were great – the food at Las Palmeras was really excellent. The airport hotel was spotless and friendly but the set meal of Spaghetti bolognese wasn’t great to be honest. We ate in some lovely restaurants and the guides picked some lovely places to stop for food.
Sol y Mar on Santa Cruz was lovely too.
We loved Hotel Albemarle on Isabela. It was a perfect place to spend 5 nights. The rooms were comfy, clean with lovely balconies and views. There were some really good local restaurants, especially Coco surf, recommended by Tania, our Isabela guide.
The company that did our trip to Los Tuneles were fantastic. The guide was so enthusiastic and determined that we would see loads of wildlife. He took loads of photos with his gopro then downloaded them all for us for free when we got back. The lunch on the boat that day was chicken and rice which all three of my kids said was the best lunch they’d had all holiday. It might have been because they were all cold and knackered – they even took the hot sweet tea on offer.
I hope we benefitted the local communities. We enjoyed our trips to the coffee plantation and the chocolate factory and certainly brought plenty of chocolate and coffee back with us. I would like to think that the money we spent goes in someway to help conservation efforts and to keep the cloud forests and the Galapagos Islands as special and unique as they clearly are.
We picked Andean trails because you are based in Scotland and seemed to understand out requirements and came up with a perfect sounding itinary. Flying from Galsgow via Amsterdam worked well and for us was definitely the quickest and easiest way to get there.
Everything worked out perfectly. We had a totally brilliant time. I think it is all still sinking in...
L. Keany, UK, Aug 2019
» 4-day Ecuador Family Holiday
South America Travel Special - mailchi.mp/cad4bbf7fc36/south-…
1st November, 2019 3:14 pm
If you are wondering what to eat in Buenos Aires you might wish to consider a tasting menu. Alan was recently in Buenos Aires and this is the account of his personal experience of a a tasting menu evening. He writes: Tasting menu – a lot of small “funny” dishes designed to confuse and challenge your palate. Well, that’s what I have always thought and as such they have never appealed to me. On a recent visit to Buenos Aires I was invited to go to a seven course tasting menu, paired with wine, at Casa Coupage. …
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