COMMUNITIES AROUND LAKE TITICACA
Is a community located strategically in the Peninsula of Capachica, on the side of Lake Titicaca, just two hours from Puno overland. From here you get a privileged view of Lake Titicaca and the islands of Taquile and Amantaní . It is an ideal place to start out on a visit to the lake; a landscape of white sand beaches, pre- Inca terraces, rock formations at the lakeside and colourful plants, unique to this micro-climate created by the lake in this area. All these features make it a special place, not only for taking a rest but also to go trekking, on a mountain bike or rowing in a kayak, as these boats are available in this community.
The people of Llachón belong to the Quechua ethnic group and they subsist on livestock farming, the cultivation of crops and fishing. The families welcome the visitors in their homes, offering cosy rooms which are rustic but clean and decorated with the local weaving and built of adobe in the traditional way. The visitors are invited to get involved with the family activities and to see the sunset from Cerro Auki Carus, an hour and a half’s walk away. These people are admired for their skill in weaving, offering the visitor a look at their different materials and their beautiful traditional dresses. From Llachón you can visit the renowned sites such as Taquile and Amantaní and others less well-known such as the island of Ticonata, the Ccotos community and the beaches of Escallani and Chifrón.
Luquina Chico, Chucuito
Is a small community of Aymara origin, located in the South-East of Puno, on the Chucuito peninsula. It is about 45 minutes, by boat from the port of Puno. Its name derives from Luqui, a kind of local potato, grown in Altiplano, which is used in the preparation of tunta or el chayro. Dishes made from the local Altiplano potato which the visitor may try home-made. The main livelihood in Luquina is fishing and agriculture. Tourism has enabled the local economy to diversify and it complements the other activities. The town is strategically placed and boasts a wonderful landscape and spectacular views where you can see marvellous sunrises and sunsets over the sacred Titicaca lake. From here you can visit the Taquile and Amantani islands, facing the Llachon area in the Capachica peninsula. Both these peninsulas are like two arms around the Puno Bay.
The inhabitants of Luquina have set up an association, running since 2005 which welcomes the visitors to take part in community-based and participative tourism.
In the Atuncolla community 14 families have organised the Association of Experienced-based Tourism. The families which participate in the association have improved the conditions in their homes in order to provide food and accomodation to visitors interested in the experience of rural tourism.
The local residents are descended from the Qollas, belonging to the Qolla Kingdom between 1200 BC and 1400AD in the Altiplano region. The Qollas attained power a little after the fall of the Tiahuanaco culture in the XII century. A bit later they were conquered by the Incas.
COMMUNITIES OF THE SACRED VALLEY, CUSCO
The Amaru Community
The Amaru community is to be found 30 minutes from Pisaq in the sacred valley of the Incas, at a height of 3.700m. From this point you get a wonderful view of the Urubamba valley and the surrounding mountains. Close by is the arqueological site of Pisaq, to which you can arrive on foot from the community.
This indigenous farming community has preserved and recovered ancient traditions and techniques which you can discover for yourself, guided by the local people themselves. They have formed an organised group in order to obtain an extra income and to ‘attach a value’ to both their natural and cultural resources. The community has grown to appreciate and be proud of its know-how in regard to weaving, traditional medicine (making use of the native plants) and agriculture. It is, for example, quite possible to take part in a weaving workshop in which we can personally experience the whole process, from collecting the plants until the use of natural dyes on wool. The association of experienced-based tourism is made up of 25 families who have spent the last 10 years recovering and preserving the local culture and its biodiversity. Part of the income received by the association is fed back into the community so as to improve the routes or other necessary tasks. This is decided collectively in an assembly.
The Huayllafara Community
The community is made up of 40 families with a total of roughly 200 inhabitants. Its basic form of livelihood is agriculture and livestock farming. The Yachaqs of Huayllafara live off the fruits of the earth. Their understanding of the cycles of nature and its whims is part of the Pachamama’s ancient wisdom. It has also been a way of assuring the survival of its culture.
The first inhabitants taught them the importance of agriculture, the cyclical changes in regard to each farming time of year, connected with the Pachamama (or Mother Earth) and its apus, by means of their rituals offered depending on their products. Also teaching them the way farming can be related to music and their festivals.
It has an agricultural interpretative center, which represents the 12 months of the year. On display there are agricultural tools of traditional farm labouring, with harvests of great importance such as maiz, potato, beans, quinoa, tarwi and others.
As well as this, the visitors can try out these traditional agricultural tools such as the chaquitaclla, a kind of foot-plough among others so as to practise the traditional agricultural techniques. Among their typical dishes we can find La haucha de Ullpu, made from the Ullpu plant which grows along the river Carmen.
Among the most important celebrations we can mention, the community anniversary on 28th October and 24th June, which is San Juan day, the patron saint ot Huayllafara.
Due to all this animal rearing, these people can devote quite a lot of time to weaving and artisanal activities. The community has a privileged look-out spot over the Sacred Inca Valley, which is called the Sacred Valley balcony. Their typical traditional dishes are Sancc’u (a mix of cereals with aromatic herbs with salt and sugar) and cuy lawa (cuy soup). The typical drink is la chicha de jora, la chicha blanca (made from quinoa mixed with maize and beans). The community still has many ancestral traditions such as Carnaval (which has taken over the ancestral ritual of Pukllay) which takes place between February and March. Also, at this time of year the single young men and women collect flowers and celebrate Las Yunsas ( a fiesta held round the base of a tree).Besides these, there is a tradition of hitos and linderaje with carguyoc or mayordomos between carnavals. On 3rd May Cruz Velacuy is also celebrated as well as the San Juan Fiesta on 24th June.
NORTH COAST COMMUNITIES
Muchik Santa Catalina de Chongoyape, Chaparri
The Santa Catalina de Chongoyape community is located an hour and a half from Chiclayo, in the dry carob woods of Chaparrí. This community working alongside the photographer, Heinz Plenge, managed to create and manage the first private conservation area in Peru. Here the endemic species in danger of extinction are protected, such as the Spectacled Bear and the White-Winged Guan The revenue received from eco-tourism is used in the following way:
40% of the money is used in maintaining the reserve
25% is invested in health services
15% is invested in education
10% is for the local community consultants
10% is for La Ronda Campesina (the local security forces)
NATIONAL HUASCARAN-HUARAZ PARK
The Humacchuco and Vicos Communities
The Humacchuco and Vicos communities are part of the Cuyaquiwayi Association which is made up of 8 community families who share close ties with another 20 families including artisans, bread makers, musicians and transport workers. This association seeks to diversify the community families’ income by means of developing sustainable tourist products which give added value and preserve the local culture and the environment. The association offers the community leaders proposals for investment in community projects which are partly financed with the resources made available by tourism. The ‘Mountain Institute’ supported this association with an initial financial investment in order to strengthen the farming families’ capacity to plan and manage the tourist services.