Guide to Cultural Tours in Peru

A cultural tour is something different from tours often taken by tourists. In a cultural tour you immerse yourself in the way of life of the local communities and you have the opportunity to give back to those communities. But this, of course, depends on your own interests.

One of the most diverse biospheres in the world is the Amazon jungle. And what is equally astounding is the diversity found in the local communities that have inhabited the region for many generations. If you on a cultural tour in the Amazon, you will have the opportunity to witness the balance of life between humans, plant life, and animal life, which is truly amazing. One such Amazon community is the indigenous town of Infierno on the Tambopata River, which is located about 45 minutes downriver from Puerto Maldonado in the Madre de Dios region. What travelers will learn here is about the Ese'ejas community, communal organizations that preserve indigenous knowledge, their culture and use of plants for medicinal and other purposes. From here, travelers can go on other tours and excursions at In the canopy towers, visitors get a birds-eye perspective of the surrounding jungle and a change to see bird species such as toucans, parrots, and macaws. You can also take boat excursions to spot caimans, piranhas, and river otter. One of the attractions is the town of Puerto Maldonado. It has a lively market and a central plaza. Outside of this town is Monkey Island and the confluence of the Tambopata and Madre de Dios rivers.

You can consider a home stay in Vicos, a small mountain town an hour from Huaraz in Huascaran National Park within the Cordillero Blanca mountain range famed for its many mountain peaks that rise above 6000 meters. This is for your Andean mountain experience. Like the infierno community in the Amazon, the residents of vios have managed to strike a balance with nature in their way of life. The families that will host you are very hospitable and their guests are allowed to partake in the joys and hardships of life in this mountain setting. You can meet community members which includes teachers, musicians, artisans, and farmers. Here you can learn Quechua and get involved in community service projects of your choice - education, environment, or infrastructure. This place gives you the opportunity to trek in this amazing landscape within the national park. They also boast of having the most beautiful lagoons in the world, check it out!

You can also stay with the families in Chinchero which is an hour from Cusco, the Inca imperial city. This is also an equally unique experience. Here you will meet members of the community and learn about their way of life which they have maintained for many centuries now. You will learn about the foods that they cook, healing, weaving, and you can also visit their surrounding ruins.