Peru is home to some of the oldest civilisations on Earth, the Inca Empire, and the world’s favourite starchy vegetable, the potato.
With a history that is as rich in culture as it is in colour, uncovering the ancient traditions of this South American gem is no easy feat – especially when you venture behind the scenes and hang out with the locals.
Homestay tourism is becoming increasingly popular throughout Peru, where travellers can live within local communities and discover their heritage, language and ways of life first-hand.
The Peruvian Potato Park in Sacred Valley, Cusco, is an eco-reserve where travellers can stay with local farmers, weavers and cooks and, of course, chow down on some legendary Peruvian potatoes. The Park covers more than 12,000 hectares, where 750 native potato varieties are grown and harvested.
Nearby in Misiminay, a small Andean village just a little over an hour from Cusco, a community of over 300 families welcomes guests to the Sacred Valley with agricultural workshops, handicrafts, and informal lessons in authentic Peruvian cuisine.
Avid photographers and conservationists are invited into the Peruvian Amazon, at the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, where a week-long stay with the locals is all about conservation – activites include reforestation of the Huasai palm and the renesting of taricaya turtle eggs.