<< Go Photo Gallery >>
SAP Adventures - Community Projects
Sap Adventures is committed to promoting and organizing projects within the community in Peru. Although tourism plays a vital role in contributing to Peru's economy and providing employment many people and communities aren't sharing in any of the financial gains. Although our projects are operated on a small scale with very little capital investment we hope that successful ideas will be adopted by some of the larger international tour operators to the mutual benefit of both local villagers and the visitor alike. One of the most important factors when deciding to implement a project is that it doesn't promise miracles or give false hopes and expectations to the people that we are trying to help. We believe a little help in the right direction is often better than a big push in the wrong one. Between 2007 and 2009 we undertook more than 55 community projects which included distributions of school equipments and warm cloting. We have also been involved in some larger school construction projects. In 2008 we built a school for 60 children in the remote community of Santa Lucia near Acomayo. Since then we have continued to support the school with school equipment, sports shirts, second hand clothing and we even paid for a teacher for nearly 1 year before the local council agreed to provide this resource
Sap Adventures - Second Hand Clothing Appeal
More about the clothing appeal and how you can help...?
With your help we want to collect as many clothes, toys, school books and equipment to distribute to some of the most needy communities in the mountains of Southern Peru. When you come to Peru just bring a few extra items that you no longer need to our office and we'll distribute them, it's as simply as that. If you haven't any room in your bags then we can help you purchase some second-hand clothes and equipment whilst you are here in Peru.
Our clothing and equipment appeal is very simple scheme for all visitors to participate in. Before you come to Peru just have a look around your house to find any clothes that you no longer need and bring them with you when you come to Peru and drop them off in our office in Cusco. Of course we don't expect you'll have much room in your suitcase so just one or two items is fine. If you leave the items at our office in Cusco we'll guarantee to find a person who will really appreciate your gifts.
What type of items do we need to bring?
(a) Clothes: Babies and children's clothes of all types, Adults clothes (mainly
warm sweaters, jackets and waterproof clothing). Exclusions: please no
underwear, socks etc. All clothing must be washed and clean prior to
(b) Toys: All types but not battery operated.
(c) Picture books (all languages) and children's books in Spanish.
(d) Other items: Sleeping bags, backpacks, walking boots.
Who is going to benefit from the clothes?
(a) Children and Adults from the smaller communities in the mountains of Southern
Peru. We want to help some of the communities in the valleys north of
Ollantaytambo which supply many of the porters for the Inca Trail as well as
communities in the Lares Valley and around the Ausangate Mountain.
(b) Children staying in several orphanages in Cusco and the Sacred Valley.
(c) Porters on the Inca trail. We hope to help with waterproof jackets and
possibly warm sleeping bags.
Why shouldn't I just give the presents directly to the children?
If you are coming to Peru and staying with a local family (such as on some of the islands of Lake Titicaca) then it is a good idea to bring a few items from home to give directly to the families as presents. Even small gifts such as postcards of your hometown will be greatly appreciated. If, however, you are walking around in one of the cities or visiting a local village market it is not a good idea to hand out presents in the street. Not only does this encourage children to beg but it also highlights the wide gap in wealth between tourists and locals. Giving a warm sweater to a child may make that child very happy (and keep him warm) but you will quickly find a line of children following you around with their hands outstretched asking for their gifts. For every child that you make happy in this way you are sure to make 7 or 8 very unhappy and possibly resentful towards tourists. In popular tourist locations children can be very persistent and they have often learnt to tell a long sad story to gain the sympathies of visitors. If you reward these children with clothes, shoes and money then their parents may sell the presents and send the children back on the streets again to bring back more gifts. With the average adult wage at about US$3 per day, many of these children can earn more than their fathers. This just encourages more parents to stop sending their children to school and to send them out begging in the streets.
How do we distribute the clothes and equipment?
Distribution of the items is an important part of the project. Driving to a village and handing out items to everyone that we meet would cause chaos and wouldn't ensure that the items are distributed fairly. Instead we decide upon a village to distribute the items and make a visit a few weeks in advance. We talk to the head of the village community and find out how many people are in that community and issue clothing (or gift) vouchers for each person in that community. The head of the village will be asked to distribute the vouchers amongst his community. We then arrange a date and a time that we will return to distribute the clothes. When we return to the village each person with a voucher can exchange the voucher for an item of clothing, hopefully of the type and size that they prefer. If we are distributing to a community of 500 persons we will take a selection of about 800 clothes to ensure that everyone receive a suitable gift.
If I can't bring anything with me from home, can I still help with the appeal once I am in Cusco?
If you would like to help our appeal but can't find any suitable items to bring from home or haven't got the spare space to bring them then you can still help us once you arrive in Cusco. You can help us in several ways. There are many second hand clothing shops in the markets of Cusco where you could buy suitable clothing at very cheap prices. For US$20 you could buy a bag full of suitable items. However these shops are not located in particularly safe areas of Cusco so if you come to our office in Cusco we can arrange for someone to go with you to these shops to help get the best bargains. Of course you may want to buy school books or pens, pencils etc for a local school so we can help you with that as well.
If I leave things at your office in Cusco, how do I know you'll distribute them fairly?
When you leave items at our office in Cusco we'll ask you to register your items in our project log book. We'll ask for your name, email address and a brief description of the items you are donating. We'll keep a file of our distributions including details of the items distributed, the date and village, as well as a photographic journal of each distribution. All will be available for inspection in our office. We will also transfer this information onto our web site which will be updated on a quarterly basis with news of the appeal's progress.
If you are coming to Cusco there are a few simple things that you could do to help. Why not help by bringing any of your no longer useful second hand clothes, any toys, school equipment or books? We gather together as many things as we can and take them into the local schools in and around Cusco. All you need to do is hand your clothes, books, stationary etc. into our office and you’re helping us and the community! So easy! - thanks Volunteer Works
Sap Adventures - Donation of School Equipment to Local Schools
Since 2007 Sap Adventures has undertaken more than 80 distributions of school equipment to schools in the mountain villages. In the last couple of years we have mainly concentrated on helping schools in the district of Ocongate (Quispicanchi Province), a very poor region close to the Ausangate Mountain. Communities include Checaspampa, Picchimuro, Ccoñamuro, Andamayo, Pukarumi, Pacchanta, Rodeana, Chilca and Upis. We also help schools in acopya (district of pomacanchi, Acomayo Province) and in Pongonia (district of Yanahoca, Canas Province).
When we visit a school we try to donate the following items to each child: Exercise book (100 pages, square ruled), plastic folder, 2 pencils, pencil sharpener, eraser, ruler, packet of crayons (usually 12 crayons in each packet) or packet of coloured pencils depending on age of children. The cost of each packet is about US$3.50. We also donate the following items to each teacher: boxes of plain paper (white A4 photocopier type), card of various colours, paints and brushes, ballpoint pens, encyclopaedia, books, dictionaries, educational posters and additional crayons and coloured pencils. Sports items such as footballs, volleyballs, volley ball nets, etc are also welcomed.
Since the equipment that we give to the children has to be the same for each child, Sap Adventures mainly buys these items using profits from the company. If visitors would like to donate items then we would recommend waiting until you arrive in Cusco to buy items in a local shop. Our office staff will be happy to accompany you to help you make the purchases. If you prefer to bring a few items from home then we suggest that you bring items such as pencils and crayons. These items are less bulky than exercise books and paper which are best bought in Cusco. However we'll find a good home in one of the village schools for anything that you bring. Donations left by our clients and visitors to our office probably account for about 20% of our school equipment donations.
In many instances when our clients have brought sufficient items to donate (value of equipment over US$150) we can arrange to distribute the items to a specific school and send you a copy of the photos of the distribution.
We would also like to take the opportunity to thank all of our clients who have done the Inca trail with ourselves and all the visitors who have donated school equipment to make our community projects successful.
Siblings At Home Program by Sap Adventures
The siblings at home Project are an initiative aimed at promoting tourism in the rural communities in the mountains surrounding Cusco. Although Cusco receives almost 750,000 visitors each year, the principal beneficiaries of this income are the owners of hotels, tour companies, restaurants and shops. Very few people from the surrounding countryside are given the opportunity to share in the real financial benefits of tourism. The siblings at home Project aims to address this problem by giving visitors the opportunity to stay with local Quechua families and learn about their rich culture and traditions as well as bringing direct economic help to the people who really need it.
We are currently running the project in two communities:
Qiswarani & CanchaCancha, This project was established in 2009 and now involves 40 families. The village of Qiswarani & CanchaCancha is located high up in the Andes at an altitude of 3800m. It is a 4 hours drive north from Calca along a narrow track that winds up into the mountains. The village has a pleasant microclimate sheltered from cold winds with plenty of sun allowing a wide variety of crops and wild flowers to grow. Hummingbirds can often be seen. The community has formed an Association for Rural Tourism and offers a warm and inviting welcome to visitors who are adventurous and interested in learning about the culture and traditions of this community. Visitors can stay with these families on any days from May to December, for trekkers wanting to get off the well beaten tourist path and escape to a part of Peru that has changed little over the last 500 years, this program through the spectacular scenery of Lares Valley is a must. This remote and rarely visited region offers the visitors an insight into the real lives of Andean farmers – dressed in their traditional brightly colored ponchos. You’ll have the opportunity to see thatched stone houses surrounded by herds of llamas and alpacas and inside their houses you’ll see guinea pigs running loose.
The siblings at home Project is sponsored and promoted by Sap Adventures. Is a good idea to bring a few items from home to give directly to the families as presents? Even small gifts such as postcards of your hometown will be greatly appreciated. Forty families have been carefully selected by the community to participate in the initial phase of the project (pilot scheme). The families have been chosen on the basis of financial need rather than the biggest and best houses. Sap Adventures has donated more than US$1300 to make home improvements to these houses (new outside toilet dedicated for the use of visitors, new beds, mattress covers, glazing and wood flooring where necessary).
Departures every day (May to December)
Day O1 Cusco – Quiswarani
- 5:00am – pick up from your hotel
- Private transportation Cusco – Calca - Qiswarani
- 10:00 am Arrive at Qiswarani. Introduction to host family
- 10:30 am Group activity / short trek / football with village kids / weaving display etc
- 6:30pm Evening meal with family (vegetable soup, corn, herbal tea)
- 7:30pm Group reunion in selected family house, local music and dance with children
- 8:30pm try to find your way back to your house!! (Don’t forget to bring a flashlight)
- 9:00pm Tucked up in bed. Lights out!
Day 02 Quiswarani – Canchacancha
8:00am (the following day) Breakfast with family
9:30am we can start walking Leaving Qiswarani we continue up the valley passing by clusters of small thatched stone houses. After ½ hour the path flattens out for a short stretch before climbing steeply for a challenging 2½ hours until the highest pass – called the Pachacutec Pass, at 4758m. From this pass you’ll be rewarded with superb views of Pachacutec Lake and the snowy peaks of Pitusiray. The path then continues for an hour along a narrow ridge until dropping down into a beautiful secluded curry filled with glacial lakes where we’ll stop to enjoy our lunch. Along the way your tour guide will help you better understand the traditional lifestyle in the Andes. He will explain about the old customs and traditions, ancestral secrets of farming activities; how to preserve their products, the modus-vivendus of their villagers, the process of weavings with their significances, etc. Concluding the day we walk down approx 2 hours till the Chancachaca Valley for our second night at 3,600m, where a hot Andean “Te piteado” (Tea with some alcohol) will be waiting for us!
4:00 pm approx Arrive at CanchaCancha. Introduction to host family
If you are coming to Peru and staying with a local family (such as on some of the community of Qiswarani & CanchaCancha) then it is a good idea to bring a few items from home to give directly to the families as presents. Even small gifts such as some school supplies will be greatly appreciated.
6:30pm Evening meal with family
7:30pm Group reunion in selected family house, local music and dance with children
In the evening there may be the opportunity to buy a beer or two. If you have been accompanied by a member of your host-family it is fine although not obligatory to invite them for a drink as well. Please enjoy the occasion but try not to drink too much and please don't invite each member of your host-family to more than one drink. Don’t stay up late
8:30pm try to find your way back to your house!! (Don’t forget to bring a flashlight)
9:00pm Tucked up in bed. Lights out!
Day 03 CanchaCancha – Cusco or Machupicchu
Wake up is at 7:00 am. After breakfast we enjoy a soft descent for 4 hours, down to the Huaran Community. As we trek on we pass children herding llamas and alpacas high in the mountains; in their traditional clothes – the red ponchos and white short pants, and colorful hats with flowers in the woman´s case. The communities in this region have retained their cultural dress more than in others and in the Valley of Ollantaytambo they are renown for producing exquisite natural colored weavings with Andean iconography and designs. We stop and enjoy our lunch at Huaran, where the bus will pick us up to return to Cusco.
Don´t miss out on the adventure!! Enjoy Machu Picchu from a different and fabulous perspective. . If you choose to continue with the trip to Machupicchu you will be escorted to the train station to board the Valley train at 6pm or 7:30pm the journey to Aguas Calientes takes 2 hours and upon your arrival you will be show to your accommodation. This evening you have plenty free time to visit the soothing hot springs.
Day 4: Machupicchu - Cusco.
Early breakfast at 05.00 before taking the early bus (06:00) up to Machupicchu. Optional for those still willing/able to walk is to leave on foot at 4.30am and take the charming trek up to Machupicchu through lush sub-tropical lands – arriving there around 06:00. Once in Machupicchu itself, a further 15 mins ascent is recommended in order to reach the famous view from the farming terraces at the end of the Inca Trail.
You will have a 3 hours tour of Machupicchu with your guide who will unfold the mysteries of this magical site for you, explaining the functionality of everything you see and narrating fascinating tales about the Incas. Your tour of Machupicchu should finish between 10:00am and 10:30am and then you have free time to take your photos and stroll around at ease.
You have the opportunity to climb Huayna Picchu (a 90mins trek approx) – this is the famous peak in the background of most images of Machu Picchu. Please check out with your tour guide to get a pass if you intend to climb Huayna Picchu!!
You can also go up to “The Gate of the Sun” for another amazing angle of Machu Picchu. You will meet your guide in Aguas Calientes (you can go there by bus or by foot) for lunch and to be given your train tickets back to Cusco. The train usually leaves at 14:30 or at 18:20 and we will arrive back in Cusco after a 4 hours ride (there's a bus transfer in Ollantaytambo)
- Collection from your hotel in the morning of trek departure.
- Private transport to Qiswarani, and from HURAN to Cusco or Ollantaytambo to take the train
- Entry fee to Machu Picchu
- English/Quechua/Spanish speaking professional guide (you will have an assistant guide for groups over 8 people).
- 2 nights family houses or if you prefer Tents - 2 people in a 4 person tent which allows for greater comfort, and also storage of backpacks.
- Inflatable mattress (eg. Thermarest)
- Cook and Cooking equipment (Assistants are provided for larger groups)
- Toilette tent
- Meals 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 afternoon snacks (hot drinks, biscuits and popcorn) and 3 dinners (breakfast on day 1 and dinner and lunch in Aguas Calientes on the last day are not included) (optional vegetarian food). Our professional cooks prepare meals that incorporate elements of the western diet and also traditional Peruvian delicacies. (Please communicate with your guide/cook during the trek if you have a preference for certain types of dishes). Salads, if served, are washed in boiled water.
- Hot coca tea every morning in your tent for a gentle and fortifying wake up!
- Hot water every morning and evening for washing purposes, and boiled purified water to fill in your water bottle every morning.
- Horses (for equipment and personal items) including horsemen. They carry camping equipment, food and kitchen utensils. We provide duffel bags at your briefing for your personal items (up to 5 kg per person)
- 1 emergency horse which can be ridden if you are feeling ill or if are a little slower
- Dining tent with camp tables and chairs & Kitchen tent for the cook to prepare meals
- Tents for our staff to sleep in, sleeping bags & mattresses plus a budget for their meals.
- First aid kit including emergency oxygen bottle
- Train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes
- Return train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo (Backpacker)
- Celebratory dinner in Aguas Calientes village
- Box lunch final day in Machu Picchu
- 1 night accommodation in Aguas Calientes in one star hotel. This will be a nice, clean and safe hostel with breakfast included and private bathroom, double or triple accommodation
- A light day pack with a change of clothes for the whole period of the trek - prepare for a vast range of changes in temperature
- Rain gear (jacket and pants if available) or rain poncho. Plastic ponchos can be bought for about $1 in Cusco.
- Strong footwear, waterproof trekking boots recommended. Extra socks are a must.
- Sandals or plastic slip on thongs are also good to give your feet a chance to breath in the evenings if you wish to carry them.
- Warm clothes, including jacket, fleeces, gloves, scarf and beanie/touk. Thermal clothing is also recommended, especially for sleeping.
- Sleeping bag (we can hire these to you)
- Torch/ Flashlight and spare batteries
- Camera, films and batteries (batteries consume more quickly under cold conditions)
- Hat or cap to protect you from the sun, rain and cold
- Sun block
- After-sun cream or hydrating cream for face and body
- Insect repellent - minimum recommended 20% DEET - although no malaria risk has been reported
- Toilet paper, pack in & pack out
- Snacks: biscuits, energy bars, chocolate, raw fruits, muesli, You can also bring fruit for your host family
- Non-disposable canteen (Nalgene type) and water for the first morning.
We advise you to bring water sterilizing tablets in case you collect water from streams.
- Your own medical kit with any special medications that you might require, paracetamol etc.
- Small towel or sarong
- Bathers/swimsuit (if you intend on swimming in hot springs)
- Cash - sufficient for your final lunch in Aguas Calientes, tips and souvenirs.
- Original passport & ISIC card (if you have one).
- Walking sticks or poles (we can hire these to you. Please note poles with metal tips cannot be carried into Machu Picchu and should be left at your hotel on the final day)
Binoculars (if you have them)
Optional Extras We Can Hire The Following To You.
- Sleeping Bag suitable for -5deg. ($4.00 per day)
- Deluxe Sleeping Bag suitable for -10deg. ($6.00 per day)
- Walking stick lightweight aluminum ($1.00 per day)
- Two sticks are recommended for tough hikes.
To Make A Booking
- You need to email us to check availability, receive booking forms and then make your deposit.
- For our payment conditions and booking please refer to our page payment & booking
Basic Do's and Don'ts when staying with local families
the payments has been agreed with the families is a fair price for their services. It is important that the families provide a good quality and friendly service in return for this payment and the payment is not seen as a hand-out. We do not want the local families to get into bad habits or grow lazy so it is important that the local families and visitors follow some basic rules.
1. There is no problem taking photos of members of the host family you are staying with. You do not have to pay any money to take any photos although it is always polite to ask before taking a photo. Photos cannot be used for commercial use or financial gain. When outside the family house please try to limit taking photos of people as much as possible. Landscapes are fine and general views that include people in them are also OK but try to avoid close ups of people who are not members of the Andean Homestay Project.
2. If you do take photos of the family and you promise to send the photos to them please try to keep your promise and maybe include a postcard of yourself and your own hometown as well. Photos can be mailed to the sap adventures office.
3. Don't give the kids candy, sweet things etc.
4. In the evening there may be the opportunity to buy a beer or two. If you have been accompanied by a member of your host-family it is fine although not obligatory to invite them for a drink as well. Please enjoy the occasion but try not to drink too much and please don't invite each member of your host-family to more than one drink. Don’t stay up late.
5. The best way to help the community is to buy one of their weavings. However there is absolutely no obligation to buy anything. We have encouraged the community to produce some smaller inexpensive items as well as the usual ponchos, rugs and larger textiles. Only buy items from the communal shop / stall. The prices and names of the family should be clearly marked on each item. These are fixed prices. Please don't buy any weavings or other handicrafts in the homes of your host family. The only exception being woven friendship bracelets made by the children which should cost no more than 2 Peruvian Soles.
6. Please bring plenty of small change as it is often difficult to change larger bank notes of S/.50 or higher.
7. Please do not leave valuables in your room. Keep them with you at all times.
8. If you have enjoyed your stay with the family please try to help promote the project by telling other travellers. Leaflets are available in our office.