This past weekend we headed to Huaraz for some trekking in the Cordillera Blanca. After an overnight bus ride, our third stop was Respons Sustainable Tourism Centre: www.respons.org. It should have been our first, as we organized everything through them. We first stayed at the Lazy Dog Inn, a beautiful eco-lodge built entirely of adobe and dedicated to community development: www.lazydoginn.com. We took the afternoon to acclimatize to the 3,650 metre altitude, and the next day climbed another 850 metres hiking into the Quebrada Llaca.
Saturday and Sunday were spent in an agricultural mountain village, Humacchuco, living with one of the families and sleeping under Huascarán, Peru’s highest mountain. We spent Saturday learning about the community, cutting grasses which we fed to guinea pigs and rabbits, digging up carrots for dinner, and bringing in bulls from pasture. On Sunday we hiked up to a beautiful glacial lake, Laguna 69, located at 4,600 metres. We returned back to Humacchuco just in time for a hearty Pachamanca lunch before an overnight bus back to Lima.
I spent a month interviewing 58 Fair Trade organic cocoa producers throughout various regions of Huánuco and San Martin. Travelling by colectivos (often with 12-13 people squished into a 5-seater station wagon), sampling the local discotecas and being chauffered around on motorbike by técnicos was all part of the fun. I met many incredible people and had the opportunity to participate in exciting sessions, including group training, farm school and the family committee’s projects that include breeding guinea pig, growing veggies and creating nurseries. Thank you to all of the incredible people I met, and to Naranjillo for all of the support.
I was based at Naranjillo Co-operative in Tingo María, Huánuco for my field research with Fair Trade cocoa producers. Located where the sierra meets the selva, Tingo María is a bustling little jungle town with a hot, sunny climate and an incredibly friendly atmosphere. The town houses Latin America’s first organic chocolate factory, as well as beautiful sites such as caves, waterfalls, hilltop lakes and the “Belle Durmiente” mountain range.
- Meeting cocoa producers
- Making incredible friends and working with a great team
- Riding 3 to a motorcycle
- Fresh squeezed organic juice and fruit smoothies
- Local dishes such as juane and tacacho con cecina
- Jungle fruit picked off the tree: chirimoya, mango, camu camu…
- 2 veggie cafes
- Trips to La Cueva des las Pavas & Laguna Los Milagros
- Getting around in mototaxis for 1 sol
- Monkey viewing
- Late nights at La Kabana
- Becoming a godmother
- Judging a beauty pageant
- Accidentally entering a dance competition
If anyone is travelling to Tingo Maria, let me know. The guide books can be outdated and I have some tips to share. Tingo Maria is well worth a visit (and is accessible by a 12-hour bus or direct flight from Lima).
We’ve both been in Lima since early October and I also spent the month of August here. Finding Gloria’s house in Magdalena has been the highlight by far. A lovelier host one could not find. Late nights, great people and authentic outings guaranteed. Check out her blog: http://limarentals.blogspot.com/
Some of our favourite things about Lima:
- Cycling along the Circuito de Playas
- Pisco sours at the Hotel Bolivar
- Don Porfirio pena in Barranco
- Cuban salsa at Cohiba Club
- Spanish Classes as the Instituto de Idiomas
- Museo de la Nación
- Musea Nacional de Antropologiá, Arqueología y historía del Perú
- Day trips to Pachacamac & Callao
- Circuito Mágico del Agua, Parque de la Reserva
- Grupo Cultural Yuyachkani Theatre
- Live music at Cocodilo Verde
- Dinner parties of ceviche, piscos and lucuma-filled deserts