Apus Peru Giving Back to the Community
Apus Peru loves giving back to the community. One of the ways we do this is our annual Christmas Chocolatada. We celebrate this Peruvian Christmas tradition every year, bringing Christmas treats and gifts to remote Andean villages. This year (2015), although the weather wasn’t perfect, our hot chocolate, festive panetón bread, presents, and clothes were well received by the communities of Chupani and Chaullacocha.
Bringing the Spirit of Christmas to the Lares Region
Apus Peru brings a bit of Christmas spirit to those living in the remote region around Lares, Peru! Lares is a gorgeous mountain region located approximately three hours by car from Cusco. High mountain lakes, thatched roof houses, graceful llama herds, and the sight of authentically dressed villagers going about their daily tasks are a few highlights of this beautiful scenic trek.
CHECK OUT our signature Lares trek! Lares Valley to Machu Picchu Trek
The day began at 5am, when we loaded everything we had bought to give back to the community into the van. Then, we travelled 3.5 hours from Cusco to Chaullacocha. Our first job? Unpack all the goodies – including 100 cans of milk! – in order to prepare hot chocolate for the entire community.
A Day of Gifts and Games
One of Apus Peru’s guides, Urbano spoke to everyone in Quechua and even coaxed the kids into singing for their presents! Some of the kids were a bit shy, but took it all in good humor. Out of our box of goodies we gave a paneton to each child. Panetones are the traditional Peruvian mini-Christmas fruit-breads. It was quite a festive sight to see children of all ages gathered together wearing their traditional dress. Brilliant red-fringed ponchos and fancy hats are a mark of this region.
Lourdes Hancco from Threads of Peru played soccer with the women along with our operations assistant, Ruth Gutierrez. Lots of fun was had by all, even though everyone involved got pretty wet and muddy.
Another part of our giving back to the community – we distributed gifts and toys to all the children.
Hot Chocolate & Treats!
The community members lined up for their Christmas treats. It was great fun pouring the hot chocolate and giving everyone some bread to eat. Since the day was cool and wet, the community was happy to get a steaming cup of hot chocolate and a piece of bread to accompany it.
Our team also gave out donations of warm clothing and baby clothes, so the kids in the community can stay warm for the cold, wet season ahead.
WANT TO GO? Join us on our Annual Chocolatada Trek! Hike with us through the Lares Valley to Chaullacocha, distribute Christmas gifts and visit Machu Picchu! You, too, can celebrate Christmas by giving back to the community.
SEE MORE from our past Chocolatadas:
This post was originally published on 3 February, 2016 and updated on 30 October, 2019.