Going local in Peru
comment 1 Written by on April 4, 2009 – 12:32 am

From an article published in today’s Guardian.

Sonia Guzman is the sort of storyteller who has you hanging on every word – even if you can’t understand all of them. We’re sitting around her dining room table and she’s recounting Inca legends. She is speaking in Spanish, and there are lots of long Quechua names, yet somehow I manage to follow. With tales of ancient battles, thwarted love and lost gold, I feel like I’ve stepped into Inca Jackanory.

Sonia is my homestay host in Ollantaytambo, a historic town in southern Peru‘s Sacred Valley, known for its cobbled streets and mountainside ruins of 15th-century storehouses and agricultural terraces. Sonia’s house is a traditional, stone-built Inca structure, with an open courtyard that looks straight up at some of the most dramatic ruins. It’s been in her family for generations and is decorated with all manner of Peruvian artefacts, from mythological ceramic bulls to Quechua festival masks.

I’ve found Sonia through Leap Local (leaplocal.org), a website that allows travellers to recommend local guides and services. It’s not dissimilar to TripAdvisor, but the aim is to draw attention to smaller outfits and ensure money goes to communities. It’s part of an emerging crop of online communities whose focus is specifically local. These sites range from blogs written by a network of local “spotters” around the world (see spottedbylocals.com) to virtual marketplaces where the tiniest of enterprises – even individual chefs or guides – are given an online presence.

I’m giving hotels, tour operators and even Machu Picchu a backseat and basing my entire trip around Leap Local. Read the rest at Guardian Travel….

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One Response to “Going local in Peru”

  1. this one is nice post vicky

    By Kishore Choudhary on Apr 5, 2009 | Reply

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