Children deserve to experience the magic of their own regions, yet too often, these opportunities are not accessible to youth in developing countries. Elevate Destinations is working to change this through its award-winning, responsible travel program.
Through our innovative Buy a Trip, Give a Trip model, your trip purchase creates new travel opportunities for local kids. For the first time, they experience nearby natural and cultural wonders. They see the sites, learn about the environment, have fun, and make the kind of travel memories that we take for granted. Here’s just one example of Buy a Trip, Give a Trip in action:
De Totora-Calca is a small school in the Andes with only a handful of students and very little in the way of supplies. Children from underprivileged households around the region walk for miles to reach school each day. A good meal and education are their priority. They’ve never had the opportunity to visit the historical sites so close to their homes, which contain so much ancestral importance.
An excursion for the grade 5 and 6 students was organized by Efrain Valles (Wanderlust Magazine’s ‘Best Tour Guide in the World’ winner from 2014), along with another tour guide, to teach the children in the Quechua language about their culture and history. With two parents to assist, the 16 kids set out for an inspiring day.
The day began at a local rescue center, a sanctuary for animals who have been abused, orphaned, or forced into illegal wildlife trafficking. The staff is dedicated to providing refuge and aid to these beautiful and endangered species, such as the Andean Condor, often sourced for its feathers. The center’s goal is to educate the public about the importance of conserving these animals and protecting Peru’s biodiversity. The children had a fantastic time getting up close with the animals, especially the llamas. They were also extremely excited about seeing a brown bear.
After the thrill of encountering exotic Peruvian wildlife, the children’s anticipation grew as their next stop was the once gold-plated Sacsayhuaman, the ancient Incan citadel which sits on the outskirts of Cusco. This UNESCO World Heritage site was built out of boulders weighing up to 128 tons each. The Incans cut the rock into pieces to fit together precisely, eliminating the need for mortar. After witnessing the architectural and engineering skills their ancestors had showcased, the group left inspired, proud of their heritage.
They walked in the afternoon sun through the town of Cusco, briefly stopping at the Inca Museum, and taking this opportunity to admire the city. After absorbing the colorful sights this lively place has to offer, they reached the fairytale hideaway of Nazarenas Hotel where the children sat under the colonial murals, admired the gold-framed paintings, and enjoyed a filling snack.
They arrived back home tired yet inspired and satisfied to have had the chance to experience parts of Cusco they had only once dreamed of.
Have a read of more Buy A Trip, Give A Trip experiences.