Everyone deserves the chance to travel. Yet, all too often, seeing the world is a privilege reserved for the global elite. At Elevate Destinations, we bridge the divide, and our goal is to connect local youths to their own environments as travelers and stewards.
Through our innovative Buy a Trip, Give a Trip model, your trip purchase creates fun new travel opportunities for local kids. For the first time, they experience nearby natural and cultural wonders, see the sites, have fun, and make the kind of travel memories we take for granted. Here’s just one example of Buy a Trip, Give a Trip in action:
Thirteen students from 4th, 5th and 6th grade in the Pampallacta community — located at an altitude of 13,100 feet in the Pisaq district of Peru — set out on an excursion to see the city of Cusco for the first time and learn about their heritage.
On September 23, 2022, the day began at Cochahuasi Wildlife Sanctuary — a refuge for abused, orphaned, and trafficked animals where the staff is committed to providing shelter and aid to these beautiful and endangered species. Their mission is to help conserve these animals and educate the public about the need to protect Peru’s biodiversity.
The students were delighted during their trip to the sanctuary, where they had the opportunity to see a spectacled bear and macaws. They were also fascinated by how close they could get to an Andean condor.
The journey continued in Cusco, where the children enjoyed the remainder of the morning at the playground. There aren’t any playgrounds in their community; only three of the thirteen students had visited Cusco and been on play equipment. As our local partner describes, their happiness could be seen from miles away.
After lunch, it was time to explore the main square of Cusco, where the students tasted homemade ice cream for the first time. Many only knew local ice cream, consisting of ice and sugar, so when they tried traditional ice cream, they couldn’t believe such a delight existed.
Finally, after enjoying this captivating city, the students visited the Inka museum. They were amazed by everything they saw and learned about their history through textiles and ceramics.
The group returned home tired but inspired at the end of a big day. Many of the children said they would like to be tour guides to learn more about their history and teach other children to be proud of their origins.
Florcita, 10 years old, and Bryan, 9 years old, said they would never forget this trip because they could see the city their great-great-grandparents built for the first time.
The children of Pampallacta are the future of this community, and they are the ones who will keep the traditions alive and thriving.
The community of Pampallacta in Peru consists of no more than 30 families. The limited resources available to such a small community make it difficult to arrange outings for students. Local youth, who have seldom traveled outside their villages, gain immeasurable experiences visiting historical sites, seeing conservation projects, and interacting with wildlife.
This excursion aimed to help the children from these high Andean communities understand that they are part of their culture’s living history and legacy and should be proud to identify as Quechuas.
Read about other Buy A Trip, Give A Trip experiences.