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 sights, 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:
In the heart of the Andes, within the small community of Cuncani, 14 children took an eye-opening adventure to the historic city of Cusco. The excursion took place with the intention of providing these young minds with an opportunity to explore, learn, and dream for their futures.
The journey commenced early for their dedicated guide, Efrain Valles Morales, who departed Cusco at 3 am. His destination was Cuncani, a community located at an altitude of 12,467 feet (3800m), approximately three and a half hours from the city.
Arriving on time, Efrain collected the students, a teacher, and a parent and set off to the Sacred Valley, where a hearty breakfast awaited everyone. Full of excitement, the group reached Cusco by 10 am, ready for a big day of cultural and educational experiences.
The first destination was the archaeological site of Sacsaywaman, situated just north of Cusco. As the students explored the area, capturing photographs and engaging in discussions about its historical significance, their amazement about this Inca site couldn’t be hidden.
Except for Darwin, a 10-year-old who had previously visited Cusco with his parents, this marked the students’ first journey to the city. As they approached Cusco City, the enthusiasm grew among the children, who eagerly peered out the bus windows to take in every detail.
The students, eager to stretch their legs, strolled through the vibrant streets of San Blas and were treated to ice cream. This lively neighborhood introduced them to the performances of musicians and local artists they had only seen in videos.
The day continued in the Inka Museum, where the group learned about Peru’s history and gained an understanding of the value of their cultural identity. The significance of wearing traditional clothing and speaking the Quechua language became evident as they recognized themselves as direct heirs of the Inca culture.
Following a memorable photo session in the main square, a first-time experience for those involved, the unanimous hunger for grilled chicken led them to a restaurant near the Plaza de Armas. The refreshing Peruvian beverage, chicha morada, accompanied the meal.
Undeterred by rain, the children spent the remaining daylight in the park, reluctant to depart until its closing hours.
As night fell, the students wished to extend their stay. However, sticking to the plan, they returned home to the community of Cuncani.
Tired but pleased with the day’s outing, Efrain returned to Cusco, arriving home at 1 am. Moments like these make us truly appreciate dedicated and passionate tour guides like Efrain, whose commitment ensures every excursion becomes a memorable and enriching experience for those under their guidance.
Through this meaningful experience, the students have been inspired by their history, culture, and vast potential. Efrain reflected on the trip’s impact: “At the beginning of the trip, I asked what profession they would like to study, but only one answered… Unfortunately, due to the conditions and the low level of education in the community, dreams of having a profession are not a priority for them. After finishing the trip, I asked the students again what profession they would like to study, and they all responded.”
Some envisioned having their own restaurant, emulating the flavors of the grilled chicken they enjoyed for lunch. Others aim to become teachers, guides, astronauts, and engineers, now motivated to dream of a better future for themselves and their future families.
Thanks to our clients making Buy A Trip, Give A Trip a reality, Cuncani’s children now dream bigger. They aspire to return to Cusco, driven by the understanding that the trip was not just for good grades but to keep their culture alive, speak Quechua, and take pride in their cultural identity.
Read about other Buy A Trip, Give A Trip experiences.