Today you will participate in a larger community project. The specific role will vary based on what is going on in the community at the time of your visit, but you will be a part of what is known as the Ayni system, a system of reciprocal labor among members of the community who share agricultural tasks and house building. This system consists of assisting with work carried out by members of a family, under the condition that they will reciprocate when necessary. This practice encourages generosity, reciprocity, and solidarity among visitors and members of the community.
Possible projects include: Painting the local school (exterior, classrooms, furniture); repairing furniture at the local school or medical post; building “Wasicuyes” for rearing guinea pigs (a staple of the diet in this region); cleaning the banks of the river or the neighborhood.
In the late afternoon you will transfer back to Cuzco to relax at your hotel prior to embarking on the Salkantay Trek the following day!
Commence Salkantay Trek — IMPORTANT NOTE
The Salkantay Trek is spectacular. It is rated as one of the top 25 hikes in the world by National Geographic Magazine, and rightly so!
That said, it is a very serious trek. You will hike 12-18 Kilometers per day. You will reach a maximum altitude of over 15,000 feet. The trek is completed successfully by people of all ages and (within reason) fitness levels. However, you should recognize that for most people this will be a very rigorous experience.
The trek also requires appropriate attire and gear. We have provided a general outline here, and we will supply a more detailed pack-list which has been compiled by Tuckies who have traveled this route before you. Heed these recommendations, as your enjoyment of the trek will depend on it.
In the end, this trek will likely be one of the most memorable and rewarding experiences you will have – so the effort is well worth it!