Paru Paru Community

History

The indigenous community of Paru Paru nestles snugly between lush valleys of quinoa, a spring-fed lake, and 4,000-meter high mountains. It is about 11 kilometers from Pisaq in the province of Calca, a one hour and thirty minute drive from Cusco via the Sacred Valley highway.

Steeped in ancient traditions, Paru Paru cultivates over 100 native varieties of potato, corn, and quinoa as well as a few foreign crops they have adapted to the region, such as barley, wheat, fava beans, carrots, radishes, cilantro and parsley.

Paru Paru's community is self-sufficient. They grow or raise nearly everything they need, so they travel to the city only occasionally to trade their products for salt and sugar.

Paru Paru has a kinder garden, elementary, and middle school system, though some families opt to send their children to school in nearby Pisaq.

What do the villagers love about their community? The fresh, crisp air; the breathtaking landscapes; the tranquil vibe of the mountains; their traditional ceremonies, dress, and rituals; and the warmth of community life.

Programs and Activities

The members of Paru Paru greet their visitors warmly with local flowers, traditional clothing of the region, and special greetings in Quechua. As part of its community-based tourism, Paru Paru shares with its foreign visitors many of its traditional activities, such as:

  • Demonstration of and participation in Andean agricultural techniques using ancestral tools.
  • Homemade organic meals exemplifying the biodiversity of the Andean crops.
  • Presentation of the 180 native potato varieties by season.
  • Guided hiking to explore the spectacular views of the nearby valley filled with its harvest of purple, orange, yellow, and red quinoa, the vast fields of barley, and the ever-present local "mithuy" and "k'antu" flowers.
  • Trout fishing in the natural spring-fed mountain lake Kinsacocha.
  • Animal husbandry demonstrations and participation with llamas, alpacas, sheep, guinea pigs, donkeys, hens, and ducks.
  • Seasonal Llama and Alpaca festival.
  • Regional medicinal herbs demonstration.
  • Ceramic handicrafts with natural pigments exposition and participation.
  • Evening bonfire with traditional Andean dances, costumes, and music.
  • Overnight home stays with shared modern bathrooms and warm water showers.

Key Community Members

Fermin Pacco Gallegos

82 years old, Mr. Fermin is a farmer and Ex-President of the Paru Paru community. He is one of the oldest living members of the community and remembers when it was founded.

Sebastiana Bayona Quispe

78 years old, Mrs. Sebastiana has lived in Paru Paru all her life. She is a weaver by trade.

Mario Pacco Gallegos

At 35, Mario is a much younger member of Paru Paru. His great grandfather was one of the community founders. Mario is currently the President of the Paru Paru Community-Based Tourism Association. He tried city life, but quickly returned to his rural home where the air is fresh and he could be close to nature. It was his vision to start a Community-Based Tourism (CBT) Association to share his community’s traditions, cuisine, and way of life with foreign visitors. He hopes that the cultural exchange will help visitors see a different perspective and help his people value the richness of their natural and cultural resources.

Francisca Bayona Pacco

Francisca is 42 years old and the President of the Paru Paru Textile Association.