For the last ten years, we have been visiting local communities around Cusco bring chocolate and gifts to the children and families. Here, Jess speaks to Keiko, who works in Tucan Travel’s Cusco Office.
When did we start doing La Chocolatada? We started giving chocolate and gifts to the children around 15 years ago. The first time was at one of the hotels we regularly used.
Why did we start doing this? There are lots of causes we can support so why this one? It is important that we try to help people who really need it. A lot of help is given to those in Cusco so we concentrate on the villages outside. I was in charge of looking for a town or village to benefit and I keep an eye out by asking our Tour Leaders and Drivers of any places they know about that don’t receive help and then I ask all the details. We need to know how many kids there are in the village (how many girls and boys) and also look how far away it is from Cusco to arrange time to visit.
How do we pick the village? Do we go to the same one every year? The last 3 years we have been going to the community of family porters that hike the Inca Trail with our Tucan Travellers.
What do we get the kids and how do we choose the presents? With so many children we like to try and keep it fair. We normally just buy cars for the boys and dolls for girls.
Where is the village? We go to Huaylla. It is 2 hours from Cusco to the north west.
Is this a Tucan Travel tradition or is it a local one? It is a Peruvian tradition , they do it in December , but we do it in January. In December, most of the kids come to the Cusco and a lot of hotels we use organise the same treats. This year there were over 400 kids.
The advantage to go there is that we help the community . On one Saturday alone we gave around 100 toys and also some socks that a Tucan passenger left here. Of course, we also give out the chocolatada , which always is really nice!!!
About the Author: Jess was the former Communications Coordinator for Tucan Travel. She has travelled independently and on group tours through Central America, Africa, North America, Israel and Europe. You can find her on Google+ or read her other contributions here.