Posted on Frommer’s

Our family of 4 (2 kids 9 & 15) spent 2 weeks in Dec-January in Peru. While we enjoyed the typical sights (Cusco/Sacred Valley, Macchu Picchu, short Inca Trail, Colca, Titicaca), far and away the most exceptional experiences related to having the opportunity to sponsor and participate in local community-based charitable efforts in 4 places. Our kids collected donations of money which supported 2 holiday parties for children in very poor communities with hot chocolate and gifts,and provided resources to a grassroots effort to build small libraries in remote villages. We donated and helped a local family distribute clothing to the people who had come down from the mountains to Cusco on Christmas Eve. The kids collected over 150 soccer jerseys from our community, and were able to distribute them in villages and play soccer with local kids and adults alike. It was extremely moving to see and feel the sincere gratitude and warmth of the many local people who thanked us and embraced us and the looks on the kids’ faces,receiving what would be for many the only holiday gift they would receive, is unforgettable for us and for our children.

How did we manage all this?–Nina at Ancient Summit, who worked very hard and helped us overcome quite a few obstacles in planning our entire trip. We are quite well-travelled and I shopped the agents and researched the Forums before committing to her and rarely have encounterd an agent willing to devote so much hands-on effort to personalize and customize travel arrangements, and yet be so cost-conscious.