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Peru: travel and (fair) trade

It’s the quest that seasoned travellers seek their entire lives: the one destination that really does have it all. Perhaps it’s futile. Or perhaps it's Peru.

Peru

It’s the quest that seasoned travellers seek their entire lives. The endless pursuit of perfection: the one destination that really does have it all. Perhaps it’s futile. Perhaps we are doomed for disappointment. Or perhaps it’s Peru.

PERU’S VARIETY DRAWS TRAVELLERS FROM ALL CORNERS OF THE GLOBE AND BRINGS THEM TOGETHER IN ONE MAD, BEAUTIFUL ASSORTMENT OF THRILL-SEEKERS, ADVENTURERS, FOODIES, HISTORIANS, SURFERS AND BEACH BUMS.

The biodiversity of Peru is unlimited, stretching from the arid Pacific coast in the west to the peaks of the Andes mountains and the lowlands of the tropical Amazon basin.

Tourism has done its bit to help Peru’s shift to positive economic growth, but for Peruvian locals, especially in the rural areas, change has been slow in coming. The lion's share of the workforce is only employed part-time and poverty is still rampant. Climate change, on the other hand, is coming on fast - increased water stress, lack of food security and soil erosion are all taking their toll.  But Fairtrade provides an opportunity for producers and artisans to escape poverty.

When travelling through Peru, colourful handicrafts are a ubiquitous sight. The bright pops of colour are so common that the weavings almost become part of the landscape. Hats, scarves, jumpers, blankets and bags are woven by artisans using locally-sourced fabric like alpaca, vicuna and sheep. One of the oldest traditions in the world, weaving has been in important part of Peruvian culture since 2500BC. Likewise, ceramic production - including the bowls, vessels and whistles still adorning stalls today - was an established art form thousands of years before the Incas showed up. And the Peruvians have been belting out tunes on percussion and wind instruments like gourd drums and ceramic whistles since pre-Inca times too.

Organisations like CIAP bring together Peruvian artisans to champion their art forms, preserve their cultural traditions and improve living conditions of the craftspeople and their families. By purchasing a beautiful Peruvian product, you are helping support livelihoods of Peruvian producers and sustain ancient traditions. Good one!