A Chocolatada in Huacahuasi: Sharing Holiday Time in the Remote Peruvian Andes

Posted by on January 3rd, 2024

Living in Peru has provided me with many special opportunities and experiences, one of them being included and immersed in the day-to-day lives of the hearty people who live off the land. Temperatures at high altitudes are absolutely freezing, the soil is solid, and it´s a very harsh environment.  I have personally adapted to live without many of the normal comforts in winter, such as heat in homes and hot running water.

Huacahuasi is a traditional Andean village that rests in a peaceful valley at 12,585 feet (3,585 meters) above sea level.  Descending into the valley, you can’t help but feel mesmerized by the soft glow of the sun cast upon the sparkling river that cuts through the village.  The landscape is golden with splashes of vibrant color of the locals’ traditional woven clothing.  Children and adults alike wear ojotas, which are sandals made from recycled tires.  Residents exist mainly from cultivating potatoes and raising alpacas.  Quechua is the native language spoken, which resembles nothing remotely close to Spanish.  When traveling through such villages, a friendly exchange of smiles is the common language.

Over Christmastime, villages like Huacahuasi do not have the means to celebrate in a special way together with their families.  For that reason, what is called a chocolatada has become a welcome treat for those living in these regions.  This year, together with my neighbor who is from the community, we coordinated this festive event.  We hauled up over 300 viscachos (Christmas breads), bars of pure cacao, sugar and milk to prepare hot chocolate to about 200 children plus their families.  The event was a success, and the perfect way to close out the year.


Please let us know if you would like to visit a traditional mountain community on your trip to Peru! Your Destination Specialist can include it as part of your custom-tailored Peru itinerary.

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