This story appeared in the spring 2014 issue of
Cusco, Peru, welcomes visitors with lush green mountains and unique cultural adventures.
This is the new home of Rebecca Williams ’09.
Graduating from Chapman with a degree in Spanish and a Peace Studies minor, Williams has always fed her curiosity by exploring different cultures, languages and ways of living.
However, traveling to Cusco for the first time in 2011, Williams felt rushed and robbed of true cultural immersion. Passing through the cities and popular sites, she knew nothing about the inhabitants or the culture. That’s when she got the idea to start her own tour company.
In May 2013, she launched Encuentros Andinos (Andes Encounters), offering culture-
filled treks such as venturing into caves and learning more about ancient Incan drawings. Each trek she offers includes the chance to meet and share a meal with indigenous people. Homestays are also available. More information is at www.encuentrosandinos.com.
“My sincerest desire is to help people have an authentic encounter where they are gently challenged on how they see life,” Williams said. “The only way to do that is by meeting people up close and being invited into their homes.”
The business also allows Williams to connect with earlier dreams of becoming a missionary, as she returns a portion of her profits to Peruvian communities, helping locals send their children to school and build better lives.
Featured photo at top: Credit to
Martin St-Amant – Wikipedia – CC-BY-SA-3.0