The best way to immerse yourself in a new language is to visit that culture, according to Matilde Melendez of Conquer Peru.
“A lot of people want to learn Spanish,” she said. “But to learn a language, they must also learn the culture, history and traditions of other places.”
Melendez, founder of Conquer Peru in Woodinville, leads a group of individuals on the Inca Trail in July. She also has places available for a girl’s trip to Peru in September, she said.
From July 18-24, Melendez will take travelers on a four-day hiking and camping trip along the Inca Trail. The first two days of the trip are designed for people to acclimatize to the high altitude, she said. On the last day, hikers will reach Machu Picchu.
Extensive hiking experience isn’t necessary, she said. However, she recommends people to hike with elevation before the trip.
She said individuals can expect to walk around six hours a day. The company organizes all the details such as porters to carry the luggage so that the participants can enjoy the trip.
“We take care of all the details. You don’t have to worry about anything,” she said.
The July trip is Melendez’s fifth time walking the Inca Trail. She is delighted to share the culture, traditions and history of the various Inca ruins throughout the excursion. Hikers will learn the reason for each type of ruin and connect with local people, she said.
Participants will also explore Cusco as well as the Sacred Valley, she said.
From September 1-7, Melendez is hosting a girls-only trip to Peru. She said the adventure will feature Lima, Cusco, Machu Picchu and Rainbow Mountain over the course of seven days. About five stops are still available for the trip, she added.
“I come from Lima, Peru. My team is made up of local people, so we can really show you Peru for what it is,” she said. “More than tourist spots.”
Being able to speak Spanish is not a requirement for these trips, Melendez said. Her team is bilingual, she says, so it’s not difficult to communicate.
It’s important to go into the adventure with an open mind, she said, especially during “this difficult time”.
“Learning about a new culture will help you be more compassionate and empathetic towards others,” she said. “And that’s what the world needs.”