The community farm of La Granja Porcon is one of the most visited places in the Northeastern part of Peru.
During the high season of tourism, it can in fact receive up to 30.00 visitors per month. I know many archaeological and historical sites that would like to have this massive attendance of visitors.
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We are one hour and thirty minutes from the great city of Cajamarca, capital of the region whit the same name, in northern Peru.
We meet with official and members of the community. Rural tourism has been developed in a majestic way. At noon, we have lunch in one of the restaurants of the community right on the town square.
I have ordered excellent sautéed mushrooms, these mushrooms harvested on the farm and growing at the foot of the pines that the community has replanted with patience over the years.
The forest is obviously well managed; wood is used for furniture and houses, but always replanted so the tree population does not decrease. The community has about 12.000 hectares of which about 10.000 are pine trees.
We are over 3,100 meters high. No need to say that you better come with a coat for the night, as the temperature drops to around 0° C.
We are at La Granja Porcon, in full moon period. At the end of August is the dry season, the rainy season stretches along with the neighbouring region of Amazonas between October and April. At night, the stars are spectacular, it is amazing, magnificent.
There are several types of housing or accommodation offered here. A cottage in the hills, and other more central lodging within the village.
As for us, we stayed at La Posada. It is just about a 10 minute walking distance from the village. This inn traditionally was a place for people passing by on a pilgrimage for example.
Each room in La Posada has two floors. It is independent, you can rent a room or as we did being 4 people, we rented the two floors. On the ground floor, there is a “common” part with fireplace. We had a beautiful fire in the fireplace very appreciable for the cold nights.
Instead of dinner, we buy three types of cheese made here at the Granja. The region of Cajamarca is known for its cheeses. Those of the Granja are excellent… We also buy bread made at the community bakery, yogurt and muffins. Everything is homemade directly at the place. We have a great picknick !
As evening falls, we go for a walk and enjoy a beautiful sunset.
The Vicuñas are watching us very carefully. This type of animal doesn’t seem to notice that we too close to him.
Every day organized tours from Cajamarca leave to La Granja Porcon, the buses arrive regularly. What is it that draws all these visitors to the site?
Of course, the interest of the community is to share a moment offering activities such as weaving, farm work, and horse riding…
We can also see carpenters and cabinetmakers working the local pine wood – wood is the king here. They make nice furniture. It makes me remember a little bit the Amish in Pennsylvania in the United States.
What attracts a number of Peruvian tourists, we could verify by ourselves, is the zoo of La Granja Porcon.
Lions, leopards, bears, ostriches, exotic birds…
Even the vet is part of the community.
A guide from Cajamarca accompanies these day tours.
His main work is to check that visitors that he accompanies do not spend too much time in front of a particular animal. Everything seems timed. They have other things to visit in the afternoon. Don’t even waste a minute !
But we stay overnight, we take our time. We like the place, see the Vicuñas in freedom…
We also do some horse riding with the children. They enjoy it a lot.
La Granja Porcon is an example of a successful community tourism. Why this succes?
Of course, nowadays all the services are of really good quality. We know that to offer a good service we need investment. Today the Granja works well, but at the beginning it had help from outside.
We are told that there exists a great cohesion among the members of the community (about 1,600 people) and the partners of the tourism association, about 90 people. The members of the association attribute much of their good relationship to a true religious community, as well as all the work around their belonging to the same community. It is a bit exclusive but well, it seems that for this community farm, this has worked quite well.
It is true, that for visitors who are not impregnated with Evangelical texts, these quotes from the bible, omnipresent on the last kilometers to Granja Porcon, might seem disturbing. Once on the site they are in all the windows, the names of the restaurants or activities. But this is the way they work here, and it is especially a message of tolerance and peace that they want to spread.
Apart from the tourists on day-tours, mainly in the morning, the village of Granja Porcon is a quiet place barely disturbed by cow noises, which are milked at 4 am and in the afternoon.
We leave at the end of the morning with direction to Cajamarca. Tomorrow we return to Chachapoyas. We are in Northern Peru, which has so much to offer.
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