A Travellerspoint blog

Our Crowdfunding Project

La Casita del Chato & what it's all about

Long time no news from CConTheRoad – but we’re still in South America. Not so much on the road anymore though. After visiting Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley around Cusco, we returned to this beautiful city one more time… at least that’s what we thought! We found a small, basic hostel in the historic city center. We actually only wanted to rest for a couple of days before hitting the road again – but of course it came different! The family that ran the hostel showed us around in their house and we ended the ‘tour’ in a small juice bar, which at this point was shut down. They told us that they built everything themselves and that the previous tenant left just a little while ago – so everything was in place, they just needed someone to run the juice bar. Chris was joking around that we could do it and all in a sudden they got serious :) After sleeping over the idea once, making some calculations, and talking a lot – we simply said ‘YES!’.
Us not having a clue about fresh fruit juices, the project was not very successful in the beginning. But we set up our own menu, creating some great recipes, and got better and better in making really good juice! Meanwhile we were still living in the hostel, which was pretty empty – as we were a little bored not having too many customers we decided to help out in the hostel. And after a few days the hostel was booked completely, which pretty much stayed like this since this point in time.
Well to cut the story short: Now we own and run a juice bar and manage a small family style hostel in the historic city center of Cusco. We grew closer and closer with the family – we became God parents of their older son, and their newly born baby son (28th of February, 2013) was named after Chris!

So now that everyone knows what we’re doing – there is one more thing we’ve started just a little while ago: a Crowdfunding project. A short explanation about Crowdfunding: one has an idea – can be anything, in our case it is our hostel ‘La Casita del Chato’ – and looks for some people that would like to invest a into that project. The idea is not to find a few investors with a lot of money, but to find a lot of investors with a little money. And the intention behind investing is not getting the money back, but to receive some benefits once the project is carried out.
So check out our project – and watch the video, it was taken by some of our guests! And maybe you would like to contribute as well (bank info and benefits are listed below).

La Casita del Chato – A backpacker’s home


Since the very beginning our hostel has always been a place where everyone feels welcome, where everyone feels comfortable, where everyone feels a bit like – home. The guests enjoy the relaxed atmosphere; they like to chat with us, hang out, and get information from other travellers. To put it in a nutshell – they love it! And this is what drives us, what tells us that we’re doing a great job and that we started an amazing project – and what makes us want to move on. But therefore, we need your help.

The idea of Crowdfunding


The concept of crowdfunding was actually brought to us by one of our guests – he told us about it and immediately convinced us that it would be perfect for our project. And that’s the great thing about our place: The travellers who come here want to participate, they want to help, they want to contribute. And they already did – so many people helped renovating, painting, they played concerts and showed their magic tricks at our place, or simply helped us cleaning the dishes when we were in a hurry - and even the video above was made by and with our guests, and is accompanied by the music of a Columbian band who played a show at the hostel. With crowdfunding, we would like to take this approach a step further – giving everyone who likes our project and would like to contribute, the opportunity to do so.

What we want

With the money raised through crowdfunding, we would like to make improvements in the hostel, while at the same time allowing us to maintain the economic price for our guests. We do not want to use it to make the hostel bigger or increase capacity, neither to increase our profits, but to improve the quality of our services. What we want is to make La Casita del Chato more comfortable, prettier, safer and greener.


We want to be safer

We are going to invest the money in a new entrance gate to the hostel’s patio, allowing us to lock the hostel properly during the night. Furthermore, we are going to change all doors of the dormitories, which are going to be equipped with security locks instead of the padlocks we are using now. And we’re going to buy personal lockers for the dorms, so every guest can store his or her backpack in a safe place. Last but not least we want to fix the stairs, because right now they’re really steep and we don’t want anyone to get hurt.

We want to be more comfortable

With the money raised we want to build a proper reception and also a common area where people can hang out, relax or chat with other guests. We’re going to renovate the bathroom and also build a second one, in order to increase the convenience and comfort for everyone. We also plan to invest in a washing machine – at the moment the cleaning lady still has to wash the sheets of 20 beds by hand!

We want to be greener

One of the major investments will be the solar panel shower that we’re going to install. This way we’re not only eliminating our emissions, but are also able to offer hot showers 24 hours a day. In addition, we want to set up a water purification filter, so people can fill up their bottles with clean water instead of buying bottled water.

We want to be prettier

The renovations will include new painting of the outside walls and the fixing of the floors of the walkways. Furthermore, we would like to transform the patios into a garden or terrace where people can hang out and enjoy the sun.


Your support

If you would love to help make the story of La Casita del Chato a success, this is your chance to do so. Not only will we share the progress of the project with you, we also invite you to come to Cusco to have a look. Words cannot describe what La Casita del Chato feels like – you have to experience it yourself.

How to contribute

If you would like to contribute to the success of La Casita del Chato, you can make your donation to the account below. The amounts afterwards are suggestions and offer you the respective rewards in exchange, but feel free to contribute as little or as much as you want. Very important: Please write your email-address in the "purpose/comment" section while making the transaction, in order to keep you updated about the progress of the project!

Note: Our crowdfunding project is running until May 31, 2013.

Account information:
Account holder: Conny Schmutzer
Bank institute: UniCredit Bank Austria AG
IBAN: AT021200050167906601
Purpose / Verwendungszweck: Your email address

Please consider that this is an Austrian bank account, regarding possible banking fees. If you would like to make your contribution via other channels (e.g. WesternUnion, PayPal) see below, or please contact us at lacasitadelchato@gmx.com .

If you wish to make your contribution via WesternUnion, please send the money to Conny Schmutzer in Cusco, Peru. Afterwards, please send us an email to lacasitadelchato@gmx.com including the transaction number, so we can retrieve the money.

Please send your payment via PayPal to lacasitadelchato@gmx.com. Be aware of possible small fees for international transactions (the account is from Peru).

Thanks you very much for your support!!!


All rewards are transferable!

€ 10
Your name on the “supporters’ wall” in the hostel; regular email update including the progress of the project, pictures, videos, recipes from our juice bar or the Peruvian cuisine, stories and more… until the termination of the crowdfunding project

€ 20
Same rewards as € 10 contributors; 2 overnight stays at the hostel including breakfast
(can be 2 nights for one person or one night for 2 persons)

€ 50
Same rewards as € 10 contributors; 6 overnight stays at the hostel including breakfast
(can be 6 nights for one person or three nights for 2 persons)

€ 100
Same rewards as € 50 contributors; + full day excursion in or around Cusco with one of the hostel staff members

€ 500
Same rewards as € 100 contributors each year life long
(valid as long as the hostel is running, maximum 20 years)

Follow our project here on the blog, on facebook.com/best.juice.in.town or facebook.com/ccontheroad.
If you want to contact us, please write to lacasitadelchato@gmx.com.

Posted by ccontheroad 06:48 Archived in Peru Tagged hostel fundraising cusco south_america crowdfunding Comments (0)

An update on our crowdfunding project

So the Crowdfunding Project is running.. and it’s running not that bad :) We thought it’s time to share some of the progress that has been going on at ‘La Casita Del Chato’.
Till the day of, May 14th 2013, € 680 have been raised thanks to 21 generous donators!! Many many thanks to these people – this really means a lot to us!

As you people can guess renovations here at the house are up and running. So we wanted to share some pics of what we’ve been doing so far and also wanted to share some of the info in explanation so you can get a better picture of the progress here in Cusco.

➢ We managed to repaint the facades of the small patio in beautiful red and crème color.


➢ A great German couple helped us for an entire week to paint all doors of the house that belong to the hostel in matching colors.


➢ We installed a new gas shower and it works perfectly!! Also we built a second shower – which currently is still provisional, but it’s a start!


➢ We have 2 new rooms!!!
The first one was pretty much ready, only Jacob and Conny gave it some new color and it was ready to put up some beds.
The second one was a little more work. One of our neighbors moved out and offered us her room. But as Peruvians simply use whatever they can find to build up a wall, we had to tear it down and built up a new one. Chris and Max, one of our volunteers took that opportunity to wire the new room as well as the room that is located right next door. And of course everything already got beautiful new color!

➢ We got 5 new German-quality wooden bunk beds – thanks to 2 amazing carpenters who built them up with great force! Of course these new beds already have super-comfy new mattresses and blankets.


➢ There used to be a Reggae bar right next door to our juice bar, which has been shut down recently & now we are working on renovating this newly gained space. The plan is to build 2 private rooms, a big common area for the people from the hostel, and a private bathroom for the new rooms. This of course means a loooot of painting, plastering, constructing new walls, wiring, etc. etc.


Of course the work is looong not done - there is much more to do! The upcoming renovations will mainly take place in the newly gained space next to the juice bar. Furthermore, we are planning on extending the platform behind the juice bar so we can also welcome guests outside (the days are getting sunnier :) ) and we also want to take that opportunity to move the steps to the first patio and rebuild them in order to make them more safe. Also we already bought a whole bunch of leds and motion sensors in order to lighten up the patios at night. And one of the biggest upcoming investments will be a washing machine – as we wrote in our last blog entry, Lisbet, our cleaning lady, washes EVERYTHING (!!!!) by hand with cold water. And everything means up to 20 bed sheets per day!

But everything poco a poco! We have a lot of plans, but also know that one can’t to everything at once. We’re working everyday on improving the house, which is only possible thanks to the people who have donated already and thanks to our wonderful volunteers who are very hard working (as you can see in the pictures).
We also made a small nice video showing a bit about the progress - have a look:

We hope that our first update gives an insight of what we’re using the raised money for and maybe also motivates some new investors/donators to help us keep up the work and follow our dream of making this house as comfortable as possible.
So of course we would also like to ask you all to spread the word about our project and share it with your friends, family, be-loved ones, or simply people you know who have too much money and don’t know what to do with it :)

We’ll keep you posted!!
Chris & Conny

Posted by ccontheroad 20:09 Comments (0)


DAY 21

sunny 25 °C
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5 am: Getting up and ready, having really delicious breakfast in the hostel that is prepared fresh for everyone, and preparing some sandwiches for the day.

Climbing Machu Picchu:
Inca stairs are f*** exhausting to climb! Each one is different – long, short, high, low, narrow, wide,… just crazy! A lot of sweat, a lot of heaving breathing, and a lot of swearing – but the amazing landscape and the beautiful view was worth the pain! The view over the mountains, which were still partly covered in fog and mist, was wonderful and mystical.

Atop Machu Picchu: Finally atop we deserved a short break, changed the dripping wet shirts, and used the ONLY (!!) bathroom in MP. So we continued to the first view point and took some touristy-pics. The view was breathtaking – Waynapicchu was still covered in fog and the heavy clouds slowly lifted up upon the Inca-city and revealed its full gorgeousness. Simply: beautiful!
After taking all this in, it was time for a snack – sandwich and fruits, but the hunger was not gone. Breakfast has just been 2 hours ago, but the hike really made us hungry… well, can’t eat everything at once, they day just started!
The first part of the Inca-city was discovered with the help of some tour groups – pretty nice to just stop wherever something seems interesting and wait for a guide to drag along the sheep and tell us all the history we wanted to know :)
Slowly it was getting really hot and the sun was burning down on us, but we still had to climb Waynapicchu – so off we went to the entrance. Already waiting outside in line to register in the book before entering (jap, one also needs to check out afterwards to make sure that all came back) was a already a pain. But luckily Waynapicchu is so steep that the path runs right along the cliff and is covered with bushes and small trees, meaning one gets to hike up in the shade of the mountain itself. Still, all this nice shade is only because the mountain is so steep, meaning one really needs to climb up, meaning all the shade that helps not to sweat in the sun doesn’t really help – one sweats because of other reasons!


Waynapicchu: The hike seemed even more exhausting than the first one of the day, but again every step was worth the pain. Sometimes it was so steep that one needed to hold onto a rope and people have to wait for one another in order to have enough space on the narrow path.
Atop we climbed through narrow caves, over ruins, the view over MP and over the Inca-city is beautiful, and on one of the terraces we decided to have our lunch break and finished pretty much all of what was left. The downhill hike was even more exhausting, but we already felt like we’ve seen a lot, so taking more time didn’t hurt and it even gave us the chance to be up there pretty much alone, which led the nature to expose itself in its full beauty – we came across several animals we wouldn’t have seen otherwise, as for example a snake directly next to my foot :)
Back in the Inca-city the motivation was almost gone – as was the water in our bottle! So we went to look for some water – truly a challenge, but we managed and finally rested next to the temple of the sun. People viewing was just the right thing in that moment, until our attention was captured by some chinchillas, who were chillin’ inside the temple of the sun (which by the way is closed for all visitors!).

We decided to return to Aguas Calientes by foot over the bus path, as Inca-stairs downhill are even less fun than uphill – well, we didn’t think that the way would be that much longer & it took us about 3 hours to get back to Aguas Calientes, where we half-dead dropped into a restaurant – the hunger was still not gone :)
Back in the hostel we barely managed to enjoy the hot shower before we fell into a deep sleep for about 14 hours – after all we hiked for about 12 hours that day!

Posted by ccontheroad 07:48 Archived in Peru Comments (0)


DAY 20

sunny 20 °C
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After a comfortable night we had to get up pretty early in order to prepare some sandwiches for the way, get the Dodge ready in order to be alone for a couple of days, and even re-park it to the other side of the parking lot as we were warned about avalanches… With the combi we made a short stop in the village to find more people to share the price with & we got to enjoy a fresh juice and orange cake for breakfast.
As we arrived in Hydroelectrica we got ready to hit the train tracks by foot for the next 3 hours. Already in the beginning of the hike we met a lonesome dog who decided to walk together with us – until he became unfaithful during our break and decided to follow some other hikers… funnily we kept meeting this dog over and over again during our stay in Aguas Calientes and on our way back to Hydroelectrica :)
Finally in Agaus Calientes we barely made it to the market where we got the cheapest lunch in the town – still twice the price as in Cusco… And not only food, but also accommodation is much more than in other destinations. For the first time we decided to stay in a hostel and not in a private room in a Hospedaje – the price was the same, but the hostel seemed really cool, stylish and the people super friendly. So anyone who ever goes to Aguas Calientes: stay at the ‘Super Tram Hostel’, it’s a good choice :)

Posted by ccontheroad 06:48 Archived in Peru Comments (0)


DAY 19

sunny 25 °C
View South America on ccontheroad's travel map.

After a quite good night – only a small scorpion in the bathroom during brushing our teeth and a guy scaring me so much by knocking on our window that my heart almost stopped – we woke up rather earlier and prepared some breakfast as one of the workers from the salineras walked by and asked if we could give him a ride to the next village. Of course we wanted to finish breakfast first, so we just invited him to eat with us and afterwards gave him a ride. Again, it was a pretty informative drive – he told us that the salineras sell 50kg of salt for about 18 Soles. So yes, we were totally ripped off with the 100gr for 1 Sol as 1kg costs about 0,36 Soles… but OK

Well and so the drive that seemed to be never-ending started – right after a stop at the market in Urubamba… We kept driving and driving and driving until shortly after Abra Malaga (the mountain pass), where we stopped for lunch in a tiny town and ate with a really nice señor, who prepared the best pollo durado for us and we were already sure that we will stop here again on our way back! Furthermore, it was a really nice familiar atmosphere with cuys (guinea pigs) running around underneath the table :) But well, we had to continue driving – the way till Santa Maria was rather unspectacular and also there we didn’t have time for a break as we needed to get to Santa Teresa. And once you hit the road from Santa Maria, there is no more stopping on the way!
The drive from Santa Maria to Santa Teresa was much more exciting, or should I say scary, adventurous and breathtaking (but more in the way of stopping to breath because of fear, not because something is wonderful hahaha). This street was definitely the most narrow, with a steep slope, sometimes very steep so we needed to go rather fast to make it up.. yes really exciting as I said :)

But finally we made it to Santa Teresa, asked a few people for the Baños Termals and actually found them quite quick. As we saw the Baños we already know that it was all worth it! We couldn’t wait to get into the pools with clear water so one could even see the ground at night and so hot water that the steam was rising into the air. A quick dinner, a well-deserved beer, and by chances sneaking into a trekking tour to whom we told our travelling story for the first time – quite nice to see peoples faces when they here our story and even want to take pictures with our car :) And then we finally went to relax in the steaming warm water before we had an amazingly quiet night in the Dodge.

Posted by ccontheroad 06:41 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

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