New friends and extended family await you when you enjoy a Lake Titicaca homestay.
As conscientious travelers looking to visit Peru and its lesser-known destinations, we all want to make our impact as positive as possible. This means seeking out ways to travel sustainably and with organisations that have responsible travel in mind. With fragile rainforest environments and ancient ruins and relics to protect, many in the travel industry have been forging ahead with ecotourism and ethical travel in Peru for years. With this infrastructure in place, it is now the traveler’s duty to make informed decisions about how they want to experience Peru.
Add any of the following destinations and activities to your Peru travel itinerary, and you’ll be taking a step towards traveling responsibly in Peru.
Ecolodges remind you of the importance of preserving nature with their natural materials, and beautiful surroundings.
We recently wrote a longer blog post about how ecolodges like Inkaterra were changing the fate of the Amazon Rainforest, but the amazing work of the Inkaterra organisation is worth mentioning again.
Inkaterra have seven hotels and lodges in Peru: three outside of Puerto Maldonado in the Amazon and four outside of Cusco near Machu Picchu. Each and every one has been built with sustainability in mind, and they continue to put ecotourism practices into action every day. One of the hotels recently invested in a biodiesel production plant to help produce cleaner energy. Much of their work is behind the scenes so, if you choose to stay at Inkaterra, you should make an effort to ask about their specific sustainable practices.
Welcome to Peru, where gracious strangers soon become friends.
Staying in a local home when you travel is one of the best ways to give directly to local people. The best place to experience a homestay in Peru is on Lake Titicaca. This 2-day tour affords you the opportunity to meet the indigenous people of Uros Island, Amantani Island, and Taquile Island and learn about their lives and the incredible stories of this high-altitude lake. Cultural exchange with your host family could be one of the top experiences you have in Peru; people certainly love heading to the local disco to learn traditional dances in Lake Titicaca!
There are hundreds of luxury tour operators and travel companies in Peru, but not all of them are dedicated to sustainable travel. Delfin Cruises is one company which strikes a balance between their luxury travel offerings and their commitment to responsible and ethical travel. Even their boats are built using sustainably sourced materials!
Taking an Amazon Cruise with them, you can be safe in the knowledge that they are working to give back to local communities and support developing infrastructure in the Amazon. You’ll often get the chance to meet these communities and support them further by purchasing their handicrafts.
Enjoy the privilege of a highly unique cultural exchange when you visit the Yagua Tribe.
Visiting truly remote communities in the Amazon is an increasingly rare experience as locals move into the modern age, and younger generations leave behind traditional ways. The Yagua Tribe near Iquitos is a native tribe of around 4,000 people who are committed to keeping their culture alive. Their native language is one of the few to have continued into the 21st century.
The community allows a small number of travelers to visit them and learn about their traditional practices like blow dart hunting and ceremonial dances. Doing so helps to conserve these traditions and to bring much-deserved income to these remote areas.
Enjoy nature, during your holiday, but also do your part to help preserve it.
Getting off the beaten path and into lesser-visited areas of Peru is another great way to spread your spending around. Dispersing tourism away from congested tourist hotspots may just be the best way to keep tourism sustainable in Peru.
Chaparri Nature Reserve, close to Chiclayo on the North Coast of Peru, is one special destination that is worth stepping off the tourist trail for. The Reserve is also one of the best examples of community-driven conservation in Peru. The entire 34,000 hectares, located in the dry-forests of the Tumbesian Region, is owned by the local community and they are protecting the habitats of a number of endangered species, such as the Andean spectacled bear. Travel to Chaparri and experience a totally different side to Peru’s natural riches and learn about inspiring small-scale conservation projects.
It's amazing what can become a work of art when in the proper hands.
The traditional markets of The Sacred Valley are incredibly popular for tourists, and for good reason. At one of these markets, you get the chance to meet local artisans and buy beautiful handicrafts for your home, your friends and family. And, of course, markets are always a great place for photography! In terms of responsible travel, markets allow you to sustain traditional art and skills and buy directly from the source.
The colorful market of Chinchero, between Cusco and Urubamba, is open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays and is popular with both locals and tourists. The area is home to talented weavers, and you’ll be able to witness them at work right there in the market. Stop and chat with the artists and learn about their craft and make the purchase of any souvenirs really special. For more detailed advice on what to buy in Peru, read our souvenir guide.
Traveling responsibly and sustainably in Peru is all about making the right choices and thinking about how and where you spend your money. If you get off the beaten path, connect with innovative organisations, and give directly to local people through visiting homes and markets, you will be making a positive impact during your travels in Peru.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can be a sustainable tourism pioneer, then keep reading here.
Jade House, Anywhere Contributor