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An Eco-Tourism Guide to Travelling in Peru

by on 29th May, 2020

 

Eco-tourism in Peru is key to ensuring that this popular Andean holiday destination will benefit from the large number of travellers it attracts each year, especially at its iconic sites of Machu Picchu, the Inca Trail, Lake Titicaca and beyond. Here’s our advice on how to support sustainable tourism in Peru.

 

An Eco-Tourism Guide to Travelling in Peru

 

At Andean Trails we believe there is a lot you can do to play your part in travelling responsibly during your Peru holiday.

Prepare for travel before you set off, reading up about Peru, appreciating its culture and customs, its traditions and social structures. It will give you a better insight into society and enrich your travels.

Language classes, or one of the many apps available, are a great way to learn some Spanish ahead of travel and even the smallest conversation held in Spanish will open doors and help bridge cultures.

Think about how your behaviour is conceived by the locals you meet and try to avoid any behaviour that could be seen as offensive.

Photography is a touchy subject. While we are all keen to bring home digital memories of our trips, tread carefully where people are involved and respect their privacy and wishes. When in doubt, ask for permission or agree to pay for photos if somebody is clearly making a living out of it.

Festival in Cusco, Peru

One of many festivals in Peru

 

 

Contributing financially

Eco-tourism works best when money is filtering down, feeding not only rich hoteliers and wealthy business owners but trickling into the pockets of the local population. At Andean Trails we work with small local businesses, such as eco-lodges run by communities or operations set up by partners who care about their social impact and are supporting social projects close to their hearts. This guarantees your money goes further.

 

On our Inca Trails and treks we ensure the welfare of the local staff is safe guarded. We choose to work with companies who pay fair wages and adhere to the porter welfare regulations. By booking with us you, too, ensure this support.

A percentage of our profits goes towards social projects. Many are small, local charities that depend on donations. Our partners support a variety of projects from small schools, to local community projects to tree planting. Find out about the projects we support at Andean Trails here.

Huchuy Yachaq community

Huchuy Yachaq community

When in Peru, try and contribute as much as possible to the local economy. Buy local brands – little things can go a long way, such as having a freshly squeezed fruit juice instead of big brand drink, or sampling local food instead of supporting international food chains. Buy a souvenir at a local market. Have that Inca Kola!

Peru Lares Trek family buying souvenirs

Buying souvenirs

Haggling is part of the local way of life, but should be done in a reasonable way, ensuring you still pay a fair price. Don’t haggle aggressively and remember that a few Soles may not mean much to you but could make a difference for the vendor.

Colca Valley, Peru

Road side sellers

Just like back home, contributing to local charities dealing with issues such as homelessness is a better way to support those living in the street than giving money to beggars. Don’t give sweets to children, especially in rural areas – access to dentists is often non-existent.

Good service should be rewarded with a tip – some people, such as luggage handlers, rely on your tips.

Peru Lares Trek family and local kids

Interacting with locals

 

 

Sustainable travel and limiting your environmental impact

Leave no trace – pick up your rubbish. Batteries are best taken back home as they cannot be recycled in Peru.

In Peru plastic creates big problems. Take bags from home just as you would when you shop at your local supermarket. Take your water bottle, too – you will find that you can refill it a practically every hotel, ready for your daily excursion. Bring your own soap and shampoo – where possible bio-degradable – and avoid opening small bottles of toiletries at each hotel.

Be mindful when you use your air conditioning, as well as water from the tap or shower. Water, fuel and electricity are a scarcity in Peru.

Fruit market, Peru

Local fruit market

Local wildlife is at the heart of eco-tourism and needs to be protected. Don’t encourage anybody who is in possession of animals that belong in the wild – you may find this to be the case at some local markets. Do not buy any products made from animals.

Out of towns, stick to footpaths, respect wild habitat. In fact, respect all rules and regulations.

Peru Lares Trek view

Mountain views Lares trek

Consider donating to Rainforest Concern, a charity close to our hearts at Andean Trails and one we have supported financially for many years. They work tirelessly in the conservation of South America’s amazing flora and fauna.

Finally, enjoy disconnecting from home, allowing yourself to get immersed in a different culture. Soak up the atmosphere, learn new things and when you return home, keep the memories with you and spread the word – the more we travel responsibly, the more we contribute to the positive impacts of eco-tourism over mass tourism.

 

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