Responsible tourism: Peru small group tour, culture & landscapes
The opening days of this holiday take place at the Refugio Amazonas Lodge, which is part of Rainforest Expeditions. This group is dedicated to ecotourism and living sustainably in the Amazon. Their conservation and native community work has been consistently carried out over many decades to the benefit of numerous plant and animal species.
Refugio Amazonas has been constructed from natural materials like wood and bamboo. We place holidaymakers in its electricity-free classic rooms, which offer simple facilities. Activity locations like the clay-licks are safeguarded, while the canopy tower has been constructed to fit into the greenery without causing any damage. As for the local farms and trails, they inspire travellers with a real sense of responsible rainforest life.
Aguas Calientes distinguishes itself as a destination connected to nature, and not simply through its mountainous, forest-filled surroundings. With the exception of the Machu Picchu bus, its streets are effectively free of cars, and the emphasis is on arriving by train or on foot. The rail service removes the destructive prospect of mass-tourist traffic which would inevitably descend on the area. Given that up to 2,500 people visit the site each day, the polluting presence of other vehicles on a daily basis would be catastrophic.
We employ local guides who make sure that visitors treat the site of Machu Picchu with immense care, taking them on non-intrusive paths as they go around. Furthermore, we adhere to official regulations limiting the number of visitors to Huayna Picchu. On top of reducing the risk of damage to this magnificent feature, the limit of 400 people per day lends a certain exclusivity to the experience which ultimately highlights the importance and value of the location itself. Indeed, non-intrusiveness is upheld when visiting all the Incan sites on this holiday, ensuring that they are kept in pristine condition for the next generation.
Enabling families of holidaymakers to experience native Peruvian lifestyles first-hand is a major focus of this holiday, as evidenced by visits to the communities of Patabamba, Llachón, and the Uros Islands. Doing so ensures that they learn directly about traditional cultures. For all the merits of modern media and the capacity to learn online, there is nothing quite like personal experience. This allows visitors to make individual comparisons with their own ways of life, as well as to accumulate a cultural understanding which can be shared and spread on their return from Peru.
Historical understanding is essential for the preservation of local heritage, for which reason we feature a spread of Incan and colonial sites in the itinerary. International awareness of Peru is too easily confined to the image of Machu Picchu (all its importance considered). Visitors are therefore shown the outdoor marvel of Moray, and the impressive construction work of Ollantaytambo Fortress, as well as the Temple of Viracocha. They are accommodated in buildings with a colonial past and have time to look around Lima and Cusco. They also visit the Church of Andahuaylillas, where reverence, artistry, and architecture masterfully combine.
The emphasis on practical experiences should not be forgotten: these allow traditions to be shared in two directions, such when assisting with handicraft making at Patabamba. We insist on having local practical experiences and source guides and instructors regionally, keeping income within the Peruvian tourism industry, rather than outside it.