Peru small group tour, Andes and Incas
Description of Peru small group tour, Andes and Incas
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The Andes are South America’s solid spine, a daunting mountain range over 7,000km long. It stretches from the iciest reaches of Patagonia in the far s...
If they could, people would probably come in their millions to Peru to admire the ancient Incan citadel of Machu Picchu, situated at 2,430m in the Per...
As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we've screened this (and every) holiday so that you can travel knowing it will help support the places and people that you visit, and the planet. Read how below.
PlanetWe must always keep the environment at the forefront of our minds and take all litter with us, disposing of it responsibly in big cities and towns. Bringing a reusable water bottle is a great idea and if purchasing any snacks, avoid excess packaging.
We offer an optional extension to visit Amazon on our tour, to spot wildlife where it should be seen, in the wild. You have to be careful in Amazonian areas as although there are some fantastic conservation, rescue and rehabilitation efforts going on, there are also organisations posing as rescue centres, that definitely do not have welfare of the animals or conservation at heart. If you see any animals being kept in captivity, report this to relevant organisations and don’t have your photo taken with captive animals.
If you are offered mahogany, or ‘red gold’ as it’s sometimes called, even if it’s a small item, just pass. Peru is one of the world’s biggest exporters of mahogany and the industry is very destructive and exploitative. The industry contributes to the deforestation of virgin rainforest and the stripping of indigenous communities’ homes and rights to survive.
Whilst in the Amazon, we take part in some sustainable tasks such as planting trees and helping to count species of flora and/or fauna.
Also, visiting lesser-known archaeological sites such as Batán Grande and Kuélap, contributes to their preservation and protection and will allow people to enjoy these important historical sites for years to come.
PeopleKeeping money in local economies and supporting local people is extremely important. Using local guides is just one of the ways we support local people and it also enables valuable, in-depth and honest knowledge which you perhaps wouldn’t get from a western guide. It also means we are keeping carbon emissions down.
Where possible, we also use small, locally-owned accommodations, such as the Hostel La Casona de Leymebamba. One of the accommodations we use – Gocta Andes Lodge – specifically prioritizes the hiring and training of local staff. About 90% of the staff here are from the local district or neighbouring provinces and so employment is being provided in a region where there have traditionally been few job offers. They also promote fair trade with the exhibition and sales of crafts made by local and regional people.
Supporting indigenous communities and family-run projects is also extremely important. We spend time with local communities on our Amazon extension, taking the time to learn about their culture, traditions and way of life. We attend a ritual led by a member of the Kukama Kukamiria ethnic group and stop at the ‘Centre for Kukama Women’s Crafts’. The project was set up by the Pacaya Samiria Amazon Lodge to boost the income of the locals and is run by women from the local community. All of the profits go to fifteen families within this local community. We also take part in some fishing with locals using sustainable techniques. All of this helps to keep indigenous traditions alive but makes sure that small communities benefit from tourism income.
Shoe-shining is a popular way for children living in poverty to earn some money. If a child really looks like they are in need, then have your shoes shone but be careful as some children are sent out to work by their parents and are not street children. Travelling light is also a good idea as you can buy woolly winter clothing in Peru and this puts money into local coffers. Avoid synthetic fakes and opt for real alpaca wool jumpers. Real alpaca wool loses its shape a bit when stretched and is slightly greasy to touch.
Most people like to take photos on their travels, and it’s sometimes easy to forget that the photogenic person in front of you may not want their picture taken. We always ask if it’s okay, and respect their wishes if they say no. It is also best to refrain from taking photographs in churches, especially in the Andes.
And last, but certainly by no means least, speaking Spanish and also dabbling in indigenous languages, will surely bring a smile to local people’s faces and they will appreciate that we are making an effort.
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