Peru has long captured the hearts of intrepid explorers from across the globe – including us! And is it any surprise? With a whopping 12 UNESCO Heritage Sites, world-famous ruins, epic hiking trails and vibrant cultures, it’s a wonderland of natural and cultural treasures.
But as we plan our exciting journeys, it’s important to be mindful of the impact we leave behind. By travelling responsibly, we can each do our bit to preserve Peru’s natural and cultural heritage for future generations.
Here are some of the ways we can travel responsibly in Peru, not just to enrich our own experiences but to also contribute positively to the local communities.
One of the best ways to immerse yourself in the diverse culture, history and landscapes that Peru has to offer, is by embracing the wisdom and passion of local guides. Guides offer a wealth of knowledge to travellers. Without them, we miss out on the stories, legends, and insights they share. In our experience, guides breathe life into every step of the journey.
Supporting local guides in Peru means contributing to their livelihoods and helping to sustain their communities. Plus, their expertise means you get a rewarding experience, and you usually get to see hidden gems that are so often under the radar from mainstream tourism.
Stay in Locally-Run Accommodation:
To truly experience the essence of Peru, nothing beats staying in locally-run accommodation, like homestays or family-owned guesthouses.
Whether it’s kipping in a hotel that supports the lives of local children, staying with The Vicosinos community or in a village in the Colca Canyon, picking small-scale accommodation means the revenue stays within the region, empowering local families and fostering sustainable development. Oh, and not just that. But you’ll also get to forge more meaningful connections with your hosts – and trust us, these are the moments that enrich your travels.
Watch Your Footprint
Did you know that Machu Picchu is one of the world’s biggest victims of overtourism? Back in 2008, the World Monuments Fund put the ancient Incan citadel on a list of 100 Most Endangered Sites, because of the environmental impact from unsustainable visitor numbers. To ease the pressure, always make sure you stick to the designated trails and stick to your allotted time frame on your ticket – even if it isn’t policed.
Apart from hiking, you can only access Machu Picchu and the nearby village of Aguas Calientes by train. This means these areas face serious waste disposal challenges. To ease the pressure, we always encourage our travellers to avoid leaving any waste in the area. If possible, it’s way better if visitors can take their rubbish with them and dispose of it in Cusco.
Explore Less-Visited Areas
There’s no doubt that travel has the amazing potential to break down cultural barriers, support developing economies and encourage environmental stewardship. But when it comes to tourism, too much of a good thing can actually be a bad thing. Over tourism happens when too many visitors descend upon certain areas.
One way to help ease the pressure is by spreading out your tourist dollars. By visiting other lesser-visited parts of the country, you can help relieve some of the burden from popular sites like Machu Picchu and its surrounding areas. While at the same time, ensuring that other pockets of communities benefit from tourism too. Some of our favourite less-visited (but equally amazing) destinations in Peru include the Colca Canyon and Amaru community!
Pick Culturally-Immersive Experiences
Whether it’s joining a traditional weaving workshop, meeting farmers on the slopes of Alejandro and learning about the process of coffee making, staying with a host family on Lake Titicaca or trying your hand at making chocolate – opting for culturally-immersive experiences fosters tolerance and understand, while giving travellers a much deeper understanding of Peruvian life and local livelihoods.
We’ve hand-selected a range of responsible Peru experiences to help you see the real country up close.
Respect and Support Local Traditions
Peru’s rich cultural heritage is reflected in its amazing artisan handicrafts which showcase the craftsmanship and artistic prowess of its indigenous communities. By buying locally-made souvenirs, you contribute directly to the livelihoods of artisans and help keep these traditional artistic techniques alive.
From silver jewellery and colourfully woven textiles to alpaca wool products and intricately-painted ceramics, there’s an abundance of trinkets and treasures to peruse. Take the time to engage with artisans, learn about their craft, and appreciate the unique stories woven into each creation. By supporting local makers, you become a guardian of Peru’s cultural heritage – plus you can bring something truly unique home with you, as a keepsake from your journey.
But Pick Your Souvenirs Carefully
While it’s both rewarding and impactful to support local handicraft makers, be sure to avoid some souvenirs that are made from natural products, like dried butterflies, wooden walking sticks (which could be cut from local forests). This kind of local species depredation should be avoided where possible.
Responsible travel in Peru isn’t just about watching your plastic or carbon footprint. It’s about leaving a positive and lasting impact on the local communities and environment. By using local guides, picking locally-run accommodations, and respecting and supporting local culture and traditions, we can ensure that our travels resonate far beyond our own experiences.
Are you ready for an unforgettable Peru adventure? We’ll help you create a rewarding and responsible holiday.
Get in touch to start planning your three generational holiday today!