Situated alongside the Andes Mountains, Peru boasts some amazingly varied landscapes and diverse wildlife; from the dense Amazon Rainforest and mountain valleys, to open grasslands and palm swamps. Local Peruvians demonstrate an unwavering commitment to preserving their natural resources by carrying on cultural traditions, educating others about their native land and redirecting tourism income into funding essential conservation efforts.
Inkaterra Asociación – Tambopata, Peru
Utilizing tourism funds, the Inkaterra Asociación (ITA), conducts scientific research essential for understanding the rainforest’s evolving environment. The ITA’s Canopy Walkway and eco-lodges located throughout Peru and the Amazon, generate sustainable incomes and provide additional funding for the organization’s research initiatives. Inkaterra became Peru’s first carbon-neutral travel organization in 2007 due to their resource conservation and waste management efforts.
Asociación Sol & Luna – Sacred Valley of the Incas, Peru
A Swiss and French couple came to the Sacred Valley of the Incas in 1996 wishing to do “something useful” for the local community. They opened the luxurious Sol & Luna spa and hotel to raise money, with 100 percent of profits being redirected into schools and other programs, including Colegio Intercultural, which draws both wealthy and poor children. In addition to healthcare and meals, the school offers students a chance to learn in a comfortable, modern environment. Other projects in the works include a dormitory for children from remote communities, a youth cultural center and a hospitality training school.
Isla Suasi – Puno, Peru
When Puno native Martha Giraldo acquired the tiny private island of Isla Suasi, it had been deforested and depleted of natural resources. The sociologist set out to return the island to a place of abundance and beauty. She built a small, solar-powered ecological refuge and got to work planting trees and gardens, replenishing the vicuña and alpaca population and recreating the paradise that you see today. Though Ms. Giraldo’s original refuge still stands, the lodge has since expanded and is still powered by solar energy and entirely constructed from native materials. There are still no automobiles, no electricity and no permanent inhabitants on the island, but there is a Cultural Hut & Library maintained by Ms. Giraldo herself, where visitors can learn about the island’s history, flora and fauna.
Learn more about these organizations and Go Ahead Eco Tours at goaheadtours.com/pcc