An Introduction to Sustainable Tourism in Peru

“Tourism that respects both local people and the traveler, cultural heritage and the environment.” That’s how the United Nations defines sustainable tourism.

But don’t worry, it’s more fun than it sounds.

Sustainable tourism is all about enjoying authentic cultural and natural experiences, and getting a true sense of a destination and its people. It’s a deeper, more rewarding experience.

Additionally, it brings a rewarding sense of serenity in knowing that your visit was beneficial to a community, and that your travels help improve people’s ways of life.

You may have heard the terms “responsible tourism,” “adventure tourism,” “eco-tourism,” “green tourism” and more. They all fall under the umbrella of sustainable tourism. No matter what you call it, however, it’s one of the fastest growing trends in the travel industry today.

This kind of tourism is a natural for Peru. Visitors here have been enjoying a wide array of natural and cultural wonders. From the Andes to the Amazon, the culture of the Incas to that of the Spanish, Peru is the stuff of adventure tourism dreams.

In Peru, there’s a deep love and respect for the Earth and its inhabitants that goes back for centuries. The Incas worshiped Pachamama, or Mother Earth.

Every Incan feast began with a challa—a toast to Mother Earth, where the first sip of chicha (corn beer) is poured on the ground in gratitude for the meal to come. The reverence for the land extends to all living creatures, which helps explain why Peru is among the most biodiverse countries in the world.

There are over 1,700 species of bird in Peru, which attract eager bird watchers from around the world. Additionally, there are numerous non-profit organizations on the ground in Peru, working to conserve natural resources.

There are many ways in which you can participate in sustainable tourism in Peru. Most tour operators offer trips that include authentic cultural and natural activities. Check out International Expeditions: Amazon Voyage, Austin Adventures, Inca Trail Glamping and G Adventures, Trekking the Huayhuash Circuit.

Of course, it’s almost impossible not to visit Peru and be a part of the sustainability travel movement. Peruvian culture and respect for the environment is so well engrained here, it’s a day-to-day occurrence, as common—and vital—as the air we breathe.