You may remember not so long ago that we ran an “Innovation Competition” for our guides in Cusco. We asked all of our guides in the region to come up with new ideas to develop Aracari’s service, with the allure of a fantastic trip to another part of Peru for those with the best ideas.
Well, one of the two prizewinners, Fernando, has recently returned from his prize trip to the Cordillera Blanca, a breathtaking and dense mountain range in northern Peru. He and his family stayed at the Llanganuco Lodge, which is owned and ran by our friend Charlie Good, and realised the “Maria Josefa” and “Llanganuco 69” trekking routes.
As an experienced trekking guide in Cusco, this was a great opportunity for Fernando to compare trekking offerings in the two regions. He told us that he was “very grateful for the opportunity to build on my knowledge” and to “be able to visit this area, compare the stunning glacial landscape [with that of Cusco], and to be able to put this experience into practice when working as a trekking guide in other places”.
Fernando likewise gave us alot of interesting feedback regarding his visit, saying that “the Cordillera Blanca region reminded me of Cusco ten years ago, when the area was a large presence of backpacking and low budget travel”. He went on to say that “the Cordillera Blanca has a lot of potential for tourism, to the level of Cusco if not even more so. What is needed is improved infrastructure and better capacitation [in services] to be able to realise this”. He also told us that the Cordillera Blanca “shows a lot of potential for the development of sustainable tourism … something which is increasingly being lost in Cusco”.
Of Llanganuco Lodge, an Aracari favourite in the region, Fernando told us that he was “Very grateful … to be able to meet a great person such as Charlie, owner of this fabulous lodge. To have learnt from him, and for he to have learnt from us was an unforgettable experience for us.
“That the lodge is owner-ran by somebody like Charlie makes a great difference to such places. For this reason it must be one of the best lodges in the world, in how they work directly with guests, giving good advice about the region and how to enjoy it”.
He went on to say that “for many this would be a very special place to stay” adding that “it is not quite 100% ready to receive Aracari clients from all levels” (though bear in mind Fernando has been a guide on the Salkantay lodge to lodge route, so his standards are high!). Nevertheless, he told us that Charlie and the staff continue to work towards that goal.
Fernando’s comments very much reinforced Aracari’s view of the Cordillera Blanca. We love the region and believe it will be one of the next hotspots for tourism in Peru (if it isn’t already). This is a region of dense mountain landscapes, with the jaw-dropping scenery providing ideal terrain for adventure travel. There are many opportunities for trekking in the region, and we currently recommend Lazy Dog Inn as well as the Llanganuco Lodge as the two most comfortable bases for activities; both of these are accessible by road from the town of Huaraz, about a 1 hour flight from Lima, and they offer various activities and excursions.
All in all Fernando was very grateful for the prize. He gave Aracari many thanks for allowing him “to share good moments with my wife and child, who knew every bit how to behave like the daughter of a mountain guide”.