Featured Photo: The Ausangate lodge to lodge trek by Andean Lodges.
As well as keeping our eye on state of the art developments in luxury Peru hotels, at Aracari we also adore small scale properties that reflect their environment, incorporate local culture and that minimise their impact on their natural surroundings.
Earlier this year, we met with Maria Eugenia de Aliaga of KM Cero to talk about a new initiative that she co-founded and that adheres to these very qualities. Established in 2013 to support the development of sustainable tourism in Peru, Albergues Peruanos is a non-profit organisation that promotes the travel industry in rural areas of Peru by fostering a network of unique and charming lodges (albergues). The network of lodges offer individuals access to destinations that are rarely visited by travellers from overseas, but that are nonetheless beautiful and offer unique opportunities for travelling off-the-beaten-path.
All of the lodges that are featured on Albergues Peruanos have been chosen for their location, their standards of hospitality and their connection to the natural environment. The organisation is dedicated to promoting lodges that demonstrate an active role in protecting the environment and supporting the local communities near which they are located. To illustrate their high standards, some of the requirements for the participating lodges include the following:
- Lodges must have programs in place to reduce energy costs, waste produced and water consumed.
- Lodge operations must not adversely affect the local community and actively support the local economy where possible.
- Lodges and affiliated tours must not harm or disrupt the local flora and fauna of the region
- Lodges must communicate their standards of environmental protection to guests.
These examples are but a few of the prerequisites for a lodge joining the Albergues Peruanos network. They have developed a detailed “Sustainability Guide & Checklist” in cooperation with the Swiss Import Promotion Programme (SIPPO), which has been teaming up with small and medium-size enterprises in Peru to support and promote sustainable tourism initiatives. As well as setting the standards, Albergues Peruanos runs workshops to assist the lodges with management & marketing and offers them support in ensuring that the accommodation maintains a high level of hospitality and comfort.
So which lodges are featured?
At the moment there are now nine lodges officially listed on the Albergues Peruanos website:
- Inotawa in the Tambopata National Reserve;
- Los Faiques in Lambayeque (The Moche Route);
- Wasipunko near the Nazca Lines;
- Pampa Hermosa in Junin
- Villa Jennifer in Tingo Maria;
- Los Horcones de Tucume in Lambayeque;
- Estacion Biologica Villa Carmen in Pilcopata (Cusco high rainforest);
- La Estación Biológica CICRA between the Manu National Park and Tambopata;
- Wayqecha near Paucartambo (Cusco region).
In addition to this, we learned at a recent workshop hosted by Albergues Peruanos in Lima that many more lodges will soon be added to their roster. As with Horcones de Tucume, this includes a few of Aracari’s favourites, such as the Andean Lodges outfit, who operate the incredible Ausangate Lodge-to-Lodge Trek as well as the charming Llanganuco Lodge in the Cordillera Blanca.
In continuation, you can read a brief profile of each of the four lodges that originally featured on the site for a better idea of what types of lodges the organisation supports.
Located in the Peruvian Amazon, Inotawa is a family-owned lodge on banks of the Tambopata River that opened in 1998 and is dedicated to preserving the environment and supporting the local community of the La Torre. They have developed and financed a project with the community members who participate in eco-tourism in the area, and they promote education and studies of flora and fauna, as well as management of tourism in the area. The 16-room lodge was built with traditional materials from the rainforest and offers expeditions to local sights to observe flora and fauna like a journey to a macaw clay lick to see hundreds of the colourful birds.
Just one hour south of the northern city of Chiclayo, Los Faiques is a cosy lodge within a tropical dry forest, ideal for bird watching and excursions into the natural surroundings. Los Faiques works with the local community, who offer visitors staying on the property experiences like horseback riding and guided tours of the forest. Above all, the lodge has committed to conservation of the beautiful surrounding forest by reducing its consumption of energy and water and by teaching these values to the locals in the community.
Wasipunko is in Peru’s southern coastal city of Nazca, home of the infamous Nazca lines, where travellers can experience the beauty of being surrounded by desert at this rustic ranch property. The lodge occupies what was once the home built by the current owner’s father and is made up of a series of charming adobe bungalows that preserve the magic of the landscape and protect the local environment. In addition to promoting local eco-tourism, the owner is an artist and has sought to promote culture and arts of the Nazca region.
Pampa Hermosa, in Chanchamayo, Junín, is nestled in the “eyebrow “of the jungle, the area of the rainforest between the mountains and the low forest, which boasts a unique mix of the two ecological zones and incredible biodiversity. At this ecolodge, guests can escape into nature, hiking through the forest of ancient giant cedars and rappelling by the Anden Yacu Waterfall. Pampa Hermosa is the only lodge situated at the foot of the Pampa Hermosa Sanctuary and since 2000 has been dedicated to preventing deforestation and preserving the delicate ecosystem of the forest.
At the moment, Albergues Peruanos is targeted towards Peruvian nationals who are more open to travelling to non-traditional destinations in Peru. Nevertheless, we think that some of the properties are very well suited to those who travel with Aracari, and we fully support this initiative to promote the alternative travel destinations and sustainable tourism being offered by these special ecolodges. You may well soon see Aracari listed as one of the “Amigos de los Albergues”!