Our passion for delivering unsurpassed travel experiences is as strong as it is for promoting and protecting the communities and destinations we bring travellers to. Peru and Bolivia are spectacularly diverse countries, culturally and geographically. Both countries have delicate and endangered ecosystems and indigenous populations which we are proud to show our visitors for generations to come. In order to accomplish this we need to ensure our impacts are minimised to ensure sustainability.
A note from Aracari’s Founder on Responsible Travel Peru & Bolivia
As a responsible travel provider, we seek to foster relationships with local communities and suppliers so that the economic benefits of tourism can be enjoyed by more, while protecting the natural environment in which we operate, to provide the best sustainable trips to Peru and Bolivia. – Marisol Mosquera, Founder & CEO
At Aracari, we strive to deliver on our commitments and understand that for truly responsible travel it takes a collaborative effort to obtain results:
- We take as many actions as possible within our headquarters to minimise our environmental impact
- We encourage our travelers to be better informed, culturally sensitive and aware of their responsible travel choices. We provide best practice guidelines prior to their arrival. See an example of our Guide
- We promote visits and facilitate media coverage to the community-run tourism projects we believe in
- We support organisations that aim to preserve the environment, and improve the livelihood of indigenous people through nutrition and education
- We select business partners and suppliers who share our values and have ethical business practices
Watch the video below of Aracari’s Founder, Marisol Mosquera, sharing our approach to ethical and responsible travel.
Aracari was founded in 1996 when tourism was in its infancy in Peru, and Bolivia was not even on the travelers’ radar. The drive to develop a quality, luxury travel service in Peru and Bolivia has always been integrated with the need and desire to be a responsible operator. We are constantly seeking ways to better our own responsible tourism practices and commitment to economic, social and environmental sustainable tourism in our region. It’s a fine balance where we hope to ensure that all stakeholders — including operators, communities and travelers— have a fulfilling experience.
We see responsible travel as an ethos, one that touches every aspect of our business practice and the tailormade low impact trips to Peru, Bolivia and Galapagos that we design. – Marisol Mosquera, Founder & CEO
We base our Sustainability Efforts according to four main Pillars of Sustainability: Environmental, Social Good, Philanthropy and Ethical Business Practices. Below are the actions we are taking which we invite you to discover.
Each travel experience comes with the promise that we have fostered relationships with local communities and suppliers whilst maintaining an utmost respect for nature and its surroundings. In recognition of our engagement, Aracari has been awarded the Butterfly Mark, by Positive Luxury. Find out more about our ‘positive actions‘.
REusable Water Bottles
All of our guests are provided with reusable water bottles as opposed to being given disposable plastic bottles throughout their tour as a way to cut down on the unnecessary damaging impact of plastic waste. This is just one effort we foster, to protect our natural environment.
All our materials are printed on FSC certified / recyclable paper.
There are numerous community-run projects which offer authentic and fulfilling travel experiences whilst promoting local entrepreneurship and the preservation of traditional lifestyles. Please find below some of the projects which we encourage our guests to visit and which we promote.
Tierra de los Yachaqs (Cusco – Sacred Valley Area)
We organise visits to local communities through the likes of community-based tourism initiative Tierra de los Yachaqs. Working with eight communities in the Sacred Valley, this organization’s mission is to preserve the history and traditions of local people whilst enabling them to support their economy with responsible, authentic and high-quality tourism. Read our account of the visits in the following blog articles: La Tierra de los Yachaqs: Community based tourism in Peru’s Sacred Valley and Tierra de los Yachaqs: An Afternoon with the Weavers of Amaru Community in Cusco.
Homestays: Luquina Chico (Lake Titicaca Area)
The community based tourism project at Luquina Chico, a small village on the Chucuito Peninsula, provides homestays on Lake Titicaca. It offers not only an authentic look into the lives of indigenous Aymara speaking Peruvians, but the proceeds from this well-managed initiative go directly towards alleviating poverty in the region and supporting the community financially. You can read about Marisol Mosquera’s visit to the community and low impact trips to Peru in the following blog post: Luquina Chico – Community Based Tourism on Lake Titicaca tours.
Centre for Traditional Textiles (Cusco – Sacred Valley)
Our guests often visit the Center for Traditional Textiles in Cusco, an organisation that works devotedly to retaining the heritage of local weaving traditions while offering a quality product which makes for an excellent local souvenir. We provide all our guests with a recommended shopping list as part of all the tailored low impact trips to Peru, Bolivia and the Galapagos we offer, contributing to the welfare of local communities and improving their quality of life.
KUSI KAwsay (Cusco – Sacred Valley Area)
Located in the Urubamba Valley, Kusi Kawsay, which means “happy life” in the native language of Quechua, values the traditional culture of native communities and is dedicated to uniting every aspect of the education of local children with essential aspects of their daily lives. Inspired by the Waldorf school pedagogy, Kusi Kawsay incorporates art, dance, traditional textile weaving and music as well as Quechua into the curriculum, bonding education with students’ cultural identities in an effort to promote high self-esteem. Our guests have the chance to visit the school and learn about this educational initiative from one of the founding parents of the school during an afternoon or morning in Pisac. Read about our visits to the school: The Latest from Kusi Kawsay School in the Urubamba Valley.
MATE – the Museo Mario Testino – is a non-profit institution located in a restored 19th century mansion in Barranco, Lima. Founded by the internationally-renowned fashion photographer to promote cultural and artistic exchange, offering local artists a platform and supported both locally and internationally, the gallery showcases permanent and temporary exhibitions. We arrange for guests to visit and provide all our visitors with a recommended museum and gallery list for Lima.
SUPPORTING NON-PROFITS: PLANT YOUR FUTURE
Plant your Future is a non-profit organization based in Iquitos that disseminates sustainable agricultural practices in Amazon communities and plants trees to reverse damage caused by slash-and-burn agriculture; between 2012 and 2013 they planted 20,000 trees. Working directly with smallholder farmers in the Amazon of Peru, Plant your Future assists them with planting fruit and timber trees and other crops on deforested plots to recover the land and generate revenue for the farmers who sell the products at local markets. Interested in carbon-offsetting your trip? Donations to Plant your Future will allow them to continue planting trees that absorb carbon and produce oxygen while the local communities can reforest the Amazon and improve their quality of life with sustainable practices. Read: Plant your Future: Restoring the Amazon One Tree at a Time
Queuña Raymi Tree Planting Project
Aracari participated in a reforestation project on November 29th, 2014, working with local communities in collaboration with other tour operators in the Sacred Valley to plant 50,000 Queuña trees in one single day in the Lares watershed area of the Andes. 20,000 trees were donated by the organizers and money was raised through donations to plant the remaining 30,000, with each tree costing only three soles, or one US dollar, to plant. The ultimate goal is to plant a remarkable one million trees by 2020. Read more about the project in the following blog post: Queuña Raymi: Planting trees in the Sacred Valley to alleviate climate change
In December 2016, Aracari supported a special charity event in Cusco – a recital of Kukama stories from a new book published in Kukama and Spanish. The Kukama ethnic group lives on the banks of the Marañón river and their language is disappearing. This project aims to highlight the importance of preserving their oral storytelling traditions and support the community in their struggle to protect their way of life along the river. Watch this video for more information about the Kukama community.
In Ollantaytambo in the Urubamba Valley, we supported the UK registered charity Living Heart who ran the Hearts Cafe. Profits from the cafe went directly to various communities situated in the high Andes around the Sacred Valley. Living Hearts collaborated extensively with the local communities to evaluate their needs and provide for them in the most effective and sustainable way possible. Read more about the project in the following blog post: Supporting Andean Communities: Living Heart and Heart’s Café. Aracari met with the founder Sonia Newhouse in May 2011.
Colegio Sol y Luna
Colegio Sol y Luna opened in 2010 through the Sol y Luna Association, which was founded by creators, Franz and Petit. The school has grown to welcome 140 students from various towns in the Urubamba Valley ranging from ages 3 to 12 years old. Some students who live in remote parts of the Andes and can only access school by foot are welcome to stay at the “Niños de Jesús” boarding home from Monday to Friday. There, they are cared for and fed whilst being away from their homes for the week. We encourage our guests to ask about the school during their stay at the hotel Sol y Luna Lodge and Spa in Urubamba and to consider donating to support this worthwhile effort to make education more accessible to the Andean communities. Read more on the blog: Colegio Sol y Luna, Supporting Education in the Sacred Valley.
Ethical Business Practices
We take considered efforts to ensure we, and the partners we work with, follow ethical business practices and seek to align ourselves with the UNWTO’s Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria for responsible tour operators.
We comply with local legislation and regulations including fair pay, ensure locals are given equal employment opportunities and are transparent with our sustainable business practices. We provide a guide to travelling with a conscience for all our guests to minimize any negative visitor impact. We actively promote travel experiences and hotels that help support initiatives for local infrastructure, community development and the protection of the environment.