Ecotourism is an indispensable part of traveling in Peru. Abundant in natural resources, home to many indigenous communities, and host to a lot of historical attractions, conservation and preservation efforts take priority in this South American country. Steeped in Incan history and unbelievable biodiversity, Peru provides experiences that mix history and nature like no other. Explore the ecological wonders and natural beauty of Peru by opting for eco-friendly activities to help keep tourism in the country sustainable.
Undoubtedly Peru’s most popular attraction, Machu Picchu welcomes over 1 million visitors each year. In an effort to restrict the detrimental ecological effects over-tourism tends to have, the number of visitors allowed in daily is restricted to 2,500. So it is important to book in advance. If you’re not planning to trek, visit the Incan remains during the non-peak season of October to April.
Make the most of your visit with a tour from a local, green tour operator. See the ancient relics along the Inca trail to take in breathtaking views of the Andes mountains and discover the local plant and animal species. The government continues to place restrictions on travel to Machu Picchu in order to preserve these great remnants of the past, so be part of the solution, and keep it green.
Manu National Park
Located deep within the Peruvian Amazon, Manu National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a nature lover’s dream. The park has a limitless diversity of flora and fauna, with over 14,000 species of plants, 200 species of mammals and 1,000 species of birds calling it home. To get to Manu National Park from Cuzco, take a bus to cut back on emissions and relax while passing through the Andes, or take a half-day sailing trip along Madre de Dios River.
While in the park, take note of signs indicating restricted access or rules against disturbing the biodiversity and local community. Refrain from interfering with the local habitat and ecosystem of the park by staying at ecotourism lodges run by natives. The lodges at Manu National Park are run by the Matsigenka people and provide an opportunity to learn about their culture and how to further respect their eco-friendly lifestyle.
Appreciate more of Peru’s nature with excursions to one of the country’s top ecotourism attractions, the Ballestas Islands. Located west of Pisco, the islands are only an hour’s boat journey from Paracas Harbor. Visitors can only see the island by boat and are not allowed to step onto the islands in order to preserve their current environment and local species. While cruising around the islands, you have the chance to see dolphins, penguins, hundreds of birds, and even humpback whales. Most boat tours will also go by the three-pronged geoglyph carved into the hillside, known as Candelabra.
A trip to Peru is incomplete without a trip to Lake Titicaca. Set at an elevation of over 3,600 meters, Lake Titicaca is the largest like in South America and also the highest navigable lake in the world. Have a once-in-a-lifetime experience with a tailor-made tour that keeps sustainability in mind. Discover the history of the Incans as you stumble upon remains and have the chance to see rare wildlife. Try something new and get to know the locals of the lake by visiting local businesses. There’s even a tour where you can visit a traditional weavers’ cooperative and observe their skills in using organic and natural materials.
Pacaya Samiria National Reserve
Explore the Peruvian Amazon rainforest at the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. Have the chance to see exotic wildlife and lush green forests as you follow jungle trails. The national reserve is one of the more easily accessible Amazon experiences and offers a host of outdoor nature activities. Swim with pink river dolphins or take a nighttime boat ride. Enjoy staying a lodge that keeps with the environment and ensures sustainable practices.