Our guests had a wonderful time celebrating World Earth Day at El MaPi Hotel last week. See below our highlights from the day. The children staying with us helped our hotel team to plant trees and seeds in the gardens of the hotel. By educating the younger generation, we hope that they will understand and continue to help towards a healthy future for our planet.
Today, across the world, communities are celebrating UNESCO World Earth Day: an annual event to demonstrate support for environmental protection. It is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network and is celebrated in more than 192 countries every year. The environment and sustainability has been at the forefront of our decisions here at Inkaterra since our inauguration in 1975, and we continue to integrate sustainable business practices into all aspects of our operations.
Here are some of our core initiatives that we undertake to ensure a healthy future for our planet. Our world is a beautiful place so let’s take the steps towards to ensure future generations will have the chance to experience it also.
1. Creation of the Inkaterra Association: In 2001, we established the NGO INKATERRA Association (ITA), which develops scientific, technological, social, and cultural research to help manage and protect the biodiversity of Peru’s Andes and Amazon Rainforest.
2. Carbon Neutral: Since 1989, we have belonged to a carbon stock-monitoring network with the University of Leeds (UK); and in 2007, Inkaterra became Peru’s first carbon-neutral travel organisation. We protect more than 42,000 acres of original forest, which helps to directly reduce 3,315,000 tons of carbon. All Inkaterra hotels use clean technology and sustainable practices to ensure that each guest has a 100% carbon-neutral stay.
3. Eco-friendly products: Over the years Inkaterra has substantially increased the amount of eco-friendly and biodegradable cleaning products used at each hotel. Additionally, all in-room amenities are organic and eco-friendly, and bottles are made from recycled glass.
4. Water Conservation: It is a goal of ours to measure, control and decrease overall water consumption at all properties. We are verified by the Rainforest Alliance, and we also organise an annual cleaning campaign for the Vilcanota, Alccamayo and Madre de Dios riverbanks.
5. Recycling: Eco-consciousness is a company-wide practice here at Inkaterra, and the headquarters in Lima follows suit by actively recycling paper.
6. Conserving Trees: For the next 30 years, Inkaterra is managing five Forestry Concessions throughout Peru for conservation, research and educational purposes. Inventories of flora and fauna will be regularly taken and various environmental education workshops and volunteer activities will be available on a regular basis. Wildlife: Before Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel was built, the area was only used for cattle; after the restoration took place, numerous native species of birds and other wildlife began to re-appear. Today there are constant wildlife sightings, including the endangered Spectacled Bear and several types of hummingbirds. We founded a Spectacled Bear Project in order to rehabilitate these bears, many of which have been harmed or affected by human impact.
8. Energy Consumption: Each Inkaterra property has an employee responsible for managing and monitoring energy (as well as water, waste and other sustainable-related activities). We have a strict energy consumption policy, and employees are required to attend training sessions and lectures to make sure they are constantly up-to-date with information.
9. Responsible Construction Methods: All Inkaterra properties are built using the least amount of energy and new materials possible. At Inkaterra’s newest property, Hacienda Urubamba – scheduled to open in late 2013/early 2014 – only basic modern machinery is being used during construction. Traditional techniques and tools will be implemented whenever possible, such as using oxen and tacclas (an Andean foot plough) to plough the fields, whilst 14 acres of the land will be dedicated to cultivating 100% carbon-free organic products.
10. Education: Inkaterra offers many workshops and programs for local children (as well as adults) centred on the importance of sustaining the environment. Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel holds an Environmental Education Workshop for local children run by the Inkaterra Association (ITA).
11. The Inkaterra Canopy & Anaconda Walk: This system of bridges, platforms and towers at Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica offers an expansive window into the world of the tropical rainforest, enabling guests to better understand the area’s vast ecosystem without causing a carbon footprint. Nature experts at Inkaterra constantly monitor and study wildlife, endangered ecosystems as well as flora and fauna in the area.
12. Staying Local: Many of the products used in Inkaterra hotels are purchased from local suppliers, which enhances the economy of these communities and cuts down on transportation. The majority of produce at Inkaterra comes from local farms that are run by both the Inkaterra Association and nearby native communities.
What are you doing to help towards the future of our planet? Share your thoughts with us on twitter #WorldEarthDay
The United Nations recently declared 2013 “The International Year of the Quinoa,” and in celebration, we’re sharing a recipe of one of our most popular breakfast dishes: Quinoa pancakes.
Quinoa is a highly versatile, gluten-free grain native to the South American Andes and is known for its great nutritional value, as well as its good taste. Over the years its popularity has grown world-wide and today quinoa is commonly known as one of the world’s most popular “superfoods.”
The quinoa pancakes, among other quinoa delights served at Inkaterra properties, are prepared using traditional Peruvian ingredients and techniques, and the quinoa is purchased local from Andean farmers as part of Inkaterra´s commitment to Sustainable & Social actions. They are a delicious and healthy breakfast dish – the ideal meal before a day of hiking up to Machu Picchu, exploring the many wonders of Cusco or trekking through the Peruvian Amazon.
Why not make some yourself? Try out the recipe which has come straight from the Inkaterra kitchen. Share your images with us on twitter at @InkaterraHotels with hashtag #yearofquinoa
• 1 ½ cups of flour
• 2 eggs
• 5 tablespoons sugar
• Pinch of salt
• 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/4 teaspoon Pisco or brandy
• Approximately ½ cup milk
• 5 tablespoons previously cooked quinoa
• 1 1/2 tablespoons melted, unsalted butter
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• Mix eggs, sugar, salt, vanilla extract, pisco, milk and the melted butter.
• Mix the flour and the baking powder separately and then add slowly to the wet mixture until it becomes soft.
• Add the previously cooked quinoa, and add milk if the mixture is too dry.
• Sautee the final mixture in a non-stick frying pan.
• Serve with maple syrup or honey.
We received some incredible entires for our first quarter photography contest, all of which were taken at one of our Inkaterra properties.We are pleased to announce the Winner of The Inkaterra Photo Contest for the First Quarter of 2013. Jesús Glhemm Ccari took this incredible image while on location at Inkaterra Reserva Amazónica. Congratulations Jesús! View all our photo entries on our Pinterest profile.
1. Where did your bird watching passion begin?
I grew up in North West England and can pretty much date my interest to a single event, seeing a summer-plumaged Great Crested Grebe on a local reservoir. Fortunately, I had a father who not only could identify the bird for me, but had a genuine interest in natural history in general. He certainly nurtured my love of birds, but never attempted to form it on my behalf, and took me on many trips to see birds throughout Britain.
2. The first BRC in association with ITA was a huge success. What was your highlight moment?
I think I can speak for the entire UK team in saying that our undoubted highlight of the whole event was watching a family of Spectacled Bears close to our hotel in Machu Picchu on the last morning of the rally. We’ll never know whether our spending an hour watching the bears cost us victory in the rally itself (we lost by three species, having been level-pegging with one of the North American teams overnight), but we were all in total agreement that it was worth it! So, I guess none of us will ever make Olympians with that attitude.
3. The Tambopata Amazon reserve is an incredible place for bird watching enthusiasts. How many species did your team specifically spot during the BRC 2012?
Our overall total during the rally was 490 species, of which we recorded 326 species during our three days in the Amazon. This included a single-day total of 239 species on the last of those three days, which is even more remarkable given that we did not enter dry-land tall forest until midday. Terra Firme forest is the most bird-rich general habitat type in the Amazon.
4. Birds aside for a moment, were you lucky enough to spot the Spectacled Bears that are found in the grounds of Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel?
Indeed, we were and it might also be mentioned that I think all of the six teams participating in the rally saw at least one bear during their stay at the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel. Simply incredible.
5. What are your top three countries for bird watching in the world?
Anywhere with some Amazonian forest really, so Peru’s scoring pretty highly, although I have only visited a handful of times. I have been hugely fortunate to spend a huge part of the last two decades in the New World tropics, from Mexico and the Caribbean all the way south to Argentine and Chilean Patagonia. A special focus during this period of my life has been Brazil, where I have spent approximately eight years in the field. I have to say that it is probably my favourite birding destination in the world. Another very special place in my heart is Turkey, where I spent several years working on conservation of wetland birds and habitats, travelling throughout the country and eventually writing a monograph to its birds. I always enjoy going back there and, of course, Istanbul is one of the great cities in the world, alongside Rio de Janeiro. My final choice is rather harder to make, but Cuba is a country that has fascinated me for more than a decade and constantly manages to lure me back, perhaps because I have still yet to see a Zapata Rail, much less an Ivory-billed Woodpecker. The staggering landscape and seabirds of Alaska will also see me return soon too.
6. Any tips for bird watching novices coming to Peru?
Number one must be, employ a local guide. Peru is one of the most diverse countries in the world, but birds are not always easy to see. Even vastly experienced birders will often find that a local guide is a big help, but for a novice they must be nigh-on essential. Number two, spend some time learning the birds before you come. Even ten years ago that would have involved an incredible amount of homework. It’s still not easy, simply because there are so many birds. With the excellent field guides you can purchase, namely ‘The Birds of Peru’ by Thomas Schulenberg, and online sound archives like xeno-canto (www.xeno-canto.org) it’s a lot easier than it used to be! My final recommendation, which holds for anyone be they a birder or not, is to learn some Spanish before you come. You’ll certainly enjoy your visit so much more.
7. With the next BRC heading to Northern Peru, do you have any birding expectations/species you are expecting to spot with this new location?
Northern Peru is an incredible birding destination; undoubtedly one of the finest in the world, jam-packed with hundreds of birds and many special endemics with highly localised distributions. Some are among the most charismatic and most-wanted birds in the world, with names to match their appearance, like Marvelous Spatuletail (one of the world’s most extravagantly-plumaged and rarest hummingbirds), Long-whiskered Owlet (a very poorly known nocturnal bird that hardly anyone had seen until a few years ago) and Pale-billed Antpitta (a magnificent denizen of the understorey that is very hard to spot). I am not sure how many of these we’ll get to see this time; fortunately I’ve seen a great many of the region’s key birds on previous visits to this part of Peru. We’ll see how we get on…
8. How will the next two BRCs differ from the first one?
The northern rally is going to be a lot more vehicle-based. It’s going to be interesting to see how well this works, but I am sure all the teams will embrace the concept once we are on the ground and running (or should I say driving). We haven’t seen the format for the third rally yet, but I suspect that it will be closer to that in the 2012 event, which we all felt was a great success.
9. How do you prepare for the Birding Rally Challenge & what are your must have items for the rally?
Surprisingly, preparation was rather minimal last time, and might be again for this June’s event, especially as the UK team seems to be permanently scattered over about half of the globe. Mainly, I’ll try and listen to a few more sound recordings of birds I haven’t heard for a long time. Must-have items (beyond the obvious, binoculars) include one or two telescopes between the team and most importantly, recorders and iPods with pre-recorded birdcalls for playback. The best preparation, of course, would be to go out and do the same route a week in advance; it’s not like running a marathon, where covering the same distance combined with the same weather and terrain might suffice. You can’t really practice for birding in Peru where I live in Norfolk.
10. Do you have any go-to magazines, websites or blogs that you read that keep you up to date with birdwatching news across the world?
I’m something of a traditionalist, so magazines and journals are still very important to me (especially as I am an editor in ‘real life’). I subscribe to all of the following: British Birds, Dutch Birding, Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club, Cotinga and Neotropical Birding, Bulletin of the African Bird Club, Forktail and BirdingASIA ,and Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia. I regularly look at Surfbirds and BirdForum. Birders are also great users of Facebook.