Tag Archives: Peru

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Inkaterra’s Book Dedicated to the ‘Lord of Miracles’

José Koechlin, founder of Inkaterra, commissioned the creation of this new publication in tribute to  the ’Lord of the Miracles’. The purpose of this book is to provide a detailed insight into the story of the ‘Lord of Miracles’, from the origins of tradition in seventeenth century Lima until now, to its  representation in Peruvian art and its current presence worldwide, being one of the world´s most popular expressions of faith.

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This hardback book documents a milestone in history, showcasing work that exalts one of the most moving experiences of faith in the world. Following the religious procession in Lima during October, known as ‘El Señor de los Milagros’, Pope Francis exchanged gifts with the Peruvian President which included the recent Lord of the Miracles publication.

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Lord of the Miracles is now available at major bookstores and via the Inkaterra website . The sale of this book will contribute to the social work performed by the Mothers of the Discalced Carmelite Monastery Nazarene, who not only guarded the sacred image of the Lord of Miracles, but also provide significant relief to the impoverished throughout the year. For further information please email us here.

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Publimetro-Reciclatón Recycling Initiative

Inkaterra Recyling Campaign

At the end of last month we took part in the return of the Publimetro-Reciclatón recycling campaign.

Reciclatón aims to promote an environmentally conscious lifestyle. With this in mind, citizens of Guatemala City and surrounding municipalities are invited to collect as much paper, cardboard and plastic bottles as possible. The amassed material is donated to City Paper Foundation (la Fundación Ciudad de Papel) and the Association of the Beatitudes (la Asociación de las Bienaventuranzas). Both non-profit organisations help the underprivileged; the former hopes to meet the educational, medicinal and nutritional needs of those at a low income, while the latter houses children, youth and adults in abandonment. These bodies then sell all the recycled goods in order to raise funds for their beneficiaries.

Inkaterra Urumbamba

 

Publimetro-Reciclatón Recycling Initiative

On Friday 22, Metro launched this growing campaign alongside Reciclatón San Luis, ally and promoter of recycling in Peru. We of course, joined and supported the campaign, as we pride ourselves on being a pioneer for sustainable tourism. Our Sustainability Policy recognises our duty to have a ‘high positive impact on local populations’

It is through committing to initiatives such as this one that we can live up to our title. Determined to actively help the local community, we managed to contribute approximately 120-140 kilogrammes of paper and 5 kilogrammes of plastic bottles to this year’s Reciclatón project. Through this project, we are endowed with a greater understanding of the need to respect the environment and we remind the local community, as well as our guests, to ensure we continue to be a role model for sustainable development.

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An Interview with… Héctor Ceballos-Lascuráin (part 2)

In our second interview with the incredible Héctor Ceballos-Lascuráin, we talk about his thoughts about the future of ecotourism in Peru. 

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After visiting more than 80 countries, which place is closer to your views on ecotourism and sustainable development?

It is difficult to name one place, but Australia, Kenya, Costa Rica and (in some regions) Peru stand out in terms of ecotourism and sustainable development.

What is your opinion about tourism in Peru?

There is no doubt that Peru has one of the world’s greatest potentials for ecotourism, due to its astonishing biological, cultural and landscape megadiversity. One example is bird-watching. Peru is second place on Earth with the largest number of bird species (1,879 species), 139 of which are endemic. We know that bird watching represents the widest and most outreached segment of ecotourism on a global scale: in the United States in 2011, 71.8 million people observed, fed and/or photographed birds and fauna in their natural habitat. These people spent US$54.9 billion on wildlife observation trips (including birds), as well as gear and other related aspects. Bird watching is the most popular outdoor activity in the US, and it is even more popular than sport fishing, sport hunting and golf.  On the other hand, the Inca ruins in Peru are an extraordinary attraction for tourists all around the world.

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From an environmental architect’s standpoint, what are your views on Inkaterra’s design and its conservation projects?

Inkaterra’s eco-friendly architecture is at the world’s highest level. In Tambopata and Machu Picchu, architectural forms and native building materials have been successfully applied to achieve harmony with the natural environment. At Inkaterra La Casona, in Cusco, a brilliant remodeling of Spanish colonial architecture has been achieved. I am very impressed with the outstanding work on conservation that Inkaterra is developing, especially in Machu Picchu and Tambopata, which can be seen in activities such as observation of native orchids, birds and Andean bears. The work that biologist Carmen Soto does at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Hotel is truly remarkable. The World Birding Rally organised by ITA, MINCETUR and PromPerú across the country’s Nor Amazon region, was a great success and should be replicated throughout all regions of Peru. The concept of developing an ITA field station within the grounds of Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel is both necessary and urgent.

During this visit to Peru, have you added a lifer to your 3793-bird life list?

In my case, that number of 3793  is already out of date! I have reached 4,366 lifers (bird species in their natural habitat, observed for the first time by a birdwatcher). In the last five years, I had the pleasure of adding five visits to Peru (I have been 10 times in this amazing country) and from my 4,366 birds, I have registered 219 of these in Peru. Actually, in early June I was able to add 4 to my list while bird watching at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, with the assistance of Braulio Puma, the skillful Inkaterra Explorer Guide.

Birding at Inkaterra

José Koechlin argues that a bird migration route should be promoted by the countries that belong to the Pacific Alliance. Do you think this proposal would be beneficial?

I think José’s proposal is excellent. As we know, the Pacific Alliance is an initiative for regional integration. Its purposes are political, commercial, economic and social, though an ecological component should be added. If natural resources from the world’s greatest ocean are not adequately conserved, it is evident that the objectives proposed by the Pacific Alliance will not be achieved. There are many  bird species that endure transoceanic migration routes, and it is urgent that we develop more specialised studies and conservation projects in this area, and that the Pacific Alliance participate in an active way. This would bring great benefits to the participating countries and their habitants.

So, right now are you working in a new publication?

Yes, I am researching and gathering material for a publication on the world’s best ecolodges, describing their aspects on environmental architecture and their standards on ecotouristic sustainability. Watch this space!

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An Interview with…Héctor Ceballos-Lascuráin

Mexican architect and environmentalist Héctor Ceballos-Lascuráin is renowned across the planet as the Father of Ecotourism. Winner of the Colibrí Ecotourism Lifetime Achievement Award, his work includes more than 160 books and articles, and has developed his eco-friendly designs in countries such as Mexico, Dominican Republic, Spain and Egypt. In June Mr. Ceballos-Lascuráin visited Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, and we had the chance to talk with him about the challenges of ecotourism and sustainability, his view on architecture, and the latest four species he added to his 4,366-bird life list.

When did you first start to appreciate nature?

It developed in my early childhood back at Parral – Chihuahua, a small mining town in Northern Mexico. We lived in a colony where the houses of the trusted employees (my father was the company’s doctor) were located at broad collective gardens with big trees surrounding an artificial lake. Many aquatic birds migrated to the lake, among ducks, herons, kingfishers and cormorants. I started observing them with a telescope given by my uncle Juan, and from then on, I was hooked.

Do you recall the precise moment when the term ‘ecotourism’ emerged?

I coined the term ‘ecotourism’ in July 1983, when I worked both as Director General of Standards and Technology at SEDUE (Secretaría de Desarrollo Urbano y Ecología de México) and as Founding President of PRONATURA, an influential conservationist NGO in Mexico. During those days PRONATURA was encouraging the conservation of  coastal inlets of the Yucatán peninsula, which were then key breeding and feeding areas for the American Flamingo. One of the key reasons I used to help dissuade the building works being planned for the area was that there was an increasing number of tourists – especially from the United States – that visited the area for bird watching. I was  convinced that these people could play a key role in the economic growth of rural communities, creating new job opportunities and helping preserve the ecology of the area: ecotourism!

After three decades since the term’s appearance and having been interpreted according to different contexts, do you think its definition has changed?

I think that my definition, as it has been adopted by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), is still valid: “Ecotourism is a modality of tourism that is environmentally responsible, which consists in travelling to or visiting natural areas without disturbance, and with the purpose of enjoying, appreciating and studying the natural values (landscape, flora and fauna) of these areas, as well as any (past or current) cultural manifestation that may be found there, through a process that promotes conservation, has a low negative impact on culture and environment, a promotes an active and socioeconomically beneficial involvement of local communities.”

The COP 20 will be held in Lima on December 2014. The overarching goal at this event is reducing greenhouse gas emissions, in order to avoid global temperature increasing 2°. In what ways ecotourism can be a choice to achieve this mission?

As it values natural vegetation and fauna, it is evident that ecotourism contributes to minimize deforestation (which is known to increase the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere) and other drastic changes produced by man in our natural environment.

In many cases, a country’s economic growth is not aligned with the conservancy of its natural and historic heritage. According to your experience, what are the main consequences of this form of development?

Regretfully, since the mid-19th century and during all the 20th century, we have experienced the worst destruction of our planet’s natural resources, due to man’s unscrupulous lucrative eagerness and the irrational exploit of these resources. This industrial, commercial and economic development has obviously occurred in a more noticeable way in richer countries. This is how a great proportion of natural and cultural values have been irreversibly lost in these countries. Extreme consumerism has been disastrous for the environment.

Stay tuned for the second part of this interview, where we talk about Héctor’s views on ecotourism in Peru and his opinions on the work of Inkaterra.

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Giant Anteater Spotted at Inkaterra Hacienda Concepción

Spotting any wild animal in their natural environment is an exciting moment, but spotting a creature that is normally very shy and elusive has an extra special resonance. The 13th of June proved to a group of travellers that the Amazon jungle is still full of surprises.

Led by Inkaterrra Hacienda Concepción Explorer Guide Carlos Torres, the group were heading towards Lake Sandoval, along the Sandoval trail, when one exclaimed they had seen ‘a large dark creature’.

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The creature was actually a Giant Anteater, (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) which was approximately three metres long, making it the biggest individual of the four that currently inhabit the area. Though the Giant Anteater is known to be active in the region, this was the first time in several years that this species had been observed. The group of trekkers were in luck, with the individual feeling totally at ease in their presence, feeding on a nearby termite mound.

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The Giant Anteater can consume as many as 30,000 insects in one day – visiting over 200 individual nests, spending an average of one minute at each site. After tearing open the hard nest exterior with long, knife-like claws, the Giant Anteater uses its sticky, 60cm long tongue to collect its prey.

Traditionally Giant Anteaters have been featured in the mythology and folklore of the indigenous tribes found in the Amazon, considered a trickster and a foil to the Jaguar, making this creature at the very heart of the Amazon civilisation and history.

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It was a great experience for the group to see such a majestic creature that is normally seldom seen in their natural habitat. The fact that we have four individuals who are looking healthy and active demonstrates the great work the ITA are doing at protecting the environment in which they thrive.

Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel

OMAPED Christmas Chocolatadas

On 20th December, Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel was proud to host a very special event in collaboration with OMAPED, the Municipal Office for People with Disabilities in Peru.

More than 200 people in the area of Machu Picchu suffer with some form of disability, meaning that daily life can often be very difficult. As part of their Christmas celebrations, OMAPED organised a special event together with many organisations from across the district, throwing a traditional Chocolatadas for those individuals helped by OMAPED.

The event consisted of entertainment, and like the chocolatadas held throughout Peru at this time of year, hot chocolate and sweets were handed out to those attending. As a final surprise, Papanoel himself, Father Christmas took time out from his very busy December to hand out presents. As part of its ongoing commitment to local CSR initiatives, Inkaterra is proud to be involved with such initiatives as this, helping to spread the spirit of goodwill during the festive season.

Inkaterra Birding Rally Challenge 2013

Birding Rally Challenge 2013

Next week, from 3rd to 10th December, the third Birding Rally Challenge begins in Peru. Considered the world championships for birding, for those who aren’t in the know, this is the ultimate event in the ornithological world, bringing together the most renowned birding teams from all over the globe in a six-day contest to decide the best Birding Team in the world.

The challenge for the teams from the United States, South Africa, the United Kingdom and Colombia is to cover the greatest number of habitats within a certain area in a limited amount of time counting the number of bird species they can identify; and naturally, the winners are the team that has spotted the highest number of species.

Peru has been specially chosen to host the Birding Rally Challenge because of its expensive natural biodiversity. Peru is a true treasure in ornithological terms. It is home to 1836 species of bird – that is one fifth of all registered species in the world, Peru is the second leading country in the world for bird diversity, and the best in terms of bird observation. The unique habitats that Peru has, from lush wetlands to vibrant cloud forests means it is host to visiting species, as well as the 120 endemic bird species that call Peru home.

Organised by the Inkaterra Hotels, the Inkaterra Association and PromPerú, the teams will travel 840km through Peru, from Tambopata in southern Peru, to the bio diverse cloud forest of Machu Picchu, and the teams will stay at the Inkaterra Reserva Amazónica and Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel.

The actual challenge won’t simply be a walk in the park for our teams. They will have to contend with the changing climates of Peru, from the tropics of the rainforest to the coolness of the Andes, not to mention the strict rules about bird sightings.

But this competition is not simply about birdwatching. The Birding Rally Challenge has some core principles behind it. Designed to develop ecotourism in Peru, the competition promotes conservation and sustainable tourism, especially regarding the local communities that are often overlooked by traditional tourism.

In December 2012, the first rally lasted five days, and a total of 692 species were sighted. The second rally, Nor Amazon, trumped this total, with the birding teams observing 864 separate species in Peru – that’s 10% of the world’s registered bird species.

The 9th December is deadline day for our five birding teams, with the closing ceremony and winners being announced at 19.00. Will it be another successful rally for the American team? Only time and a keen eye will tell.

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Off the (well) beaten track – Peru’s Alternative Inca Trails

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Without doubt, Machu Picchu is the most famous attraction in Peru. The winding Inca trail draws people from across the world, but like so many of the World Heritage Sites, Machu Picchu’s awe and attraction comes at a cost.

Over 400,000 people visit every year and, whilst the Peruvian government has restricted the amount of people who can walk the Inca Trail to a maximum of 500 daily; with 2500 people being allowed entry to Machu Picchu itself, and only 400 being allowed to trek Huayna Picchu, there is still a great risk of permanent damage to these protected sites.

So, what’s the alternative? Well, there are trails running throughout Peru that are just as stunning as those leading to Machu Picchu – and with far fewer people! Camino Del Apu Ausangate is a path through this stunning landscape of snow-capped mountains and rust-red hillsides and thermal springs.  And you’re more likely to stumble across a heard of llamas than you are another tourist.

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For those still looking for that Machu Picchu experience, Choquequirao is the best option. Nicknamed “Machu Picchu’s Little Sister” this site is ideal for those who still want to experience an Incan settlement, but with solitude. After two days of uphill and downhill climbing, adventurers are rewarded with lush slopes, traditional buildings and ‘llama-terraces’. And for the real explorers (or mad-men) climbing the Choquequirao terraces 5,000 feet above the Apurimac river is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Camino Salkantay is an alternative path to Machu Picchu, and trekkers really do take the high-road. With the original Inca Trail reaching 13,800 feet above sea-level, Salkantay rises even higher to over 15,000 feet. As such, walkers will be explore some of the area’s most spectacular mountains, and while the high altitude may have a strain on the body, the hot-springs, warm duvets and friendly bartenders at some of the lodges along the trail do help the daily recovery.

Views from Choquequirao

Views from Choquequirao

If you are still committed to trekking the Inka Trail all the way to Huayna Picchu, then do your homework. Booking your tickets online is the only way to ensure you reach the peak – and do this early: unsurprisingly with a centuries old settlement nestled in the heart of the Andean mountains, mobile phone signal isn’t at its strongest.

However, with all of these treks being so ‘off-piste’, so to speak, they’re not for the faint-hearted. Expect strenuous days and aching nights. But the end destination is beyond words. Just invest in a good pair of boots. Our additional tours at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel mean you’ll have an expert, local guide alongside you whilst trekking the Inca Trail. It’s even a trip to take with the whole family with our specially created family journey to Machu Picchu. Make 2014 the year you see one of the most iconic archaeological sites in Peru, if not the world.

A group of women called "saumeadoras" carry incense as they follow the procession of Peru's most revered Catholic religious icon through central Lima

Seeing Purple: The Lord of The Miracles Festival in Lima, Peru

October is Mes Morado (or purple month) in Lima, Peru, and the faithful dress from head to toe in purple as a sign of their devotion to El Señor de los Milagros (the Lord of Miracles).

A group of women called "saumeadoras" carry incense as they follow the procession of Peru's most revered Catholic religious icon through central Lima

This Christ figure, known for its miracle-working powers, is housed in the Church of the Nazarenes, and thousands of purple clad worshippers come to pray and make offerings during the month of October. There are several processions on different dates in October, including a 24 hour long procession which is one of the largest in all of the Americas annually. Tens of thousands of the faithful dressed in purple tunics, sing hymns and pray as they accompany a huge two tonne litter which bears the painting of the Christ from the church of Las Nazarenas. The smell of incense and the steady beating of drums add to the solemn atmosphere as the procession winds its way along the narrow, purple clad streets of Lima.

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The origins lie in colonial times, when a slave drew an image of Christ on a wall. The wall with the image stayed standing despite an earthquake which destroyed all the building and many around it. Thus, this image has since become one of the most venerated in South America, and the church of Las Nazarenas was built around it.

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The whole of October is classed as Purple month but key procession dates are October 18th, 19th, and October 28th. How are you celebrating this festive time in Peru? We’d love to hear!