At Dos Manos Peru Travel, we like to share 12 tips with you: 12 ways to travel responsibly in Peru. We hope this will help you to practice sustainable tourism, not only in Peru but wherever you go.
Because regardless of where we go, we should always have a responsible attitude. Responsible Travel means traveling in a way that you respect local people of Peru and their culture, economy, environment, and way of living. Check out our tips on how to travel in a responsible, sustainable way in Peru.
1. Respect the local culture
One of the best things that we can obtain while traveling is learning about different cultures and traditions. The world and its people are different, and all are fascinating. However, it is important to show respect to local customs when traveling.
For example, many countries are conservative when it comes to their clothing habits. Wearing shorts or tank tops can be seen as inappropriate. Showing tattoos can be even a lack of respect for other people. Take some time to learn about the local language and customs of the place you’re visiting, even if it’s only “hola” and “gracias.”
Find out what the customs are of the place you’re going to make sure of not offending anyone. For example, Peru is mostly a Catholic country. There are not many “restrictions’ but is certainly considered a lack of respect for entering a church in shorts, tank tops or short skirts.
2. Choose sustainable hostels and travel agencies
|UN declared 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. A year focused on reminds us that tourism is not only visiting places but connecting with local people and their culture, as well as making a difference in their lives and ours regardless of where we are. 2017 is gone, but that doesn’t mean that we should forget about responsible tourism.|
There are different options when it comes to finding a place to stay or choosing a travel agency that offers you an unforgettable experience. Also in Peru, some companies partner with local communities and that help to protect the environment. These companies deserve to be rewarded for such activities.
If you choose to tour with Dos Manos, be sure that we employ local guides or porters from the nearby towns that will be prepared for the job and receive guiding. Our staff, including guides and porters in the Machu Picchu treks, earn above the average Peruvian wage and their work conditions are good.
Finding this type of agencies can take a bit of time, but the benefits are worth the research.
Find more info about Dos Manos and responsible tourism in Peru.
3. Minimise your waste
Waste management can be a huge problem in non-developed and developing countries, and Peru is no different.
We, as travelers, contribute to this problem frequently. Education on recycling and waste minimization might not be the same as the western countries most travelers come from, so it is important to take the initiative to help to protect the environment and to talk to the local people if you have the chance.
Don’t accept the plastic bags at stores. Take a reusable water bottle and fill it in restaurants and hotels (if possible). However, remember not to drink tap water in Peru. As at your hostel where to drop the plastic bottles. And when exploring the outdoors, make sure to not leave any waste along the roads or rivers.
4. Buy in local stores
When talking about food, sleep, and souvenirs, choosing where to put your money can have a huge impact on the community. By having dinner or lunch at a local and hidden restaurant, staying at a Peruvian homestay or in a family hostel, or buying something from a street vendor, you’re putting your money directly into the local community.
In the center of Cusco, there are plenty of small handcraft markets and stores where you can buy Peruvian souvenirs for your family and friends back home. For example, there’s the San Pedro market, three minutes from the Main Square, and the fair of San Blas every Saturday.
Read about the best Markets in Cusco here.
5. Have a broader view when negotiating prices
In countries like Peru, negotiating prices when buying products in markets or on the street is part of the culture, it can even be a game! When buying souvenirs in Peru, you don’t want to be fooled. However, also think of how those extra cents can help the vendors instead of looking for the lowest price.
If you don’t mind spending money on an expensive flight ticket or restaurant, then don’t try to get the advantage of a vendor for some cents.
If you’re getting your souvenirs and alpaca sweaters in Cusco, keep in mind that almost all vendors make their own products and need to be valued for that and need to get back their investment.
6. Volunteer in Peru
If you plan your trip, you might want to consider to volunteer in Peru make sure to volunteer your time in organizations with a good reputation, which makes a difference.
If you have medical or engineering experience, or if you have worked at a center of social support, then you have different ways to put that knowledge to good use.
However, even if don’t have experience in any of those fields, you can still find ways to help. You can spend some time teaching English in rural schools, or you can help in animal shelters.
Another good idea is getting in touch with an NGO and ask if they need donations that you can take on your arrival.
Our sister company, AMAUTA Spanish School, has a volunteer programme in Cusco. You can also contact them if you have donations. They have a big network of social projects in the Cusco area.
|Learning Spanish in Peru while living a local host family in Cusco is also a great way to learn about the local culture, make new friends in Peru and uniquely explore the area.|
7. Think twice before participating in activities with wild animals
When organizing travels overseas, many people want to ride elephants, swim with dolphins or have pictures with tigers taken.
Wildlife tourism is a big business, and many of these tour operators think more of the profits they’ll make before considering the animals. Remember that one hour of entertainment can mean animal mistreatment.
If you want to visit a place that shelters and protects wild animals, make sure to contact a travel agency that partners with an animal shelter or have no problems with showing you how they take care of the animals.
If you want to do wildlife tourism in Peru, you have these three options in the Amazon region:
Contact us and ask us any questions please about our Amazon Tours in Peru.
8. Don’t give money to beggars
This is a little hard to do because all of us feel sad when we see people, especially kids, begging for money on the streets of Peru (or elsewhere in the world). But remember that this will only increase the number of beggars asking for money to tourists. As a result, there are many places where people fake being beggars to obtain easy money.
When it comes to kids asking for money, you have to be even more careful. Some parents remove their kids from school so they can ask for money on the streets. Even worse, the kids can be part of a bigger network controlled by unprincipled people that keep the money.
It is very important to be sensible about this subject. If you do want to help, you can buy food or water.
9. Always ask before taking pictures
Ask for permission before taking photos or videos of people. Not doing this, is disrespectful. How would you feel if someone takes pictures of you while you’re walking or working? For some local people, there is even more: it can go against their cultural or spiritual beliefs.
Besides, asking for permission gives you the opportunity to interact with local people and have a nice moment spending some time together; that’s what traveling is all about it, isn’t it? You can also send them a copy of the photo to create a cultural exchange.
10. Talk to others traveling responsibly
Being a responsible traveler can come naturally to some people, while others don’t even know about the consequences of their actions when traveling.
If you see that someone, unconsciously, is doing something that damages the environment of people from a community, or their culture, maybe you should talk to them in a friendly way. Initiate conversations on responsible tourism with people from your hostel, hotel, or whoever you’re staying with. Education is the only way to help spread the word on responsible tourism.
11. Coming home from Peru
If you want to help from home after your travels, think about how you can help programmes and organizations that protect people’s wellbeing, culture, and the environment in Peru. Even if you cannot help these groups financially, you can talk to your fellow travelers about local problems. These organizations and worthy causes, this way you can create a circle of responsible tourism.
A smile can go a long way! Yes, things can go wrong, for example, in your tour to Machu Picchu, for many the highlight of their trip to Peru. The train can be delayed, your guide a little late, and the bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu can be full. It can rain. You might have lost something that was important to you on your trip. There will be little things that will frustrate you, but remember that you’re experiencing something that other people dream about, so keep your chin up! Besides, a smile is the international symbol of warmth and friendship. So don’t hesitate to show a smile wherever you go!
|Questions about traveling in Peru?
Feel free to contact Dos Manos Peru Travel and talk to our Trip Advisors.