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Being a Responsible Tourist

They say it takes a village.

Responsible tourism is everyone’s responsibility – from the agencies who design the tours, to the operators who lead the tours, to the adventurers who travel with them. There is so much we can each do to make sure that our impact on local communities and the environment is a positive one.

>>Read more about how to be a responsible tourist in our Traveler’s Code of Conduct!

 

Thank you for being a conscientious traveler!

It is so important to be mindful, as trek operators and as visitors, of the places we visit and the impact our actions have on the local environment, customs, and economy. Apus Peru was founded on principles of sustainable tourism, and we strive to minimize negative impacts while bringing the benefits of tourism to remote Andean communities.

As a visitor, even you have a role to play in promoting sustainable tourism in Peru! We have given this a lot of thought. Our Traveler’s Code of Conduct contains everything that you can do to be a responsible tourist while in Peru. Here are a few highlights:

  • Book early!
  • Be sensitive to local customs
  • Be flexible in your expectations
  • Act Responsibly
  • Give gifts wisely (see below)
  • Tread lightly – aim for minimal environmental impact as you trek through the Andes!

Download a pdf of our full Traveler’s Code of Conduct for a complete overview and read on for more information on being a Responsible Tourist while traveling in Peru.

Giving Gifts

Visitors to Peru are often painfully aware of the different standard of living that many Peruvians experience, and feel compelled to do what they can to help. This is a very noble and understandable sentiment, but you must be very careful about what and how you give gifts as they can create undesirable side effects, like corruption, jealousy, and a begging mentality where none existed before.

Remote Andean communities still live by the concept of ayni, the philosophy and legal principle of reciprocal exchange, or “today for me, tomorrow for you”. Over time, significant gift-giving – without the reciprocal exchange – can break down this fundamental principle of Quechua society. Therefore, while it feels good to give, also consider the long-term implications and what it means for these traditional communities.

Gifts to Avoid

  • sweets and candies
  • loose change
  • anything packaged – packaging will inevitably become litter
  • fridge magnets (most rural families do not have refrigerators)

Recommended Gifts

  • fresh and dried fruit – oranges, peaches, apples, raisins
  • bread
  • hats, t-shirts
  • shampoo, toothbrushes and toothpaste (though the packaging will become litter)
  • Spanish language reading books or picture books. Please be sure to give books to the local school. Your guide can accompany you to meet with the teacher. Do not give books to individuals.

Don’t forget that you are already giving a gift to rural families when you book a trek with Apus Peru! $20 of your trek price is donated to Threads of Peru, a local organization dedicated to providing economic opportunities to rural indigenous women and to preserving the Andean weaving tradition.

Sharing Info

About Your Home Country

Reciprocal cultural exchange can be extremely rewarding but be mindful about what you choose to share. Photos of your home, your brand new car, or being on holidays could end up emphasizing difference rather than highlighting similarity and promoting solidarity.

Eating with Your Porters & Muleteers

Most visitors to Peru who are craving an authentic experience would really like get to know the people they’re sharing this journey with, including porters and muleteers. We agree that connecting with people from another culture is an amazing and fulfilling experience. However, Quechua people tend to be extremely shy, and would prefer to eat, joke and chat with each other, in their own language. We ask that you please be mindful of these cultural norms, and do not try to force an interaction if it is unwanted.