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Our Love Letter To Our Favorite Destination? A Project To Protect It

Terra Explorer
September 27, 2022

This is a story on our growing and ongoing sustainable tourism endeavors. Click here to read more about our most recent: Huaypo Project.

These days, sustainability feels more and more like a buzzword —or a marketing antic— rather than a genuine commendable effort to nurture our ecosystems and communities, or at least decrease the toll our ever-consuming economy takes on our planet. The likes of greenwashing —clear-washing, woke-washing, etc.— have entered our everyday lexicon, evincing that the “fad” is facing harsh criticism from environmentalists and naysayers alike. 

And so, to say we, Terra Explorer, are launching a “sustainability program” in 2022 might seem a bit, um, performative. Yet our history of giving back says otherwise and can indeed be traced to our beginnings, more than fifteen years ago. 

Since then, we’ve been integrating indigenous communities into the gears of the travel industry, we’ve been fueling conservation initiatives by bringing hundreds of voyagers into independent wildlife sanctuaries, as well as tethering a network of mind-like experts —some of which include gallerists representing aboriginal artists, birdwatchers cataloging and tracing species of hummingbirds, and chefs harnessing the flavors of otherwise “lost” Andean crops.

The scope of our efforts has been broad but strictly dependable on tourist spending. What is changing now is how we’re building systems to directly fund an ongoing project fortifying the rural communities and preserving the ecosystems around Huaypo lake —one of our favorite destinations—nestled within the Sacred Valley.

Perhaps, you might want to glance through our one-day kayaking trip to Huaypo.

This project —our love letter to the site— will sprawl into the quotidian doings (and undoings) of the Huaypo populace: Into their jobs and schools. How, you might ask? Well, in three ways.

Step One: Better Jobs, Better Living Conditions

turismo comunitario laguna huaypo

Community tourism is on the rise. There’s something edifying about inserting oneself into the day-to-day of people with a non-western understanding of the world —one in which individualism is not as celebrated and nature is not detached from everyone’s creed. Besides, it often is a better source of income for the hamlets perched up in the remote Andes. That is why we will be setting a constant flow of travelers to the farming and weaving communities around Huaypo. So they can provide for their families, consistently.

Related: Two-day community and wellness trip to Huaypo.

We’ll also bring our experts (including our founder, Piero Vellutino) to train young men and women into adventure travel guides. We’re even drawing up internships at Terra Explorer —an advantageous gateway into the tourism industry since we’re one of Peru’s leading luxury travel advisors and adventure travel operators

But beyond career tutelage, the same team of experts will also extend a helping hand to any entrepreneurial initiative by coaching and assisting the community in sustainable tourism practices

Step Two: Better, Greener Education 

We’re focusing on the Juan Velazco Alvarado public school, where most of the kids in the community attend —two hundred boys and girls. There, we’ll supply the library with internet-connected computers, a projector screen, and books. We want it to become the epicenter of the school by easing the students’ ability to further unveil knowledge, connect to other realities, and dream big —beyond their immediate surroundings. 

We’re also arranging to bring the school’s greenhouse to life by partnering with ANIA, a non-profit championing the insertion of Mother Earth in primary education programs. Thus, strengthening the link between nature and future decision-makers. 

Stations for waste management will be installed at the school, too, for all of the community to use —and we’re planning on expanding this to other hubs in the vicinity of the lake.

Step Three: Raising Wildlife Awareness 

vida silvestre laguna huaypo

It is easier to take care of wildlife if we’re aware of it —to successfully tackle a task, we must realize it thoroughly. We’re envisioning a small Interpretation Center for the more than thirty species of birds —some endemic, some migratory— our biologists have identified around Huaypo. 

The goal: To instill in the community a sense of what we’re looking after, the richness of life that blossoms in their land. Everyone will be welcomed (travelers, farmers, birdwatchers, herders, old and young). And to truly experience the fauna —without disturbing it, that is— we look forward to setting a spotting scope for visitors to identify the dozens of species flitting around with their own eyes. 

This is an in-motion program, and we’re excited to share our achievements in the coming months and years. As our company grows, our commitment to sustainable travel grows too. We often call ourselves “the hosts of Peru.” We like to think part of that job is taking care of our home(land).

Contact our team to design a tailor-made trip to Huaypo Lake —perhaps you can get as enamored too.

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