PICTURE PERFECT PERU
In March, I was lucky enough to join a G Adventures tour to Peru, as Travel Weekly’s Responsible Travel Ambassador. This was a great opportunity to experience first-hand the Planeterra Foundation, which is at the heart of what they do – responsible tourism which benefits both the travellers by enriching their trip, but also local communities, by aiming to lift them out of poverty. Peru is a place which has long been on my bucket list, so I was honoured and very excited to be selected.
The journey to Lima was a long one, but arriving at the comfortable ‘La Castellana’ hotel in the pretty Miraflores area was worth it. A small, locally run hotel with friendly, helpful staff, great breakfasts and plenty of character, this set the scene for the rest of the trip; where the group enjoyed much of the same for the rest of the itinerary.
Visiting the Sacred Valley and Ccaccaccollo was a really interesting insight into how Planeterra, and G Adventures, are changing lives through tourism. These places are sometimes a little off the main tourist track, and don’t necessarily have the same tourism income that places like nearly Cuzco enjoy. We visited a wonderful restaurant and a local womens’ weaving project. The income from the restaurant has afforded them an education centre with computers; and during some flash flooding in 2013, the weaving project received help from Planeterra to get them up and running again.
I took the lesser travelled (and shorter!) Lares Trek prior to exploring Macchu Picchu. This is perfect for those who like to get off the track a bit (the Inka Trail is great, but can be very busy), and while it takes you to a higher altitude with really dramatic scenery, you also get to experience truly ‘local’ Peru, traversing the beautiful Andes and meeting the odd local and their llamas. The scenery is truly breathtaking. We met some lovely children along the way, and shared bread with them, as well as (poorly) played football at one of the campsites.
Peru already seems like a long time ago, and I’m absolutely determined I will visit again one day. With direct flights from London to Lima, it’s now easier than ever before. Everything about it is, in my opinion, perfect. The people I met along the way were without exception, some of the friendliest. I’ve already covered the scenery, but WOW. The food? Beautiful. I didn’t know you could drink corn and that it would taste like cider.
The G Adventures guides are so passionate about their country and Planeterra, and the chefs, porters and guides (and llamas) were great company on the trek. It was a real pleasure to meet likeminded people and share such a wonderful experience with them, and I’d recommend it to anyone.Date posted: 20/07/16