Heading to Peru can be one of the most amazing experiences you’re going to live. Everyone who goes there, falls in love with it, and I can easily understand this. That’s why if you’re like me and love to travel in a sustainable way, this is how you plan a trip to Peru, including sustainable options for all the travel stages!
Of course, this choice will depend on where you’re coming from, but you’ll be able to choose from a few different means of transportation. The next green options are for travelers who come from neighbouring countries:
- By land
From Ecuador: via Panamericana Highway, the most usual way.
From Bolivia: Two main crosses can be found, Desaguadero and Kasani.
From Chile: also via Panamericana Highway, through Paso de Santa Rosa.
- By the river
You can access the well-known city of Iquitos via the Amazon River from Colombia (Letizia) and Brazil (Tabatinga).
- By the lake
You can go from Bolivia (Guaqui) to Puno via Titicaca Lake, and get to see on your way one of the most amazing natural environments of the whole continent.
Of course the plane is always going to be the most polluting option, but if you have to take one, International Airport Jorge Chavez in Lima has great connections with the main cities of the world, especially in South America.
If you really want to immerse in the Peruvian everyday life, just use the public transportation. It is called “combi” there and it’s also really cheap. Just know that they don’t have bus stops in Peru; drivers basically stop at every corner and let passengers in or out. That’s why bus rides are usually long. You should ask at the tourism office which routes are the most suitable for your trip.
You also have intercity buses, which are actually really good if you don’t want to spend too much. Main roads are in good conditions and although trips from a big city to another can take several hours (keep this in mind!), it won’t be as harming for the environment as a plane, that’s for sure.
And, if you have enough time, you can always spend a night or two in a more isolated village or town to really get to know how local people live. Believe me, it’s fascinating to see how much we can learn from the Peruvian culture, whose people are so devoted to give without expecting anything in return. They’re pure heart!
You are offered train connections between big cities. There are tourist trains that get you to the most visited places. The recommended routes you can do are:
Ollantaytambo - Machu Picchu.
Cusco - Machu Picchu.
Lima - Huancayo.
Here you have an useful post blog with some useful info about train connections in Peru.
Trains are a really nice experience to get to see the beautiful landscapes around you and even to observe how locals behave. Yes, just give it a try, especially if you come from a non-Latin culture.
This is an option you can happily take when staying at one place. Biking around Lima can a great opportunity to get to see the city at a more relaxed pace, enjoying the surroundings. A nice place to visit by bike is the bohemian area of Miraflores and Barranco. The coast and the Pacific ocean waves will delight you for sure, and the colourful streets of Barranco are a great place to spend your afternoon.
Plus, you’ll be doing quite some exercise and keeping it really green. The best way to do it is contacting local guides. With them, you’re not only helping boost local economy, but you’re having the chance to know the city like a real local, learning their customs and traditions from first hand!
Sustainable destinations in Peru
- Manu National Park
This Amazon paradise is a Heritage of Humanity and one of the areas in the world with the most varied biodiversity. It’s located in Cusco and it’s the perfect place for those of you who love nature and want to blend in with it! You can look at the beautiful sunset from the viewpoint, bird watch and even visit one of the 30 indigenous communities that live in Manu National Park.
- Chavin de Huantar
The landscape of this pre-Inca sanctuary is like nothing you’ve seen before. It’s actually an architectural wonder formed by lots of pyramids symmetrically placed around the main square of this temple, which was originally built to worship the villagers deities and get answers from them. It’s better to visit Chavin from June to August, when it’s not raining season.
- Llanganuco Lagoon
Oh, lagoons are such a magical place! This one concretely is located in the Ancash region and the surroundings have some impressive forests and waterfalls, perfect to do some biking or hiking. The lagoon is actually two lagoons: Chinancocha and Orconcocha, whose turquoise crystalline waters speak for themselves. You also have the chance to sail lagoon Chinancocha and have some ducks being your company. Just remember to always let wild fauna wander freely, do not bother them!
- Historic Centre of Arequipa
Now hoping to some town action, this is a place you should definitely visit to be completely immersed in the Peruvian traditional culture. You’ll spot here around 500 colonial houses, a beautiful big square called La Plaza de Armas and other highlight places like Santa Catalina de Siena monastery, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the San Lazaro neighborhood. This is the perfect town to show support to smaller local economies and enjoy their amazing and delicious food in its markets.
Let us know if you’ve been to Peru and have more sustainable ways of moving around or places to visit. It’s such a majestic place to visit and I really encourage you to do your trip in a sustainable way! Let’s take care of all the places we visit, let’s travel in a way that tourism ends up having a positive impact, not a harming one. We can do it, it’s just a matter of being aware of the actions we take, knowing that they have consequences. We all are change-makers! Let’s start the change by the way we travel!
Main Photo by Peter Hershey