It is hard to believe the existence of secluded indigenous communities in Huacahuasi, a village in the Peruvian Andes, that have survived in such a remote situation. According to Antonio Lodon, Executive Director of the NGO Arariwa, for the members of these communities, the land is everything, and in their vision of the world, the land is the mother of humanity—hence the term ‘Pachamama’, or Mother Earth.
When Mountain Lodges of Peru, an adventure travel company, arrived in the community to establish a tourism destination, they realized they could not buy the land as these communities would not survive if their motherland was taken away. Instead, they became partners with the local community in a sustainable tourism enterprise. Today, with the profits they make from tourism along the Lares Trail, youth in these communities have access to education and are trained in skills related to the sustainable tourism industry, setting them on a path to future economic prosperity whilst preserving their traditional lands.
The name Peru is derived from the word Birú, the name of a local ruler in Panama in the 16th century. Featuring an abundance of biodiversity, the country is divided into three main regions: the arid plains of the Pacific Coast, the peaks of the Andes Mountains, and the tropical Amazon Basin. Although Peru is one of the fastest-growing economies in Latin America, significant economic and social gaps persist between urban and rural areas and between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples.