We know you want to enjoy as much as possible during your holidays, and staying in some of the best hotels in Peru during your stay is one way of doing it. We also know you are conscious about our planet and the impact your travel might have on the places you visit. This is why we have made a selection of the top sustainable hotels in the country. These hotels are not looking to be low-impact businesses. On the contrary, they aim to have a high impact – a positive one – in the communities they work with and the ecosystems they work in.
#1 Sol y Luna Lodge, Cusco
Sol y Luna hotel is located in the Sacred Valley and, without planning it, it has become one of the best hotels in Cusco. Petit, Sol Y Luna hotel owner, arrived in the Sacred Valley in 1988 to support children from the surrounding communities. She was inspired by children’s smiles and started helping local schools by improving infrastructure and organizing activities. After a while, she founded the Sol y Luna Association, a non-profit organization based on her inclusion and equality beliefs. Petit opened the Sol y Luna hotel intending to raise funds for the association’s projects. Both the hotel and the association were a success. That’s why after 10 years of working with different schools, Petit decided to open the Sol y Luna Intercultural School.
Currently, the Sol y Luna Intercultural School has more than 100 students, and any children wanting to learn can attend. It is open for children whose families can’t pay for education and don’t have enough funds. The association also works on a project that provides children with special abilities with language, physical and psychological therapies. Finally, they have created the Sol y Luna house. There they raise kids with violent families or families with parents who can’t take care of their kids during the week because of work.
Even though Petit’s expectations weren’t to have one of the most luxurious and comfortable hotels in the Sacred Valley, Sol y Luna is definitely among the best. This might be because everything she does, she does it with the heart, which you can see in both the Sol y Luna Association projects and the Sol y Luna hotel.
Did you know that you contribute with 3 therapies for the children for every tour you take with Peruvian Soul? You can read more about it here.
#2 Posada Amazonas, Madre de Dios
Posada Amazonas is an emblematic example of how private businesses and native communities can achieve environmental conservation and local development together. Since 1996, Rainforest Expeditions and the Ese Eja Native Community of Infierno have been working in alliance, offering high-quality touristic services in the Amazon jungle. This alliance is one of the most successful ventures between a local community and a tourism company worldwide!
The Native Community of Infierno owns Posada Amazonas, a fantastic lodge located next to the Tambopata National Reserve, one of the world’s most biodiverse areas. Rainforest Expeditions is a tourism enterprise that supports the lodge’s marketing and management. The alliance has created meaningful profits and around 20 full-time jobs for the locals living in the Infierno community. Each year, profits are shared among the community’s families, increasing their annual incomes by 25%.
The lodge has also created other opportunities for the locals. Some provide the hotel with fresh produce from their farms. Others work as guides, showing tourists the plants they use as medicine, colorants, or food.
Besides giving ecotourism job opportunities to Infierno Native Community members, Posada Amazonas contributes to the Amazon species conservation. By creating alternative jobs within the community, locals don’t need to expand their agricultural frontier. Furthermore, locals understand that their forests have more value than the wood they could get. Finally, the community’s commitment to conserving the area makes it possible for tourists to spot wildlife and enjoy nature in the lodge’s surroundings.
#3 Milpuj La Heredad, Amazonas
In 2000, Lola decided to travel to the Amazonas region and visit a land she inherited from her father years earlier. She only took a small piece of luggage with some clothes with her, but she was full of ideas and dreams. She was disappointed when she didn’t find a pristine forest as she was expecting, but an area degraded by agriculture and farming activities. Lola found out that hunters used to go to her property looking for deers and other small animals. Lola, a brave woman, used to light firecrackers to scare the deer towards the highest part of the mountain, thus making the task of the hunters difficult.
Some years later, Perico, Lola’s son, went to Amazonas to visit her for a few days. He fell in love with the area and decided to join his mother in her conservation project. Today, they live together in this piece of heaven. The conservation project is the center of their lives, and they have become the best hosts the cozy shelter they have built could have.
Lola and Perico have recovered the forest that used to live in their terrain. Currently, they take care of 70 hectares of a peculiar ecosystem: the seasonally dry forest. With the help of friends and other institutions, they have managed to develop projects to recover and conserve the different species that live in the area. In addition, they build water reservoirs that provide them with water throughout the year and allow the animals that live in their forest to rehydrate during the dry season.
For Perico, having a private conservation area is not a business at all. Instead, he considers that the touristic activities they offer are a way to get funds to keep conserving their place. Still, he loves receiving people from all around the world and proudly showing his forest. Tourism really helps this small but caring family to contribute to the environment they live in.
#4 Inkaterra Hacienda Concepción, Madre de Dios
Inkaterra is one of the most sustainable tourism enterprises in Peru. It owns seven hotels in the Cusco and Madre de Dios regions. Inkaterra Hacienda Concepción, located close to Tambopata National Reserve, is one of those. This beautiful hotel perfectly combines luxury and sustainability.
Inkaterra Hacienda Concepción has 30 rooms where tourists can spot animals such as five different monkeys, caimans, tortoises, and several insects. The lodge is located in a private land of more than 220 hectares, allowing animals to move freely. Moreover, the enterprise has a conservation concession of more than 400 hectares where they only do protection activities. The enterprise allocates part of its income to hiring local people to take care of the area’s boundaries from illegal hunters or loggers. The forest and locals benefit from this and, obviously, tourists too!
Inkaterra has a neutral carbon project within this concession. They allow tourists to neutralize their travel carbon footprint! Furthermore, the enterprise has created Inkaterra Asociación ITA, a non-profit which develops research projects related to Peruvian biodiversity, contributing to the environment.
#5 Andean Lodges, Cusco
In 2003, when the Vinicunca mountain was not yet known, and the Apu Ausangate trail was visited only by the most adventurous, the Andean Lodges team had already seen the great tourist potential of this area. Snowy peaks reflected in crystalline lagoons and multicolored mountains are just some of the attractions that bring walkers from all over the world to this place. However, they also knew that the true wealth preserved in this territory are the traditions treasured by the communities that have lived there since immemorial times. This is how, after donating the land and building one of four lodges, the communities of Chillca and Osefina became shareholders of the company and became involved in the tourist operation. Today, almost the entire operation in the shelters is carried out by community members. They share their culture in each dish made with local ingredients, in the songs of the housekeeping women as a wake-up call, and even in an offering ceremony to Mother Earth.
Besides being an excellent alternative for locals’ economic development, community-based tourism is an excellent way to preserve their culture. Men and women from Chillca and Osefina have dedicated themselves for centuries to raising llamas, which they used to transport products to other areas of southern Peru. Although it is still practiced, this activity is at risk of disappearing due to other means of transport. Andean Lodges opted for cargo llamas that carry tourists’ luggage, allowing community members to preserve this ancestral practice.
Projects like this show us that economic development can go hand in hand with conserving the immense natural and cultural heritage of a country as rich as Peru.