The Andes is a special place, not only due to its impressive mountains and pristine landscapes, but also its people and their coexistence for thousands of years. If you have visited them, you may agree that Andean people are humble, strong and hardworking people, probably due to the extreme weather conditions and the tough historical events they have experienced. It is when you get to know them a bit more that their friendliness and festive spirit shine through! Historically, Andean people have organized their social and economic affairs as communities. Some communities are now exploring new businesses, that can create work opportunities and allow for the development of family and community incomes, while at the same time retain those aspects of their culture that they value most.
Ausangate, a sacred mountain since the time of the Incas, is one of those landscapes where two communities, Chillca and Josefina, have taken the lead to support the development of a tourism business. They have overcome natural apprehension and uncertainty and now, more than 10 years later, they are partners and operators in Andean Lodges, the best “lodge to lodge hike” in the Southern Peruvian Andes.
Starting the days trek at the Commuity Lodge.
Apart for being a successful, growing venture, Andean Lodges has sought to deliver positive social and environmental impacts from the very beginning, creating jobs and livelihoods while seeking to preserve Peru’s natural and cultural heritage at the same time. Aware that nature tourism and travel does not only have local impacts, but that it also contributes to global climate change, Andean Lodges is also member of Regenera since 2017. Regenera is a network of organizations, local people and allies dedicated to managing their carbon footprint and conserving and restoring ecosystems in Peru, like this regenerating wild nature and combating climate change. By doing so, they join a growing group of nature stewards in Peru who connect through Regenera with Communities and other forest holders in the Amazon, and support them financially to conserve and restore natural forests directly. As from the start of 2018, Andean Lodges measures, reduces and compensates its Green House Gas emmisions and has a 100% carbon neutral operation.
Andean Lodges has shown that entrepreneurship and innovation can happen in rural areas with the active participation of local people. At the same time, it’s a great example of how different people can join forces, despite cultural and geographical distances, to do their part in order to solve the common challenge that we all are facing with climate change.