Tour operator Explorandes works with locals to show you the real Peru

The latest in our Tour Operators That Give Back series meets adventure travel pioneers specializing in remote and rural Peru.

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IIn the outdoors, the first-to-market outfitters may eventually be overwhelmed by newcomers. But in the case of Explorandes, a leader in adventure travel and the first outfitter to operate the Inca Trail trek in Peru, the quality offered to travelers and local Peruvian communities has always kept the company at the top. vanguard of the growth pack over the past 46 years. .

Focused on providing the best travel experience for customers while contributing to the sustainable development of the region through responsible tourism, Explorandes works exclusively in Peruvian destinations including Chachapoyas, Chiclayo, Cusco, Huaraz, Ica, Lima, Paracas, Puno, and Trujillo — covering much of the country. The company focuses on both social development and environmental preservation, and it works with indigenous communities whose activities have often been excluded from the modern economic system by employing and collaborating with them in the development of tours. The result allows travelers to experience the traditions of indigenous peoples and support another way of developing and preserving the culture and natural resources of the region.

The itineraries offered by Explorandes include treks, family adventures, active trips and cultural experiences. Hike the Lares Community Trek to follow the original Inca trails and share meals with remote Andean communities for an immersive experience in a culture some operators ignore. Go trail running, kayaking, surfing, mountain biking, rafting or cross a rock face on via ferrata. Visit archaeological sites, meet native fauna, learn about ancestral agricultural traditions or participate in weaving workshops.

Explorandes prioritizes sustainability, offering great adventures with a small footprint and minimizing the negative impact that operations can have on Peru’s natural and cultural heritage. The company recognizes that its success is defined by the creation of value for society in its commercial, socio-cultural and environmental management.

46 years of thoughtful travel

Explorandes pioneered adventure travel in South America long before outdoor enthusiasts flocked to Patagonia. Founded in 1975, the company has focused on keeping people away from the crowds so that they can connect with the local culture and the environment.

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“After attending Cornell University, I drove home from New York to Peru, and decided this was what I loved to do: travel and see places,” says founder Alfredo Ferreyros . “In Peru very few visitors hiked the mountains, but I had done it in Europe and the United States and knew people were hiking in Nepal. I spent time discovering the trails and writing up itineraries, and decided to open a mountain hiking business.

Although he was told he should invest in sightseeing buses rather than outdoor amenities, as Americans weren’t likely to come in droves to walk in the Andes, the travel experience and the Ferreyros’ curiosity paid off. “Now when I meet members of the younger generation, they tell me that when they study community and environmental stewards, Explorandes is one of the positive examples they talk about,” says Ferreyros.

Lunch with a view is a feature of Explorandes tours.

How Explorandes gives back

Explorandes aims to always keep the local population at the forefront: to create jobs in the communities and to raise awareness about the protection and conservation of resources, contributing to the development of the notion of a sustainable future. The company has developed projects in association with friends and partners from the indigenous communities of Amaru and Umasbamba in the Sacred Valley, as well as Llachón in Puno.

“In the Sacred Valley there are two different lakes that you can visit that offer water activities,” explains Martin Romero, general manager of the company. “We have a partnership with the Piuray Outdoor Center where we rent the land and pay a fee for each guest. We employ the family owning the land and the community to help us with kayaks, paddleboards and bikes, as well as a dining experience. At the other lake, where outfitters buy land and bring people to work, the mood is very different. And that difference isn’t something you can really describe or put in a brochure, but it’s something you feel in the way people look at you and greet you.

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Explorandes is also a partner of Viola Peru, an NGO that provides opportunities for local children in Lima in art and sport. The organization “promotes the social inclusion and education of children and young adults and helps them develop marketable skills to provide them with a promising future free from crime and violence ”, Explorandes said. Guests can join the walks through the neighborhood where Alto Perú operates in the company of people who have a personal connection to the organization’s projects to gain insight into life in an underserved community.

“It’s inherent in the business model of adventure travel, or visiting remote places, that you have to take care of people and the environment,” says Romero. “Otherwise, you don’t have a tourism product to sell sustainably over time.

Explorandes has developed a sustainability management system certified to Rainforest Alliance sustainable tourism standards for incoming tour operators and is accredited by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. In 2019, the company pass its first recertification audit since obtaining the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal, and it has achieved 100 percent of critical indicators in business, environmental and socio-cultural aspects.

Also in 2019, Explorandes was among the 17 companies recognized by the National Service of Protected Areas of Peru (SERNANP) for their responsible environmental practices on the Inca Trail network in the reduction of single-use plastics. Following the implementation of new sustainable policies, the company eliminated more than 2,700 units of plastic packaging per year (bags and bottles) in its trekking activities.

Explorandes, in alliance with Regenera, a network of urban guardians and rural guardians dedicated to the protection and restoration of nature and the fight against climate change, offsets 100% of its direct carbon emissions since January 2018. With other companies allied with Regenera in Manu. Explorandes says it has helped save a total of 778 acres of rainforest.

Developing adventure tourism based on sustainability, respect for local communities and support for the protection and preservation of natural and cultural resources has been Explorandes’ objective since its creation. That’s why customers earn more than just checking their bucket list when they visit Peru.

>> Next: OneSeed Expeditions Empowers Locals While Delivering Truly Epic Trips

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