Category Archives: Responsible Travel

Our Man In Lima

Into Latin America’s man in Lima is the lovely Nilton.  He has been guiding visitors all over Peru for 15 years, but he still has a soft spot for his home town of Lima. Here we ask him about his home town and learn a little bit about Nilton:

Nilton in the Amazon

Nilton in the Amazon

What makes you a Limeño?

The pride of being in the Capital City and having access to everything  you can’t find in the rest of the country. We are proud to have good movie theaters, theaters for plays, great museums, schools, universities, discos and bars, etc. Of course we are proud to have the beach nearby and great beach resorts. Food makes up a great deal of our pride! Cebiches, Mariscos, desserts, anticuchos.  Oh and the cold beer! So cold that “it can destroy your throat” …

Describe Lima in 3 words?

Informal, fun, summer

What do visitors not know about Lima?

They don´t know that Lima has so much culture because of the mixture of traditions, ways of life,  of people from different parts of the country. Migration has made that possible.

They don´t know that a lot of Lima´s economical activities are very informal and they may not know that people in Lima are incredibly hardworking and skillful.  So much so that they can do great business without even finishing school or reading the business section in the newspaper! Some people are just really good at doing business.

Visitors might not know know that Lima has one of the oldest cemeteries in America.  A real treasure that can easily be visited.

Visitors may not know that in Lima, a city that most people simply pass through, one can find Humboldt Penguins!

Where is your favourite place for a day trip from Lima?

There are quite a few but for a day trip Lunahuaná for canoeing rafting.

For a half day excursion Pucusana is one of my favorites.

Boobies in Pucusana

Boobies in Pucusana

What is your favourite restaurant and food specialty in Lima?

For a fine meal the restaurant “El Señorío de Sulco” is great…They have the best “Causa a la Limeña” I have ever tried.

And for a set menu , the way locals eat on regular basis there´s one in Miraflores , in front of the Faraona Hotel , I forget the name but it´s really good deal for a 8 to 10 soles!. Try the Parihuela Soup!!! It’s Fantastic.

What is the best place for people who are interested in history?

The Pachacamac archaeological complex is a good start since it covers 4 periods of Peruvian history. Several museums in Lima are complete and good for a background on Peruvian history.

Nilton with a 'huaco'

Nilton with a 'huaco'

What are best and worst things about Lima?

That is relative because what I see as best may be worst for others. However I am the one interviewed so…one of the best things of Lima is that you can find EVERYTHING you can think of including galleries, local markets, street vendors, black markets, etc. Lima has great characters on the streets …people dressed like big women with big ‘bubbies’ and huge bottoms made out of balloons selling candies…, people that sell  full meals for 3 soles on the streets (and people that eat them!) . The way Limeños interact, especially the ones from middle to lower classes, their interaction is a real street play and if you are there in the right place you can have a laugh and/or learn a lot!.

The best in general is the mixture of people´s culture, faces, food, ways of living. It is not a boring city… completely the opposite!

How can travelers be responsible in Lima?  (Responsible tourism)

  • Don’t give money to the children on the streets.
  • Do not throw toilet paper in the toilets.
  • Do not leave water running more than necessary.

What’s the big topic of conversation in Lima nowadays?

Gold mining situation in the rainforest.

Latin Music Festival June 11th

Meet Nilon on one of our Tours in Peru


Bolivian Amazon: An Unusual Adventure

Where To Go?

Chalalan frog

Chalalan frog

The Madidi National Park covers 1.8 million hectares and is one of the most intact ecosystems in South America. There is a huge diversity of flora and fauna here thanks to the range in habitat, from the lowland rainforest to the mountains that reach 5500m. The park protects more species than any other in the world; there are over 45,000 different plant species and over 1,000 tropical bird species, making it a great place for your visit to the Amazon. Visit Bolivia Amazon

Where to Stay?
There are some superb projects in the Bolivian Amazon. One of the best is the Chalalan Lodge in Madidi National Park. In 2010 it was listed in the Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Sustainable travel experiences in the world. While these days many jungle lodges jump on the “Sustainable Tourism” band wagon this project really is worthy of the title.

Community Owned Sustainable Tourism

Chalalan caiman

Chalalan caiman

The lodge was established and is owned by Quechua-Tacana people who live in the San José de Uchupiamonas community. The Quechua-Tacana whose people have lived in harmony with the surrounding jungle for over 300 years. 20 years ago they realised that Eco-Tourism was a way of protecting their land and traditions from the threats of deforestation and the migration of young people to the cities. The lodge is owned and run 100% by the local community and benefits already include clean drinking water, and improved health, education and training standards. 5 Day Trip for $795

What is the Accommodation Like?
It is often difficult in such a project to get the balance right between the needs of the community and local environment and the demands of tourists who want to visit the area. Here the staff have excelled in providing clean, comfortable accommodation, expert local guides and a very welcoming environment. The passion for their environment and project show in every detail which is probably what makes Chalalan so special. Rooms are simple but clean and comfortable with cold water showers (but with temperatures high they are welcome!). Your stay includes 3 delicious meals a day so you get to try many local specialities.

How to Get There?

Amazon transport

Amazon transport

Most people fly from La Paz to Rurrenebaque, a jungle town on the river Yacuma. From here a motorised canoe takes you upstream for a few hours. Lodge staff meet are waiting to help with luggage leaving you free to follow your guide through along the forest path to the lodge. La Paz is an easy flight from Cusco, Peru. This means that you can easily combine a visit to the Bolivian Amazon with a trip to Machu Picchu.

What Can You See and Do There?

Chalalan sloth

Chalalan sloth

Activities include; nature walks, bird spotting, night canoe trips, nature talks, hikes, handicraft demonstrations, canoe trips and a goodbye ceremony on the last night where you get to try the local drink “leche de tigre” (“Tiger’s milk”). Madidi is home to 340 species of birds including parakeets, parrots, toucans, wild turkeys, woodpeckers. Animals include the spectacled bear, Andean cat, Andean deer, white-tailed deer , puma, jaguar, white-lipped peccary, spider monkey and the red howler monkey; not to mention more bugs and frogs than you can shake a stick at.

For more information about visiting Chalalan Lodge

Fair Trade Fortnight in The UK

It’s fairtrade fortnight in the UK and Into Latin America’s Steph has been getting involved.  Her arduous tasks involved taking part in a fashion show and drinking delicious coffee; all aimed at promoting fair-trade products and showing how fairtrade really can make a difference in the developing world.

March 8th’s events were tied into International women’s day with a fashion show of fairtrade clothes and a collection of other fairly traded products organized by Into Latin America friend, Louise Whitaker.

Louise Whitaker has been involved in Fairtrade for many years.  Her latest project is helping womens groups in Peru and Bolivia by commissioning them to produce exquisite gloves, scarves and baby blankets made from Alpaca wool.  The women knit at home when they have time between the daily demands of life looking after their children and land.   Louise commented “this is connecting women across the globe through fairtrade,  these women are highly skilled but live in remote areas, they do not have the means or knowledge to promote or sell their products themselves”.  For more information contact whitakersenior@gmail.

Anoter participant was Jitzy of FEM (Fundacion Entre Mujeres) a women’s organisation in Nicaragua that produces fairtrade coffee.   Jitzy was able to complete her accounting studies having received twice the amount for her fairtrade coffee than she would have earned otherwise.  The organisation also produces wine, tea and medicinal plant products providing income and education and improving quality of life of many women.  FEM was set up in 1995 with the aim of improving the life of women in rural areas where domestic violence is common and women have little or no rights at all.

South American gold has been sought after for centuries, long before the Spanish conquistadors arrived.  Fairtrade and Fairmined certified gold, the world’s first independent ethical certification system for gold, will offer the guarantee of a product which has been responsibly mined.  Fairtrade and Fairmined gold is exclusively available from artisanal and small scale mining organisations across Latin America.  John Titcombe who works with ethical gold from Peru and has shops in Bristol and Cirencester.

At Into Latin America we are always looking for ways to work with communities in Latin America and support responsible travel. Have you tried shopping Fairtrade?  It really can make a difference.