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Nature Travel in Peru: A Complete Guide

Anyone who is fascinated by the beautiful nature of our planet should definitely add Peru to their bucket list if it´s not already on there. Your desire to see pristine places will surely be fulfilled here. Peru has it all: the coast, the mountains and the jungle. 

The country is home to an impressive array of plants and animals. Especially in the Amazon region, you’ll discover the variety is enormous. With 60% of its territory covered by the Amazon, Peru holds the largest portion of this jungle after Brazil. No wonder it is among the countries with the highest biodiversity worldwide. 

To preserve this biodiversity, Peru has declared a total of 76 protected areas throughout the country (15 of which are national parks). These areas can be found in the Amazon, such as the Manu National Park or the Tambopata National Reserve, but also at the coast, such as the Paracas Nature Reserve, and in mountainous regions, like the Huascaran National Park. On top of that, Peru counts 14 wetlands of international importance.

If you are amongst the travelers who can´t wait to explore Peru´s nature, have a look at the list of all of our Nature Tours & Activities. No matter what landscapes and ecosystems you are most interested in, you will surely find the right experience for you. 
Should you be more interested in other activities, such as Hiking Tours or Community-Based Tourism in Peru, feel free to have a look at the options we can offer you. We have a whole range of Travel Styles that you can choose from according to your personal wants and needs. If nature travel is what you really want to do, read on and learn all about it!

Ishinca

What is Nature Travel?

Our planet’s nature could hardly be any more diverse. The variety of ecoregions, flora and fauna is simply fascinating. And that is despite the fact that many plant and animal species have not even been discovered yet. This incredible diversity is reflected in the number of possibilities available to us when we begin planning a journey into the natural world.. 

Theoretically speaking, any kind of activity taking place in a natural environment can be considered nature travel. However, if we use this vague definition, we do not think about the negative impact any of these activities might have. In fact, they might be harmful to the place where they are taking place if they are not well chosen and controlled. Think, for example, of riding a motorbike in the forest. 

Therefore, at RESPONS, we prefer thinking of nature travel as experiences that respect the environment and allow us to learn about it. We like to believe that nature has rights, just like any other living being. It is this belief that immensely increases the value we attribute to nature and helps protect it. 

As the variety of options nature travel offers is still enormous, we have made a selection of its four main characteristics: 1. Scenic landscapes, which could hardly be more diverse than in Peru, as we will see shortly; 2. Wildlife, coming in all shapes and sizes; 3. Tranquility and spending time with ourselves; 4. The implication of local communities in nature travel, an important element that must not be disregarded. 

If you are intrigued to learn more about these different aspects, continue reading.We will elaborate on each of them in what follows. We will also give you some examples RESPONSible Travel Peru’s tours related to the four characteristics that will allow you to connect with nature. 
If among our suggestions, you still don´t find the experience you are looking for, keep in mind that you can always use our Peru Trip Planner & Custom Itineraries service. We will be happy to assist you by custom-making your personal nature travel experience.

Stunning view of the terraces of the Colca Canyon - RESPONSible Travel Peru

Enjoying the Beautiful Landscapes Of Peru

When it comes to landscapes, Peru offers almost everything you could wish for: the coast and sea, the countryside, deserts and huge sand dunes, the immense jungle, mountains full of glaciers and waterfalls, and even volcanoes. Of course, all of these places come with their specific climate and biodiversity. So, wherever you choose to go, your experience will be unique and incomparable. 

To enjoy Peru´s coastal landscapes to the fullest, we’d like to recommend our Short Sea Kayak Tour in the Paracas Bay. During this tour, you can get stunning views of the Paracas Nature Reserve, and of Cerro “Colorado” and Cerro “Lechuza”. These Cerros (= hills) display formations carved into them by ancient civilizations.
Speaking of these ancient civilizations; their legacy, which is still very present nowadays, is definitely one characteristic that makes Peru stand out from other countries. The landscapes are not only beautiful but very often adorned by ancient Inca ruins or formations that match beautifully with the surrounding nature. Not only in Paracas, you can observe this phenomenon, but also in Nazca, for example. If you are interested in this phenomenon, why not have a look at our Destination Guide to Paracas, Ica & Nazca at the Southern Coast?

Paracas National Reserve shows you idyllic landscapes where the desert and the sea meet | Responsible Travel Peru

Discovering Peru´s Wildlife

When thinking about Peruvian wildlife, what comes up first in our minds are probably the vast forests of the Amazon, inhabited by all kinds of mammals, amphibians, birds and insects. And that is with good reason! According to scientists, the Amazonian fauna is so diverse and so much of it lives in remote areas that many species remain yet to be discovered. 

The jungle is thus a real paradise for anyone who finds pleasure in spotting animals in the shades of the trees. Of course, photography fanatics will also have the best time here, being able to test their wildlife photography skills. If you are a fan of this kind of activity, we suggest you have a look at our Sweet Iquitos Rainforest Tour, as well as the Exploration To The Heart Of The Manu National Park. We promise you will not be disappointed. 

But not only is the Amazon home to all kinds of animals. The whole country impresses with its outstanding biodiversity. 569 mammal species can be found in Peru and over 1884 bird species, which represents 20% of all the bird species of the world.  

The Andes, of course, are well-known for the friendly llamas and alpacas that peacefully roam this territory. These animals used to be the most important companions of the Incas. And when we cross paths with them today, we can almost feel the history of Peru living on through them. 
As for the coast, you can find a great number of marine mammals here, such as penguins, sea lions, dolphins and even whales. Birds, of course, are abundant as well. You can find, for example, pelicans, flamingos, gulls and much more. Our personal tip for you to spot some of these birds and maybe some mammals is the Short Sea Kayak Tour in the Paracas Bay.

A group of people spotting with binoculars at the canopy of lower Manu jungle | Responsible Travel Peru

Finding Tranquility In Peru´s Nature

Many of us also associate nature with peace and quiet. Especially when living in a big city full of noises, economic activity and social interactions, we feel the need to disconnect from it every now and then. So we flee into nature. Whether we sit by the sea listening to the sound of the waves, walk by ourselves in the mountains or watch a sunset somewhere, we never cease to be amazed by how calm this world can be. 

These moments allow us to recharge our personal battery and turn our gaze inwards to contemplate our lives, wishes, or whatever it may be that occupies our mind. And, this instinctual longing for nature is confirmed by the latest , research – being in the outdoors is beneficial for our mental health! If you’d like to be immersed in nature’s tranquility, our Sunset Row At Lake Titicaca might just be the perfect experience for you. 

Row on Lake Titicaca in a Polynesian Canoe by sunset - RESPONSible Travel Peru

Valuing The Role Of The Implied Communities

Of course, our first thoughts when talking about nature go to the elements mentioned here-above, like landscapes, flora and fauna, basically anything non-human. However, at RESPONS, we believe that we humans are also an important part of nature. That is the case for you, me and everyone else out there who should do their part to protect our natural environment. But it is also, and especially, the case for the communities and indigenous peoples that are directly affected by nature travel.

When we travel in natural landscapes, we tend to stay in places where local communities still live in harmony with nature. The best example is probably the people living in the Amazon. Some of them have barely ever been in contact with the world that we know. They fight to preserve their way of living, which is threatened by logging, poaching, mining, and other destructive practices. However, if tourism is being developed and done right in such regions, it can support these people in their fight. 

Offering tours in a threatened environment like the Amazon gives new value to the people living there and their habitat. The locals, but also landowners, are incited to preserve the place for tourism. Thus, traveling to nature can play an important role in conservation. Of course, for that to be true, we also need to make sure that the impact of tourism development on the environment stays minimal. 

On the other hand, the local people are of importance for tourism as well. As they receive visitors, they can share their values, traditions, and history with them. This will render the visitor´s experience a lot more interesting, but above all sensitize them about the specific challenges of the region. As we can see, nature travel can be beneficial to communities, travelers and nature at the same time.
Are you interested in getting to know some communities in the Amazon and exchanging ideas with them? Then our Exploration To The Heart Of Manu National Park or our Visit To Two Communities of Manu: Shipetiari and Shintuya could be the right trip for you.

Matsigenka young man playing mouth violin in Manu | Responsible Travel Peru

What makes a RESPONSible Experience unique?

We cherish Peru’s nature and want people to experience and appreciate it as much as we do. So, when sending you on one of our trips, we want to make sure that you travel in the most sustainable way possible and that we help to preserve wildlife instead of threatening it. To do that, we invite you to read our blog on How To Travel RESPONSibly, if you want to leave a positive impact on the country.

Luckily, by taking part in our nature tours, you are already actively supporting conservation efforts thanks to your financial contribution. We hope it feels good, knowing that you can have a positive impact in that way! 

But to consistently travel responsibly, we also want to keep the importance of conservation in mind when we actually step foot into pristine places during the tours. By participating in nature travel, we are visitors to biodiverse places that are home to many types of plants and animals and we want to show them our greatest respect. In order to do that, and to avoid disturbing or destroying nature, we invite you to always keep some basic rules in mind: Don’t venture off of the paths, stay quiet, don’t try to get into physical contact with animals. You will see that the experience will be even more rewarding if you stick to these rules. 

Of course, we will also be sure to share interesting information about our environment and wildlife. You will get to understand it more and possibly see the world from a different angle when you get back home. 

To learn more about the RESPONS ethos, please explore our Lost in Peru blog. There you will find a wealth of guidance on being a responsible traveler, along with plenty of articles on Peruvian culture and tips for the things you mustn’t miss when in the country!
If you have any questions about our nature tours or any other tour options, please get in touch.

ABOUT RESPONSIBLE TRAVEL PERU

RESPONS’ mission is to improve living conditions in Peru through developing and promoting sustainable tourism. We’ve implemented a business model in which all areas of human relations are respected, and - equally important - respect for the planet is incorporated.

Following this business model, we practice fair trade, foster cultural identity, promote equal opportunities, and we preserve the environment that surrounds us and other species.

Together with you we improve, day by day, on the always-demanding path towards sustainability.

Tours in Peru

Lake Morón in the desert by Ica is a true hidden gem and makes for a wonderful hike through the desert - RESPONSible Travel Peru

Quick magical desert experience

Butterfly Tambopata

Posada Amazonas Cultural Experience

Macaw clay lick

Tracing Wildlife in Tambopata National Reserve

Woman and man picking up tea leaves

The Peruvian Tea Experience

Lush cloud forest and river flowing down to Manu plains | RESPONSible Travel Peru

Manu Spirit, Nature and Culture

Hummingbird in Jardines de Mandor - Machu Picchu

The route of goodies to Machu Picchu

Woman standing on the Inca Trail among mountains, vegetation and clouds | RESPONSible Travel Peru

The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu