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Responsible tourism: Manu Biosphere Reserve adventure in the Amazon, Peru
We are committed to a model of sustainable tourism development that manages natural and cultural resources in the Manu Biosphere Reserve. The foundation has one clear vision, to help create and sustain a more prosperous, fair and healthy society for present and future generations. Harmonising conservation initiatives, social welfare and economic stability in a consistent manner is the ethos behind our organisation.
Wildlife: - Our contribution to wildlife is huge. We currently protect over 643 hectares of forest. We finance a variety of conservation research programmes that involve both local and international students and we have created unprecedented registers of biodiversity. This year (2011) alone research undertaken with Glasgow University has led to the potential discovery of 5 new species of amphibians as well as 7 individual types of Jaguar - unheard of anywhere else in the Amazon. We also currently protect 13 species of endangered animals on our reserve. During the last year (2011) our bio-camera trapping recorded 655 different species within the reserve.
Buildings:- Both our lodges in the Manu Biosphere Reserve have been designed using sustainable principals and all the materials used are from sustainable sources. We also initially offset all carbon emissions for the buildings. The designs are all based on local "Machigenga" tribe building design and we have unofficially been recognised by the Ministry of Tourism as one of the best lodges in the Madre de Dios in the south eastern Peruvian Amazon. One of our lodges the Manu Learning Centre has been verified by the Rainforest Alliance for our commitment to sustainable practices. We are continually striving to improve and understand the value of these practices and know how much value they bring. We try and come up with innovative ways of building to bridge the gap between visitor needs and local ways of life so that the balance is perfect.
Volunteering and Charity: - We are primarily a not-for-profit organisation so all the proceeds from our tours go towards supporting the projects and research we run from the Manu Learning Centre and Romero Rainforest Lodge. As a visitor to our lodges you will be able to see the volunteer prgramme in action as well as get first hand experience from researchers and scientists on site who are funded by us.
Friends and Neighbours:- Through all its work we support 144 local community members through our non-profit foundation. The foundation is funded primarily from contributions from visitors to our lodges and by those who have chosen to travel to the Amazon with us. We maintain priority and preference for purchasing locally which supports the region and the people who live there. Our company although full of international people has built a strong relationship over the years with local people who are now associated with us.
A Fair Deal:- We currently operate at 90% local staff and they are all paid above the industry average. We feel strongly about building a good solid career for them and provide them with fantastic working conditions to aid this as well as career support to further them for the future.
Reviews of Manu Biosphere Reserve adventure in the Amazon, Peru
You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the vacations.
I am reborn! Simply the best vacation I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
It was OK
A bit disappointing really
Reviewed on 10 Dec 2012 by Dawn Hein
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?
This was my first time in Peru and to the Amazon region. I loved the journey from Cusco down to Manu. We got to see so many different types of communities, habitats, scenery, weather. The contrast of the stark upland farms to the lush river basin. The birds and sounds of the rainforest were memorable. Our guide was excellent and I learned so much about the area and culture. The tour operator staff shared their passion for the projects and research.
2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?
Bring layers. It was cold at the highest elevations and very hot in Manu. A long-sleeve light shirt was helpful to keep sun and bugs off and neutral colored clothes were preferred for the clay lick morning. I was very glad to have brought my good binoculars, the birds were amazing.
3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
Yes. Our guide talked to us about how the environmental impact of tourism is lighter but financially supports the communities better than industries like cattle ranching or mono-culture banana plantations. It is a delicate balance. The trip also supports the projects which are helping teach people in this remote area raise their quality of life and health. The research is helping to prove that second-growth forests contribute as much biodiversity as old-growth forests and need protection. Living, if only for a few days, so far off the grid and in such an incredibly rich area reminded me that my own energy use and food choices make a difference to the planet's health.
4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?