Everyone wants those photos of people and places in the most remote areas of Peru, but to try to seek these cultures out requires a lot of planning and, most of all, respect for the communities you visit. You’ll have the experience of a lifetime and memories forever, just make sure they do not come at the expense of the local people. Enjoy the experience and respect the environment and people you meet. Here is our guide to visiting remote communities in the Amazon and Andean regions of Peru.
This is the most important aspect of the entire process. Within more remote places in Peru, such as Iquitos, the Amazon and the Andean mountains, you’ll find companies and hotels offering their tours and, maybe, home-stays with remote communities. While this is convenient for the traveler, it may not be so for the community. Make sure to do plenty of research before going to make sure that the company or hotel you choose to go through is respecting the communities and making sure that the communities benefit from the interaction.
Where to go
In the main cities near the more remote areas in Peru you’ll find companies offering trips to Peru’s most isolated areas and communities. Here are the two most important places for this sort of tourism.
Iquitos is right in the middle of the Amazon jungle and is the world’s largest city not connected by roads. This means that it can offer visits to the far corners of the Amazon and other adventures that other places in Peru just can’t offer. Once in Iquitos there are plenty of tour companies that can offer different packages for exploring la selva.
Cusco, the former capital of the Inca empire, is still the hub of everything cultural in the Andes. From Cusco you’ll find plenty of opportunities to explore both the jungle and other areas in the Andes. Because Cusco is such a large and popular city, there’ll be more than enough interesting options and companies to choose to take your adventure with.
These areas, because of how remote they are, won’t be easy or convenient to get to. In the jungle, you’ll be traveling through swamps, along rivers and through thick jungle foliage. These places don’t offer the comforts of modern day living so brace yourself for the experience. You’ll find issues with running water, if it is even an option, and toilets will always be difficult to find and not the most pleasant to use. You’ll also be dependent on the locals for your food, so sanitation questions always arise. If you choose to take a tour, make sure to bring all medications and any other prescriptions you may have. There won’t be any pharmacies in sight.
There are many things that can become problematic when interacting with these cultures – like are they dressing up for you, are they benefiting from this interaction and is this a form of colonialism? These questions are too broad and wide ranging to fully flesh out here, but are definitely worth asking yourself before visiting and interacting with a remote community. Most of all it is best to have respect for their traditions, customs and beliefs. You are a visitor and should treat the environment and the people with the utmost respect.