Fishing at Cabo Blanco

Iconic ‘Miss Texas’ fishing boat is sailing again in Cabo Blanco, with renowned captain Norm Isaacs on the lead. While it currently serves research purposes in the tropical sea of Northern Peru, the Miss Texas gear is also being tested during excursions. This month, the fishing of a 24-pound Mahi-Mahi (Coryphaena hippurus) was caught on video. Using Boomerang fishing rods tailored for Inkaterra and Everol reels, deckhands Juan Panta and Diego Rehder and angler Alex Passapera (sitting on the Murray Brothers chair) caught the Mahi-Mahi when sailing 12 miles off shore. As soon as it had bitten a cedar plug, the angler did his job and Diego performed the leadering, holding the fishing line to let the catch swim next to the boat. When it was close enough, Juan took care of the gaffing, bringing the fish on board. After weighing it, the catch went into Miss Texas’ ice-filled Engel cooler.

Cabo Blanco

It was just its third expedition and despite sailing dark waters that day, another two Mahi-Mahis were caught while other fish were spotted. It is worth mentioning that just some days before, a 250-pound Black Marlin (Makaira indica) jumped twice near the boat, which allows captain Norm Isaacs to confirm Cabo Blanco’s potential for sport fishing.

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Our Inkaterra January 2014 Workshops

2014 has kicked off to a busy start here at Inkaterra with  several successful workshops for our local community, all with the aim of promoting sustainability and ecotourism here in Peru. So far, there have been events for our Inkaterra guides, the local children and for disabled people around the Machu Picchu area. You can read more about each of our events below.

Inkaterra Guide Birding Training

Birding at Inkaterra

Peru is renowned for its birdlife, and the area around Machu Picchu is particularly spectacular in birding terms. We are keen to promote the area as a birdwatching hotspot, and to really allow visitors to really test their binoculars, the Inkaterra Asociación organised a training course for local guides from both Cusco and Machu Picchu. The seminars were led by Manuel Bryce, Fernando Ángulo and Barry Walker, all experts on ecotourism, conservation and birdwatching. Held over four (very rainy) days, participants were taken on field excursions and attended lectures on guiding techniques, conservation ethics and virtual tools for birdwatching. The aim of the training course was to strengthen and empower the local guides to increase Machu Picchu’s presence on the global birdwatching stage, promoting it as the birdwatching destination.

Another session has already been arranged for March showing how committed the local guides are in these conservation projects.

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Finger-painting the Cloud Forest

As part of our commitment to social responsibility, the Inkaterra Asociación organised a creative finger painting workshop for disabled citizens from the region around Machu Picchu. In conjunction with OMAPED, the government office for the disabled, the workshop was held in the Ministry of Culture’s offices. Participants spent the day getting their hands dirty painting pictures of animals that live in and around the cloud forests of Machu Picchu.

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Ecotourism for Children

Our Inkaterra Asociación ran a series of children’s workshops during the summer vacations this January to educate children aged 5 to 12 on the importance of ecotourism and conservation. Through games, experiments and seminars the children were taught key messages on themes such as recycling, climate change and natural sciences, both locally in Peru and internationally. The workshops were run by our team of explorer guides, biologists, anthropologists and volunteers from the Inkaterra Asociación, and will help to raise awareness and respect to the local environment.

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We are proud to support local initiatives, and these are the first of many workshops and seminars that will take place for 2014. Stay tuned right here on our blog and on our social media channels for details on the other social initiatives that we will be running throughout the year.

Birding Rally Challenge 2013

Next week, from 3rd to 10th December, the third Birding Rally Challenge begins in Peru. Considered the world championships for birding, for those who aren’t in the know, this is the ultimate event in the ornithological world, bringing together the most renowned birding teams from all over the globe in a six-day contest to decide the best Birding Team in the world.

The challenge for the teams from the United States, South Africa, the United Kingdom and Colombia is to cover the greatest number of habitats within a certain area in a limited amount of time counting the number of bird species they can identify; and naturally, the winners are the team that has spotted the highest number of species.

Peru has been specially chosen to host the Birding Rally Challenge because of its expensive natural biodiversity. Peru is a true treasure in ornithological terms. It is home to 1836 species of bird – that is one fifth of all registered species in the world, Peru is the second leading country in the world for bird diversity, and the best in terms of bird observation. The unique habitats that Peru has, from lush wetlands to vibrant cloud forests means it is host to visiting species, as well as the 120 endemic bird species that call Peru home.

Organised by the Inkaterra Hotels, the Inkaterra Association and PromPerú, the teams will travel 840km through Peru, from Tambopata in southern Peru, to the bio diverse cloud forest of Machu Picchu, and the teams will stay at the Inkaterra Reserva Amazónica and Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel.

The actual challenge won’t simply be a walk in the park for our teams. They will have to contend with the changing climates of Peru, from the tropics of the rainforest to the coolness of the Andes, not to mention the strict rules about bird sightings.

But this competition is not simply about birdwatching. The Birding Rally Challenge has some core principles behind it. Designed to develop ecotourism in Peru, the competition promotes conservation and sustainable tourism, especially regarding the local communities that are often overlooked by traditional tourism.

In December 2012, the first rally lasted five days, and a total of 692 species were sighted. The second rally, Nor Amazon, trumped this total, with the birding teams observing 864 separate species in Peru – that’s 10% of the world’s registered bird species.

The 9th December is deadline day for our five birding teams, with the closing ceremony and winners being announced at 19.00. Will it be another successful rally for the American team? Only time and a keen eye will tell.

LSU Tigrisomas Team – USA – Winners of The Birding Rally Challenge, Peru 2013 – Nor Amazonica

The Birding Rally Challenge Winners

Congratulations to the LSU Tigrisomas team from the USA who are the winners of The Birding Rally Challenge, spotting 636 species of bird. The UK Forest Falcons came in close second, spotting 601 species of bird across the seven day rally in the northern regions of Peru. A special congratulations also to Braulio Puma, guide of the winning LSU Tigrisomas team, who is head of the explorer’s guides at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel. A wonderful rally was had by all! Stay tuned on our blog and social media channels for news and information on the next Birding Rally Challenge coming to Peru.

The Birding Rally Challenge Results

Congratulations Braulio Puma, guide of the LSU, Tigrisomas

The Winners

Ernesto Benavides Photo taken by Peruvian photographer Ernesto Benavides

The Winners  Photo taken by Peruvian photographer Ernesto Benavides

EB0_3940 Photo taken by Peruvian photographer Ernesto Benavides

 

The Birding Rally Challenge 2013

The Birders in action

This June brings the second Birding Rally Challenge to Peru. Peru is already well known to birders as a “must visit” destination – it has an almost unparalleled species diversity, on the richest continent for birds. In November 2012, Peru hosted the first Birding Rally Challenge, the only event of its kind in the world, for its non-stop modality, bringing together the most renowned birding teams from North America (e-birders and LSU), Great Britain (Forest Falcons), South Africa (Zululanders), Spain (Tramuntana) and Brazil (Ararajubas). The Rally is organised and run by the Inkaterra Association (ITA), Promperu and the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism (MINCETUR).

BRC Totals as of Day 3

The second Rally kicked off on Sunday 9th June with the teams arriving in Lima to an opening ceremony and press conference. The competition officially began on Tuesday in Lambayeque, with the teams waking up at 4am.

The BRC Route

This time, the Birding Rally Challenge covers Northern Peru, crossing the below landmarks:

Northern Peru Highlights

Timetable of events

Opening ceremony and press conference

Day 1: 11th June – Lambayeque

Day 2: 12th June – Lambayeque to Cajamarca

Day 3: 13th June – Cajamarca

Day 4: 14th June – Cajamarca to Leymebamba

Day 5: 15th June – Leymebamba to Amazonas

Day 6: 16th June – Amazonas

Day 7: 17th June – San Martin

Day 8: 18th June – Tarapoto

Cocktails and closing ceremony  

The birders in action at the BRC 2013

After three days, each team has already obtained incredible results. The highlight for many came on day 3 when Dan Lane of the e-birders spotted the Grey-Bellied comet in the Cañón Sangal region. Other top sightings include a Buff Bridled Inca Finch on the road to San Marcos, spotted by the UK’s Forest Falcons, a White Capped-Dipper near Chonta River, spotted by the Zululanders and the Tramuntana team saw the Great Horned Owl near Lake Sulluscocha. The current total numbers of different bird species spotted is at 315!

Grey Bellied Comet (Photo Ernesto Benavides)

Birding Highlights of Day 3

Catch up with all the latest updates from the Birding Rally Challenge by following @InkaterraHotels and @BirdingRallyPe on Twitter or follow hashtag #BirdingRallyChallenge.

8 days of adventure at the BRC 2013

UNESCO World Earth Day

World Earth Day 2013

Today, across the world, communities are celebrating UNESCO World Earth Day: an annual event to demonstrate support for environmental protection. It is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network and is celebrated in more than 192 countries every year. The environment and sustainability has been at the forefront of our decisions here at Inkaterra since our inauguration in 1975, and we continue to integrate sustainable business practices into all aspects of our operations.

Here are some of our core initiatives that we undertake to ensure a healthy future for our planet. Our world is a beautiful place so let’s take the steps towards to ensure future generations will have the chance to experience it also.

1. Creation of the Inkaterra Association: In 2001, we established the NGO INKATERRA Association (ITA), which develops scientific, technological, social, and cultural research to help manage and protect the biodiversity of Peru’s Andes and Amazon Rainforest.

2. Carbon Neutral: Since 1989, we have belonged to a carbon stock-monitoring network with the University of Leeds (UK); and in 2007, Inkaterra became Peru’s first carbon-neutral travel organisation. We protect more than 42,000 acres of original forest, which helps to directly reduce 3,315,000 tons of carbon. All Inkaterra hotels use clean technology and sustainable practices to ensure that each guest has a 100% carbon-neutral stay.

The garden at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel

3. Eco-friendly products: Over the years Inkaterra has substantially increased the amount of eco-friendly and biodegradable cleaning products used at each hotel. Additionally, all in-room amenities are organic and eco-friendly, and bottles are made from recycled glass.

Eco-friendly products

4. Water Conservation: It is a goal of ours to measure, control and decrease overall water consumption at all properties. We are verified by the Rainforest Alliance, and we also organise an annual cleaning campaign for the Vilcanota, Alccamayo and Madre de Dios riverbanks.

Our annual clear up at Inkaterra

5. Recycling: Eco-consciousness is a company-wide practice here at Inkaterra, and the headquarters in Lima follows suit by actively recycling paper.

6. Conserving Trees: For the next 30 years, Inkaterra is managing five Forestry Concessions throughout Peru for conservation, research and educational purposes. Inventories of flora and fauna will be regularly taken and various environmental education workshops and volunteer activities will be available on a regular basis. Wildlife: Before Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel was built, the area was only used for cattle; after the restoration took place, numerous native species of birds and other wildlife began to re-appear. Today there are constant wildlife sightings, including the endangered Spectacled Bear and several types of hummingbirds. We founded a Spectacled Bear Project in order to rehabilitate these bears, many of which have been harmed or affected by human impact.

Spectacled Bears

8. Energy Consumption: Each Inkaterra property has an employee responsible for managing and monitoring energy (as well as water, waste and other sustainable-related activities). We have a strict energy consumption policy, and employees are required to attend training sessions and lectures to make sure they are constantly up-to-date with information.

9. Responsible Construction Methods: All Inkaterra properties are built using the least amount of energy and new materials possible. At Inkaterra’s newest property, Hacienda Urubamba – scheduled to open in late 2013/early 2014 – only basic modern machinery is being used during construction. Traditional techniques and tools will be implemented whenever possible, such as using oxen and tacclas (an Andean foot plough) to plough the fields, whilst 14 acres of the land will be dedicated to cultivating 100% carbon-free organic products.

10. Education: Inkaterra offers many workshops and programs for local children (as well as adults) centred on the importance of sustaining the environment. Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel holds an Environmental Education Workshop for local children run by the Inkaterra Association (ITA).

Inkaterra offers many workshops and programs for local children

We must educate our children

11. The Inkaterra Canopy & Anaconda Walk: This system of bridges, platforms and towers at Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica offers an expansive window into the world of the tropical rainforest, enabling guests to better understand the area’s vast ecosystem without causing a carbon footprint. Nature experts at Inkaterra constantly monitor and study wildlife, endangered ecosystems as well as flora and fauna in the area.

The towers at Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica

12. Staying Local: Many of the products used in Inkaterra hotels are purchased from local suppliers, which enhances the economy of these communities and cuts down on transportation. The majority of produce at Inkaterra comes from local farms that are run by both the Inkaterra Association and nearby native communities.

Make every day World Earth Day

What are you doing to help towards the future of our planet? Share your thoughts with us on twitter #WorldEarthDay

Inkaterra awarded at ETC’s Responsible Tourism Showcase

Mr. Jose Kochlin collecting the award for Responsible Tourism

Inkaterra was awarded at last week’s Educational Travel Conference 2013 for their efforts towards Responsible Tourism. The event takes place to recognise the efforts of those members that are continually working on developing and implementing their initiatives towards the future of sustainable tourism. The event took place in Orlando Florida, where tourism representatives, suppliers and governments joined together for the five day summit. The ETC’s mission is to facilitate deeper, more enduring connections between travellers and the communities in which they visit. Through authentic, people-to-people exchanges and strong guide interpretation, this can be achieved.

This year was a special celebration as Inkaterra were recognised for their 38 years of effort towards promoting eco-tourism and sustainability in Peru. Throughout Inkaterra’s history, they have pioneered authentic experiences in Peru, whilst ensuring they preserve and rescue Peru’s geography, nature, traditions and cultures.

Reforestation Project at Inkaterra

Another great success story for Inkaterra. 2013 has kicked off to a great start!

37th Anniversary Celebrations at Inkaterra

Inkaterra

The end of 2012 saw the celebration of Inkaterra’s 37th anniversary. The last three decades have been filled with great memories and successes for Inkaterra who are considered a leader in luxury eco-tourism and conservation in Peru. In collaboration with the Inkaterra Association (ITA) the staff took to the main square on Sunday December 16th, in the town of Machu Picchu to mark the celebration.

Educating the local children about conservation and the environment

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The Inkaterra Fair was held in order to inform the population and visitors about the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu and the different activities that take place at Inkaterra. The team spoke of each of their individual conservation programs that run throughout the year such as the rescue centre for the Andean bears. Dr. Phil Wittman, Research associate at ITA spoke to the children about the ecology of insects in the Machu Picchu area and the production of honey, vegetables and herbs that take place at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo. He also sensitised children to the efforts that Inkaterra achieve to benefiting the local environment and conservation.

A fun filled day for everyone

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With delightful treats being served also, the event was an educational, fun filled day.

A Successful Birding Rally Challenge

What a magnificent week it has been in Peru. The first Birding Rally Challenge was a great success with the winning team from Louisiana State University, nicknamed the ‘Tigrisomas’, identifying 493 species of birds! The challenge, co-organised by Promperu & the Inkaterra Association (ITA) saw six non-stop bird watching days across Lima, Puerto Maldona do, the Inter-Oceanic Highway and Machu Picchu. The UK team – The Forest Falcons – came a close second, narrowly missing out on being crowned the winners by just three species, finding 490 birds in total.

Birding Rally Challenge Results

The competition brought together six teams from five different countries, spotting 649 species of the 700 that can be found in the Tambopata Amazon reserve, all the way along to the iconic Machu Picchu in Cusco where the competition came to a close. Many of the birds that were spotted had never been seen by many members of the teams that were taking part, making it a truly unique experience for all.

On the Amazon River: A Birding Paradise

The event was a tremendous occasion for both Peru and Inkaterra to showcase a very unique experience that enabled visitors to see the vast wildlife that can be found in Peru. As mentioned in the recent article by El Comerico, leader Jordi Sargatell from the Tramuntana team said “Peru is the best country in which species can be seen so close you can almost touch them”.

So closes a very successful first Birding Rally Challenge, with the promise of another in the first half of 2013. Peruvian Vice Minister of Tourism announced another challenge will be on its way in the Northern lowlands of Peru next year.

The Birding Rally Challenge