Making new friends in Peru

Making new friends in Peru

Meeting the Quechua people of Patacancha is one of the highlights of our hiking and trekking adventures in Peru. Many of our trip members return with a desire to make a lasting difference in these villagers’ lives.

Photo by Bill Abbott

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Making a Difference

Responsible tourism can be an extraordinary way to connect people across borders and cultures. Our commitment to environmentally responsible, low-impact tourism is paramount, and we strongly believe in preserving the natural places and cultures we visit. We are founding members of several conservation groups and actively support the Galapagos Conservancy, American Himalayan Foundation, Jane Goodall Institute, World Monuments Fund, and several other organizations including local schools in Africa, reforestation projects on the slopes of Kilimanjaro, coral reef protection in Palau, and other projects that sustain these extraordinary destinations. We encourage you to learn about and support the important work of these organizations.

American Himalayan Foundation

AHF began by providing scholarships for Sherpa children to attend schools built by Sir Edmund Hillary’s Himalayan Trust foundation more than 20 years ago. Since then, the AHF has grown to provide vital education, health care, and cultural and environmental preservation throughout the Himalayan region. Through the AHF, Wilderness Travel supports the world's highest dental clinic in Namche Bazaar, Nepal, providing dental care and educational outreach to the area’s Sherpa and Tibetan people, as well as supporting the Choudon Orphanage in Lhasa, Tibet and the Charang Monastic School in Mustang, Nepal. Our Perspectives on the Himalayas symposium in 2002 was a benefit for AHF.

Wildlife Conservation Society

The Wildlife Conservation Society works from their Bronx Zoo headquarters to save wildlife and wild lands throughout the world. WCS has field projects in 53 nations that provide leadership in environmental education. George Schaller, renowned wildlife biologist and Vice-President of Science and Exploration for WCS, was a guest speaker at Wilderness Travel’s Perspectives on the Himalayas symposium a guest leader on our India Wildlife Safari in 2002.

Galapagos Conservancy

The Galapagos Conservancy (formerly the Charles Darwin Foundation) is dedicated to the lasting protection of the Galápagos Islands. They support the Charles Darwin Research Station, with its team of over 200 scientists, educators, volunteers, research students, and support staff from all over the world, as well as the Galapagos National Park and private conservation efforts. Wilderness Travel is an active supporter of the Conservancy both directly and through our founding membership in the International Galapagos Tour Operators Association.

World Monuments Fund

The World Monuments Fund is dedicated to preserving and protecting endangered works of art and architecture around the world. Since 1965, WMF has worked at more than 450 sites in over 80 countries from preservation of the renowned stone carvings of Easter Island to Angkor’s jungle temples. Every two years, WMF issues its World Monuments Watch list of 100 Most Endangered Sites, a global call to action on behalf of sites in need of immediate intervention. Wilderness Travel has been supporting this important work since 2002.

The Jane Goodall Institute

Founded by renowned primatologist Jane Goodall, JGI is a global nonprofit that empowers people to make a difference for all living things. The institute is devoted to creating healthy ecosystems, promoting sustainable livelihoods and nurturing new generations of committed, active citizens around the world. Jane Goodall was a guest speaker at our two Perspectives on East Africa symposiums in Kenya and Tanzania, and we have supported the institute and its work for many years.

The Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation

The Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation is dedicated to preserving the legacy of the great alpinist Alex Lowe by providing direction and financial support to sustainable, community-based humanitarian programs designed to help the people who live in remote regions of the world. Projects include the Khumbu Climbing School and the Magic Yeti Library. Co-founder Conrad Anker has been a guest speaker at Wilderness Travel’s Perspectives on the Himalayas symposium and also at our Antarctica: In the Wake of the Great Explorers Special Event. Conrad and Jennifer Lowe conceived the idea for the foundation while accompanying a Wilderness Travel Ultimate Everest trek.

Wildlife Conservation Network

Wildlife Conservation Network (WCN) is dedicated to protecting endangered species and preserving their natural habitats. They support innovative strategies for people and wildlife to co-exist and thrive. WCN fosters the entrepreneurial spirit in the field of conservation. They partner with independent, community-based conservationists around the world and provide them with the capital and tools they need to develop solutions for human-wildlife coexistence. To magnify the effectiveness of their work, WCN sustains a strong network of wildlife supporters though which these courageous conservationists may learn from each other and communicate directly with passionate donors.

Wilderness Travel particularly supports the work of Laurie Marker’s Cheetah Conservation Fund Laurie was a guest speaker at our Perspectives on Southern Africa symposium.

Common Hope

The heart of Common Hope’s work in Guatemala is education. They provide the necessary resources for over 2,700 children to attend school each year in 17 villages outside of Antigua and Guatemala City. They understand that education is about more than books and uniforms—a comprehensive approach is critical to help students and their families to reach their full potential. For this reason they also focus on health care, housing, and family development. Wilderness Travel supports Common Hope’s work in Guatemala, a country near to our hearts and site of our World of the Maya symposiums.

African Blackwood Conservation Project

The aim of this project is to help replenish the African Blackwood tree, which plays a vital role in the ecology of the East African savannah. It is the premier wood of choice for fine concert-quality woodwind instruments and in its African homeland is used to make intricate and highly detailed carvings. Sebastian Chuwa, coordinator of the ABCP and a Wilderness Travel trip leader, has been honored for his conservation and environmental education efforts on behalf of African blackwood and other African tree species with the Spirit of the Land Award at the 2002 Winter Olympics, the 2002 Rolex Awards for Enterprise, Conde Nast Traveler Magazine 2006 World Savers Environmental Award, and the 2007 National Arbor Day Foundation’s J. Sterling Morton Award.

Leaping Stone

Wilderness Travel supports the work of Leaping Stone, founded by WT traveler Natalie Huberman, a former teacher who traveled with us in West Africa, fell in love with its people, and was inspired to create an organization to provide sustainable primary education for girls and boys in West Africa. Wilderness Travel has helped fund the building of a primary school in the village of Tsati, Togo. Every donation counts, and as little as $25 will send a child to school for a year. To find out more, visit

Enyuata Primary School, Tanzania

Our Serengeti & Kilimanjaro trip members have the opportunity to visit the Enyuata Primary School, a village school near Arusha, and we have been proud to have the opportunity to support it for many years. If any of our past Kili travelers are interested in sending a contribution, please contact our Africa Manager. We extend our heartfelt thanks to the many clients who have given so generously to the support of this wonderful school.

Isikhokelo Public Primary School, South Africa

Wilderness Travel is sponsoring a local school in the Khayelitsha Township (outside of Cape Town, South Africa). The Isikhokelo Public Primary School teaches over 1000 students between the ages of 6 and 16 but has very limited resources. Our trip members visiting Cape Town can visit the school with our local guide Owen Jinka, who is actively involved in the Khayelitsha Township. If you wish to make a donation, you can send payment to Wilderness Travel, payable to Wilderness Travel, and 100% of the funds will be sent to the school. Please contact our Africa Manager.

Urubamba Valley Schools, Peru

Our Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and many other Peru trips pass through the Urubamba Valley, sacred valley of the Incas, where Wilderness Travel has provided aid to a number of rural, largely Quechua community schools. Our support has included blackboards and other educational materials, and most recently computers for the Piscacucho School. If any of our past travelers are interested in supporting this work, please contact our Latin America Manager.

Wilderness Travel also supports and recommends organizations such as:

International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO)


The International Ecotourism Society


International Campaign for Tibet

Friends of Serengeti

Cofan Survival Fund, Ecuador

Himalayan Youth Foundation

International Galapagos Tour Operators Association (IGTOA)