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

At Wilderness Travel, we firmly believe that responsible tourism can be an extraordinary tool to connect people across borders and cultures. Our commitment to ecologically responsible, low-impact tourism goes back to the beginnings of the company, and we actively support a variety of conservation and cultural groups, and are founding members and active supporters of a number of organizations dedicated to responsible travel. 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. Since then, 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 Charang Monastic School in Mustang, Nepal, and the Tibetan Education program, providing an opportunity for education to children of Tibetan refugees in Nepal and India. Our Perspectives on the Himalayas symposium in 2002 was a benefit for AHF.

Save the Rhino Trust

The Save the Rhino Trust’s mission is to promote the protection and sustainable management of the black rhino, elephant, other fauna and their habitats in north-western Namibia, while ensuring that the biodiversity of this unique, arid environment is conserved. This innovative organization works closely with Namibia’s Ministry for Environment and Tourism and local communities in five areas: Field Patrolling and Monitoring, Research and Evaluation, Capacity Building, Regional Tourism, and Fundraising and Communications, with a strong focus on the conservation of Namibia’s unique desert-adapted black rhino.

Galapagos Conservancy

The Galapagos Conservancy (formerly the Charles Darwin Foundation) is dedicated to the lasting protection of the Galapagos 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.

Global Heritage Fund

The Global Heritage Fund’s mission is to protect, preserve and sustain the most significant and endangered cultural heritage sites in the developing world. Its goals are to preserve the physical evidence of cultural heritage, advance education about endangered heritage sites, advance community involvement and benefits from preservation, and to build a major international conservancy to save our global heritage. Wilderness Travel dedicates its contribution to the Banteay Chhmar (The Citadel of the Cats) project in Cambodia, whose Project Director, John Sanday, was a guest speaker at our Perspectives on the Himalayas symposium in 2002 and at The Arc of the Sacred symposium in Cambodia in 2015.

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 was a guest speaker at our first two Perspectives on East Africa symposiums in Kenya and Tanzania, in 1996 and 1999, and we have supported the institute and its work for many years.

Wildlife Conservation Network

Wildlife Conservation Network (WCN) is dedicated to protecting endangered species and preserving their natural habitats. 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. Wilderness Travel particularly supports the work of Laurie Marker’s Cheetah Conservation Fund and Iain Douglas-Hamilton’s Save the Elephants through WCN. Laurie was a guest speaker at our Perspectives on Southern Africa symposium in 2007 and Iain was a guest speaker at our Perspectives on East Africa symposium in 2014.

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 and accompanied the associated India Wildlife Safari.

Will Steger Foundation

The Will Steger Foundation’s mission is to educate, inspire and empower people to engage in solutions to climate change. Building on the experience of its founder, Will Steger, polar explorer, science educator, and advocate, the foundation engages and empowers emerging youth leaders and educators across the Midwest and beyond for innovative climate change solutions. Will was a guest speaker on our Antarctic Odyssey special event in 2002 and our Arctic Odyssey event in 2006.

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 Antarctica: In the Wake of the Great Explorers special event. Conrad and Jennifer Lowe first conceived of the foundation while accompanying a Wilderness Travel Ultimate Everest trek.

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 seventeen 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 series of World of the Maya symposiums.

Wilderness Travel is proud that many of our clients, trip leaders, and international partners play key roles in a variety of organizations, and we are pleased to support their efforts.

LeapingStone Foundation

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, and other projects in West Africa.

Hodari Scholars Foundation

Wilderness Travel supports the work of the Hodari Scholars Foundation, founded by WT traveler Lois Blalock, who traveled with us to Uganda, continued to travel to East Africa, and was inspired to create an organization to provide secondary school scholarships to Tanzanian girls who are eligible to continue their education, but don’t have the financial means to do so.

Elephants Forever

Wilderness Travel supports the work of Elephants Forever, a blog created by WT traveler Charlotte Bailey, who has traveled to Africa with us many times, was awed by the majesty of the continent’s elephants, and moved by the extensive poaching threatening their existence to create her blog, with the goal of creating a global community to raise its voice in opposition to the sale of ivory.

Nepal Program for Progress

Wilderness Travel supports the work of Nepal Program for Progress, founded by WT traveler Fran Gordon, who has traveled with us to the Himalayan region many times, and was inspired by her experience to create an organization that seeks to provide educational opportunities for children living in remote regions of Nepal.


Wilderness Travel trip leader Giuseppe Di Giorgio has been instrumental in creating Tulime, an Italian non-profit that promotes a culture of sharing and co-development, ecology, respect for human rights, and improvement in the conditions of people’s daily life, working in Tanzania, Uganda, and Nepal. Giuseppe leads our trips in Sicily and the Alps.

Cofan Survival Fund

Randy Borman was one of the very first Wilderness Travel trip leaders, and has continued to work with us on trips to the Amazon basin, where he was raised as a Cofán. His leadership, strategic, and hunting skills, and the advantages of his Western education have made Randy an important leader for the Cofán, a proud nation of over 700 people trying to live with one foot in the old world and the other foot in the modern, Western world. The Cofán Survival Fund is a non-profit organization dedicated to the survival of the Cofán indigenous culture and its Amazonian rain forest environment.

Himalayan Youth Foundation

Wilderness Travel trip leader Steve Webster is the Development Coordinator of the Himalayan Youth Foundation, which supports education projects for underprivileged children from remote regions of the Himalayas—projects which shelter and educate the children while providing food, clothing, love and medical care. Steve leads our trips in Nepal, Bhutan, and Tibet.

Crown of Thorns Starfish Reduction Campaign

Wilderness Travel trip leader and marine biologist Ron Leidich has worked tirelessly to help protect Palau’s precious marine environment, and to train a team of local Palauan guides and boat captains to become ambassadors for the reef. We have supported Ron’s campaign to remove the destructive Crown of Thorns Starfish, restoring selected coral habitats to a healthy condition. Ron leads our Palau Snorkeling & Sea Kayaking trips.

We also support a number of local schools through our international partners, including these:

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 the Isikhokelo Public Primary School in the Khayelitsha Township (outside of Cape Town), which teaches over 1000 students between the ages of 6 and 16 but has very limited resources. Our trip members visiting Capetown on Adventuring in South Africa, Great Game Parks of Southern Africa, or our Private Journeys may 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 us, 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, Hiker’s Journey 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 Quecha community schools. This 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 Campaign for Tibet

Friends of Serengeti

International Galapagos Tour Operators Association (IGTOA)

TOFT: Travel Operators for Tigers

The International Ecotourism Society

International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO)