In the Peruvian Andes and right next to Peru’s highest mountain, lies the town of Huaraz, where Dutchman Guido van Es has set up the company RESPONS back in January 2009. RESPONSE is a small for-profit business “with NGO philosophy”, which aims to stimulate sustainable tourism in the region. At RESPONS you can go as a tourist for all kinds of sustainable products, such as community-based tourism in Andean villages and Indian communities in the jungle, but also for cultural trekkings, sustainable accommodations, educational trips and sustainable souvenirs.
A trip to the village of Vicos is still the most popular destination, perhaps due to Guido’s personal love for this village; he first got there as a 21-year-old intern in 2002 and it stole his heart. The inhabitants of the village, called Vicosinos, welcome visitors and incorporate them into their daily lives. So you will not only visit the community museum and learn about the unique history of the village, but you will also sit between the children and the wife of the house kneading dough for bread, and then bake it in their mud oven. Helping out on the land, finding herbs and ingredients for the food and taking care of the many animals around the house are tasks that you share with the local family, in addition, local guides will also take you into the area; to visit craftsmen, ruins, vantage points and high mountain lakes. But the best thing about visiting Vicos is getting to know the people themselves. So warm, so welcoming and above all so happy, when in our eyes they have so little. The respect you build as a visitor for the Vicosinos is something you won’t soon forget.
It is also for this reason that Guido has set up RESPONS: to help communities like Vicos commercialise their sustainable tourism, which is designed to preserve the culture and nature of Vicos, while promoting the development of the community. Many communities have very interesting and sustainable products, but do not know how to reach their market; ultimately essential for the success and therefore sustainability of a tourist product. RESPONSE is limited to offering sustainable tourism; conventional travel and destinations do not interest us. By not competing with the local tourism industry, we obtain their cooperation. RESPONSE is growing fast, and is always looking for new projects that are worth helping in Central and Northern Peru. Learn more about RESPONSE here. We look forward to your visit!