How do you choose a safe Peru adventure outfitter?
Finding a safe Peru adventure outfitter should be the first thing you consider when choosing who to travel with. Because there are thousands of companies offering adventure travel in Peru it can be hard to know who to choose. However, many of them are not safe. And the vast majority are not licensed to offer the activities they do.
Did you know Peru introduced an adventure licensing scheme in 2019?
The problem is, local operators are still able to sell their tours, despite not having a licence. And that is because people are still happy to buy from unlicensed operators.
What adventure activities do you need a license to operate in Peru?
The trekking licence has not yet been fully implemented- although it will be implemented very soon. A very few companies, including ourselves, have passed the requirements in the pilot scheme- we are just waiting for the official certificates to be issued.
Activities that are currently covered by the Peru adventure licensing scheme are:
Rafting, canoeing, kayaking, paddleboarding
Ziplines, Via-Ferrata, bungee jumping, climbing and abseiling.
You get a license for a particular activity with specified routes. So there is not one license that allows to you take people mountain biking anywhere- your license will specify the routes you are allowed to offer.
Who issues these Peru adventure licenses?
MINCETUR ( the national ministry of tourism) and DIRCETUR ( the Cusco regional tourism board) carry out the inspections and issue the licenses.
Are these licenses hard to get?
If you are already operating to a high standard and offering safe Peru adventure, then no, they are pretty simple. The problem is most companies are not operating to an adequate standard. Many have sub-standard equipment, no risk assessments, guides without the experience for the routes they operate, insufficient safety procedures and so on.
Is the scheme working?
Mark Smith, Head of Marketing at Amazonas Explorer explains,
“Peru took a huge step forward in introducing the Adventure Licensing Scheme in 2019. But sadly, many people, by buying from operators who do not hold the correct licences, are unintentionally hindering the success of the scheme.
I urge all thinking of visiting Peru and doing an active adventure, to ensure their local operators hold the appropriate licenses. I am sure travelling responsibly is important to us all. This is one area where we all have an opportunity to help. In fact, I would say we all have a duty to help.”
Owner of Amazonas Explorer, Paul Cripps added,
“It is frustrating. Ourselves and a few other companies are trying to do what is right, by getting our adventure licences and supporting the scheme. Yet each day we go out and see a multitude of operators carrying on without these licenses. Many have no intention of getting a licence. While the Peruvian government is cracking down, it is a very slow process. We need the support of overseas buyers to make this happen, to raise the standard of adventure travel in Perú. After all, it is the safety of your clients we are talking about.”
Which operators hold the licences?
Click here to see a list of which local operators hold which adventure licenses for the Cusco and Sacred Valley area, including which routes they are licenced to operate. It is up to date as of the end of April 2019.
How can I check if a company has their licence?
Simple- ask them to send you a copy.
You can read more about Amazonas Explorer risk and safety procedures here.
Remember, this scheme came about because of various fatal accidents over the last few years- involving companies who were cutting corners to offer lower prices. Safety has a cost- and the price of not paying it may well be your life.
Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.