South America is considered to many to be off the beaten track and exotic. For this reason it's hard to find solid recommendations on where to go and stay with friends or family. The Latin America Travel Association (LATA) was formed to help promote 200 companies, including tourist boards, tour operators, hotels, wholesalers, media, and airlines.
Recently during World Travel Market (WTM) the organization gathered to recognize members that were excelling in providing service to tourists. Those who travel want to ensure that when they arrive they have booked with quality companies and also those that give back to the community. Particularly in South America one of the biggest issues for travellers is sustainability and for the third year in a row the Inkaterra hotel in Cuzco was chosen a leader in this area.
Inkaterra is a great example of how luxury and sustainability can work hand in hand. The company focuses on conserving the environment and preserving its native culture while developing tourism in Peru. While sustainability may seem to be a new buzz word Inkaterra has been around for 30 years and has three hotels:
The Inkaterra Machu Picchu in the Andean cloud forest. This is not the hotel located at the entrance to Machu Picchu (which is Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge) but located in Machu Picchu Pueblo, which is more commonly known by its former name of Aguas Calientes. Aguas Calientes is the town many travelers stay overnight in and then take the first bus to the Machu Picchu entrance. Unless you are hiking and camping through to this Inca Ruin, it is likely you will be staying overnight here in one of the many hotels.
The Reserva Amazonica on the banks of the Madre de Dios River in the Amazonian forest. This is a destination for travellers who want to be immersed in nature. The lodge is located in a private reserve and surrounded by a jungle canopy so you awake to the sounds of birds, spend your day in the jungle and end with soft lantern light.
There are a number of different options for cabins and rooms. For those who have no fear of heights there is a Canopy Tree House, where you can stay far from it all at 90ft above the jungle ground. This unique accommodation joins onto a canopy walkway. For those with children there are a number of educational activities to amuse children while keeping the curious safe.
La Casona in Cusco, a restored 16th century manor which blends the colonial and Inca culture of the area. It is located in the heart of Cusco and while many people think the city is only to be used as a short stop over on their way to Machu Picchu it is often a good idea to stay here a few days to acclimate to the altitude. There are a number of great day trips from Cusco and the city is pleasant to walk around during the day and there is plenty of live music at night.
While many consider Peru to be a backpackers destination, Inkaterra is a luxury hotel invested in introducing people to the unique aspects of Peru in both its land and its culture. A busy destination, over 65,000 travelers visit one of the properties each year and the company is considered a leader in South America.
At the LATA awards commendations were also given to Crillon Tours, a ground operator in Bolivia and Tropic Journeys in Nature, an ecotourism tourism operator in Ecuador and the Galapagos.
These annual awards recognize members who are innovating and providing leadership in the region. Nominations come from members in the areas of sustainability, customer services, innovation and promotional success. Winners are chosen from a panel of judges.