Authenticity, luxury and adventure in Peru. We caught up with Veronica Napuri, owner of local DMC, Tucano Peru.
For those who don’t know, what is Tucano Peru? What do you specialize in?
Tucano Peru is a Peruvian DMC and tour operator. We craft fascinating experiences with an aim to allow all clients to make the most of our rich and fascinating country. Our itineraries are created by exchanging ideas with our clients and are each designed exclusively – we take our time to understand each of their requirements. I like my clients to feel special, so always give them enough time so we can discuss a range of possibilities during the planning process. We love shaping the programme to suit the style of each traveller, so that every journey offers a variety of experiences and is unique to that individual or group. Selecting the right accommodation is also vital – it must suit the client´s preferences, whether that´s to be in a luxury property or in a tent under the stars.
At Tucano Peru, we are also pioneers in wellness travel. For many years, I have been training myself in alternative therapies to better understand how to help people select the perfect wellness trip or destination. Also, at the foundation of our business is a commitment to protecting Peru’s beautiful, delicate environment and rich cultural heritage through sustainable travel.
What three words would you use to describe Peru?
Culture – Nature – Gastronomy.
Describe one of the most extra-ordinary travel itineraries you’ve designed for a client.
We were one of the first Peruvian companies to take railway enthusiasts on the highest train ride in the Americas, the “Tren Macho” from Huancayo to Huancavelica. It takes travellers on an absolutely breath-taking journey through the Andes mountain range.
If we had only a limited time in Peru, what must feature on our itinerary?
In just 4 days, you can visit the national highlights of Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley. With a week or more, you will have the time to visit historic cities and off-the-beaten-path adventures too. I’d recommend Lake Titicaca, which is home to 41 protected floating islands made up of bundled reeds. They’re beautiful and local communities continue to live there. Another must is visiting the Amazon Rainforest in northern Peru to see the clay licks, as well as canopy walking among the tree tops. Or, there are also fantastic cruises to enjoy along the Amazon River from Iquitos.
Tucano Peru has grown from strength to strength, operating now in a number of travel categories including, wellness and MICE. Tell us more about this…
I believe it is necessary to consider the specific needs and interests of each niche market. Focusing on a specific type of travel i.e. wellness or incentives will allow us to become true experts. This then helps us educate our clients.
Tucano Peru’s latest project is in the field of wellness. Peru is one of the most energetically charged places on earth and provides all visitors with a wonderful connection to Mother Nature, so wellness is a very relevant industry for us. We recently brought international leaders from the United Kingdom and India in the field of wellness to Peru and organised retreats.
Also, for more than 6 years, I have been the international delegate for Termatalia, Spain, a very unique organisation dedicated to promoting thermal tourism, health and welfare. We have also been appointed as the Representative for “Red Latino Americana de Bienestar” in Peru.
Peru Mice is now promoting experiential events and has the expertise and unwavering dedication to customise the service for any corporate event to the exact taste of your clients.
What is on the horizon for Tucano Peru in 2020 and beyond?
We strive to always be prepared to meet the demands of the traveller. Travel is now more about rejuvenation, adventure, fulfilment, learning new skills and making good memories, so this will be a focus for us in the next few years. We are also part of the Transformational Travel Council, and I am very proud to share their values.
“We are a community at work. We enjoy designing and booking memorable experiences for our clients. A win for our customers is a win for our team.”
Are you noticing any emerging luxury travel trends as a result of your clients’ requests?
With so many ideas bubbling in my head every day, and with our client’s requests, I feel that luxury travel is transforming rapidly. We are noticing that our clients are searching for something authentic and exclusive. They want to create experiences that are deeply personal, but also enriching, relaxing and embracing of Peru’s culture.
What are most visitors currently looking for?
As well as personal experiences, clients request itineraries that are adventurous and far off the beaten track. Northern Peru crosses mountains, jungle, and desert from the Pacific Ocean to the Peruvian Amazon .The journey includes the region’s archaeological highlights, such as Kuélap in Chachapoyas and Chan Chan in Trujillo. The Chachapoyan people have left an awe-inspiring collection of sophisticated hilltop fortifications. The Cloud Warriors: Sarcophagi Sentries perched on the Cliffs in Peru. These are the experiences that our clients are looking for.
How is Peru developing to suit the luxury traveller?
Quality services, gastronomy and local, authentic experiences have all contributed to the increase of luxury tourism. At present, there is a tendency for our clients to stay in hotels that take into account the environment that surrounds them – greener destinations that offer unique and unforgettable experiences are popular in the luxury market. Luxury travellers also seek exclusivity too. They are willing to pay large sums of money to visit places that have no competition in the world and have unique characteristics. Our major cities of Lima, Cusco, Arequipa, Paracas, Piura have several luxury and boutique hotels to cater for the luxury traveller and features such as spa areas, infinity pools and rooftop bars are certainly popular.
Tucano Peru works closely with a number of environmental bodies as part of your commitment to sustainability. Tell us more about your practices to help reduce your carbon footprint. Why do you believe it’s so important for the travel industry to lead and operate by example?
As a company, we are constantly researching and developing attractive, sustainable products. They reflect our commitment to protecting Peru’s beautiful, delicate environment and rich cultural heritage, and aim to have a positive impact that will benefit future generations.
We have been connecting travellers to locals, at all levels, for many years. For example, for the past three years, we have been running a ‘voluntourism’ project in the traditional Andean community of Sallayfalla, high in the mountains of Cusco province. ‘Voluntravellers’ have the chance to experience the age-old traditions of music, dance, textiles and working the land. Sallayfalla’s customs can be traced directly to before the arrival of the Spanish in South America. Their language, Quechua, was spoken by the Incas; their clothes are made from alpaca and llama wool; their agriculture is non-mechanised; their festivals are based on traditional worship of the Earth, Sun and Moon; and their view of the world is based on the three ethical pillars of Inca society.
So far, Tucano Peru’s project with the community has generated a number of benefits for Sallayfalla including employment for some of the male population as porters on the Inca Trail, health assistance, house renovations, a playground for local children and toilet facilities at the local school.
Other sustainable projects Tucano Peru is proud to be part of are the Rainforest Alliance and Carbon Neutral Huella Co2.
Finally, what appeals to you about the Connections Way of doing business?
You create meaningful connections in an authentic way. I was very happy to be part of the first Adventure edition last year in Slovenia and the latest Wellness event, which was also in Slovenia. The environment that Connections creates is very inspiring. A big surprise to me was that I had a meeting sat in a old farm! This was followed by a meeting in castle in front of a beautiful lake while eating traditional Slovenian cake. This is a memorable way of doing business and it is exactly what we need to offer in the travel industry.