International Expeditions (ietravel.com) is celebrating its 30th anniversary as a major player in the world of nature travel by expanding its volunteer projects in travel, this year including Peru. Based in Iquitos, the 7-night Peru voluntourism program offers guests real hands-on experiences, either assisting in a kindergarten classroom, planting an urban garden or working with wildlife—monkeys, butterflies and agoutis—in a nature reserve. While all arrangements can be customized, the suggested program offers a choice of accommodations during the four days working in Iquitos and a full jungle lodge program when staying at La Ceiba Lodge on the Amazon. The cost starts at $1,898 pp dbl including a $250 donation to the project worked on.
Effective July 1, LAN Peru airlines (lan.com) will introduce four flights per week between Lima and San Francisco—Monday Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday—operating with 767-300 aircraft. LAN adds this fourth U.S. gateway to its U.S. network, now including New York, Los Angeles and Miami.
The Canal House (canalhousepanama.com), located in Panama’s historic district, is the first hotel in the country to receive the Green Globe award, designating the boutique hotel property to be in compliance with internationally accepted sustainability standards. Canal House is a 3-room property occupying a restored turn-of-the-century mansion. A New York Times’ “Editor’s Pick,” the hotel has a full-time staff of six, including the manager and concierge, and it was developed by Conservatorio SA, a Panamanian company dedicated to the revitalization of Casco Antiguo, the old quarter of town, a.k.a. Casco Viejo.
The hotel building boom continues in Peru, led in part by Libertador Hotels, Resorts & Spas (libertador.com.pe), whose six Peruvian properties (soon to become seven) are now linked in a strategic alliance with Starwood.
• In Lima, the Westin Libertador Lima is scheduled to open Oct. 1. Located in the San Isidro district, the hotel has 301 rooms, two restaurants, a bar-lounge, a luxury spa and conference rooms with a capacity for over 2,000 persons.
• In Paracas, along Peru’s southern Pacific Coast (three hours by car/45 minutes by air from Lima), the 120-room Hotel Paracas, a Luxury Collection resort, opened in January. The restaurant, bar-lounge and pool all face the sea, while guestrooms have either ocean or garden views. Amenities include a 52-ft. yacht for excursions to the Ballestras Islands and a light aircraft to offer guests private excursions to the Nazca Lines.
• In the Sacred Valley outside Cusco, Libertador opened its 128-room Tambo del Inca, located directly on the Urubamba River. This villa-like property offers such amenities as a luxury spa, indoor and outdoor pools, dramatic common areas and its own train station for direct access to the ruins of Machu Picchu.