Peru is home to a remarkably diverse set of ecosystems encompassing a geographically small area. This course will examine how geography affects regional economic development and how conservation and economic development can be integrated in a sustainable way to preserve the integrity of local habitats and the needs of the indigenous population.
These issues will be explored by traveling within Peru, starting out in Cuzco and trekking the Inca trail to Machu Picchu. The trek will involve camping overnight in tents and long day hikes. Upon returning to Cuzco, we will journey deep into the Peruvian Amazon to the Tambopata National Reserve, one of the most bio-diverse regions on the planet. While staying at the Tambopata Research Center, students will explore nearby habitats and learn about projects related to sustainable development and environmental conservation. Our next stop will be the colonial city of Arequipa and Colca Canyon, proclaimed to be the deepest canyon in the world, where we will hike to and stay overnight at an oasis, explore pre-Inca ruins and learn about conservation aimed at the Andean Condor. Lastly, we will visit Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world, where we will tour the Uros islands made from floating reeds. We will stay overnight on Amantani island in Lake Titicaca which will give us the opportunity to immerse in and study the economies of local communities.