Willka T'ika Sustainability
Since its founding in 1995, Willka T’ika has held fast to sustainable practices, ranging from environmental conservation to community engagement.
For the environment: At Willka T’ika, our sustainable practices ensure that our guests’ stay has the lowest possible environmental impact.
For the community: The Willka T’ika Team is comprised of 19 Quechua who have been with us for over two decades.
For social impact: The Willka T’ika Children’s Fund facilitates the education of hundreds of Quechua children in remote villages.
Watch recent Sustainability Webinars featuring Willka T’ika:
- PromPeru’s Virtual Xpo on Sustainable Peru: Listen to Tourism Cares’ CEO interview Willka T’ika Director Terry Cumes and other Sacred Valley Social Entrepreneurs (Sept ’20)
- ATTA’s Sustainable Travels in Peru: The Adventure Travel Trade Association presents an Andean (Willka T’ika) and Amazon (Crees) perspective on Sustainability in Peru (Oct ’20)
Protecting the Environment
Efficient Construction: The handsome adobe-style buildings that grace Willka T’ika are constructed of natural materials sourced in the Sacred Valley. Adobe is energy efficient, keeping rooms warm on cool Andean nights and pleasant during the hot sunny days.
Conserving Resources: Hot water used on the property is solar heated. Irrigation water is sourced from the mountain streams, as per the traditional community agreements of the local Quechua. When Willka T’ika’s weekly allotment of water from the local water cooperative is not needed in the gardens, we collect it in large storage tanks for later use.
Waste Management: Waste is separated out into compost, plastics, paper and other materials. Garden refuge, paper and all organic waste from the kitchen are composted. Scrap metal is recycled and soldered into new structures. Willka T’ika minimizes the use of plastic bottles, by offering filtered water free of charge. Glass bottles that are bought on site are collected and given to small-scale recycling traders in Urubamba, which provides a small income for local community members.
Permaculture: Willka T’ika has been strictly organic since our inception in 1995. Our large greenhouses supplement the vegetable garden and allow us to grow our own produce year-round. To reduce waste and maintain soil fertility, Willka T’ika has a complex system of composting in three stages.
Ayni: Teaching each other Sustainability
For millennia, the Quechua-speaking indigenous people of the Andes have depended upon one another for their existence. The Quechua word for this interdependent way of living is ayni. Ayni is the thread that holds the fabric of Andean existence together. The Quechua live and work, play and pray, in a world governed by the principle of interdependence. All work is shared. They help each other, knowing that at some time the favor will be returned.
Ayni also extends beyond the human community to include the Earth and everything living upon it. So involved is the Quechua people’s relationship with the earth that they regard it as a being that must be nourished and protected. They call the earth Pachamama, meaning literally, Mother Earth. Before drinking chicha, the traditional corn-based alcoholic beverage, they spill a few drops on the earth as an offering to Pachamama. They also offer her small portions of food before they eat. Willka T’ika honors this ancient way of the Andes in every aspect of its operations, from organic gardening methods to sustainable construction and water use, and from staff members working together to the quality of care and attention extended to guests.
As we learn from our Quechua neighbors, we freely share practices of sustainability with the local community as well. Quechua staff members are taught how to create a chemical-free environment and grow food organically. Staff gardeners take home seeds from Willka T’ika’s flowers and vegetables to plant on their own farms, and their spouses sell the flowers and produce in local markets.
Addressing the Challenges on COVID-19
- Food security: Our organic farming practices produce more resilient crops and enhance food security and sustainability in times of a quarantine. The communities that Willka T’ika trains in organic farming are more self-sufficient and have better health, making them less vulnerable to infections.
- Water sanitation: Willka T’ika’s water filtration system and garden watering practices positively impact groundwater and help reducing contamination of the soil and river. This in turn improves the health and immune systems of local communities.
- Employment: Willka T’ika continues to fully support all 19 staff members; While the hotel was empty, we created alternative such as the production of essential oils from the produce of Willka T’ika’s gardens.
- Education: Through the Willka T’ika Children’s Fund, we support education of Quechua children from rural areas. We are currently expanding our investments in internet access in order to ensure continued (virtual) education despite a quarantine that has left these children even more isolated. We also support local reforestation efforts planting queuña, molle, tara and huaranhuay trees.
What Our Clients Are Saying
Dr. Dennis McKenna
Jackie & Jennifer
Claire Massicote, Canada
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