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Revista interamericana de ambiente y turismo

versión impresa ISSN 0717-6651versión On-line ISSN 0718-235X

Rev. interam. ambient. tur. vol.18 no.1 Talca jun. 2022 

Research paper

Protected natural areas and ecotourism in the region of La Libertad Perú

Áreas Naturales Protegidas en la región La Libertad Perú

Mercedes Elena Zapata Mendoza1  *

Gonzalo de la Fuente de Val2

1 Professional school of Tourism Trujillo National University, Trujillo, Perú,

2 ONG - FONDO VERDE, Huancayo, Perú


The present work has been developed in the La Libertad region, located on the north coast of Peru, specifically in the high Andean province of Santiago de Chuco and the coastal province of Virú; This research had the purpose to analyze the situation of ecotourism in the National Sanctuary of Calipuy, the National Reserve of Calipuy and the National Reserve of Islotes y Puntas Guaneras - Guañape Islands. Having as a result that the areas under study present significant tourist resources, both natural and cultural, with the capacity to attract ecotourists, but that their external conditions, such as access roads and tourist services, are limiting this development. Concluding that the three areas mentioned have the possibility of generating specialized ecotourism products, based on the observation of species and coexistence with traditional communities, supported by the management instruments identified for each area and the experience of their managers. The methodology used has been the ethnographic method to describe the cultural reality of the study area, and the synthetic analytical method to address the discussion of the results; the main data was collected through the techniques of observation, documentary review and interview.

Keywords: Protected natural area; Ecotourism; Management instruments; Demand


El presente trabajo, se ha desarrollado en la región La Libertad, ubicada en la costa norte del Perú, específicamente en la provincia altoandina de Santiago de Chuco y la provincia costera de Virú; esta investigación tuvo como propósito, analizar la situación del ecoturismo en el Santuario Nacional de Calipuy, la Reserva Nacional de Calipuy y la Reserva Nacional de Islas Islotes y Puntas Guaneras - Islas Guañape. Teniendo como resultado que las áreas en estudio presentan significativos recursos turísticos, tanto naturales como culturales, con capacidad para atraer ecoturistas, pero que sus condiciones externas, como las vías de acceso y los servicios turísticos, están limitando ese desarrollo. Concluyendo que las tres áreas en mención tienen la posibilidad de generar productos ecoturísticos especializados, basados en la observación de especies y la convivencia con comunidades tradicionales, apoyados en los instrumentos de gestión identificados para cada área y la experiencia de sus gestores. La metodología utilizada ha sido, el método etnográfico para describir la realidad cultural de la zona de estudio, y el método analítico sintético para abordar la discusión de los resultados; se recogieron los principales datos a través de las técnicas de observación, revisión documentaria y entrevista.

Palabras clave: Área Natural Protegida; Ecoturismo; Instrumentos de gestión; Demanda


La Libertad is located in the northwestern part of Peru, has three natural regions, which are the coast, mountains and jungle and has an area of 25,499.90 km2, which represents 2% of the national territory, its capital is the city of Trujillo and It is politically divided into 12 provinces and 83 districts.

This region is very diverse in geography, culture and environment and based on this wealth it has developed a cultural tourism product, having as its central axis three historical monuments of the Moche and Chimú culture, regional lordships that existed in these lands, before the presence of the Incas and the Spanish conquest. As it was indicated, the tourist product of La Libertad is eminently cultural, since the attractions define the type of tourism and tourists they attract; The province of Trujillo received 736,183 tourists in 2019, most of them tourists with cultural interests.

It is important to highlight that, despite the great environmental diversity of this area of the country, until this date there are no consolidated tourism products, based on nature, it is for this reason that interest is generated in carrying out this research on the opportunities of the region, against the development of an ecotourism product, from the protected natural areas and contribute to the process of diversifying the tourist offer of La Libertad. The studies that relate ecotourism with protected natural areas (NPA), are diverse at the national level, but regionally, they are smaller.

Soriano (2018) in his thesis called Development of ecotourism in the Allpahuayo Mishana national reserve, Loreto-Peru, poses the need to plan for the development of ecotourism in the area, through a program under the modality of concession of ecotourism services for a five-year period.

Vargas (2019) develops a comparative study between the Manu National Park and the Tambopata National Reserve, based on the viability and economic impact of concessions for ecotourism in both areas, determining that the viability is established in the granting rights for ecotourism, set by law; but it spotlights that the tools for implementation have not been clear and that the institutions in charge have not collaborated with the achievement of this action, but it determines that SERNNPA, the institution in charge, has designed a tourism management strategy as a plan to support conservation, adding efforts to consolidate tourism in these areas.

Obombo & Velarde (2019), characterize ecotourism as a conservation and sustainable development strategy in biosphere reserves. To do this, the relationship between the benefits and the attitudes of local communities towards conservation is analyzed, establishing that ecotourism can generate significant economic benefits for local communities and encourage their participation in conservation initiatives. They also report that direct economic incentives from ecotourism alone are not enough to transform residents' attitudes and practices in favor of conservation.

Esparza et al. (2020), highlights that ecotourism is a conservation strategy for protected natural areas, especially in the Pómac Forest Historic Sanctuary (Lambayeque - Peru), where he focuses his study; identifies a series of business ventures with communal characteristics, which allow the population to strengthen the environmental and economic value of the forest, because it provides them with tangible benefits for their lives, such as employment, economic resources, social ties, environmental education, among others.

Tourism is a social, cultural and economic phenomenon that involves the movement of people to countries or places outside their usual environment for personal, professional or business reasons. These people are called travelers (who can be either tourists or excursionists; residents or non-residents) and tourism encompasses their activities, some of which involve tourism expense. (UNWTO, 2021).

De la Torre Padilla (1997) states that: Tourism is a social phenomenon that consists of the voluntary and temporary displacement of individuals or groups of people who, fundamentally for reasons of recreation, rest, culture and health, move from their place of habitual residence to another, in which they do not carry out any lucrative or remunerated activity, generating multiple interrelationships of social, economic and cultural importance (p. 16).

Since its origins, tourist activity has manifested itself in different types, those that had common characteristics that emphasized overcrowding, in terms of demand and the monothematic, in relation to supply, types of tourism that did not take long to generate negative impacts. in host communities, nature and culture.

Thus, in the 1980s, a new trend began in the world with respect to looking at growth and the activities around it, the concept of sustainable development appeared and a series of commitments, regulations, projects and actions were deployed, which they sought a paradigm shift, from the purely economistic, to the sustainable.

The Mexican architect Héctor Ceballos Lascuráin, in 1983 created the term and the basic concepts of Ecotourism, which have been recognized by the world tourism authorities (UNWTO), the United Nations (UN), the World Conservation Union (IUCN), the Congress of Nature Experts, as well as by different writers. (Jiménez B., 2013).

“Ecotourism is a type of tourism activity based on nature in which the essential motivation of the visitor is to observe, learn, discover, experience and appreciate biological and cultural diversity, with a responsible attitude, to protect the integrity of the ecosystem and promote the well-being of the local community” (UNWTO, 2021).

For the World Tourism Organization (WTO) or its acronym in English UNWTO, ecotourism is considered an activity that focuses on the use of nature as a fundamental attraction, complemented with culture, emphasizing the importance of participation in this type of activity. activities with a "responsible attitude" towards the conservation of biodiversity in favor of the communities that possess it.

Ecotourism is the environmentally responsible journey, to relatively undisturbed areas, to enjoy and appreciate nature, while promoting conservation, having a low environmental impact and providing a socioeconomic benefit to the local population (Perez de las Heras, citing Lascurain, 2003).

One of the favorable spaces to develop ecotourism are the so-called protected natural areas; in Peru they are defined as follows:

They are continental and/or marine spaces of the national territory recognized, established and legally protected by the State as such, due to their importance for the conservation of biological diversity and other associated values of cultural, landscape and scientific interest, as well as for their contribution to the sustainable development of the country. (SERNNPA, 2021).

According to SERNNPA (2021), the characteristics of the natural areas protected by the State are the following:

  • It is a geographically defined area: which indicates that its location, limits and extension are clearly established through a legal instrument, and demarcated on the ground.

  • Designated and managed: established for controlled use through management plans.

  • In order to achieve specific conservation objectives: to achieve the long-term conservation of nature and its ecosystem services and associated cultural values.

  • It maintains samples of the different types of natural community, landscapes and physiographic forms, especially those that represent the unique and distinctive diversity of the country.

The interest in researching in this area was focused on analyzing the situation of ecotourism in each of these protected natural areas of the La Libertad region; in its dimensions of management instruments, actions carried out for the promotion of ecotourism, developed tourist services and the tourist demand met; in order to map the ecotourism management process in each of them and propose more efficient intervention alternatives that contribute to the diversification of the regional tourism offer.

Material and methods

The materials used for this research have been the official documents related to the protected natural areas in the country, such as: The Master Plan of the Natural Protected Areas 2009, The master plans of the Sanctuary of Calipuy (2015-2020) and the National Reserve of Guano Islands, Islets and Points (2016-2020); Tourist and Recreational Area Site Plan for the period 2017 - 2021, of the National Sanctuary of Calipuy, the Law of Natural Protected Areas, regulation No. 26834 and its respective regulation of law.

The ethnographic method has been used, which allowed the description of communal participation in the tourist activities of the areas, as well as for the characterization of the actions that promote ecotourism in the traditional communities of the buffer zones, while the method synthetic analytical, allowed to discuss the findings, providing explanations about the role of managers, the effectiveness of management instruments, the use of tourism resources and the trajectory of demand in recent years in each NPA.

The techniques used were indirect observation, since due to the pandemic, these spaces under study were not yet open for tourist use and had to be accessed through virtual graphic and audiovisual media, but it was of great importance. having made several field trips to the area, before the period of health emergency; the documentary review and finally the interview with the managers of the NPAs that allowed to know the experiences developed.


The natural protected areas in Peru

Peru is a megadiverse country, because it has a variety of scenarios and species of flora and fauna that have conditioned its development, these spaces have exceptional particularities, which have been necessary to protect to ensure their existence until the future, for which they have been created the natural protected areas of the country, covering 17.62% of the national territory, expressed in a total of 244 NPAs in their different levels of intervention

Table 1: Total number of Natural Areas protected by the Peruvian state. 

NPA Levels Number Total of the National Territory Percentage of the National Territory
National 75 23051772,52 (ha). 17.62%
Regional Conservation 25
Private Conservation 144

Note: Elaborated based on NPA list - SERNNPA in https://plandirectorNPA. pe/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Listado-NPA-19-02-2021.pdf

The management of the NPAs in Peru is being led by the Ministry of the Environment, through its offices of the National System of Natural Protected Areas (SINNPAE) and the Service of Natural Protected Areas (SERNNPA), under the parameters established by the Plan Director of NPAs, a document that is currently being updated, building the vision for 2050.

The document being updated is proposing that “the management of the Natural Protected Areas System be oriented towards meeting the conservation objectives of the PNAs, which are: i) conserving biodiversity, ii) maintaining ecosystem services and iii) generating socioeconomic benefits. associates (human well-being)” (SINNPAE, 2021).

Protected natural areas in Peru are valuable spaces, not only because they are created to safeguard biodiversity, but also the culture of the ancestral peoples who have inhabited them for years, generating social and environmental benefits, but also tourism, since each one of the conservation objects of an NPA it is possible to be considered a tourist resource, which can be used by visitors, respecting the protocols established by the competent authorities.

The NPAs in Peru are so important that in 2019, they received two million tourists: “More than 2 and a half million tourists visited the protected natural areas during 2019, which represents an increase of 14% per year since five years ago, reported the National Service of Natural Areas Protected by the State (SernNPA)” (Andina, 2020).

Within the national tourist offer, Macchu Picchu stands out, an archaeological site of great historical, cultural and tourist importance at the country level, apart from being considered the cultural attraction that sums up Peru in the world, it is part of a protected natural area, which is the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu; thus highlighting the importance of these spaces for the consolidation of a future sustainable ecotourism offer, both nationally and regionally.

The natural protected areas of region La Libertad:

Among the 76 areas of national administration, are the Reserve and the National Sanctuary of Calipuy, both located in the Sierra de la Libertad and the System of Islets and Puntas Guaneras Islands North and South Guañape Islands, on the southern coast of the region.

This regional scenario has important environmental opportunities to develop a solid ecotourism product, based on the NPAs, existing in its limits.

Table 2: Total number of protected natural areas in the La Libertad region. 

NPA levels Number NPA
National Administration 04 System of Islets Islands and Guaneras Points (North Guañape and South Guañape)
Puquio Santa Rosa Protected Forest
Private Conservation 02 Natural forest "El Cañoncillo"
Hills of Cerro Campana

Note: Elaborated based on: NPA list - SERNNPA in https://plandirectorNPA. pe/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Listado-NPA-19-02-2021.pdf

Table 02 shows the existing protected natural areas in the La Libertad region. As can be seen, there are a total of 06, four being national category and two being private conservation; Of which we highlight three for the execution of this study, for being of a national level and presenting the greatest efforts for their incorporation into the tourist market of the region.

The Sanctuary and the National Reserve of Calipuy, represent the areas of the Andean zone, have important cultural and environmental values that are of sufficient quality to become tourist attractions that contribute to the expansion of the regional offer, but one of the greatest difficulties that this space presents, is the poor road interconnection and the absence of basic and tourist services that meet an eventual demand; while in the case of the Guañape Islands, it currently has better access, because it is on the coast and there are business initiatives to take advantage of its values, all these ventures paralyzed by the recent COVID 19 pandemic.

The conservation objects of each of these three areas selected for this study are shown below.

Table 3: Objects of conservation of the three NPAs prioritized in this study. 

Area Object of Conservation
SNCA "Protect a dense stand of Puya Raimondi, which constitutes a valuable biotic potential for the species, and the guanaco populations."
RNCA “Preserve the guanaco populations, as well as the wild flora and fauna; promote scientific research on the natural resources of the region; stimulate and control tourism development, promoting regional socioeconomic development”.
NRSIIGP “Conservation of the biological diversity of marine-coastal ecosystems, ensuring the continuity of the biological cycle of the species that inhabit it”.

Note: elaborated based on information from

Calipuy National Sanctuary (CANS)

It was created on January 08, 1981, by means of Supreme Decree No. 004-81-AA. In its beginnings, no major activities were developed other than those of diagnosis and conservation of the natural species of the area, it is located in the Sierra de the La Libertad region approximately six hours away, using public transportation.

According to (SERNNPA, 2021): The National Sanctuary of Calipuy (SNC) is located in the district of Santiago de Chuco, province of Santiago de Chuco, department of La Libertad. It has an extension of 4,500 hectares. Its establishment seeks to protect the largest stand of puyas Raimondi (Puya raimondii), which constitutes a valuable biotic potential of the species. It also intends to maintain and manage the functional conditions of the hydrographic basins of the Huamanzaña and Chorobal rivers. The main conservation object is the Puya Raimondi that lives between 40 and 100 years to flower for only three months before dying. Each of them produces more than six million winged seeds that take advantage of the wind to spread. Its environmental and tourist value lies in the presence of the Puya Raymondi species:

Puya raimondii Harms (Poales: Bromeliaceae; etymology: puya=tapered tip; raimondii=Italian naturalist A. Raimondi) is the most beautiful plant exponent of the high Andean region. A giant monocot that forms stands of several individuals can reach up to 15 m tall between the vegetative part crowned with a dense rosette of leaves (up to 4 m) and compound inflorescences (up to 11 m), it holds the record for the largest inflorescence of the plant kingdom with up to 10,000 flowers and 6 million seeds per plant (pers. obs.), whose reproductive strategy is monocarpism. It is an endemic species of the Andes of Peru (La Libertad region to Puno) and Bolivia (La Paz, Cochabamba) between 3,500 and 4,800 m altitude, with great ecotourism potential. (Rodriguez et al, 2020).

Note: Taken from the master plan of the SNC (SERNNPA, 2015).

Photo 1: Puya Raimondi (Puya raimondii) 

Calipuy National Reserve (CNR)

According to SERNNPA (2021), the RNC is located in part of the districts of Santiago de Chuco and Chao, in the province of Santiago de Chuco and Virú, in the department of La Libertad. It has an area of 64,000 hectares and is located a short distance from the town of Calipuy. Its establishment allows conserving the territories of the guanaco (Lama guanicoe) located further north within its range of distribution. The RNC was created to protect one of the last refuges of this formidable species, which is the largest of the South American camelids and is in danger (EN) as established by the categorization of endangered species of wildlife approved by DS No. 034-2004-AG. Their domains extended from the coast to four thousand meters above sea level. Today, however, its distribution in our country is restricted to the heights of Ica, Arequipa, La Libertad, Ayacucho, Puno and Cusco.

The object of conservation of the RNCA is the species Lama guanicoe, commonly known as Guanaco. “Considered the largest of the South American wild camelids, it is characterized by being robust with a slender neck and long legs. The weight of an adult varies between 93-130 Kg. It has short cinnamon-brown fur on the upper part of the body, and white fur on the inside of the body, from the neck. The head is fine with long ears that end in points, the lip has a central cleft and is very mobile (Cuellar & Núñez 2009). There is no morphometric difference between males and females (Cuellar & Núñez 2009; Villalba, et. al 2010). (Conservation International Bolivia, 2021)

According to Núñez (2008), cited in (Conservación Internacional Bolivia, 2021): It is found in Peru, northern Chile, and part of the highlands of Bolivia. In Bolivia, a population is known in the Chaco to the southwest of the Kaa-Iya National Park of the Gran Chaco (Cuellar & Núñez 2009) and there are sightings in the highlands of Bolivia in the Morochata mountain range, on the border of the departments of Potosí and Chuquisaca.

Note: Taken from (Andina, 2021)

Photo 2: Guanacos in the Calipuy National Reserve (Lama guanicoe) 

National Reserve - System of islands, islets and guano points (NRSIIGP)

According to (SERNNPA, 2021): The National Reserve System of Guaneras Islands, Islets and Points (RNSIIPG) is made up of a set of 22 islands, islets and groups of islands and 11 points along the Peruvian coast, which are in the form discontinuous from the coasts in front of Piura until almost reaching the border with Tacna. These points and islands cover a total of one hundred and forty thousand eight hundred and thirty-three hectares with four thousand seven hundred square meters (140,833.47 ha).

The NRSIIGP covers areas where important ecological processes occur, such as the upwelling of nutrients, the reproduction of most of the populations of sea lions and guano birds in Peru, and the spawning of fish and invertebrates. These allow the biological diversity and wealth of coastal resources to be maintained, also contributing to the repopulation of fishing resources in the adjacent areas subject to extraction.

This NPA is special since it is not only about the conservation of the resources of a region but it brings together several of them; In this sense, in the case of the La Libertad region, four islands are included as part of this reserve: Macabí, Guañape Norte and Sur, and Chao.

Being only the North and South Guañape islands, which have actions carried out from the public and private sectors for the development of ecotourism.

According to the Biodiversity report of the Guaneras Islands, Islets and Puntas National Reserve System (Figueroa J., 2016), the most outstanding species that become conservation objects of the RNSIIPG in the area of the North and South Guañape Islands are the following:

In birds like; Peruvian potoyunco (Pelecanoides garnoti), Large Kingfisher, Magnificent Avefragata, Female House Sparrow; in mammals : “An unidentified rodent, common vampire bat (Desmodus rotundus), fur seal (Arctocephalus australis), funny sea lion (Otaria byronia), humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae), bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) and spiny porpoise (Phocoena spinipinnis) and finally in reptiles the most outstanding are: Lizard (Microlophus peruvianus) and gecko Phyllodactylus microphyllus) and Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas).

Note: By Walter H. Wust / in (Conservamos por Naturaleza, 2021).

Photo 3: Guano birds in the Guañape Islands 

Management Instruments of Protected Natural Areas of La Libertad Region

The management instruments used in the NPAs are clear and present hierarchies in their approach. These being the following:

  1. Director Plan: defines the guidelines for policies and strategic planning, as well as the conceptual framework for effective management and the constitution and longterm operation (10 years) of the Protected Natural Areas and SINNPAE, formulating the measures to conserve and complement the required ecological cover. It constitutes the maximum instrument for planning and guiding the development of Natural Protected Areas, whatever their level. Whether as a policy or planning instrument, the Master Plan has sought to highlight those guiding and planning aspects common to all NPAs regardless of their level, so that the whole fulfills its systemic role as a FUNCTIONAL UNIT, making it a benchmark for the various institutions and individuals interested in the effective management of the NPA. (SINIA, 2021).

  2. Master Plan: According to the Law of Natural Protected Areas Law No. 26834: “Article 20.The National Authority will approve a Master Plan for each Natural Protected Area. The Master Plan constitutes the highest level planning document available to a Natural Protected Area. They will be prepared under participatory processes, reviewed every 5 years and will define, at least: a. The zoning, strategies and general policies for the management of the area. b. The organization, objectives, specific plans required and management programs. c. The cooperation, coordination and participation frameworks related to the area and its buffer zones”

  3. Public Use Plans: According to article 38 of the regulations of the Law of Protected Natural Areas Law No. 26834: Public Use Plans are specific planning instruments, which are developed following the guidelines of the Master Plan and, as an integral part of it, define in greater detail the criteria, guidelines, priorities and limits of the public use of the Natural Protected Area. They are approved by Directorial Resolution of the General Directorate. (Peruvian State, 2001).

The protected natural areas that are the subject of this study present some management instruments, as can be seen in the following table:

Table 4: Management Instruments of the NPAs under study 

Área Master Plan Public Use Plan / Tourist Use Plan
SNCA Yes Yes

Note: Own elaboration based on made interviews.

The National Sanctuary of Calipuy has a master plan, whose period was from 2015 to 2019 and is being updated, this process has been delayed by the COVID 19 pandemic; if you have your Tourist and Recreational Area Site Plan for the period 2017 - 2021, currently in force. While the RNCA does not yet have long-term management instruments.

The Islotes and Puntas Guaneras National Reserve System has a master plan with a period of 2016-2020, the same thing happening as the SNCA plan, since its updating process was impeded by the health contingency.

The PNAs in the country are governed by a series of management instruments at the highest level, such as the master plan, which defines the general policy for the entire system of natural protected areas in the country, up to the most specific, such as public use plans. for each area.

Having a master plan is an important advantage for an NPA in relation to those that do not have it, this document establishes the zoning of the area and the objectives of each designated zone. For the promotion of ecotourism in scenarios such as these, it is essential to define tourist areas, since it is in them that public use plans can be formulated and the intervention strategy defined for the development of this activity.

Of the three areas under study, the National Sanctuary of Calipuy shows a greater trajectory in the work of building conditions for the development of ecotourism, it has its two management instruments, duly formulated and officialized, developed in a participatory manner, thus gaining respect. and community interest in contributing to the execution of ecotourism, both as a conservation strategy and as an opportunity to improve the quality of life of the communities in the buffer zone.

These two plans allow the area to have a better coordination with the interest groups, organized in a Management Committee, which contributes to the development of the destination in a permanent and direct way and that effectively develop actions that are noticeable in the experience. of visits, such as an internal These two plans allow the area to have a better coordination with the interest groups, organized in a Management Committee, which contributes to the development of the destination in a permanent and direct way and that effectively develop actions that are noticeable in the experience. of visits, such as an internal signaling system, defined interpretive routes and adequate information.

While the RNCA does not yet have these general plans, which justifies its lower development of actions in the face of an ecotourism visit in the area, despite not having these instruments, it is worth mentioning that the management of the area is governed by the plan director and operational plans. The RNCA is very close to the SNCA, being almost an integrality of territories that share the same buffer zone, so the managers of each of these areas join forces to carry out their institutional projects.

The National Reserve System of Guaneras Islands, Islets and Points, is a very particular scenario since its extension is vast, covering almost the entire coast of Peru, for which its management is very complex and it is divided into sectors corresponding to regions. As has been seen previously in the La Libertad region, it encompasses four islands: Macabí, Isla Guañape Norte, Isla Guañape Sur and Isla Chao.

The Guañape Islands are the ones that have the best conditions for the development of ecotourism based on the observation of marine species, both birds and mammals. These actions have been carried out since 2016, based on the presence of a Master Plan of the NRSIIGP., which has allowed the generation of infrastructure for the use of tourism resources in the area in a sustainable manner.

Actions developed in the protected natural areas of La Libertad, to promote ecotourism

Each of the NPAs under study have made efforts to promote the development of tourism in these spaces, many of them framed in existing plans and in the case of RNCA, as part of the area's operational plans.

Table 5: Main actions carried out by the heads of the NPAs under study, to promote ecotourism. 

Area Actions
National Sanctuary of Calipuy 1. Preparation of master plan and public use plan. 2. Creation of the SNCA Management Committee. 3. Diagnosis of the potential of the SNCA. 4. Preparation of adventure sports tourism activities such as rappelling, rock climbing and trekking. 5. Sensitization and training for the communities of the buffer zones, in tourist hospitality and customer service. 6. Information service, signaling and tourist interpretation of the area. 7. Creation of interpretive trails: a) Puya Raymondi Route. B) Route of the Vizcacha. C) Cerro Peruquio adventure route. D) Comprehensive route.
Calipuy National Reserve 1. Diagnosis of tourism potential. 2. Identification of Guanaco sighting areas. 3. Attention to visitors at the checkpoint. 4. Accompaniment of tours by park rangers. 5. Environmental education programs aimed at various age groups in the communities of the buffer zone.
National Reserve System of islands, islets and guano points 1. Formulation of the master plan. 2. Construction of a tourist jetty. 3. Tour design for the visit. 4. Coordination with the private sector, to invest in tourist transport companies. 5. Tourist promotion of the place.

Note: Own elaboration based on made interviews and documentary revision of the APN.

The actions developed in each NPA are the reflection of the planning of the tourist activity, framed in its institutional plans; Thus, we found a relationship of agreement between plans and development of actions that promote ecotourism.

The SNCA is the stage with the greatest development of these actions, this is ratified in the permanent and sustained link with the community of the buffer zone through tourist awareness programs and permanent consultation regarding the development of the area, on the other hand there is the design of ecotourism products linked to the recognition and enjoyment of the natural resources of the area, resulting in four interpretive trails that identify a central theme, such as the case of the observation of the species of vizcachas (Ligidium viscaciae) on the route of the Vizcacha, tour in which this species can be observed in its habitat; The Ruta de la Puya raymoni, in which the visit to the areas of the largest puya stand is prioritized; the adventure route on Cerro Peruquio, emphasizing the design and development of adventure activities such as rappelling and rock climbing and finally a route of greater intensity that is the well-known integral route, which makes up all the scenarios highlighted in the particular routes.

According to information provided by the SNCA headquarters, the routes preferred by tourists are: Las Vizcachas and Las Puyas, as they are the most accessible and contain the area's conservation targets. There is no doubt that the SNCA has an ecotourism product that has to be promoted in this reactivation period, after overcoming the pandemic, and that it should focus on the development of tourism support services for visits, including the communities in the area. of damping, mainly to that of Cusipampa; On the other hand, a basic health service and emergency care must be developed in coordination with the nearest village medical post and continue with the procedures before the competent bodies for the improvement of access roads to the area, both through the area of the mountains, like the coast.

One of the purposes of the RNCA is to develop ecotourism within its borders and an ally in this task is the SNCA and given the proximity between these areas, it is possible to coordinate joint actions.

The most significant activities of the reserve are the diagnosis of the ecotourism potential, which is based on the presence of the guanaco species, making it possible to carry out the activity of observing species in their habitat; On the other hand, there are the support services provided by the park rangers in the attention of the groups of visitors that arrive at the place and the valuable work they carry out, in matters of environmental education.

The Islotes and Puntas Guaneras National Reserve System, in the area of the North and South Guañape Islands, has carried out important actions that in a short time have developed an ecotourism product based on the observation of marine species, in organized tours offshore, to to be able to observe the habitat and the species of the area, complemented with the recognition of the activity of using the guano of the island. This can be considered the NPA in which the most has been invested in the construction of public works.

According to the web portal of the Regional Government of La Libertad, the project was called, Construction and Equipment of the Puerto Morín Artisanal Fishing Dock by the Ministry of Production, through the National Fund for Fisheries Development FONDEPES, investing 14 million soles. (GORE-LL, 2015).

This pier has given way to the development of protocols for the participation of private companies to invest in tourism, such as tour operators and specialized transport companies, which allow the movement from Puerto Morí to the Guañape Islands, in adequate and regulated conditions.

"The legal framework for this type of transport requires it to be done with safe and comfortable ships, established by the Maritime authority and the National Directorate" (GORE -LL, 2017)

One of the central actions for the development of ecotourism in this NPA has been the definition of five species sighting areas on the way to the island, including in them, the constructions and the process of using guano.

All these actions allowed this NPA to be opened in 2017, in the Guañape area, for tourist use, obtaining important results in terms of visits, but the pandemic forced operations to close, generating large economic losses for entrepreneurs. of ships that invested in the area and paralyzing the development of this important ecotourism destination.

One of the great shortcomings that the NPAs have, under study, is the lack of tourist services that ensure the correct attention to the visitors that are generated in the future, in each of these spaces.

It is understandable that there is no private investment of medium or large magnitude, in scenarios such as those described, which are rather emerging tourist destinations and not yet developed, but it is vitally important to consider that the arrival of local, regional or national investors may take time, But in the meantime, there will continue to be tourists with needs to satisfy, so it becomes an opportunity to develop companies or community associations that, in a regulated manner, provide services, primarily food and in some cases, lodging.

The situation of the SNCA and the RNCA is not the one experienced in the buffer zone of the Guañape Islands, since there are restaurants there, mainly, the same ones that have not been developed by the opening of this NPA, but more well because of the influx of visitors to the Puerto Morín spa, with a long history of being a recreation space for the inhabitants of the nearby districts and provinces.

All these actions allowed this NPA to be opened in 2017, in the Guañape area, for tourist use, obtaining important results in terms of visit Guañape has a great opportunity to become the tourist product that diversifies the regional offer of La Libertad, with a viable ecotourism proposal and growth opportunities, since it is located in the coastal setting, interconnected by the main land route of the country that It is the Pan-American highway, very close to the capital of the region (the city of Trujillo), which is considered the most important tourist center in this area.

Tourist services in the buffer zones of the NPAs

Tourist services in most of these areas are scarce, not enough business initiatives have been developed that can support a given tourist flow in the near future, this situation becomes more complex in scenarios so far from support centers such as the center of Trujillo, since you have to spend the night in the place due to the distances and it is necessary to make use of alternative services such as camping and lodging for small groups, at the control posts of both the sanctuary and the Calipuy reserve.

Table 6: Tourist Services in the natural areas studied 

Area Lodgment Feeding Transportation
Sanctuary and National Reserve of Calipuy There is no tourist lodging in the buffer zone, this service is provided by the head of the areas at the checkpoints or the authorization of camping areas, each visitor carrying their camping kits. Likewise, and prior coordination, the families of the Cusipampa or Calipuy community, belonging to the buffer zone, rent rooms in their houses, when a visitor requires it. The families of the Cusipampa community, belonging to the buffer zone of both areas, provide food service for visitors, prior coordination. Private transportation is used to reach both areas. There is public transportation, but it is not frequent and does not reach the areas directly.
National Reserve System of islands, islets and guano areas. The buffer zone of the Guañape Islands is the community of Puerto Morin, a beach in the province of Viru; on the same beach there are no lodging establishments to date. The visit to this place does not require this service, since it is a half-day visit, as it is one hour from the Trujillo base center. There are small food outlets, making a total of 13, which serve mainly in the busiest months (January to March). Due to the COVID 19 pandemic, they closed their operations and this year, the service is getting back to normal again. People get to Puerto Morín by public transport and from there take the sliders to the islands, which is a private tourist service. You can take a complete tour from the city of Trujillo, which includes transportation and guidance.

Table 7: Tourist Demand of the NPAs - Period 2017-2020. 

NATURAL AREAS 2017 2018 2019 2020
SNCA 302 607 704 34
RNCA 191 428 561 --
NRSIIGP 0 0 912 491

Note: Own elaboration based on made interviews and documentary revision of the APN.

The tourist demand of the protected natural areas of La Libertad

The tourist demand of these three NPAs is not abundant, but it represents the interest of visitors for these scenarios in a constant way in the last three years, being the COVID 19 pandemic, the one that interrupted this growth in 2020.

Chart 1: Tourist Demand of the NPAsPeriod 2017 - 2020 

Taking into account figure 1, we can see that the trajectory of the demand of each of the NPAs has had a positive trajectory since 2017, especially it is important to observe the case of the areas of the Sierra de la Libertad, both the rnca, like the snca, have received tourists in a permanent and growing manner, despite the distance of the place from the city of Trujillo and the difficulties on the road.

the tourist demand of the snca and the rnca has similar characteristics, they are groups mainly of students of different levels of academic preparation, mainly nationals and a smaller percentage of foreign visitors who are associated with the volunteer programs offered by the areas; while the tourist demand of the Guañape islands, due to its proximity to the Trujillo base center, if they have the quality of being national and foreign tourists, since already being in the province for a period of three days, they develop the tour to visit the islands guañape, as a complement. it is important to note that in 2017 and 2018, no tourists were reported in this area because they were prohibited, in order to regulate them.


The three natural areas under study present significant tourism resources, both natural and cultural, that allow and strengthen the development of specialized ecotourism products based on the observation of species and coexistence with traditional communities.

The elements that are preventing the diversification of the regional tourist offer from the ecotourism use of the NPAS discussed here are: the lack of tourist services, the poor communication routes in the Sierra de La Libertad and the pandemic in the case of the Islands Guanape.

The management instruments identified have been the master plan and the tourist use plan; the SNCA has both documents, while the NRSIIGP only has the first; the case of the RNCA is that it has not developed any of the two plans yet, working its actions permanently, based on operational plans.

The most outstanding actions in the three protected natural areas can be organized into planning actions, organization actions and putting into use actions; in the planning actions are the efforts developed to have the most appropriate management instruments that can promote ecotourism in a strategic way; while the organizational actions include environmental education, tourist awareness, training in customer service, the design of tours and the preparation of biosafety protocols and the execution actions are those related to the reception of visitors. before the pandemic.

The SNCA and the RNCA share the same reality with respect to tourist services, the tourist plant specifically in the area has not been developed, but there is an organized community, prepared and willing to serve tourists, when required and schedule in advance; while in NRSIIGP, the most frequent service during operations before the pandemic has been food and specialized tourist transportation to reach the islands.

The number of visitors in each of the PNAs under study is low, but the trajectory of demand shows that since 2017 its growth has been progressive, confirming the interest of tourists in each of them. In the case of the highland areas, the main characteristics of these visitors is that they are Peruvians, students, mainly university students and graduates; while for the Guañape Islands, we are facing a primarily national tourist demand that arrives in Trujillo for cultural reasons.


To the biologists Elvert Zavaleta and Fredy Abanto, heads of the SNCA and RNCA, respectively, for the valuable information shared. To Aleyda González, researcher in the area of the NRSIIGP Guañape Island, for her constant support and to the NGO - FONDO VERDE, for the diligence put into advising and evaluating this research.


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Scientific article product of research carried out within the framework of the university diploma in ecotourism / NGO FONDO VERDE and the PanAmerican Center for Higher Studies UniversityMexico.

Received: April 01, 2022; Accepted: May 23, 2022

Corresponding author:

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