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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

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Central jungle: they bet on sustainable and interactive tourism after the pandemic

Tourism seeks a total reactivation with an intense travel campaign to the regions of the country promoted by Promperú with the name “Return to travel”, an initiative not only with commercial significance, but also with a strong symbolic charge that evokes the emotion of taking a flight, get on a bus or move around with your own vehicle; after the dark mark left by the health, social and economic catastrophe.

The destinations considered for this phase are the central jungle of Junín, Oxapampa and Pozuzo; these last two belong to the Pasco region. Both jurisdictions register a total of 47 tourist attractions that received the International Safe Travels Seal, a distinction that recognizes them as safe places against COVID-19.

Oxapampa: harmony in the yunga

Our first stop is Oxapampa, following the Lima-Jauja route and after boarding a minivan heading to the biosphere reserve city.

After six hours of travel, an intense rain in the middle of the road and many curves in the Central Highway – narrow in some of its sections -, these were just some of the “tolls” that we “paid” to access what was and still is. the cradle of Austro-German migrants.

The clock already strikes four thirty in the afternoon, the gray sky -heralding a drizzle typical of the yunga- tints the main square that is filled with the joy of its inhabitants and some tourists who do not hesitate to take a picture next to the Obelisk octagonal base located in the central part, which was erected in honor of the founding settlers. It has four carved images belonging to Santa Rosa de Lima, a native Yanesha, a settler, and Father Bardo Ballerle.

In front we find the mother church, an imposing enclosure that does not go unnoticed due to its harmonious combination of light brown walls and reddish ceilings. This temple built in 1939, and inaugurated a year later, has the particularity of being the house of God and the devil.

How is it that good and evil can live together without fighting? It was the question we asked one of the inhabitants. “All the wood with which the temple was built is from a tree called the strong devil. The house of God was made with the wood of the devil, “he said. Camilo Capdevila, manager of Camilo Tours, a tour operator in the area for 16 years.

A few meters away we entered a wood crafts and other materials store with the intention of acquiring a piece. At one of the counters, a woman with a docile voice explains to a couple that she can no longer lower him one more sol at the price of a print.

“Support?! We have not received anything. I went to several finance companies and, since I did not work with any of them, they denied me any loan. Reactiva Peru was not really given to those we needed. They had to think about us boys, not just the grown-ups. Have they turned it around? Is that what they say? And I have everything in order “, confessed the female of Italian-German roots who identified herself as “Pecky ”Zuchetti, owner of the business that bears her name.

In this destination, the average cost of a day per person ranges between S / 80 and S / 200 for accommodation, lunch and dinner.

Pozuzo: an encounter with nature

Pozuzo is located at 824 m above sea level, and welcomes us amid thunder and lightning.

On the way to the María Egg lodging, the streets look quiet, some businesses begin to close and only one soul or another is seen prowling around. A very quiet town in all its manifestations.

The next morning, the intense sun reveals the nine bungalows built with cedar and recycled wood that are distributed over four hectares, and have solar panels for hot water from the showers. The breakfast that is part of the service is prepared with local products that are purchased from nearby agricultural producers and farmers.

“We are betting on sustainable tourism in Pozuzo. The State must support different proposals and bet on new ventures that may surprise us, new things that nowadays work very well ”, Gabriela Zevallos, spokeswoman for the campus, said.

After that, we went to the main square, a thematic place that tries to tell us the history of the city in an iconographic way. In it we will find the representation of the Northon ship, the one in charge of bringing European immigrants and that set sail in March 1857 and arrived in Callao four months later.

In front, there is a welcome arch with a greeting in German, next to the representative statues of the three ethnic groups that inhabit Pozuzo: high Andean, Amazonian and European.

We leave the town about 10 kilometers to immerse ourselves in the Laguna de Agua Salada, pools of turquoise waters with “healing properties” due to their composition of sulfur and salt.

“One comes from Lima to breathe fresh air and release the stress that comes from day to day. It seems to me that it is an extraordinary idea that these places are open to tourism. More sustainable and educated tourism because this wonder cannot be destroyed by people who do not value nature ”, expressed after a dip Luis Mantilla, who has arrived with his whole family.

“The economic reactivation has meant a lifeline for the entire tourism sector, since we spent nine months without working, without receiving income. At first it was difficult to adapt to the restrictions, we had to comply if we wanted to continue working, but sometimes the client does not understand ”, The guide Carlos Luján responded to La República.

The cost of the entrance to Agua Salada is S / 5.00. While there is state participation, the visitor is also asked to be orderly.

Restaurants also try to turn the page. Odila Egg, owner of the Tipico Pozuzino, commented that, despite closing a year and a half, the visits have been constant since they resumed work in June and is optimistic of the good closing that 2021 will have if the situation allows it.

“I think that we are going to close positively, if the economy also continues to support us. Because when there is instability, people also feel that fear of traveling, “said Egg, the owner of the room 11 years ago.

Although everything seems perfect, there is a repetitive demand from tourists, and the residents of Oxapampa and Pozuzo. It is about the situation of the road, the main access route to these places.

“Tourists get a little scared when we see the narrow road, with stones that come off, but we overcome it to visit this beautiful place,” declares a visitor -with laughter-, who prefers not to be identified.

We are leaving Pozuzo heading to The mercy. The Colonial jungle impresses with its architecture, order and respect for nature.

Visiting Pozuzo has an approximate cost of between S / 70 and S / 350, according to the type of hotel.

A new beginning: La Merced

It is the third day of our visit and we arrive at La Merced, which houses the Ashaninka community of Marankiari, where we enter between strict biosecurity measures in charge of an inhabitant dressed as a feline.

A young man characterized by the tunche, caretaker of the jungle, welcomes us together with his friend the macaw and a calm boa that hangs from his neck.

For any stranger it is inevitable not to stop appreciating and counting the umiros, traditional buildings built with horcón, palm and cane. A total of 30 families have their merchandise in these places to be offered to visitors, in the midst of their reorganized and updated economic routine.

“In the community we are 200 families, but we are in various areas of tourism, agriculture and what is records. With regard to crafts, we are 30 families, it is the activity that gives us the most resources. We had to sell our ornaments such as pajú (headband) and others, and soon we obtained a little capital to restart ”, he commented Eufrinia Yupanqui, Deputy Community Coordinator.

The story for the leader and her community has taken a turn in her favor, after the support of the provincial authorities of Chanchamayo, who provided training on digital issues.

“We have been training in the networks because we did not know how to get out of this pandemic. Now they ask us for such an amount and we do it, also the Lima agencies have come. Now we are promoting ourselves more, and already people are coming. The youngest of the community understand that and work with the boys of Chanchamayo (provincial municipality). Revenues are growing, “said Yupanqui, who was wearing a blue cusma at the time of offering these statements of which she laughs herself, for not knowing exactly some terms.

Visiting this place in the central jungle costs between S / 150 and S / 300 per person. All subject to accommodation and type of tour.

Conversion to conscious tourism

The researcher Globe trends He affirmed that 2021 would be a year of reconversion for tourism, with the growing search for sustainable and respectful experiences with the planet, where the figure of the conscious traveler would stand out.

Promperú detailed that people now seek to form bubbles in families or with those who share the house, that is, small groups.

In January, an experiential house museum (Pozuzo) will be set up, in which people interact with tools such as the sugar mill, a mill, among others. In order to seek integration with the day to day of the ancestors.

The average rates for the tours are as follows: Oxapampa, S / 30 (half day); and Pozuzo, S / 70 (full day). The price of lodging in Oxapampa can range from S / 20 to S / 100 per night.

Data

Sum. The Dircetur of Oxapampa revealed that in the period January-July 2021, 48,492 visitors have arrived.

Mobility. According to Promperú, 38% of national travelers travel by bus, while 36% do so by plane. In 2019, these figures were 60% and 15%, respectively.

Figures

14 million trips for domestic tourism so far this year, according to Promperú.

43.8% represents the informality of the sector’s production, according to the IDB.

1.4 million jobs is what tourism generated before the pandemic.

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