Meet Pepe, a longtime friend and colleague of the Big Agnes team, and founder of Apumayo Expediciones in Peru, who might be the best person to make your Peruvian travel dreams come true.
Growing up in a small town called Chaclacayo, located in the Rimac River Valley at the base of the Andes, Pepe was introduced to the mountains and rivers of Peru at a young age. Pepe first started exploring the Andes Mountains with his Boy Scouts group and soon after was chasing friends and mentors down first descents of rivers in Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru. He then kicked off his guiding career on the Cañete River in 1985 and evolved to guiding hikes on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in 1990. In 1994, Pepe and his close friend Duilioin founded their own expedition company, Apumayo Expediciones.
When they first launched Apumayo the company focused on guiding class 5 rivers and organizing five-sport adventure Pentathlon races, involving kayaking, paragliding, mountain biking, trail running, and rafting. They soon expanded operations across Peru to include customized trips from the Sacred Valley of the Incas to the mountains of Machu Picchu. Pepe took a back seat from his guiding days and stepped into his current role as General Manager and CEO of Apumayo, but will still be seen taking on the various responsibilities of concierge, guide, cook, driver, and accountant from time to time.
Pepe has always believed in the company’s tagline ‘tourism with a purpose’. Every trip planned is built with an intention to educate or collaborate. From cleaning rivers to reforesting native trees, to supporting a local family and introducing rural families to the tourism business, every excursion is made with a purpose, and within every trip’s purpose focuses on sustainability.
Pepe works to educate his clients, guests, and field staff on sustainable practices that start from recycling content and buying local products, to measuring and then balancing the carbon footprint of their operations. Machu Picchu is considered a natural wonder, and what Pepe finds most fascinating is the history behind the architecture of the citadel, sitting at the edge of a large mountain above a deep river canyon, rich in Inca culture. Minimizing the impact of their activities while on tours is important to preserve the history, rich biodiversity, and construction of Machu Picchu and its surrounding areas.
We have been fortunate to partner with Pepe and Apumayo Expediciones throughout their journeys across Peru and to Machu Picchu. In a location where weight limitations are crucial for porters to transport gear, having the lightest, most, durable, and most comfortable equipment is important to Apumayo Expediciones when offering the best experience to their guests. Lucky for Big Agnes, not only do our tents make every Apumayo tour, but our staff continues to plan their first trips to the edge of Machu Picchu standing next to Pepe, including Big Agnes co-founder Bill Gamber. We have been happy to join alongside Pepe’s journey and support his sustainable expeditions across Peru, and tag along during his personal visits in Steamboat Springs, CO.