Accommodation and meals:
We spend 11 nights in en suite hotels and in an 1 night eco-lodge on the Isla del Sol. Ecolodge la Estancia is partially owned by local shareholders of the Aymara community and has been constructed using natural materials such as thatch and stone and designed using traditional Andean architecture so as to preserve the pre-Inca terraces found here. The lodge operates sustainable practices including solar energy for water heating, black boxes for room heating, recycling rainwater, growing vegetables, and waste composting. For the remainder of the tour, our chosen hotels are locally staffed and owned, therefore supporting local employment rates and ensuring that clients’ investment remains in the area. We provide guidance on our own responsible travel policies to all of the hotels that we contract, which include water and energy conservation and the use of biodegradable materials. Where meals are not supplied, guides will be able to recommend local cafes, restaurants and markets to get a bite. Local specialties to look out for include ceviche (a spicy dish of fish marinated in lime juice), lomo saltado (a Peruvian take on a stir fry) and hearty soups.
Local Craft & Culture:
There are several chances to support craftsmanship on the tour, including on the Isla del Sol where local communities sell produce and various handmade souvenirs. By buying something we are providing an avenue of income for these people. The tour also visits the Sacred Valley where we eat a traditional meal in a local village and have the opportunity to buy handicrafts. Our local guides are able to advise which products to buy and which to avoid- for example, walking sticks made of wood are one to avoid as they are potentially a product of harmful deforestation activity, and any pre-Inca or Inca relics are prohibited for sale.
Visits to Machu Picchu, the fortress at Ollantaytambo, the Basilica Cathedral and the Church of San Francisco in Lima, Tiahuanaco and various other historical, religious and archaeological sites are included in the tour – the proceeds from the entrance tickets go towards the maintenance and preservation of these incredible sites. We adhere to all of the visitor regulations set by the Peruvian authorities.
A Fair Deal:
Our local partners in Peru and Bolivia are extremely committed to staff welfare and to protecting the environment. Our leaders and staff are encouraged to put environmental protection practices into use in their own communities - regular training courses are held for all staff to increase their understanding of how to protect their natural and cultural heritage. This should filter through to clients in briefings, which help to minimise detrimental effects on the people and environments we visit.
This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in a unique, family-run hotel that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to its limited size.
UK office: It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.