Accommodation and meals:
We spend 18 nights in hotels and 2 nights in jungle lodges all with en-suite facilities. For the optional Inca Trail trek, 3 nights full service camping replace 3 hotel nights. We prefer to use small businesses for our accommodation, activities and services as these are the companies which have most direct benefit to the communities which we visit. All of our hotel managers have signed a sustainability contract which ensures they employ locals and endeavour to reduce waste, whilst our campsites are very eco-friendly in terms of energy reduction. We buy all of our food to cook on the trail from local supermarkets or even indigenous groups where possible despite this sometimes being more expensive. Where meals are not included, clients are encouraged to eat at authentic restaurants or to try snacks at markets e.g. local markets in Pucusana and Pisco.
Local Craft & Culture:
We walk through the Huayllabamba village on the first day of the trek, which is the only community inside the trail. They sell produce and various homemade snacks, so by stopping and buying something we are providing an avenue of income for these people. There is also an optional opportunity in the Sacred Valley where clients can eat a traditional meal in the village and buy handicrafts, as well as opportunities to visit local markets in Cuzco, Aguas Calientes and elsewhere. Our local guides are able to advise clients on 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 deforestation.
A Fair Deal:
Our local partners in Peru are extremely committed to staff welfare and to protecting the environment. We operate a zero-impact policy on the Inca Trail, removing all waste from campsites and separating it so that it can easily be recycled or composted. We take a toilet tent for use in camp and during lunch, removing the need to dig holes at campsites, and we never build fires at our campsites. Our camp staff (porters, cooks and mule wranglers where used) are paid a fair wage and receive all accommodation, transport and food whilst on the trek. They are also 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 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.
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.