Responsible tourism: Choquequirao to Machu Picchu hiking vacation, Peru
Cusco office recycling: we use both sides of our paper for printing and only print when necessary; we also separate paper, plastic, glass, and inorganic waste and take it to the cityís recycling centre.
We accept recyclable materials from tourists in our office and it is listed as a Green Business Cusco by South American Explorers Club. We encourage clients to refill their water bottles instead of buying plastic bottled water. We provide bottled water to clients at the beginning of treks in order to discourage them for buying plastic bottled water for the first morning of treks (we provide boiled water during the rest of the trek). We follow Leave No Trace guidelines at our camp sites and along the trails. We organize and participate in clean-ups for treks and local rivers through the Cusco office. For our treks, we provide reusable cloth bags for our snacks instead of small plastic bags. We use biodegradable soap and dishwashing liquid for treks and other tours. We are currently analyzing the carbon emissions produced by our office and on our tours and are finding ways to reduce and offset these emissions. We purchase local food in bulk for our treks and tours when possible we provide education and training for our staff on the companyís environmental policy and practices. And we are planting trees as part of a reforestation project in Peru.
The Cusco office has contributed to the construction and maintenance of toilets in the communities of Quishuarani and Cuncani to discourage environmental contamination by tourist groups.
We are continuing to undertake community projects such as clothing and school equipment donations. Each year we donate some money to the communities our Inca Trail porters come from.
Currently we donate in the region of USD$1000 at the start of each school year. We ask the community what is most needed and usually we are asked to provide materials (books, pencils, paper etc.) for the children and the local school.
Most of the porters are farmers and cannot afford to pay for all of the materials their kids require for school. By hiking the Inca Trail you are directly helping the families and communities of your porters.
Also, since 2006 we have been able to support the Huchuy Yachaq community project in the marginalised neighbourhood of Hermanos Ayar, on the outskirts of Cusco, with the help of everybody who has travelled with us. We donate USD $3000 a year to this community project.
The project has been set up by volunteer social workers and teachers to provide much needed social and educational support to the children and families of this neighbourhood. Children are encouraged to attend study and games sessions held each afternoon and participate in vacation projects. Our contributions so far have paid for educational books and games, tables and chairs, improvements to the structure of the basic community owned building and the addition of functioning toilets, materials for the children to take to school, school books, vacation programmes.
We are now also financially supporting the UK registered charity Amantani which is running boarding houses for children in the remote Andean region around Cusco. It is very much in keeping with our ethos of small scale, targeted help which is educational & sustainable.
The Cusco office helps the local community by:
Donation of tools for harvesting crops and help with harvest. Building of greenhouses to improve agricultural production and nutrition Provision of teacher in each community to cover more students Improvement of school facilities and donation of materials such as text sets, books in Quechua and Spanish, desks, chairs, blackboards, pens, paper, etc.. Construction of community centre in Cuncani for villagers to display weaving methods and display wares. This centre will also serve for cultural and educational exchanges/training. Provision of nutritional breakfast at school for community children attending school. Visits by health care providers to evaluate children and provide medical supplies to school. Donation of warm clothing, blankets, personal hygiene items (towels, toothbrushes, soap).