Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, Peru

“This nine-day small group tour is a real adventure through Peru's ancient history, and all planned to give you oodles of time at iconic Machu Picchu.”

Highlights

Cusco | Sacsayhuaman | Tambo Machay | Puca Pucara | Moray | Maras | Ollantaytambo | Inca Trail trek | Machu Picchu guided tour

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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, Peru

Environment

For our Inca Trail, we recently took the Travelers Against Plastic Pledge- promising to reduce the use of disposable plastic water bottles. For many years we have been providing free water refills from 20 litre bottles of water- these containers are sent back to the factory and refilled by the water company with drinking water. All we ask is clients bring a refillable bottle with them. Our guides are empowered to explain to clients along the way, what we are doing and why, and to encourage them to avoid buying disposable bottles. We also provide our guides with UV water sterilizing pens, which can be used to make tap water perfectly drinkable, and we are currently waiting on a large shipment of high quality metal refillable water bottles from the US to offer to clients- we could not find the right quality here in Peru. I think a simple walk is all that is needed to see the amount of waste created by disposable plastic bottles, here as in much of the world it is a huge and totally unnecessary problem.
Due to the scale of Peru, it is inevitable that a fair amount of transport will be used. So we have started offsetting all carbon produced by our operations. We will also be introducing a new scheme to allow clients to easily offset the carbon involved in flying here in the first place.

We also encourage our clients to get out of the vehicle and use self powered forms of transport, such as walking, cycling, kayaking, sailing, stand up paddle-boarding and rafting. Not only is this a more environmentally friendly way to see the sites, it is also, in our opinion, a far more interesting and enjoyable way. You get to escape the crowds, see things from a different side to those that only venture in from the car park. It is also of course very healthy for you, and we believe the combination of some light exercise in stunning surroundings makes for a lot of fun- the smiles on our client“s faces are testament to this- and I think it is now well know that having fun is good for you, reduce stress and so on.

Community

Our biggest project is as part of our commitment to 1% for the Planet, an organization we have been members of since 2007- annually we donate 1% of turnover to planting trees with the Lares communities. This reforestation serves a number of purposes and is co-ordinated through local NGO Ecoan. By reforesting with native trees we hope to protect the precious water sources of the Lares people enabling their farming existence to carry on for generations to come. It also provides habitat for some very rare and critically endangered species of birds, that only can live in the Polylepis forest we are working on replacing. Like much of the world there was once a lot more tree cover, but mismanagement by humans has caused too much deforestation.
If I told you most of our cooks and porters have been with us for over ten years, many more than fifteen, some more than twenty, that I think speaks for itself. They choose to work with us versus other companies, because we have always paid well and fairly, we give them insurance, we ensure they have good working conditions and clothing, and we help them out when they fall ill, suffer an accident etc be that inside work or as has often happened, outside work. They are part of our extended family and vital to our company and the happiness of our clients, so it is only fair to look after them as well as possible.

There is always the opportunity to process up the ladder, from porter to assistant cook or head porter, to cook. Our full time storeman and full time driver were once porters, and we even have one guide who has worked his way up the ladder with us.

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