Accommodation and meals:
We will be spending 6 nights in hotels, 3 in a rainforest lodge, and 3 nights full-service camping. We prefer to use locally staffed, small businesses for our accommodation, activities and services as these are the companies which have most direct benefit to the communities which we visit. The rainforest lodge is owned and run by the local community with support from the company, Rainforest Expeditions. On the Inca Trail our campsites are very eco aware and 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 and to try snacks at markets e.g. San Pedro market in Cuzco.
Local Craft & Culture:
We walk through the Huayllabamba village on the first day, which is the only community inside the Inca 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 Sacred Valley tour where clients can eat a traditional meal in the village and buy handicrafts. 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, and any pre-Inca or Inca relics are prohibited for sale.
Few holidays have as little detrimental impact on the environment and local residents as a trekking trip. Erosion on and adjacent to popular paths is a growing problem in certain places and therefore our trip leaders encourage clients to stick to advised routes in order to minimise this. Permits are limited on the Inca Trail in order to reduce overcrowding and damage due to footfall, but our guides and porters are still very mindful of how we treat the environment. The same can be said for exploring the Amazon. We do believe in leaving no more than footprints, although this tour actively encourages guests to talk to local people, visit local cafes and restaurants and to purchase traditional crafts. Our entrance fees for the Inca Trail also go towards maintenance and improvement of local facilities, therefore leaving a positive impact.
Water is a really important issue with trekking trips and whilst we must stay hydrated, it is also vital that we have a system for providing clean water without causing lots of waste with plastic bottles. We suggest that instead of repeatedly buying bottled water, guests should re-fill a singular bottle. In order to make this easier, we provide boiled and filtered water throughout the Inca Trail trek. We also recycle waste along the trail with organic and non-organic containers and we do not dispose of it until there is an appropriate place to do so.
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.
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.