The very ethos of our style of travel is responsible; small groups on fully escorted tours, experiencing the very best of a region, a culture and a landscape, with a friendly local hand guiding the way. Our itineraries are designed to give our travellers real life experiences without compromising the part of the world we are exploring; to travel responsibly is at the heart of our commitment as a global tour operator.
This trip to the Galapagos and onto the highlights of Peru has been designed to run with minimal impact on the regions we are visiting and to ensure that any effect our trip does have on the region is positive. We want our travellers to engage and interact with communities (during our stop en route to Ollantaytambo for example), not change them and we do everything we can to ensure that the financial benefits from our travels find their way to local businesses and community initiatives, rather than larger corporations.
Our staff ‘on the ground’ are all recruited locally, from your group leaders who will accompany each leg of your trip, to the porters who will support and assist you should you opt to trek the Inca Trail. In the jungle we have additional local guides accompany us who are experts in the local flora and fauna as well as traditional medicinal uses, and your guide on the Galapagos will be a qualified Naturalist trained by the Directorate of the Galapagos National Park.
In the jungle we stay at an eco friendly lodge which combines low impact architecture with the traditional native style. The group will overnight in traditional family homes on Lake Titicaca, spending time with our host families and maybe picking up some of the local language, Quecha while learning about daily life. On the whole our accommodations will be in smaller, locally owned properties, always reflective of the local style. Camping will be basic for those trekking to Machu Picchu.
On the Galapagos Islands we support the work of The Galapagos Conservancy, the largest source of private support for conservation efforts in the region. The 11,000 Friends of Galapagos are individuals and institutions who care deeply about the Galapagos Islands, and understand the scientific importance of preserving this one-of-a-kind ecosystem. Funds raised by the Galapagos Conservancy support the core operations of the Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS) which will be visited on Isla Santa Cruz. In Peru we recommend a visiting two eateries that donate their profits to great causes. Hearts Café in Ollantaytambo donates its profits to Living Heart (a project we support) and raises awareness of the plight of impoverished Andean communities above the Sacred Valley. We also recommend Yanapay restaurant in Cusco which uses all its profits to support children in Cuzco through an organisation called Aldea Yanapay and its social projects.
Throughout your trip you will be encouraged to take steps to ensure that your journey is as environmentally responsible as possible. We encourage all travellers to be respectful of their environment at all times and follow their leaders’ instruction with regard to interacting with the wildlife on the Galapagos and when venturing into the Amazon, stick to the marked trails.
Your group leader will be on hand to assist with the appropriate disposal of rubbish en route, recycling wherever possible. There are no recycling facilities on Isabela Island, so we ask that plastic rubbish is taken with the group when we leave. On similar lines, group members are encouraged during the trip to use refillable water bottles with purification tablets rather than contributing to the rapidly escalating problem caused by the copious number of plastic bottles discarded globally on a daily basis.
As a company we are very aware of the negative effect carbon emissions have on our environment and as such operate a carbon neutral policy; offsetting the ground emissions of all our passengers on all our trips. On this particular combination trip to the Galapagos and Peru that equates to 1,075kgs of carbon offset per passenger, per departure. We use local transport where ever possible including local buses between Cusco and Puno and between Puno and La Paz.