For hiking the Inca Trail we buy fresh local produce. In preference we choose local over imported goods, encouraging the use of Andean products in our cooking. On our Inca Trail treks we minimize waste by using products with minimum packaging, leaving no litter and keeping all water sources clean, leaving camp-sites cleaner than we find them. Rubbish is carried out.
We are involved in the ongoing training of our trek staff. All our porters on hiking the Inca Trail carry a maximum 20kg load, and are provided with tents and food. We pay and treat our staff fairly. We support the Tourism Concern Porters Policy. We support Ninos childrens health care project in Cusco. We are happy to distribute your donations of much needed warm clothes and shoes to Peruvian children through this organization - please contact us for details of how you can help.
We actively support several community projects in Peru. We operate Hiking the Inca Trail together with a Cusco company, owned and managed locally. On the Inca Trail we employ local staff, who are paid fair wages. We provide insurance to all of our porters. Tented accommodation and meals are provided for trekking staff as well as foam mats and sleeping bags and rain ponchos. We have also provided them all with trekking shoes (although they may chose not to wear these). Our porters carry a maximum of 20kg.
Clean burning fuel is used to cook the meals on Hiking the Inca Trail and porters carry gas stoves and butane bottles. We use biodegradable detergents when washing the cooking and eating utensils. If any part of our tour or trek is operated by another company, we try to ensure that high standards are maintained.
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 holiday 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, holiday 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, targetted help which is educational & sustainabale.
And we are planting trees as part of a reforestation project in Peru.