Alternative Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu
Description of Alternative Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu
This two week Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu follows the Salcantay route to the great citadel, which is much quieter than the other route used by most trekkers. It enables us to not only escape the crowds, but also enjoy a week amongst the soaring Andean peaks, taking in the cultural heritage of the Incas, culminating in the great Machu Picchu.
Starting in Lima, with a day to explore the Peruvian capital, we fly to Cusco taking time to explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site city and also acclimatise to the elevation of the Andes. The Salcantay Trek is named after the eponymous mountain which dominates the landscape, along with other greats such as Humantay and Huayanay.
Trekking and camping for a week, with the support of porters and guides, we explore the Peruvian Andes’ wilderness areas surrounded by snow capped peaks, with trails to elevations of 5000m in the Cordillera Vilcabamba and camping in places you will never forget. Waking up to views of the great Mount Salcantay being one of those special ones.
The glorious culmination of this Andean trekking holiday is, of course, Machu Picchu which we approach from the Sun Gate. We spend a night in Aguas Calientes, staying in a much welcomed hotel and also enjoying the reason this town is called‘hot springs’. We are then rested and ready to spend a whole day exploring Machu Picchu properly, starting at sunrise. It’s moments like this when you realise exactly why this valley was considered sacred.
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Planet and peopleOur operational base in Cusco has been instrumental in raising the standards of porter conditions and welfare in the Andes. We are founding members of the Peruvian Association of Adventure Tourism Workers (ATTAP) and the Peruvian Adventure Tourism Association (APTAE). Our management team based in Peru have been instrumental in the recently introduced legislation to ensure that the numbers on the legendary Inca Trail are environmentally sustainable.
All human waste is carried off the trails by the use of PETT toilets which use 100% biodegradable bags and chemical-free cleaning agents.
You will contribute to our pioneering scheme to reduce the vast numbers of plastic water bottles that are put into the waste dumps and land fills since there are no plastic recycling plants in the South Eastern Andes of Peru. We have made arrangements with all the hotels that we use to allow us to provide you with large containers of spring water and fill your bottles as necessary and avoid the need to buy water only available in plastic bottles. In 2003 alone this project has prevented more than 15,000 plastic bottles entering the environment.
A proportion of the cost of this trip will pay for a team of doctors and health workers to visit the villages of the porters every year. They also take this opportunity to attend to any villagers who need immediate attention. This is a very costly procedure but makes a very big difference to the general health and well being of the villagers.
Our Responsible Travel Guidebook
Our philosophy since 1975 has been to leave only footprints and take only photographs. To reiterate this, every customer who travels with us receives a copy of our award-winning Responsible Travel guidebook. This detailed book outlines our environmentally sustainable principles, and outlines how each customer can minimize their impact while traveling.
Global Warming and Carbon Balancing
The root cause of Global Warming is society's dependence on emission creating fossil fuel. Planting trees is not going to reverse this trend or cancel our carbon emissions very quickly or effectively. We believe the way to reduce these dependencies is to create clean energy production. Therefore, we support renewable energy projects like wind and solar power, and we are aligned with Climate Friendly, the gold standard setter in effective, meaningful action addressing climate change. So, while we believe that tree planting can play a small role in greenhouse gas abatement, we have gone the extra mile in promoting a longer term solution. Is this cheap? No. Is it responsible? Absolutely.
No local payments policy
Local cash payments are becoming increasingly popular with many operators in the adventure travel industry. This policy seems to benefit the tour operators more than the local economies or the travelers, as it avoids local taxes and transfers the costs and risks of cash handling onto the travelers. In accordance with our Responsible Travel practices, we have chosen a policy of not asking for such payments.
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