Action Peru Treks
How the minimum criteria of the responsible travel standard was met...
A lot of tourists take that into consideration when choosing a trekking company, as they would like to help struggling communities in the area. Action Peru Treks does just this. Beginning with recruitment, we have selected our porters, kitchen staff and horsemen from local communities. Beginning with recruitment, we selected the porters, horsemen and kitchen staff from these communities, quickly finding that their knowledge, strength and skills were to become integral to the success of our tours. Staff soon became friends, and as friendships grew we began to understand some of the challenges that these remote communities still experience, despite their relative proximity to the developed tourist operations of cities like Cusco and Aguas Calientes. For example, the community of Sacsayhuaman, where most of our staff live, still had no school a few years ago. So, the poor children were forced to walk for 4 hours, come rain, sunshine, hail or snow. Therefore, a lot of children gave up studying. So, we decided to do something for them and made donations that, among other things, helped pay for the school roof. We continue to donate a small percent of every trek we sell directly to the school fund. In conclusion, if you are looking for a professional company that always delivers, gives back to the community and keeps its promises, good food, professional guides, happy helpful porters, a short or a long trip, we’ve got it all.
Support for local economies through increased local revenue, jobs for local populations, and use of local supplies and services thus helping communities to rise their standards of life. We also recommend customers to visit local projects and do so when they agree, in order to try to help communities.
Environmental responsibility is a very important part of trekking.
But what does it actually mean? It is more of a concept of respect for the valley. It can’t really be quantified. Small steps are important as well. Here are some of our practices as responsible tour operator.
Although we don´t make it an official, advertised thing, we do recycle paper in our office. We always try to use both sides of a page, in order to limit use of paper. We also don´t use flyers in order to advertise, but we try to do most of our advertising on the internet.
Conservation of biological and cultural diversity. We always advise our customers not to scare the animals they meet along the way and not to leave garbage around. In some areas of the Inca Trail, we will pass through national parks, where it is strictly forbidden to contaminate rivers and camps. We make sure our passengers know this. They are also instructed not to destroy plants or pick up flowers. They are also not allowed to climb the Inca walls, in order to preserve the cultural diversity.
Sustainable use of ecological resources (should have a minimal I impact). Therefore, we use solar panels and lamps. During the day, we charge them with solar energy, so that our passengers will use them in the tents at night. We also provide customers with biodegradable soap, which doesn´t hurt the environment and we place special biodegradable plastic bags in the toilets that we later empty and re-use. These bags eventually disintegrate in the environment, thus not polluting it.
Community empowerment by sharing participation in management local ecotourism activities
Increased environmental and cultural awareness which further encourages the local population to preserve its environment. On long routes we provide customers with hot water, but we advise them not to overuse it and save as much as possible. Moreover, we always ask our customers not to bring plastic bottles, which may contaminate the environment, but recommend bringing Nalgene bottles that are reusable, or the CamelBak hydration pack.
We encourage our clients to act in a responsible manner.
Since English is an international language, most tourists want to make sure the guide leading the tour they choose speak it. And we are proud to say all of our expert local guides speak English very well, and some of them speak other languages, too. Moreover, they are all extremely professional and always happy to share their wide knowledge with you. They have worked in all the facets of the business, starting in the office by doing bookings and providing customers service. Then, they are required to work as porters for part of the training and they even have “chef” shifts. Not to mention they have compulsory training throughout every month of February and they receive first-aid training from a real doctor.
We employ local people and pay them a fair wage helping to put money into the local economy. All trekking employees are paid punctually at the end of each experience. Office team are paid monthly and receive free health insurance for them and their families, and bonuses at the start of the school year, Independence Day (July 28), and Christmas. All porters receive free accident and life insurance which covers them throughout the year and not just when they are working with us.
Friendly porters who speak well of their experience with the company/are well-treated by the company. As you will surely see, all of our porters, just like our former customers, have only good words to say about us.
At Action Peru Treks, we know that, by treating our staff in the best way, we can, we will continue to ensure we provide the best service of all tour companies around. We appreciate that our porters have the hardest job in the business, and yet they do it with a smile on their faces. When we have individuals with such inner motivation, we make sure they are not taken advantage of, by respecting the Inca Trail Porters Protection Law, of 2001. Some of the conditions that must be respected are: transport to the point of departure to the end of the trip; limit of up to 20kg to be carried, warm equipment and accommodation, appropriate rest and sleep, fair and decent payment and more.
As a responsible company, we contribute directly to local projects in the Cusco region (see above).
At Action Peru Treks we have also set up an Immersion Program which we highly recommend to our clients take advantage of this Andean Village Immersion experience offered at no extra charge with all of our treks. Those who visit this Quechua village frequently say that this is one of the most memorable experiences of their trip to Peru!
Before the tour, we give our customers an informative briefing about the social and political situation of the place they are visiting. We always let them know that if they have any clothes they don´t need to use or even sweets for kids, the local people will be more than happy to receive them and will show their gratitude.
The night before that our clients begin their hike they will be transported, with one of our native guides, to the home of one of the porters/horsemen who will be assisting them on their trek. While there they will enjoy a traditional Andean meal and have an opportunity to be educated about many aspects of life in a customary Andean village. They will have the opportunity to share in agricultural activities. They will also meet the wives and children of some of the porters and have the chance to learn customs and hear stories from them. We also encourage them to respect the traditions and customs in every site and village we visit, as it very important for the communities that these are preserved.
In the evening after their meal they will get to participate in their native music and dance! The children especially love to dance and are the best teachers! Our clients will spend the night with their host family and begin their trek early the next morning.
This is a potentially life changing experience and we hope our clients will elect to participate and get a first-hand experience of life in the Andes!
Being considerate of Peru’s customs, traditions, religion and culture.