Overland Traveller



Responsible travel on the Inca Trail (Page 2)

Demand social and environmental responsibility
Machu Picchu © Craig FastWhen it comes to responsible travel, accepting the minimum isn’t good enough. You want a tour operator that cares for its staff and the environment. I did the Inca Trail with Llama Path; at US$475 (not including tips), they charge a little extra but once on the trail I saw clearly where that extra goes.

All Llama Path porters receive medical insurance and are fully kitted out with walking boots, strong backpacks, ponchos and sports clothing. They walk together and are often referred to as the Red Army. The difference in the standard of equipment between Llama Path’s porters and those of some of the other tour operators is shocking. Some other porters wear broken leather sandals, carry saggy, unsupported bags on their backs and use scraps of plastic sheeting to keep out the rain.

Washing bowls provided by Llama Path © Emma FieldOn top of treating their porters well, Llama Path undertakes regular litter picks, uses clean-burning fuels to cook food on their treks and uses locally-owned transport and accommodation wherever possible. They also operate a take-out-what-you-take-in policy, meaning you won’t find litter from a Llama Path employee or trekker lining the trail.

Demand the best experience for yourself
Just as the porters deserve a fair deal, so do you. I don’t think it’s enough to just ‘do’ the Inca Trail. I want to minimise my impact on the delicate Machu Picchu Historical Sanctuary, make sure no-one is exploited whilst I reach my goal and have a great time. Llama Path helped me achieve this.

Llama Path do everything they can to ensure their trekkers enjoy their time on the Inca Trail. Before lunch, after the day’s trekking was over, and first thing each morning everyone in my group was given a bowl of warm water to wash in. Lunch was two hot courses, dinner was three, and we were treated to a ‘happy hour’ of popcorn, biscuits, tea, coffee and hot chocolate every day between finishing trekking and eating dinner. Camp was set up and dismantled for us. All this, and more, I was able to accept guilt free, happy in the knowledge that paying that little bit more meant all this was being done with no resentment and minimal environmental impact.

You can’t put a price on that.

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Overland Traveller copyright © Emma Field 2010