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Sustainability tips
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Doing the Inca Trail is one of the most beautiful activities you can do. Whether you are a lover or not of trekking routes, this tour, in particular, has some attractions, landscapes, and routes that will surprise more than one. However, it is always necessary to leave small tips so that the adventure and the trip remain to the liking of all people. In addition, it is important to generate and share a respect for nature as expressed by the Incas, when they created all their mythology that focused on showing respect for life itself and nature. Generating since those years a sustainability project.

What is sustainability?

The fundamental concept of sustainability is to maintain the needs of the present without compromising or putting at risk the resources and needs of the future. In this case it is important to take action and avoid or stop doing some things to, precisely, maintain or better yet generate greater care for the environment, a rational use of resources and always acting with respect for nature, is a good start.

Sometimes doing this is complicated, especially when we travel. First, because we have little understanding of the culture of the country we are in. Second, we look for simple and even in some cases uneconomical services that do not necessarily conform to sustainable services. However, it is not necessary to spend large amounts of money to have a sustainable impact on society, especially when traveling for fixed activities. In this case, during the Inca Trail, it may seem that no pollution is produced, but if we do not take proper care we can end up damaging the environment or surroundings considerably. For this reason, here are a series of tips that can help you during a tour of the Inca Trail in a sustainable way. Below, we give you some recommendations so that you can start making a change.

The first step, preparing your luggage

The saying that great changes are achieved when a person begins to change, is quite right. Each one can generate the change they want if they start working on themselves. In this sense, it is necessary to have a real awareness of the destination to which we are heading, the Inca Trail. This tour can have 2 or 4 days of duration. Depending on which of the activities or tours you choose, you will have to select a certain amount of luggage. However, in any case, it is recommended that you organize your belongings including products that you can reuse or that are not disposable.

It will be important that you use appropriate equipment for the route, such as sturdy and durable poles. There is also the possibility of using backpacks made from recycled materials, but at the same time, they must be resistant to the weight and other factors typical of hiking routes. Here, too, make sure you pack lightly, if at all. A good backpack will help you and the environment to have a comfortable journey.

Try to use reusable containers for carrying drinks or when eating. Although this is quite common in travel agencies, which carry reusable utensils and thus reduce the use of plastics or similar. Most travel agencies also provide garbage bags, not only for food waste, but also for any other waste. It is recommended that you help when filling these bags by placing your own waste in them.

Finally, if you have to use or carry single-use utensils, make sure they are biodegradable. Another way to be more environmentally friendly is to use products such as shampoo, soaps, and others with formulas that contain fewer artificial elements and harm the environment. Most natural products are effective, you will begin to feel an improvement in your skin and hair when using these products and you will generate less pollution.

Respect for flora and fauna

During the hike and even when tourists arrive in Cusco, they will find a great variety of flora and fauna. Some decide to take a trip to the surroundings of Cusco or a short tour to acclimatize. During these tours or walks around the city of Cusco, you can appreciate part of the variety of flora and fauna of Cusco. This beautiful biodiversity is composed of beautiful plants and the presence of many birds. As for the Inca Trail, that is, when you start the hike, you will be able to observe a greater variety of species. It is important to take care of these birds during the hike.

When hiking the Inca Trail, it is quite likely to see the famous cock of the rock, which are beautiful bird, with plumage in black and red, quite intense. It is also possible to find different types of orchids that grow not only among the trail but also among the trees and part of the undergrowth or bushes. Orchids are very sensitive plants since the climate and even the humid soil of the high jungle of Machu Picchu allows them to grow. Therefore, do not uproot them or alter the natural environment. The birds, plants, and insects that can be found in Machu Picchu and during the Inca Trail are many and of different nature. It is best to contemplate them without altering or damaging the environment.

Complies with regulations and standards

Tourists in Machu Picchu
Tourists in Machu Picchu

Another way to make sustainable tourism is to make the trips complying with all the rules and regulations that were created precisely for the care of nature and archaeological remains. The entrance to the Inca Trail can only be done through Piscacucho (km. 82), Q’oriwarachina (km. 88), and Chachabamba (km. 104). If someone offers you a different route to do the Inca Trail other than the regular route, you will put your life at risk and not only that, when you are discovered you will have to abide by the regulations of the Peruvian State.

Likewise, by not complying with the rules and regulations of the Inca Trail, you may cause significant damage to the entire Machu Picchu Natural Sanctuary. The entrance to the sanctuary is forbidden for all people since it is considered a Natural Reserve area. It is also forbidden to climb the stone walls of the archeological sites. It is also forbidden to carry alcoholic beverages or other drugs.

Learn more about the local culture

An important factor is to know the way Peruvians live. Especially taking into account the gaps between people living in the cities and people living in rural areas. Something we must emphasize is that many of the people who live in rural areas are fluent in Quechua and Spanish. However, the latter is often used only when they leave their communities. Likewise, you will be able to communicate assertively in English in almost all establishments.

During the breaks on the Inca Trail, you are likely to hear the Quechua language spoken fluently by the porters. The porters are mostly people who come from the communities near Ollantaytambo and the Sacred Valley. Unfortunately, in the communities, they can only dedicate themselves to agriculture, which in some years gives good harvests, while in other years, production may drop considerably due to environmental problems and drastic changes in the climate.

Seeing their main source of income in danger and with some instability, many people in the communities saw tourism as a source of income. Some agencies contacted them and they began to earn income by working as porters. Many families benefit from doing this work. In this sense, you must have respect for the services they offer you.

You can also take advantage of this meeting to understand more about this culture and its traditions. Learn more about their aspirations and recognize that they have a different way of life. Therefore, we recommend you, traveler friend, that when you can support them, you do it. In other trekking tours, it is possible to learn more about these cultures that maintain ancestral traditions and ways of life. During the Inca Trail, you will be able to learn more about this culture thanks to the presence of the porters and the guide.

Encourage and share a habit of sustainability

Finally, the most important tip is that you can share these habits and many others so that more people have a sustainable culture. Although it may seem complicated, it is not. Many times it is possible to make these small changes possible by example and a proper explanation of what we are achieving. Of course, the explanation should be done without showing off how hard you are trying to improve the state of the planet and leave something for the children of the future.

Also, during the walk, you probably don’t have to say anything, just show how important it is to be careful not to litter anywhere. It is also important to have a plastic bag to store all waste and other garbage and then dispose of it in a suitable place. Remember also that there are different types of garbage so that at the moment of reusing these wastes it will be easier to organize the whole recycling process.


By Inca Trail Machu Picchu - Last updated, 01-03-2024

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