Traveling responsibly does make a difference on the people and the places you visit. It’s a way of travel that this adventure travel agency in particular lives by, encourages, and prioritizes above anything else. Here’s the how and the why of it.
- Take Care of the Trails
This responsible travel tip goes far beyond simply throwing your trash in the trashcan rather than on the trail. It means cleaning up the trail where you can and when you can. Pack a trash bag in your pack for just this purpose and pick up what you find as you go. The trekkers following in your footsteps will thank you.
- Use the Correct Trash Bins
While we’re on the theme of trash, be sure to recycle and sort your trash into the proper trash bins as soon as you have an opportunity. On all of Explorandes’ treks, there’s a bag for organic waste and a bag for non-organic waste. Use them knowing that the organic waste will be headed for our compost pit and the non-organic will be treated at recycling facilities in Cusco.
- Use a Canteen
Minimize your waste and use of plastic by bringing your own reusable water bottle. It’s probably the easiest and most effective thing you can do as a responsible traveler. Better yet, invest in a steripen to make hydration even easier on the trail and throughout your Peru adventure.
- Avoid Disturbing the Animals
Though spectacular and like nothing you’ve ever seen before, do your best to keep any disturbance to the local wildlife to a minimum. This means keep your distance unless you’re quite literally at a zoo or animal sanctuary that encourages the direct interaction and never feed the wild animals. Your food is not their food and it could wind up doing some serious damage to their health.
- Don’t Take the Plants
Admire them, sure, but please do not touch or take the flora you encounter on your trip. For one, some of this flora might actually be poisonous and two, your touch could damage and play a part in the endangering of the species. Yes, it sounds extreme, and maybe it is, but with the sheer volume of travelers visiting Peru these days, it’s best to play it safe. Respect the flora, admire it, snap a photo of it even, but do not touch or take the plants home with you.
- Respect the Communities
You’ll meet and interact with plenty of local communities on your Peru trip. Practice respect for their way of life and traditions, ask before taking photos of anyone, and support them with your dollar if you can by purchasing a handicraft. Although, we never recommend giving tips or candy directly to the local people, especially the children. Instead, ask your guide how best to give back to the communities you visit.
- Respect the Field Staff
The field staff are the oil in the machine that make your trip function smoothly. Show them respect and that they’re appreciated and you’ll not only brighten their day, but you’ll be a part of keeping morale high and your trip seamless. At the end of the day, everyone appreciates a “thank you” and a show of appreciation, right?
- Respect Your Fellow Travelers
Part of being a responsible traveler involves showing respect to your fellow travelers, be it respecting the pace the guide sets based on the average abilities of the group or keeping it down in your tent or around the campfire after a certain hour. Follow the golden rule and you’ll find that your fellow travelers feel more like family by the trail’s end.
- Respect the Park Regulations
This responsible tourism tip is an obvious one. Park regulations exist for a reason and it’s always to keep you safe and to respect and conserve the environment that lured you there in the first place. Do your part to follow the rules the park has laid out, getting the proper permits to hike the Inca Trail or arriving within your designated time slot for your Machu Picchu or Huayna Picchu climb.
- Respect the Guide’s Decisions
Your guide is the only person in the group equipped with the knowledge and experience to identify all risks and to make the best decision for everyone involved. If he or she says that it’s not safe to hike a certain pass, respect that. If he or she says that it’s better that you return to lower elevations than push ahead, respect that. Part of your guide’s job is to keep you and the rest of the group safe.
- Support the Small Local Businesses
Any opportunity you get, spend your money at the small local businesses versus the large chain stores and supermarkets. Visit different restaurants and shops each day to spread your dollar even further and save your souvenir shopping for when you can purchase directly from the artisan themself.
- Don’t Smoke in Your Tent
Besides the safety risks, smoking in your tent ruins the gear and the experience for the next trekker that uses it. That scent is a tough one to get out. Refrain from smoking of any kind in your tent and, if you can bear the break, avoid smoking at all to decrease your risk of catching altitude sickness.