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Peru is a land best known for its ancient culture, heritage, and, more recently, its gastronomy. Information about these aspects of the country can be found everywhere, but what about the questions you have surrounding your trek adventure into the mystical Andes? In this brief document, we’ll explain how we at Explorandes have been doing our treks since 1975, including the efforts we have made to incorporate sustainability into our operations and through our relationships with the local communities.
Most of the Explorandes Guides are locals who have been trekking with us for years. They usually start their careers as cook assistants, cooks and/or guide assistants. When we think they have enough experience, we let them start guiding groups by themselves. In order to do that, they have to pass rigorous tests where they have to make use of their wilderness and first aid training. We have the official guide training at the start of the season (February) each year. There, we make sure that their knowledge is fresh and up-to-date with all of the latest updates on first aid, evacuation procedures and the destinations they’ll be taking you to.
We have been working with specific communities for more than 40 years, especially when it comes to hiring local porters and pack animals for most of our routes. Here are some important facts that you may find interesting in regards to our commitment to the local communities:
We hold a training once a year in the communities to ensure that they understand the importance of not only respecting the environment while working with us, but how and why to respect nature and practice conservation. We teach them how to compost, bring clean energy into their homes, reforest, and the importance of continuing to take care of the natural environment that our ancestors left to us.
Besides providing pack animals and serving as porters on our treks, it’s the local communities from which we directly purchase all of the food for our treks. This is our way of supporting the local economy and ensuring that the farmer receives a fair price for their products, as well reducing our carbon footprint. This also means that the food we use to prepare every meal on a trek is guaranteed organic and pesticide-free.
For us, our porters and animal drivers are the most valuable link in the chain. That´s why we want to help them to continue working in tourism so that they can make extra money from their farms while also feeling comfortable with the tough job that they’re asked to do. We want them to know that we really appreciate their hard work.
Many of our cooks have more than 10 years of experience providing wholesome meals for our travelers. They are prepared to supply different menus for different dietary restrictions, including vegetarian and gluten-free menus. Please do not forget to let us know if you have any food allergies so that we can advise our kitchen crew in advance and make sure that you’re well fed throughout your trek with us.
We always make sure to have the best equipment on our treks. On the basic trek, you will always find sleeping tents (double occupancy) with Thermarest sleeping mats, dining tents (with tables, stools and dining tools), cooking tents (where our staff will prepare your delicous meals).
We usually work with 4-season tents to ensure that you stay warm and dry in the event of any weather complications. The brands that Explorandes has worked with for many years are Eureka and Big Agnes.
We have different sleeping bags depending on what trek we operate. We make sure that the sleeping bag provided during the trek is the right one so that you can stay warm all night. The brand that Explorandes has worked with for many years is Mountain Hardware.
We will provide Thermarest sleeping mats to you on the trail.
If walking poles are needed, please always inform the guide on your briefing day.
If you are taking a private service, you can ask your travel advisor for the price to upgrade any equipment. This upgrade involves sleeping cots, hot shower tents and a professional chef). We call it comfort trekking.
Here a small list of things that we do not provide and recommend that you bring to the trek to minimize any risk.
*Note: If you bring something that requires batteries, we ask that you take them back to your country. Peru does not have a plant to treat empty batteries and they often end up in the trash somewhere, contaminating land and rivers.
At Explorandes, we make sure that you stay fit and well fed during the trek. That´s why we usually have different menus for different treks. We want you to have the right energy for your trek. We provide breakfast, mid-morning lunch, lunch, tea time and dinner.
We serve local and organic products. In this way, we help the economy of the communities we work with while also making sure that we have the best quality food on the trek.
Note: In the case that you are a vegetarian, celiac or allergic to any specific food, please let your destination specialist know when you book so that we can have a special menu prepared for you.
How many kilograms are we allowed to carry on the trail?
Pre-Acclimatization Days: As everyone reacts differently to altitude, the best indication of how high altitudes will affect you is your previous reaction to high altitude. For this reason, all hiking-intensive itineraries include at least 2 days of acclimatization before beginning your hike. This allows for some amount of acclimatization and an opportunity to see how you will feel while hiking. Most visitors experience mild altitude symptoms such as fatigue, headache, trouble sleeping, or light-headedness during their first day or two at elevation. Please ask our destination specialist for advice on our pre-days tours before the trek.
Once you book any of our treks, our destination specialist or staff will ask about your insurance information. Please remember that Explorandes is not responsible for any expenses that the hospitals may charge to travelers in the case of an evacuation.
Of course, tipping is not mandatory, but it is always nice to share some love with our ground staff, as these tips mean a lot to them. Believe us, that is something you are going to feel good about after seeing how hard they work on your trek. In case you want to tip our ground staff, these are the recommendations:
A lot of people talk about transformational travel and how a trip can really transform someone´s life. For us, transformational travel is not only about changing the life of a visitor after a cultural experience or breathtaking landscape. Transformational travel is about changing the lives of people through the environment that surrounds tourism, positively impacting the livelihoods of the local communities and finding new ways to help communities fairly profit from visitors that pass through their towns or even work directly with them. That´s why we do a lot of initiatives to empower the local communities to work in a sustainable way, showing them that they and tour operators can be good partners:
It is very important for us to have responsible travelers, people who really want to travel for a purpose and who look forward to taking care of nature in the same way that the ancient cultures have been doing it for more than 500 years. Promoting responsible and conscious travel is one of Explorandes’ biggest goals, as is helping visitors realize how important it is to show all the communities around the areas we visit that sustainable tourism and the importance of making it a habit in their day-to-day lives is the biggest step to a greater future.