Detour was founded to showcase in-country tour operators that are working to make a difference in the world. Or, at least, a difference in their part of the world. All providers we partner with are locally owned and operated. That means most of your travel dollars and euros go to the country you are traveling in. This matters a lot.
Of all the operators we work with throughout Latin America, Amazonas Explorer (operators of the Ultimate Inca Trail) may very well be our favorite. Conde Nast thinks so too and they’ve named them “The Best Adventure Outfitter in Cusco”. They are thought and action leaders, not just in Peru, but the whole adventure travel industry.
- Safety is #1. All guides complete a yearly refresher on Wilderness First Aid, Security on Steep Ground and Vertical Rescue Course. These trainings are run by local paramedics and UIAGM Mountain Guides. All rafting, kayaking, and stand up paddling guides have yearly trainings and refreshers in Swift Water Rescue as well. Guides complete a yearly update on risk assessment and safety management procedures. All procedures comply with the British Safety Standard BS8848. These are used for organizing and managing visits, expeditions, fieldwork and adventurous activities outside of the UK. All trek guides have working knowledge of hypothermia and altitude sickness. Porters and cooks have a one-day training each year. Even Amazonas’ drivers complete a yearly first aid course. These safety and training standards are more like tagging along on a BBC expedition. You’re in more than good hands.
- Amazonas operates all aspects of their trips in southern Peru. They use all their own guides, transportation (where possible), camping equipment, expedition gear, cooks, etc. Aside from the hotels on your trip, they have complete control over their operations and are, therefore, able to maintain the quality of your trip experience.
- Living and playing in the Cusco area makes them experts on how to avoid the crowds. They consistently explore and scheme up new routes to experience the must see sites without having to visit them alongside everyone else.
- Amazonas works to minimize their waste. They purchase locally produced food. They provide travelers with an aluminum water bottle and provide clean water to refill with. They responsibly dispose of all waste and cook with gas – not firewood (in fact, they plant trees they don’t burn trees). Most office operations are paper-free; where printing is necessary, they double-side. They even use reusable snack bags for all excursions.
REGENERATIVE & SUSTAINABILITY PRACTICES:
- Carbon Neutral: Amazonas Explorer’s office and all trip emissions are offset with the Peruvian based company Regenera that locally offsets carbon to help preserve local ecosystems. Currently, their carbon footprint is offset in Manu National Park, one of the most biodiverse places in the world.
- Carbon Positive: In the beginning of 2020, Amazonas Explorer became carbon positive by planting two trees for each traveler, for each day they spend on their trip in Peru. You can read more about the tree planting project in the next bullet point.
- 1% For the Planet: Amazonas Explorer was the first and, currently the only, Peruvian company to be apart of 1%. They donate 1% of their turnover to aid local communities in reforesting the nearby Lares Valley. They have planted over one million trees in the pueblos of Lares and Ollantaytambo. And, now they source saplings from nurseries in these communities.
- B Corporation Certified: “B Corps are for-profit companies certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.” – B Corps
- Travelers Against Plastic: Amazonas has pledged to work to reduce the amount of plastic water bottles being used by travelers. They provide access to purified drinking water on all trips so guests can refill a reusable water container. They also go so far as to encourage local hotels to provide drinking water.
- Well Paid Guides and Porters. By paying above average wages and providing career advancement opportunities, Amazonas attracts the créme de la créme. From a history professor that prefers the mountains to classrooms to generational guides, activists, even a lawyer. You get to explore with active members of the Cusco and Machu Picchu community. It’s worth noting that all Inca Trail porters are freelance and can work for whichever companies they choose. Many have chosen to be with Amazonas for over 10 years. ‘Nuff said there.
- Philanthropic Projects: Every year, with input from their guides, Amazonas makes considerable donations to local projects. These include free bike repairs and maintenance for kids to get to and from school, and a school for girls.
- Slow down. No to the racing to fit in one more city visited. No to spending as much time traveling as being there. No to checklist travel. Amazonas Explorer encourages thoughtful travel and believes as much in the necessity of a free day as it does your guided tour of Machu Picchu.
- Adventure travel enhances the travel experience. To quote, “Traditional tourism can be pretty passive, you are a bystander, an outsider looking in, visiting, listening, watching. With adventure [travel] you have to participate, to engage fully both mentally and physically. You have to be present in the moment (ever tried riding a bike while answering emails?)” Adventure travel builds trust within your group, challenges you and gets you out into stunning natural places. It is a full immersion into your surroundings.
Could there be a better way to travel? You can peruse Amazonas Explorer trips on our website: https://www.detourdestinations.com/travel/peru-trips