Peru is now a well-established destination which over the last two decades has vastly improved its infrastructure and services, yet, the traveller’s appetite for something new; real authenticity and socially conscious elements have been the drivers for World Expeditions’ newest innovations in the country.
For example, the Inca Trail and the ancient city of Machu Picchu have been drawing travellers to Peru for years but Peru has so many other walking trails that are wrongly seen as second cousins. Quite to the contrary, some of them are visually more attractive and showcase the mountain cultures in a way that the Inca Trail does not.
World Expeditions, CEO, Sue Badyari, who recently returned from a trek along Peru’s Salcantay Trail, reels with enthusiasm for this stunning trek in the Machu Picchu Sanctuary.
“This is a short but spectacular mountain trek with excellent cultural immersion opportunities,” she said.
“While there are up to 500 people per day on the Inca Trail, just a valley or two away, this trail receives less than 10% of that volume.
“Where there are no villages on the Inca Trail, here on the Salcantay Trail you have a series of small authentic villages ranging from horsemen, orchid farmers and coffee growers – it’s a joy to stop and learn more about their culture and lifestyles, and to share the tourist dollar with these remote communities” Ms Badyari said.
“At the high point of the trail, it’s quite common for people to become emotional as they drink in the views of the dramatic and sacred six-thousand metre peak of Salcantay.”
When arriving at Machu Picchu after the trek, Ms Badyari suggests wandering around to the back of the ruins to visit ‘the Inca Bridge’. Historically, this was the escape route for the residents of Machu Picchu if under attack and World Expeditions make a point of encouraging its travellers to visit this interesting spot.
In addition to Machu Picchu, there are so many more layers to this incredible country; with its mix of ancient and modern cultures, stunning mountain ranges, bio-diverse Amazon jungle, tropical beaches and award-winning cuisine.
One area where World Expeditions is making strong progress is in cultural immersion programs where travellers can spend time in a village working with the community to leave an immediate benefit. The newest program is the Healthy Cook Stove Project in the Huilloc community.
Another of World Expeditions’ new programs is providing solar lighting to villages where no electricity exists.
“This is yet another fantastic opportunity for travellers to immerse in village life and put some light into homes so village kids have consistent light source to do their homework rather than flickering candle light,” Ms Badyari said.
“It’s these small things that can make a huge difference and for as little as $25 per home, we are working through villages to make this happen.”
The next big project that World Expeditions is tackling in Peru is eradicating the need for travellers to purchase plastic bottles.
“In city stays there is still a propensity for travellers to buy plastic bottles and with the sheer volume of tourism numbers in Peru, plastic bottles are a serious environmental problem as millions of discarded bottles end up in landfill.
“So we’re doing our little bit to encourage travellers to see Peru differently and we’re hoping that the additions to our program hit the spot with trekkers and travellers alike.
“It really has become the complete travel destination for the modern day adventure traveller.”
For those looking to explore this incredible country, Sue Badyari has put together her top six ways to enjoy Peru in 2017:
- Discover the sacred beauty of Salcantay Way
The Salcantay trek to Machu Picchu is giving the Inca Trail a run for its money with its spectacular close up views of Mount Salcantay and challenging yet rewarding hike over the Salcantay Pass (4640m). Arguably the best short trek alternative to the classic Inca Trail, the World Expeditions Salcantay Trek follows an ancient Inca trail that is located not too far from the Inca Trail, where dramatic mountain scenery is complemented with lush sub tropical jungle. The trail has far less trekkers than its famous friend and does not require the same, and often sold out, trekking permits. Importantly, trekkers spend ample time in Cusco and the Sacred Valley whilst acclimatising to the altitude before heading out onto the trail. Witness the awe inspiring beauty of the sacred Salcantay Mountain in this new video.
- Salcantay Trek & Machu Picchu – seven days (from $2080 per person)
- Experience the world’s best culinary destination
There are many reasons to travel to Peru, but did you know that Peru is attracting international attention for its award-winning world class cuisine? Peru has won the ‘World’s Leading Culinary Destination’ for five years in a row at the World Travel Awards. Modern Peruvian cuisine is a brilliant fusion of traditional flavours and local produce with exciting international influences and innovative techniques.
Recognising that food is a big element of the Peruvian experience, World Expeditions is offering its travellers an opportunity to dine out on them (as a fee extra inclusion) at Acurio restaurant in Cusco, run by Peru’s most famous chef, Gaston Acurio. Travellers who book a trip to Peru that includes an overnight stay in Cusco with World Expeditions between 1 October and 15 November 2016 will receive a free eight-course degustation meal at Acurio’s Chicha Restaurant” (terms & conditions apply). View the deal.
Available on a range of itineraries including:
- Cultural Highlights of Peru – 11 days (from $2690)
- Best of Peru – 16 days (from $3490 per person)
- Best of South America – Over 55’s adventure – 23 days (from $5490 per person)
- Explore the Peruvian Amazon (and its diverse wildlife)
The Peruvian Amazon makes up 60% of Peru and is home to one of the world’s greatest rivers and the world’s largest tropical rainforest. It is the second largest portion of the Amazon after the Brazilian Amazon. Combining an active holiday with wildlife viewing in Peru makes for a pretty magical experience. You can cruise, raft and canoe your way through the lush jungles and twisting tributaries of the vast Amazon River basin whilst getting up close and personal to Peru’s wildlife.
- Inca Trail and Jungle Adventure – 11 days (from $2990 per person)
- Tambopata Rainforest – four days (from $990 per person)
- Travel with a purpose
In the village of Huilloc, in the Sacred Valley of Peru, over 200 households are using traditional open fire cook stoves that produce a toxic smoke that is trapped in the confines of their kitchens. Inhalation of the smoke contributes to the incidence of low birth weight in babies as well as pneumonia, pulmonary disease and bronchitis in the children and woman who spend approximately eight hours a day in the kitchen.
Trekkers can work alongside the people of Huilloc to install new stoves in the community on a 13-day Salcantay Trek Machu Picchu trek – 13 days (from $2790 per person) or a four-day Huilloc Village Healthy Cook Stove Project Extension trip (from $1170 per person). Let this video inspire you.
- Let your light shine in Peru
There are currently around six million people without electricity in remote communities across Peru. Why not consider helping World Expeditions to help bring light to some of these homes?
World Expeditions will donate a solar lamp for every traveller who books a trip to Peru before 15 January 2017. The lamps will be hand-delivered to local communities on World Expeditions treks that pass through the Salcantay and Choquequirao regions in 2017. The lamps are portable, light, durable, 100% solar, have a long life battery and are fully weatherproof. They are ideal for use in the kitchen, doing homework or checking on livestock, and can be held in the hand, hung from a hook or stand on a table. Book your adventure in Peru and help bring light to a family. Travellers who book on one of the following departures can deliver their lamp in person:
- Salcantay Trek and Machu Picchu (7 April 2017 departure – from $2080 per person)
- Inca Rivers Trek – Choquequirao to Machu Picchu (29 June 2017 – from $3390 per person)
- Do something extraordinary
Brazilian poet and writer, Paulo Coelho, once said “It’s the simple things in life that are the most extraordinary”.
World Expeditions is the founding partner of a simple but effective litter collection initiative that harnesses the collective power of travellers to keep wilderness trails free of litter. Already in place on its guided treks in Nepal, Bhutan and on Mount Rinjani in Indonesia, travellers can now do their bit to make the world a better place by volunteering for 10 Pieces on World Expeditions’ Peru treks. Find out more about 10 pieces.
Further information at www.worldexpeditions.com or 1300 720 000.