The Inca Trail is often considered to be among the most rewarding and enjoyable hiking adventures that can be had anywhere in the world. You could be contemplating walking in the footsteps of the ancient Incas or making your way inside Machu Picchu for the first time, but we should pay attention to the people who are helping to make those experiences a reality. To begin, you will make initial contact with a tour agency or operator in order to begin the process of organizing your hike. Following that, you will have a meeting with your guide for a briefing. At the end of it all, when you are finally ready to begin your hike, you will meet your chefs and porters.
Porters have been exploited in the past, not only in Peru but across the world. Throughout the walk, they transport your personal belongings from one camp to the next in their special equipment. They are an important part of the trekking team, and it is quite doubtful that you would be able to complete the journey if you were responsible for carrying everything on your own. Hiring porters will make your hiking experience far more comfortable and considerably less tiring. They make a significant physical effort to guarantee that your belongings are protected and well cared for.
Even if the porters who work on the Inca Trail in Peru are in a much better position than a great number of people in other parts of the world, this does not imply that they are not susceptible to being exploited. A law that was passed in 2001 protects the working conditions of the porters who work on the Inca Trail by doing the following: ensuring porters have access to warm clothing and lodging; 3) ensuring porters get enough rest and sleep; 4) providing enough food; and 5) providing life and accident insurance. Since 2001, the leaders of the 10,000-member Regional Federation of Porters’ (RFP) have met intermittently with members of the three main Inca Trail tour operator groups such as; AATC CUSCO, ASSORCIC, and Association de Operadores de Turismo Ecologico de Cusco, the Ministry of Culture, and Servicio Nacional de Areas Naturales Protegidas por el Estado, After that, the income for a four-day hike was reset to 230 soles, which is equivalent to around $70 USD.
On a typical Inca Trail excursion with a small group, there will be twenty porters accompanying twelve visitors. The trail can accommodate no more than 500 people at a time, regardless of their individual numbers. Many porters augment their income by farming, working freelance jobs, often away from home for several months at a time, and returning home for a short period of time after every couple of treks. Some people travel from rural regions in order to participate in the labor, which may be financially rewarding but physically draining. Regardless of the weather or altitude, porters are on the job 24/7 to make sure your Peruvian adventure goes as smoothly as possible. It’s all in a day’s work when it comes to hiking long distances while carrying a heavy pack, putting up and breaking down camp, and taking care of other vital logistical responsibilities. In such tiny towns, working as a porter typically offers more compensation than a job that one may get in their hometown.
The way that porters and trekkers are treated is very different in a number of significant ways. Porters frequently have to sleep in the dining and kitchen tents, which do not have flooring, or, even worse, in the stinking bathrooms. Trekkers, on the other hand, generally sleep in tiny tents that are provided with padding and sleeping bags. Second, while on the path, trekkers are served delectable meals that have been expertly prepared by chefs, and they frequently get to sample the finest examples of Peruvian cuisine. However, the porters, who have spent the day actually hauling heavy packages up and over mountains, are left to fend for themselves when they get to their destination. They are provided with a little pay, and if they are fortunate, they are also given the leftover food from the tourists. A minimum wage of 45 soles per day, which is equivalent to around 13 dollars, is required by law to be provided to all porters in Peru. Sadly, not all of the firms that offer hiking do pay their porters this amount. “We work more than 16 hours a day, and we’re away from our families for 24 hours a day,” says Alberto Huaman, the president of the association.
All in all, Despite the fact that no corporation is going to admit to you whether or not they mistreat their porters, it is very necessary to insist on transparency. You may make a difference and help reduce the level of exploitation by reading the reviews left by customers on websites such as Yelp, TripAdvisor, and others to get an idea of how the porters are being handled. Before making a reservation, familiarize yourself with the Porters’ Act of 2003 and ask a lot of questions. And once you get back from your trip, make sure to report on what you experienced, both the positive and negative aspects, so that other people can gain knowledge from your experiences. When looking for a fair-trade tour operator, Evolution Treks Peru is a good place to start. It is also the first firm in Peru to use female porters.