We couldn't get to Machu Picchu without them!!!
Our "Chasquis" is integral for us to succeed on these adventures. The only way to make it to Machu Picchu is if we work as a team: guide, travellers and
PORTERS and it is our job to make sure that each member of the team is treated properly and protected. Safety in the mountains is the top priority on every trek we take.
Every Porter at Pacha Peru Explorers receives...
- Good and livable working wages.
- Health insurance and full coverage of any medical cost incurred on the trek.
- Proper uniforms including waterproof jackets and boots.
- Warm sleeping bags.
- Access to the same first aid our clients receive.
- A comfortable place to stay and sleep the night before and after their trek (at our Porters House).
- Really good and nutritious food...the same meals we prepare for our trekkers.
- Support of their family with visits by medical professionals, donations of supplies like boots and health needs and a trip to Machu Picchu. Often their first visit is with us as our guest.
Porters on the Inca Trail
Without a doubt, inca trail porters are the hardest workers on the mountain. They carry all the necessary equipment and logistics to hike and camp along the inca trail to Machu Picchu (tents, food, gear, etc). Without porters, climbing the Inca Trail would be close to impossible for most people. Your job is to hike, they do everything else. They will set up all your tents, help cook and serve you amazing food, prepare hot water to wash with, welcome you happily to each site...all with a smile on their face.
Why are Porters Mandatory?
Before 1990, the Inca Trail was not regulated by the Peruvian government and tourists would carry their own equipment, meals and cook by themselves. Unfortunately many of these early hikers didn't pay enough respect to Pachamama and left a lot of trash along the way. Without rangers watching over, there was nobody there to walk behind them collecting the garbage they left. The government took note of this problem and initiated a project to protect the trail. It was at this time they began the permit process limiting the amount of people entering the trail to 500 per day for crew and tourists.
The government started making these changes in 1990 and continually get more and more strict with how to enter the trail. You may only enter with a licensed tour company - it is not possible to do on your own. Each company can organize groups with a maximum of 16 trekkers, 2 guides and 22 porters. Each porter can carry a max of 25 kg.
The government has started the process of taking care of the porter - we hope to expand on that...
Our Promise to Our Porters:
We understand clearly that we could not be successful without our team of porters. They have promised us that they will work endlessly to make each trekker have a magical journey, so we have made an equally important promise to them to do what we can to make this difficult job a little less daunting.
As we explained earlier, most of our porters live in a village outside of Cusco - typically 2 to 4 hours away. We cover all entrance fees (45 soles - $15 US per porter) and transportation to and from the trek for our porters, separate from their salary. They are paid directly after the trek preventing them from traveling back to Cusco before heading home. This is unfortunately not common. They receive better wages, health insurance and all their equipment for free. This includes hiking boots, pants, jerseys, fleeces, jackets, hats, flashlights, sleeping bags, sleeping bags, and amazing food to eat. We make sure they have a comfortable bed in a lovely room to sleep before (and after if needed) the trek instead of crashing on a floor like others. We visit the communities they live in and supply toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap and other needed supplies to their families. Books for their students.
This is just the beginning for us and we are always looking for ways to do more.
How much does the Alpaca Expeditions Porter Carry?
While the government allows each porter to carry up to 25kg, we keep our limit at 20kg. Each porter will carry up to 15kg from the company and 5kg of their own personal stuff. This is why its so important to keep your personal duffel down in weight and not exceed our allowed 7kg. You will see other companies carrying clearly more than the allotted weight - we will not allow our porters to carry this burden.
Keeping them Comfortable...
Every year Pacha Peru Explorers provides a new sleeping bag and sleeping pad for each porter. Our jackets are all lined and warm and our boots that are provided are all waterproof.
What do the Porters Eat?
Our porters will eat the very same amazing meals you have. Our chef buys enough food to cook for all our trekkers and porters and makes enough for everyone to be too full at the end of the day. While you will notice that we always serve huge portions, none of this is wasted. Whatever is leftover after you and our team eats will go directly back home to the families of the team for them to enjoy themselves.