Toll Free: USA / CANADA
1-(888)803-8004
Customer: 1-(860)856-5858
Sales: 1-(917)983-2727

Meet our staff

Valencia Travel Cusco works with experienced professionals. We provide tailor-made programs, private trips, incentive programs and special interest trips like trekking, climbing, river rafting, and jungle excursions.

Our staff pays attention to every detail and is always prepared to offer the best advice and recommendations. Our employees are flexible, and always willing to help! Our team is highly trained to create unique experiences according to your needs and desires.

Valencia Travel Cusco employees are highly qualified, experienced staff in the following areas:




(Bus Drivers, Tour Managers and Guides are excluded from the staff listed above.)



What is a porter?

Introduction.-

Every year, thousands of people experience the Inca Trail. They usually complete the 45-km mountain route in about 4 days. For many, this experience is the journey of their lives and an accomplishment of personal ambition. The satisfaction of having completed the journey and reaching the spectacular Incan ruins of Machu Picchu is hard to match. However, the feeling is even better knowing that all the porters have been well cared for and treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.

Most Inca Trail visitors need to book a trek organized by a local tour operator. The camping gear which are provided (tents, tables, chairs, portable kitchen, gas depository and food) is often carried on the back of human carriers similar to sherpas. Pack animals such as horses, mules and llamas are prohibited on this route. The prices that tour operators may charge for this 4-day trip can vary considerably as well as remuneration fees for porters and conditions established by each company. However, finding out whether a company takes care of their porters can be pretty difficult to find.

Tour operators are not completely honest about the salaries they say they pay their porters and the real facts are difficult to verify. If you ask a porter how much he is paid, very rarely will you get a straight answer. If a porter is well paid, it’s likely he will say he is badly paid so that you will give him a better tip! If he is not well paid, it’s likely the company has instructed him to lie, telling you he receives more than what he actually does. If he complains about his salary to the tourists on the journey, then he will probably not continue working for the company!

 

Question is, who are the porters?

Porters are indigenous Cusqueñian people who have lived in Cusco, at 4,000 meters high, all of their lives relying on the land of the Andes. Due to economic problems, it is important for these local indigenous people to continue working in the mountains they know so well, rather than give up their jobs in the country to move to the city. They prefer to stay in their local villages and support the education of their children by working as porters on tours.

Sadly, many tour operators don't give them the recognition they deserve. Often tour operators do NOT provide porters with adequate clothing or gear for carrying things while paying them very low salaries. Because of this, you will see thirsty, hungry porters with a low morale along the Inca Trail. Our government has created the Law of the Porter, which requires tour agencies to treat porters better and provide necessary resources for them, but sadly, many of these regulations are not met. Please make sure that the agency you book through respects the Porter Law and be sure to ask for proof of this. Otherwise you could be contributing to the ill treatment of these hard-working porters.

Inca Trail Porters Protection Law No. 27607

(Dec 6th 2001)Decreed Laws Numbers 19990 and 25897 Article 3 Conditions of work:

  • Transport up to the point of departure to the end of the trips.
  • Limit of load up of 20 kilograms.
  • Warm equipment and accommodations
  • Special belts to protect their backs from injuries
  • Appropriate rest and sleep during the trips
  • Provisions of sufficient food, and appropriate clothing
  • (warm jackets, rain ponchos, walking boots and backpacks)
  • Fair and decent payments on time on Day 4 at 10am
  • Life / Accident Insurance along with the Social Security of Health
  • Social Assistance to our Porter`s families year around( not only in Christmas).

Article 6 Single, fair and decent payment to our crew.
Article 7 Minimum age of a porter is 18 years.
The Congress of the Peruvian Republic Lima, on December 6th 2001.
In these regulations, the travel agencies have to follow these rules:

  • At start of trek- about 500 people per day including porters.
  • Travellers have to book for the Inca trail in advance at least 3 months before their departure.
  • Porters were banned from carrying more than 50 k. It is now reduced to 20 kg, which is still very difficult to carry as the trek can last for days.
  • Porters have a union where they have to decide their salary per day, which is about 42 soles per day and about 168 soles per trek.
  • Porters do not have to carry any kerosene nowadays instead all travel agencies have to provide a tank of gas, kitchen tent, dining tent, tables and chairs.
  • They make several campsites in several different places, so groups have to arrive in those places and not camp in the Incan ruins anymore.
  • All trash that is generated by the groups, have to be taken out from the national park and segregated out to different plastic bags of black, red, and green.
  • Groups have to be organized with tour guides with a minimum of 2 travellers and a maximum of 16 travellers and two guides.
  • Normally low prices imply ill-treatment and/or exploitation of Inca Trail porters.


Watch and see how our porters work:

  • Our Company, Valencia Travel Cusco treats porters well.
  • Our porters and cooks work With Us on a regular basis.
  • Our porters Have Life Insurance
  • The families of the porters’ have benefits for working with us.
  • A house is provided in Cusco, where all the porters can rest before and after the journey.

How can you help?

1. Book your trip with a responsible company / tour operator.

Currently, none of the trekking companies are perfect and there is still a lot of room for improvement. However, if you pay less than 600 USD for the Inca Trail, a porter well-being is probably not a priority in the concerns of the company.

When booking with a company, you should ask how porters are treated saying this is important to you. Legal salary, decent meals, warm and dry environment.

2. Hiring a porter

Hiring a porter will make your trip more enjoyable, giving you time to enjoy the scenery instead of looking for your boots! The local people are also being given a job they love.

3. Interacting with your porters

Talk to your porters, learning about their traditions and culture. Share coca leaves with them while encouraging them to sing some of their local songs. Most porters suffer from low self-esteem and shyness, so the first step is not to expect them to talk to you first.

4. Thank your porter.

Show your porters that you appreciate them. Thank them verbally and give them a tip althoug, tips are optional.

. Report cases of abuse / exploitation / abandonment of porters

If you are not satisfied with how your porters are being treated, you should complain to the tour guide. If he/she cannot solve the problem,complain at the agency office back in Cusco.

Porter Salaries (USD $ 1 = 2,75 soles)

The Peruvian government can be praised for introducing a new law in 2002, indicating that a porter must receive a minimum salary of 42 soles per day (about $15 USD). It can be said that only a few companies actually pay this salary. Unfortunately, most companies have chosen to disregard this law and 30 soles seems to be the average salaries among companies. While some companies continue to pay salaries as low as 20 soles per day!

Weight limit

The maximum weight a porter can carry on the Inca Trail is limited to 25 kg. This includes his personal 5 kg. Each porter is weighed at the beginning of the route and then again at Wayllabamba at the start of the second day. This regulation was introduced in 2002 and has been strictly applied. Companies infringing this law receive penalties and risk losing their licenses. However, as with most regulations, many companies go through great efforts not to meet them.

Meals and sleeping conditions

The biggest difference between a responsible and an irresponsible society is how they care for their porters along the journey. Many porters are given very little to eat along the way. They have to wait and see how much the tourists have eaten so they can divide the leftovers among themselves accordingly. This leaves a lot of porters hungry and tired. In general, porters sleep together in the group dinner and cooking tents.

The Porters' Culture

The Quechua race has a history of being oppressed, first by the Incas, then by the Spaniards and then by the land owners. Only in recent reforms, have the Quechua people started to own their own land. Due to their long history of being dominated by others, many of them have low self-esteem. It’s important that you try to get involved with the porters in your group along the Inca Trail. Take some coca leaves to share with them and try to learn a couple of basic words in Quechua (the tour guide will be pleased to help you). Many of the porters have amazing stories to tell about the traditions and life in their villages. At the end of the journey, don’t forget to show your appreciation to their work and value their contribution to the trek, by thanking them verbally and giving them a tip.

How much should I tip?

Tips for the tour guide and the cook depends on the quality of the service you have received; they are your decision. However, even when you think the food was horrible and the tour guide did not speak or explain well (which we hope was not the case). The porters were probably the ones who worked the hardest carrying the camp equipment and shelter tents, so please don’t forget to tip them. The amount depends on you, but it is recommended that each porter in your group takes home an extra 40 to 55 soles. Try to bring alot of small change so you can tip the porters directly. This is much better than giving the cook or the tour guide the money to be split up later among the porters because many times the money is distributed badly.

There are many stories in which the tourists have wanted to show their appreciation to the porters by giving them hundreds of dollars! Unfortunately, if the porters receive big tips they will often end up drinking at Aguas Calientes or Urubamba for several days after the trek. Spending all the money that didn’t go to their families where it is needed the most. Try to give a reasonable amount and if you want to help porters, you can contribute to one of the porter wellness projects in Cusco.

 

ATTA adventure tourradarromantic