11 Essential Ecotourism Tips from a Machu Picchu Expert

11 Essential Ecotourism Tips from a Machu Picchu Expert



DON’T get naked
While streaking in some parts of the world can make for a good story and interesting pictures, doing it in Peru can make for some serious trouble, especially now that the government is cracking down on those who expose their cracks.


DO bring a reusable water bottle.
All trash, including plastic drinking bottles, has to be shipped from Machu Picchu to Cusco City via train. Help reduce waste by carrying water in a bottle that doesn’t get tossed when emptied.


DON’T touch the ruins
While it’s tempting to touch the massive rocks chiseled by the hands of the incas, it’s a bad idea. Lotions, sunscreens and bug sprays all contain chemicals that can damaged the rock surface. Additionally, thousands visit Machu Picchu every single day; imagine the wear and tear that would take place if each of them dragged their fingers along the citadel’s surfaces.


DO stay on the trail
The trail that winds through Machu Picchu not only protects the ruins, but also the people visiting. At more than five centuries old, some of the structure is worn, cracked and deteriorating. Meandering from the set path could not only further damage the walls and flooring, but also lead to a visitor hurting themselves. After all, the citadel is on the side of a mountain and it’s a long way to the bottom.


DON’T litter
This goes for not only items like plastic bottles and wrappers, but also fruit and vegetable waste like apple cores, as well as cigarette butts and chewing gum. Don’t throw anything on the ground of Machu Picchu that you wouldn’t want on the floor of your own home.


DO respect locals
Make sure you are asking for permission before snapping a shot of the locals clad in intricately sewn outfits or of government workers like soldiers and police officers. Additionally, locals follow Catholicism, Pachamama (Mother Earth) or a hybrid of the two. Observe the sanctity of their religion.


DON’T buy products made from protected animals
Peru is home to dozens of endangered or protected plant and animal species, including jaguars, pumas, caymans and monkeys. Never buy a product made of a threatened plant or animal species.


DO keep the entrance ticket
Watching the sun appear over the horizon, followed by the fog and clouds dissipating into thin air and finally, witnessing the sun set into the majestic mountains makes for a very long day at Machu Picchu. Eating and going to the bathroom inside the ruins are strictly prohibited. Luckily, there are a couple of restaurant choices and clean restrooms just outside the gates. Head there to relieve hunger (or yourself). Keeping the ticket ensures re-entrance.


DON’T pollute
This goes for waste pollution, such as bags and bottles, but also noise pollution. It not only disturbed the plant and animal life, but also the experience for other travelers. Many of them have traveled great distances to experience Machu Picchu, and some even view the sacred site as a spiritual one.


DO keep distance from the llamas
Although they are cute, snuggly looking and incredibly used to humans, llamas are known to spit, charge and even bite if they feel threatened. The llamas, who the Incas openly worshiped, call Machu Picchu home -- be sure to respect them on their turf. On top of that, they aren’t always the cleanest animals and carry disease, fleas and mites.


DON’T steal
This goes for pieces of the ruins and the natural flora and fauna that call them home.


About Latin America for Less
Destination experts at Latin America for Less are dedicated to providing the best possible vacation experience for travelers. The company offers a wide array of fully customizable packages to destinations throughout Central and South America, including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands, and Peru. Our top priority is to provide travelers with an experience that connects them to a culture, a country and an environment different from their own while also empowering local communities. After all, our responsibility is not just to curious adventurers, but also the people and places they are going to see.

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As the world's oldest and largest international ecotourism association, TIES seeks to be the global source of knowledge and advocacy uniting communities, conservation, sustainable travel..




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The Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference will highlight global challenges and local opportunities, supporting sustainable development of tourism and promoting solutions that balance conservation, communities and sustainable travel.

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