Forget 500 miles: how walking 25 miles can feed an entire family in Peru
15 April 2021 - By Amy Foyster
Hiking the Inca Trail and catching your first glimpse of the breathtaking ruins of Machu Picchu is the stuff dreams are made of for most adventure-seekers.
And in any normal year, there’d be about 86,000 wanderlusters pounding the well-worn footsteps of the epic hiking trail. Not to mention the additional thousands that walk the nearby Choquequirao, Quarry, Salkantay, Lares and other Inca routes in the region. But sadly, due to the global pandemic and the ensuing travel restrictions, this number has been reduced to a fraction of its normal volume over the past 12 months.
And while this was disappointing for many expectant travellers, the effects on the Peruvian tourism industry and those that rely on it for their livelihoods have been nothing short of devastating. But that’s where you can help.
The Lata Foundation have recently launched a new campaign to provide monthly food parcels to the out-of-work Peruvian porters (and their families) who have lost their sustainable tourism incomes. Named ‘Peru 25 for 25’, the campaign challenges people to lace up their hiking or running shoes and complete a 25 mile walk or run from anywhere in the world, the length of the full Inca Trail, to raise money to provide these life-saving provisions.
Each £25.00 raised (roughly AUD$45) will cover an essential food parcel for one porter and their family for a whole month. And you can rest assured that 100% of your donated funds go directly towards the purchase of the food parcels.
If you’re not feeling your fittest but still want to support the cause, donating £25 or equivalent to the appeal (or whatever amount you choose) is another way to support those who are normally the ones guiding others through challenging times.
Jude Berry, chair of the LATA Foundation explains the ongoing impact the pandemic is having on these communities.
“Many of the porters have returned to their villages and communities in the Andes. They are 'surviving' but they are struggling without any income from tourism."
“On behalf of the LATA Foundation, we want to urge all those who have previously trekked the Inca trail and the wider public to support this important initiative, either by challenging themselves to take on 25 miles or pledging £25 to this cause.”
The LATA Foundation is made up of different tour operators and hoteliers from across Latin America, who are passionate about supporting tourism and their region. These natural competitors have united as volunteers to fund grassroots projects across areas of environmental conservation, poverty relief, sustainable development, economic growth or regeneration and the promotion of ethical and responsible business practices.
Many of the regular donors that the LATA Foundation normally rely on to support their campaigns are travel companies and understandably, not all of them are in the position to support charitable initiatives at the moment, no matter how worthy. That’s why the support of the wider public is invaluable at this time.
Amazonas Explorer is one of the affected businesses in Peru and a ground operations partner of Inspired Adventures. Their incredible porters, guides and office staff have had their lives turned upside down by the pandemic and are grateful for the financial support provided by grounded foreign travellers from all around the world.
Amazonas Explorer’s owner, Paul Cripps, said on their website that help is more appreciated than ever and while many of their porters are “tending to their fields, with no tourism work to supplement their incomes, these are difficult times for everyone.”
Ultimately, everyone wants the same thing. To support some of Peru’s unsung heroes, the trekking porters and their families through the pandemic, so that when it’s possible, they can return to the jobs they love, helping millions of people to visit one of the most iconic walking routes on earth.
You can help support Incan trekking porters by registering for or donating to Peru’s 25 for 25 campaign today.