Old trails get new life in Peru

October 14, 2006 (PRLEAP.COM) Travel News
Little known trails in Peru are becoming popular alternative to the touristy traditional Inca trail to Machu Picchu.

Scarcely trampled for centuries, these special Inca trails were once part of the Inca Empires road system, the “Qhapaq Nan” that formed an ancient super highway of over 23,000 kilometres and integrated nearly all of South America.

Now, as the most famous section of this spectacular road network – the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu - is becoming increasingly crowded, many equally amazing “Inca Trails” are becoming used once again.

“While the Inca trail is an adventure of a lifetime, it really now fits the category of mass tourism,” explains Ariana Svenson, director of Apus Peru Adventure Travel Specialists. “It has government funded campsites, with locals who sell Inca Kola for tourists who gawp and gasp at the authenticity of the sickly sweet yellow beverage of Peru!”

In 2004 the Inca Trail was regulated to 500 people a day meaning that places are hard to come by. Visitors are now advised to book 4 to 6 months in advance. This had an unexpected effect according to Ms. Svenson: “Travellers and travel agencies were forced to adapt quickly and the overflow trekkers headed towards a five day traverses of the Salkantay mountain range.”

Peruvian authorities responded quickly to increased numbers on the Salkantay trek by increasing the entry fee from free to $30 US. Restrictions on the number of visitors to Machu Picchu are mooted for 2007, with exact details of the implementation system hazy.

“We found that with the so-called alternative treks becoming more touristed, we needed to look further afield to offer our clients the experiences they were looking for: solitude, spectacular mountain scenes, adventure, authentic interaction with the locals and some Inca culture and history thrown in,” explains Ms. Svenson. “Today, we are launching these new treks.”

The management of Apus Peru Adventure Travel Specialists are passionate trekkers and they went in seek of authentic experiences: “When we visited the ruins of Puncuyoc, the local rural people, living a remote and isolated existence gave us shelter one cold night. They told us that the only other foreigners to have visited prior to our expedition were modern day explorers and Inca experts Gary Ziegler and Vincent Lee,” smiles Ariana. “I don’t know if that is true, but it was a very remote place”

“I must admit that our treks are generally tougher than the Inca Trail, with more hiking and higher altitude. Yet at the end of the day your group is completely isolated in the high mountains, accompanied only by the stars and the mysticism of the Andes,” says Ms.Svenson.

“These new treks that incorporate sections of old Inca trails are a once in a lifetime opportunity. It is so totally worth it to get off the beaten track and onto lesser known Inca Trails!”

About Apus Peru Adventure Travel Specialists
Founded to provide visitors with off the beaten track trekking experiences, Apus Peru Adventure Travel Specialists now offer a range of adventure tours around Peru. They focus on responsible, sustainable and ethical tourism, intended to help Peruvian communities. They focus on giving clients truly authentic experiences, far from the madding crowds and tour buses. With Peruvian/Australian ownership, staff combine local indigenous knowledge with Australian experience and an understanding of international tourism.
Trips are tailor made to the client’s needs and can include visits to small communities, Andean highlands, and the amazing Amazon jungle. Clients have the choice of riding horses, bicycles and trekking. The company also offers the option of visitors taking public or private transport, with public transport the preferred option because of the opportunities for mixing with local people. Trips are led by Licensed Peruvian Tour Guides and coordinated by Peruvian, British and Australian administration staff.
For those interested in learning more about authentic Peruvian travel experiences, visit http://www.apus-peru.com

Contact details:
For additional ideas, help with a story or general travel and tourism information about Peru, please contact Apus Peru Adventure Travel Specialists directly by e-mail at apusperu@westnet.com.au